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We all know that Penicillin comes from mold. But other than this connection, most people still do not consider mold one way other. However, experts in indoor air quality are starting to understand that there is a link between an increase in the amount of mold spores in a person's house or workplace and the incidence in respiratory and other related ailments.

Clearly, property owners, whether they are residential property owners or commercial property owners, need to make sure that there is not an excessive amount of mold in their buildings.

Some mold of course is inevitable. The real question seems to me to be whether there is an excess concentration of mold. And, one of the best ways of insuring that the level of mold in a house or business is maintained within acceptable levels is to reduce moisture.

Molds are micro-organisms. They are living things and they are also called mildew or fungi. Molds are found just about everywhere indoors and outdoors. But, unlike most living things they do not require light and they thrive in dampness.

Like everything that lives, mold needs food. Common building materials and finishes such as dry carpeting and boxes can support mold activity. Even dust and dirt can support mold and inorganic materials such as glass and plastic can support mold.

Molds have different appearances. There are different kinds of mold. Sometimes they look like fuzz, sometimes they look like a stain, and sometimes they look like discoloration. Common colors of mold are black, green, and white, but they can run the spectrum of colors.

When molds release spores, they multiply. Mold spores are lightweight, which allows them to travel in the air. With the right combination of moisture, temperature, and food, a newly posited mold spore can develop into a colony of mold.

Mold often does not affect people. However, persons with allergic reactions and respiratory illnesses are often affected by mold. In addition, mold can cause harm to a structure. The level of harm depends on the extent of mold saturation and the duration. If it is a minor mold problem, the problem will be cosmetic. But if it is unchecked, even the durability of a home or structure can apparently be threatened.

The following persons are particularly at risk if exposed to heavy mold concentrations: persons with compromised immune systems, persons with existing allergies and respiratory sensitivities, pregnant women, children, and the elderly.

Where do you look for mold in a building? Essentially, the best place to look for mold is where condensation and dampness develops. Buildings with leaky roofs or flooded basements are at particular risk. Specific places include basements and crawl spaces, attics and ceilings, walls, windows and doors. Indoor locations include bathrooms, ceiling locations, and corners of outside walls.

If mold infestation is extensive, professional disinfections are appropriate. Certainly, where many people may be at risk or where saturation seems to be extensive, professional remediation is needed.

If you are going to resolve this yourself, you should kill the mold by wetting it for fifteen minutes with unscented household bleach. Next, clean away dirt or debris on nearby areas by using a mixture of bleach and water. Then, rinse the entire area. After disinfections, it is important to dry surfaces as quickly as possible and follow up with preventive measures that will avoid excessive moisture.

California is always at the lead in lifestyle and health related issues. It is again in the lead when it comes to mold protection with a pending law called the "Mold Protection Act (SB 732)," which requires sellers or renters to provide disclosure to purchasers and tenants about mold. In addition, the state health department is required under the legislation to adopt regulations concerning permissible exposure limits of mold.

It is noteworthy that even something that seems as innocent as proposed mold legislation is controversial. In May, the California Chamber of Commerce issued a position paper opposing the proposed law due, in part, to the negative stigma that would attach to buildings identified as "mold buildings." The Chamber also expressed concern about the lack of consensus over permissible mold exposure and methods of mold remediation and the possible expense to building owners should this law go into effect.

If the California Chamber of Commerce opposes the draft law in that State, other State Chambers are likely to do so when faced with similar laws. So for now, we all need to watch what happens with California's mold.

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