Mold 101

This blog post is courtesy of Polygon, a property damage restoration firm serving businesses worldwide.With highly trained technicians & project managers, Polygon provides a variety of disaster clean up services including mold remediation, document cleaning & corrosion control.

 Quick Mold Remediation is Crucial to Avoid Health Problems

When people talk about the negative health effects of mold, it’s usually in the context of mold problems in and around the home. What many neglect, however, is the possibility of mold growth in the workplace. You may not smell the same musty scents at work, but mold may be present all around you – and it’s a guaranteed problem if the building has sustained water damage or survived a fire. By learning more about the health problems mold can cause, as well as basic mold remediation steps like temporary dehumidification, you can provide your employees with a safe work environment.

 Health Dangers of Mold in the Workplace

Mold is a type of fungus that can grow virtually anywhere and in any weather. In nature, it serves the ecosystem by breaking down natural materials. Farmers use mold to make cheese, and scientists use it to make medicines, like penicillin.

When mold enters a building and there’s an excess of moisture, it starts multiplying and breaking down the building materials, warranting a need for mold remediation. When mold comes in contact with a person, she or he may experience adverse symptoms or conditions.

Allergic reaction. Some types of mold are allergens that can cause hay fever-like symptoms, such as watery eyes or a runny nose. Mold can also cause:

  • Congestion
  • Eye irritation
  • Throat irritation
  • Upper respiratory problems

Mold may also trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals diagnosed with the disease if they’re allergic to the spores.

Fungal infection. Mold can pose a threat to individuals with compromised immune systems or those chronically exposed to the spores, because they can develop systemic mycosis, a fungal infection. Affected individuals generally develop infections in the:

  • Digestive tact
  • Skin
  • Lungs

Among the more dangerous molds to those who are immunocompromised are those that cause “opportunistic infections.” Such molds include Aspergillus fumigates and Penicillium marneffei.

Mycotoxins. Some forms of mold produce mycotoxins, which may be toxic to humans if the exposure is high enough. A mycotoxin is a secondary metabolite, or chemical, that molds produce when the conditions are just right to for them to form colonies. A single species of mold can produce different types of mycotoxins, and several species of mold can produce the same type of toxin.

The presence of mycotoxins in a building increases the chances of experiencing adverse health effects from mold. The symptoms they produce depend on the type of toxin, its concentration, an individual’s length of exposure and his or her health.

How to Prevent a Mold Invasion in the Workplace

The key to keeping mold at bay throughout the year is moisture control.

  • Fix all leaks quickly, plumbing or otherwise.
  • Eliminate sources that cause wet spots (leaky roof) or condensation (poor window seals).
  • Keep HVAC drip pans and filters clean, and regularly maintain the system.
  • Keep humidity levels indoors below 70 percent.
  • Vent equipment and areas that have or produce moisture, like bathrooms.
  • Ensure proper drainage around the building.

If the workplace experiences a flood, mold remediation within the first 48 hours is crucial to the prevention and limiting of mold growth.

  1. Place all the materials that got wet into a dry room and separate them so they dry more quickly. If necessary, use a fan or a dehumidifier for temporary dehumidification.
  2. Remove as much water as you can from the flooring using a mop, wet/dry vacuum and/or large fans. If there are any rugs, remove them from the area.
  3. If the walls get wet, remove anything hanging from them and move away objects pressed up against them, like file cabinets or desks.
  4. Do not allow employees to reenter the building until it’s completely dry and there are no signs of mold.

Industrial Mold Remediation Services

If the water or mold damage to your business is extensive, one of the best things you can do for the health of your employees (and the building) is to call in a mold remediation service as soon as you know about the damage. The experts at such a service use the latest techniques to monitor, prevent and eliminate mold growth. The temporary dehumidification and drying techniques help clean and salvage property, eliminate odors and prevent corrosion and chemical breakdowns so you can get back to business as soon as possible.

Mold is a big problem, but it doesn’t have to be at your business. Your workers are your company’s top assets, and keeping them healthy is a worthwhile investment in the success of your enterprise.


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