In Case of Emergency

If someone is having negative health effects from mold exposure, contact their primary health care provider.  The doctor may recommend consultation with an allergy, asthma, or infectious disease specialist for additional information and treatment.

Mold & Moisture

Mold can cause health problems and trigger allergies and asthma attacks. With adequate moisture​, mold can grow anywhere in the home. It can also be controlled, making the air easier for all to breathe.

 

What is Mold?

Molds are living organisms that grow and thrive in damp places both outside and inside the home. Mold causes cosmetic and structural damage to the home by discoloring walls and floors and rotting wood supports.  It also makes the home smell damp and musty.  There are hundreds of different kinds of mold.

 

The Source

Mold can grow anywhere it has adequate moisture, including walls, ceilings, carpets, furniture, and concrete. It also needs cellulose to grow. Cellulose is plant matter and is found in wood, drywall, many fabrics, and even in household dust. Mold is often found in areas that have been flooded, areas with leaky pipes, or areas with high relative humidity like bathrooms and damp basements.

 

Who is at Risk?

The primary concern with molds are respiratory. Mold is a serious a trigger for those with asthma and allergies. People with weakened immune systems, such as children, the elderly, and those recovering from surgery, may be more vulnerable to health effects from molds.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of mold in the home are often the same as other upper respiratory issues. These symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, cough or postnasal drip, itchy nose, eyes or throat and watery eyes.

Symptoms can vary from person to person and can change seasonally, usually when the weather is damp or the humidity rises.

 

Health Impacts

People's reaction to mold varies.  Those with asthma and allergies are most negatively impacted. Mold can be responsible for triggering asthma attacks in children and adults, possibly sending them to the hospital for treatment.

 

Solutions

When mold becomes a problem in the home, the existing mold needs to be addressed. But first, the moisture causing the problem needs to be eliminated.

 

Eliminate The Source

The first step in fixing a mold problem is eliminating the source of the moisture.   If the moisture is coming from faulty building materials like pipes, walls, and the roof, the problem should be fixed by a licensed professional to ensure it does not come back. 

If the moisture problem does not appear to be caused by any leaks or structural issues, the problem is most likely due to moisture in the air and condensation.  This can be addressed with ventilation or dehumidification. Have a professional assess your home's ventilation to make sure it is working correctly. To address humidity, use a dehumidifier to remove the moisture from the air. High moisture areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room should have fans that can move moist air to the outside. Humidity levels above 60% are considered high-risk for mold.

 

Remove Existing Mold

Once the moisture problem has been addressed, the existing mold can be removed.  The EPA suggests that if the area is less than 10 square feet, it is a job you can do yourself.  Click here to download a helpful pamphlet on mold cleanup from the EPA.  

Hard, non-porous surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water and dried immediately. Any porous or absorbent surface that is affected by mold should be removed and replaced, such as moldy drywall or furniture.

A professional who has extensive experience and references should deal with areas larger than 10 square feet.

 

 

Did You Know...

Dehumidifiers help reduce mold growth.

Resources

Facts About Mold(274 KB)

Indepth information from the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Healthy Homes in the News

Parents, a Healthy Homes Coalition board member, and staff were all featured on a Michigan Radio news story. We are sharing it here in case you missed it.

In the words of one of Healthy Homes’ newest board members, grandparent Lisa Matthews, "“People think (lead) is a small problem, but it’s a very big problem. I know it takes time to do something about it … I’m just sayin’ what are we going to do now?”

Healthy Homes is eager to begin working with the City and community partners to implement the solutions recommended in this report.


Join the Healthy Homes Team!

The Healthy Homes Coalition is looking for a Community Organizer to support Parents for Healthy Homes as they advance equity and safety for our kids by promoting policies, investments, and systems that put an end to substandard housing for Grand Rapids families.


Spotlight: Lisa's Peer Education visits take off!

Lisa Matthews' reputation as a connected community member precedes her - she has been helping her neighbors get access to, and navigate, area resources for years.  Among the important community work Lisa dedicates her time to, she has made providing her neighbors with lead education visits as a community educator one of her priorities.  She has been instrumental in helping the peer education group she is a member of complete 44 peer-to-peer lead education visits in a matter of months...