Mold, also known as fungi, can grow indoors and outdoors all year round. While there is no precise number of how many species exist, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates ranges between tens of thousands to more than 300,000. Despite how easy it can be to come in contact with mold spores in everyday life, it’s not something that should be overlooked, especially if mold is suspected in your commercial building.
Health Hazards of Mold
People most affected by exposure to mold tend to have a sensitivity related to allergies or a weakened immune systems, for example. This sensitivity can result in symptoms including: nasal congestion, skin irritation, difficulty breathing, or itchy, watery eyes.
When black mold exists in commercial buildings where people work, go to school, or live (e.g., housing rentals), their exposure increases with possibly little respite from the spores throughout the day or night. This increased mold exposure can lead to more severe reactions, such as chronic lung illness, chest inflammation, and upper respiratory tract symptoms, as noted by the CDC. Some molds also have the ability to produce harmful toxins that could create potential health hazards even in those not typically sensitive to mold spores.
Potential Mold Sources in Commercial Building
Given the liabilities that come from owning and maintaining a commercial building that could put people’s health at risk, it is key you stay vigilant when it comes to mold prevention. Moisture control is the key to stopping mold from growing at all. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the following tips to preventing mold before it becomes a problem:
- Fix leaky plumbing.
- Watch for and correct sources of wet spots.
- Eliminate condensation by insulating or increasing air circulation to increase surface temperature. Or by reducing the moisture level in air, repairing leaks, and adding ventilation to reduce humidity.
- Make sure HVAC drip pans remain clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
- Add outdoor venting to moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers.
- Maintain indoor humidity below 60 percent relative humidity, with the goal of 30 to 50 percent, if possible.
- Perform regular building and HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
- Eliminate wet foundations by providing proper drainage and sloping the ground away from the foundation.
Responding to Mold Problems
If you’ve already spotted a mold problem in your building, remediation is necessary to keep occupants safe and healthy. Here are key steps to take:
- Do not directly touch the mold with your skin, and use a respirator to protect your lungs.
- Assess the mold-infected area and take note of damaged building materials.
- Turn off HVAC systems to prevent further spread of mold spores.
- Consult a black mold removal service or mold remediation specialist, as well as a health professional as needed.
- Conduct (yourself or a mold removal professional) a mold remediation plan that includes:
- Finding and fixing the water source.
- Keeping building occupants informed of the issue, the process being taken, and any safety steps they need to follow.
- Cleaning away the black mold, drying areas that are wet, and repairing/replacing any damaged or contaminated materials.
- Routinely check to make sure the water problem doesn’t recur.
Black Mold Removal Service with McMahon Services
Even if you’re adept in commercial building maintenance, conducting mold remediation is often times better left to mold professionals. Consult with a mold remediation professional, such as McMahon Services and Construction, regarding your building’s issues before deciding if you can provide the appropriate level of response needed.
At McMahon, we offer FREE black mold damage estimates to residential and commercial customers in our Chicago, Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Des Plaines, Evanston, Mount Prospect, Grayslake, Mundelein, Libertyville, Oak Park, Palatine, Wheaton, Naperville, Waukegan, Schaumburg, Skokie, and surrounding IL service areas.