Mold

GENERAL MOLD INFORMATION

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. There are thousands of mold species. In nature, mold can have beneficial qualities. But indoors, mold can cause damage to building materials and home furnishings. Some molds are known to cause health problems. Molds grow best in warm, damp humid conditions and spread by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions that do not support normal mold growth. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing. Mold can grow on carpet, food, paper, and wood. Even after cleanup, mold growth will continue until the moisture problem is resolved. Mold indoors can never be fully eliminated but can be reduced with moisture control.

Standards for establishing what is an acceptable, tolerable, or normal quantity of mold have not been established, nor are there any statues governing the clean-up of mold. The Hendricks County Health Department provides education but cannot take enforcement actions or engage in any landlord/tenant disputes regarding mold.


INDOOR AIR QUALITY TESTING

The Indiana State Department of Health Indoor Air Quality Division can conduct free indoor air quality testing. The testing will take air sample from inside and outside the home and test for the amount of fungus and bacteria in the air. If the fungal counts indoors are higher than outdoors, there may be mold growth inside the home. ISDH will send the Hendricks County Health Department a letter with the results, which will be forwarded to you. Carbon dioxide and humidity levels are also taken.

Testing must be scheduled with ISDH directly, and you may need to provide a note from your healthcare provider stating the need for the testing to receive it. To contact the ISDH Indoor Air Quality Program:

Indoor Air Quality Program
Environmental Public Health Division
Indiana State Department of Health
2525 N. Shadeland Ave., E3
Indianapolis, IN  46219

Phone: (317) 351-7190
Fax: (317) 351-2679
Website: http://www.in.gov/isdh/24347.htm

Ron Clark, Industrial Hygienist – rdclark@isdh.in.gov

Rick Plew, Industrial Hygienist – riplew@isdh.in.gov


HEALTH EFFECTS OF MOLD

Molds produce allergens and irritants, however, some people are not as sensitive to mold as others and may not show any symptoms of mold exposure.  Mold exposure can cause asthma attacks in people who are allergic to mold. Most mold exposure is through inhalation or skin contact. Symptoms of mold exposure include eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, coughing or wheezing, throat irritation, and skin irritation. These symptoms can occur in individuals who do not have a mold allergy; however those with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. If you believe you are ill from mold exposure, consult your healthcare provider. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.


MOLD PREVENTION AND CONTROL

  • Keep humidity levels low (30%- 50%) all day
    • An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help. If using a dehumidifier, empty water collection reservoir frequently
    • Hygrometer measures humidity in the atmosphere. They can be purchased inexpensively at retail/hardware stores (i.e. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc.)
  • Be sure your home has adequate ventilation
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery
  • Eliminate leaks
  • Remove the mold (see Mold Clean-Up)
  • Have your heating ducts cleaned by a reputable company
  • For a serious mold problem- hire a professional
  • See a physician if you or your children have health problems that could we associated with mold exposure

MOLD CLEAN-UP

If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water. If you use bleach for mold cleanup:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing will produce toxic fumes
  • Open windows and doors for fresh-air ventilation
  • Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear
  • If the area is larger than 10 square feet, consult the EPA guide ‘Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.’
  • Always follow manufacturer’s guidelines

If mold is found on porous or absorbent materials (i.e. carpet, ceiling tiles), these items may have to be thrown away. Mold can grow and fill in the empty spaces and crevices, making it difficult or even impossible to completely remove the mold. Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and completely dry before painting. If you are unsure of how to clean an item, the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist (i.e. furniture repair, carpet and rug cleaning, art restoration, etc.).


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Mold and Moisture in Your Home (EPA)

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/moldguide12.pdf

Una breve guía para el moho, la humedad y su hogar (EPA)

https://espanol.epa.gov/sites/production-es/files/2015-08/documents/moldguide_sp_1.pdf

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home (EPA)

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/moldguide.pdf

Avoiding Indoor Air Quality Problems during Flood Cleanup (EPA)

https://www.epa.gov/mold/fact-sheet-avoiding-indoor-air-quality-problems-during-flood-cleanup

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings (EPA)

https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-remediation-schools-and-commercial-buildings-guide#ResourcesEPA

Get Rid of Mold after a Flood (CDC)

https://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/pdf/flyer-get-rid-of-mold.pdf

Get Rid of Mold (CDC)

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/pdf/flyer-get-rid-of-mold.pdf

What You Need to Know about Mold (CDC)

http://www.cdc.gov/mold/

Contact Us

Health Department (more about this location/facility)
355 S Washington St
Danville, IN 46122
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  • Phone: (317) 745-9217
  • Fax: (317) 745-9218
  • Staff Directory
  • Office Hours:
    M - F 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

    Important Phone Numbers:
    Environmental Health: (317) 745-9217
    Public Health Nursing: (317) 745-9222
    Vital Records: (317) 718-6022
    Public Health Preparedness:
    (317) 745-9214
    Public Health Education:
    (317) 745-9372
    Healthy Families: 317-745-9426

    To report a notifiable condition, call (317) 745-9222.

    To report a Public Health Emergency or a notifiable condition that needs immediate response after normal office hours, call 911.

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