Health Risks of Carpet Mold

November 10th, 2009

    Quite simply, mold is caused by moisture, and can grow anywhere—in the air or on a surface. In households it most commonly occurs in bathrooms, kitchens, around windows and doors, in your air ducts or anywhere humidity is high. One area of your households that is susceptible to mold is your carpet. Mold growth in carpet is most commonly due to wet foot traffic, especially in carpeted bathrooms; or a leaky window or door that’s allowing moisture to enter and flow downward to the floor.

    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, much was written and discussed about the health effects of household mold. Because homes were under water for weeks, these homes experienced heavy mold growth. By the time the water had receded, so much mold was present in many homes that the air inside wasn’t safe to breathe.

    Those of us watching the recovery effort on television saw clean-up crews and reporters wearing respirators, and heard story after story of homes that were deemed uninhabitable thanks to large amounts of toxic mold. Although we may not have had much experience with residential mold before, we suddenly understood it to be a major threat to human health and safety.

    What many of us may not understand, however, is that mold can be a problem in households that have never been affected by flooding. Even households that have never sustained water damage of any kind can have problems with mold. And household mold, even in small amounts, can present a very serious health hazard.

    The Centers for Disease Control states that mold can cause various health problems, ranging in severity from nasal congestion to serious lung infections. For most people, exposure to mold causes irritation to the nasal passages, throat, eyes and skin. In individuals with compromised immune systems or underlying respiratory problems, mold exposure can lead to serious complications. In short, residential mold is not something you should ignore, especially if you have children.

    If you or your family experience any of these symptoms or detect any mold in your household, you should immediately have it removed. As a general guideline, if the mold is less than 3ft by 3ft then you should be able to remove it yourself. The EPA website has a wonderful guide in mold remediation. They recommend that you:

  1. Consult with a Professional
  2. Assess the size of the mold problem
  3. Identify Sources
  4. Plan Remediation
  5. Use proper protective equipment
  6. Clean the affected areas
  7. Fix the source areas identified
  8. Clean and Dry Equipment used
  9. Check for Return of mold or moisture
  10. If you decide to have a professional remove the mold, be sure the contractor has experience in cleaning up the mold. Because a routine steam-clean or shampoo won’t cut it – you’ll need to the big guns. While it may be tempting to take advantage of local carpet cleaning specials or coupons, ridding your carpet of mold requires a special skill set and equipment. Solid judgment and experience are important when it comes to successful carpet mold removal. It’s important to hire a carpet cleaning service that offers mold and mildew removal. Be sure to request for this type of service when you book your appointment.

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