Skeptical people often say to me –
“People are Paranoid About Mold Today”
I encounter certain statements (like the one above) every week as I go to peoples homes to inspect and test for mold or give estimates for mold removal. The scenario usually plays out like this:
As I enter the house, and greetings are exchanged with the husband and wife, it soon becomes clear which one is very anxious over the potential mold problem in their house (usually the wife). The other spouse (usually, but not always, the husband) may roll his eyes or minimize the situation with certain statements that I will address in this blog.
How do I reply to these “non-believers”? By usually agreeing with them to a large extent. I do agree with their sentiment. Before I got into the mold work many years ago, I felt exactly the same way. But after much training and experience over the years, I now feel I have a more educated, yet balanced, view.
I agree that many mold companies play into peoples fears by using terms like “black mold” or “mycotoxins” or “toxic mold” or “deadly mold” frequently in their sales pitch. If a potential customer is already overly stressed about it, they will absolutely spend whatever it takes to take care of what they perceive as a “life threatening” situation, immediately.
I think this is wrong and I never play into peoples fears. In fact, I will try to calm such a traumatized person by letting them know (depending on the extent of their mold problem) how this is not a life threatening situation and they do not have to trash all their belongings.
Some people are very paranoid about their potential mold problem. They are literally pulling their hair out, crying, wearing a respirator. I swear, some have literally been experiencing a melt down, they are so worked up over their (sometimes only alleged) mold problem.
Just because mold is black, for example, doesn’t mean it is the dreaded “black mold”. The only way to know for sure is not by visible appearance, but by testing.
Even if your home tests positive for stacybautris (the dreaded black mold), does not mean it is “deadly mold”.
To a normal person of normal health, there is, in my opinion, no such thing as “deadly mold.” Stacybautris, if there is more than a small area of it, can cause allergy like symptoms in normal people.
In older people, or very young children (because of immune system being deteriorated, or not fully developed), it can be more severe than simple allergy symptoms. Ones with respiratory issues should not live in an area with mold problems.
Although there is no evidence of serious problems during pregnancy from mold exposure, I would advise pregnant women to avoid extended exposure to mold.
So as you can see, it is hardly, if ever, a “deadly mold” situation. So now that I have calmed the paranoid spouse of his or her worst fears, I have gained the respect of the other spouse who now realizes I will not play into the mates paranoid fears. Then I can address his non-concern over the matter based on his or her objection.
Common Objections About Mold Hidden in the House
1. Mold Has Been Around Since the Beginning of Man
True. Mold has been in the air since man was created. We breathe it every day of our lives. So mold comes into our houses quite naturally.
But since modern homes are not ventilated with the outside air as they were many years ago, mold can accumulate in the home and if humid or wet conditions exist, mold can proliferate inside and become unhealthy to us.
If the person seems to believe in the Bible, I point out that God’s ancient people at times had mold issues in their homes. If mold growing in peoples homes was a normal thing, God would not have addressed it. But it was considered by God to be such a serious problem that he outlined the process for remediating the mold in Leviticus 14:33-53. (Check out the “Mold in the Bible” page on our website for similarities in mold removal in ancient times and today.) But it is interesting that if the removal process failed in the Bible, the house was to be destroyed. (Lev. 14:44,45)
So apparently God felt that mold in our homes was not a healthy situation or he would not have addressed the issue. So, yes, mold has been around since the beginning of man, but that does not mean it is healthy for us if it is growing in our house.
2. I can just wipe it off with bleach, it’s just mold
This will work, BUT only if it is a small, tiny area (maybe 2 sq inches) that does not get bigger and the area dries. Maybe it will not come back.
This does not work on large areas.
It may appear to work on the surface, but there is usually mold inside the wall too, and it continues to grow especially if there is humidity or moisture present.
I get calls all the time where I’m told, “I keep spraying bleach on it and it keeps coming back.” The advice of using bleach is often mentioned by non mold people in their blogs as a cheap fix. I can’t believe they give this advice.
There are numerous cleaners on the market called “Mold Stain Removers” and they contain bleach. They are simply mold stain removers for nonporous surfaces like cabinet tops or tubs and tile; NOT for wood or drywall.
3. I can just have a contractor come in and cut out the mold and replace the sheet rock
This is usually the cheapest route. But it will not resolve your issue. Why?
If an air sample was done before mold remediation it would show elevated mold numbers because there is visible mold growing in the house.
If a contractor comes in and cuts it out and replaces the affected walls and leaves, there should be less mold in the air, right? WRONG!
Almost always, a mold test will reveal there is more mold in the air than there was before the mold removal. Why? Because he stirred the mold up causing all the spores to be put into the air as he removed the drywall. Now the higher mold count is just circulating in the house through your Heating/AC System.
Only mold companies use equipment and techniques to insure mold levels are below normal when they leave. They use containment, negative air, commercial air scrubbers and commercial hepa vacuums to clean the air as they remediate and often leave air scrubbers for days after remediation to clean the air even more.
In Conclusion –
Don’t freak out about mold in your house, you will survive. You won’t have to mow your house down, or get rid of everything you own. With professional help, and a balanced view of just how serious your situation is or isn’t, you will realize, this too, will pass.
Mold Experts of Missouri & Kansas will give you free estimates on any mold situation you may have, without all the drama and suspense.