Mold/ Indoor Environmental Asthma
Indoor Environmental Asthma Triggers
- What are Molds?
- How Does Mold Affect Asthma?
- Actions You Can Take
- Links to EPA Publications/Resources
- Other Resources
Molds are microscopic fungi that live on plant and animal matter. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they grow on virtually any substance when moisture is present.
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce, just as plants produce seeds. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Some molds can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and even dynamite.
There is no practical way to eliminate all molds indoors; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. If you think you have a mold problem and can see mold growth, you do not need environmental testing to determine what kind of mold you have. Instead, simply clean the mold from the surface it's growing on and dry the surface thoroughly.
For people sensitive to molds, inhaling mold spores can cause an asthma attack.
If mold is a problem in your home, you need to clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
- Wash mold off hard surfaces and dry completely. Absorbent materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be replaced if they are contaminated with mold.
- Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water.
- Keep drip pans in your air conditioner, refrigerator and dehumidifier clean and dry.
- Use exhaust fans or open windows in kitchens and bathrooms when showering, cooking or using the dishwasher.
- Vent clothes dryers to the outside.
Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally between 30-50% relative humidity. Humidity levels can be measured by hygrometers, which are available at local hardware stores.