The following information on water damaged homes and mold was published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known by the acronym, FEMA. The agency’s primary purpose is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities.
The main goal of this literature is to help educate people who have been adversely affected by floods that have caused water damaged and mold-infested homes. FEMA is clear on their stance on the dangers of mold. The agency states that for some people, however, a relatively small number of mold spores can cause health problems, and all molds, in the right conditions and high enough concentrations, are capable of adversely affecting human health.
Here is a summary of the publication from FEMA and a full PDF can be viewed and downloaded below.
We are all exposed to many kinds of mold both inside and outside the house.The exposure is greater in damp or wet conditions, especially when timely drying out does not have a chance to occur.
Of the thousands of molds that exist, some are known allergens (aggravating or causing skin, eye, and respiratory problems), and a few molds produce harmful mycotoxins that can cause serious problems. But all molds, in the right conditions and high enough concentrations, are capable of adversely affecting human health.
The potential for health problems occurs when people inhale large quantities of the airborne mold spores. For some people, however, a relatively small number of mold spores can cause health problems. Infants, children, immunecompromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions, and the elderly are at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold.
Typical symptoms reported from mold exposure include:
* Respiratory problems – wheezing, asthma attacks, etc
* Nasal and sinus congestion or dry, hacking cough
* Eye irritation – burning, watery, redness
* Nose or throat irritation – sneezing fits, bloody noses
* Skin irritations – rashes or hives
* Nervous system – headaches, memory loss, mood changes
* Aches and pains
The more serious health problems have been associated with the toxic black mold, Stachybotrys atra. The mold is greenish-black and slimy, resembling tar or black paint. Stachybotrys typically grows only on repeatedly wetted materials that contain cellulose – from paper to ceiling tiles, and any kind of wood. In most cases, this mold can be removed by a thorough cleaning with a 10% bleach solution. Severe mold infestations may require the assistance of a professional with experience in dealing with Stachybotrys.
Here is the Full PDF Version:fema_mold_brochure