Molds are fungi that can be found in almost every environment and detected both indoors and outdoors. Molds grow best in damp, warm conditions. Molds affect people differently. While exposure to mold generally does not result in health problems for a majority of people, there are some who experience allergic sensitivity. Symptoms include nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation.
Testing for Mold
We frequently receive questions regarding testing homes for mold. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the Centers for Disease Control recommend testing for mold for the following reasons:
- Sampling for mold can be costly and there are no standards of what is/is not an acceptable quantity of mold in a home.
- Because mold spores are everywhere, mold testing results can be difficult to interpret and often do not help with mold removal efforts.
- It is already well known that allergies are the most common health problem associated with molds.
If you see mold growth, you have too much and it should be safely
removed. Similarly, if you smell mold, it should be located and safely
removed. It does not matter which species of mold are present; you should
treat them all the same.
Homeowners also frequently want to know if air or surface sampling is
necessary to determine if the mold is 'gone’ following clean-up. Again,
there are usually better, less costly ways to accomplish this. If the
cleaned surfaces are visibly clean and the characteristic musty odor is not
detected, the mold is gone. Of equal, if not more, importance, if the
moisture source has been located and remove, the mold will not return.
If you have additional questions, call us at (231) 724-6208 or you can call the Toxicology Division of the MI Department of Community Health toll-free at 1-800-MITOXIC. If you wish to pursue laboratory analysis of samples, refer to the environmental services section of the yellow pages.
Removing Mold (Source: CDC)
To remove mold from hard surfaces, you can use commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
- NEVER MIX BLEACH WITH AMMONIA or other household cleaners as this is dangerous and may produce toxic chemicals.
- Use luke warm water, never hot water to mix with bleach.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
- If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the EPA guide: Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.
Who do I contact to complain about a landlord for not fixing a mold problem?
- Begin by contacting your local (city or township) Building Inspections Department.
- Generally there are structural issues when a mold problem exists.
- The local (city or township) Building Inspections Department regulates occupancy for rental units.
- Before a health inspector will be dispatched to a rental unit, the local building inspector must be aware of the situation.
- Next, contact our Environmental Health program by calling (231) 724-6208.
- Be prepared to provide us with the name of the inspector you are dealing with.
- We also recommend that you read Tenants and Landlords: A Practical Guide.
- This booklet is designed to inform tenants and landlords about their rights and responsibilities in rental relationships.
A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home (EPA)
Mold: Environmental Hazards & Health Effects (CDC)
For more information, call (231) 724-6208.