Streams

Please Explain: Mold

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mold is a common household nuisance—it can appear on shower curtains and in damp basements and on aging foods in the refrigerator, but it’s a major concern in the aftermath of flooding caused by Sandy. Industrial hygienist and environmental health expert Monona Rossol and microbiologist Chin Yang, of Prestige EnviroMicrobiology, explain what mold is, where it comes from, how it grows, what it can do to your home and health, and how to get rid of it.

Resources on Mold:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/epi/moldrpt1.shtml

http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pdfs/floods.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidestory.html#ref3

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/biologic.html

http://www.fema.gov/removing-mold-your-home

http://www.fema.gov/medialibrary/media_records/726

http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/hhi/hhiresources.cfm

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_10722.pdf

http://www.oehc.uchc.edu/clinser/MOLD%20GUIDE.pdf

Guests:

Monona Rossol and Chin Yang
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [27]

Kelly Wendel from Arizona

Our company has a solution for mold remediation and prevention:
www.nomold.com.
We've done more than 5,000 projects over the past nine years and we've never had a warrantly claim, call back or customer complaint.

Dec. 17 2012 11:05 AM
Mystic Tuba

All of you with questions about the health problems that can be caused by mold, there is a comprehensive web site out there, www.survivingmold.com. There are also books by Ritchie Shoemaker, MD.
Since I have personal experience with genetic sensitivity to mold, I can tell you that wearing a "mask" is NOT sufficient for someone with a genetic mold sensitivity (25% of the population.) You need a respirator, preferably a full face one, and in some cases you should wear a Hazmat suit, or just stay out of mold, period, and let someone who is not genetically susceptible do the work.
Mold, if disturbed, will release millions of spores. It must be isolated and physically removed in order to alleviate the problem. Bleach does not kill it but does disturb it, making it release spores, and increasing the severity of the problem in the long run.
If you have a genetic susceptibility to mold you may develop various chronic health problems that are generally labeled "syndromes" and are treated with drugs because it is not yet well known in the medical establishment what the true cause is. For more information about that, refer to the web site already posted.

Dec. 01 2012 09:34 AM
KC from US

Don't use bleach!! It does not kill mold. It just terns it white so you can't see it. You would be much better off using white vinegar and let it soak in. ALWAYS protect yourself by using the proper protective equipment, especially a mask.

For more information on the health effects of mold and bacteria, you can join the Yahoo Sickbuildings support group with over 2900 members that has been in existents since 1998 and has helped people from all over the world. Speak with other members that have experienced this same nightmare and several professionals that are more than willing to help.

KC (Kevin Carstens).
Owner/Moderator of:
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/sickbuildings/

Nov. 30 2012 09:33 PM
LESMoM from NYC

My kid's daycare was flooded from Sandy and they spent 3 weeks renovating. They replaced the carpet but did not replace linoleum tile and only repainted the walls up to the water line. Is this sufficient to prevent mold?

Nov. 30 2012 01:57 PM
Ellen from Brooklyn

We have an old double sink in the kitchen. Black slimy mold grows under the metal cover over the utility sink, where it has contact with the dividing rim between the two sinks. It grows to about 1/8" thick in 2 or 3 weeks.

- What is the best way to clean it up?

- What protective gear should I wear, if any, when I clean it?

- Is there anything that will prevent it?

Thank you very much!

Nov. 30 2012 01:57 PM
Amy from Manhattan

How effective is Borax for surface mold on walls (non-furry)?

Nov. 30 2012 01:54 PM
manhattandi from NY State

Given that chlorine bleach is bad for the water table, can oxygen bleach be effective against mold?

Nov. 30 2012 01:54 PM
Aisling from Brooklyn

we had our apt tested 2 years ago for mold due to Health concerns. The testing company found cladosporum and aspergillus and we had the place treated and areas where water may seep in the walls patched. 2 years later and health problems continue, and we noticed after leaving dishes in the dishwasher a few days and one bowl was full of fuzzy black mold.
Does that mean that we still have mold in th air all the time and the treatment didnt work? or do we need to spend $2000 every year to keep treating the place?
Also how can I know its a reputable company - there seems to be a monopoly in the 5 boroughs with one company operating under many names

Thanks

Aisling

Nov. 30 2012 01:52 PM
Robert from NYC

I juar checked and Kilz paint still exists. Check it out online

Nov. 30 2012 01:51 PM
Aaron from Manhattan

What about the potted plants in my room that are constantly being watered? Should I be worried about possible unhealthy mold in the pots getting into the air?

Nov. 30 2012 01:48 PM
Tina Bilesky from White Plains, NY

Our garage is 1/4 above ground, 2/3 of the walls are poured concrete & upper 3rd lath and stucco and painted with waterproofing paint. The space between ceiling and above rooms is insulated. The garage is very damp in warm weather, and the walls and ceiling have mildew, especially at the end area. What should be done to eliminate the mildew? Or do we need to call a mold expert? Thank you.

Nov. 30 2012 01:44 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What kind of mask is adequate for non-professional-level mold cleaning, & where are they available?

Nov. 30 2012 01:43 PM
Pam

Leonard--What about mold that's BEHIND walls?

Nov. 30 2012 01:40 PM
Ruth from Manhattan

My husband is as we speak ripping out moldy sheetrock in Staten Island.

DOES HE NEED TO PROTECT HIS EYES? He has a mask but is that enough.

He doesn't believe he does, and I would like him to wear goggles.

Thank you!!

Nov. 30 2012 01:39 PM
Mike C from Manhattan

Its so interesting that Japan smells like "Kabi" the japanese name for mold has any one noticed this? I smel it as soon as I get off the plane at Narita airport

Nov. 30 2012 01:38 PM
Danielle Jensen

have similar to another listener's comment: when my AC has been off for awhile and i turn it on there is a strong odor of mildew-i tried cleaning to the degree one can clean an AC. Everytime this happens i worry about breathing the air in the room. After the ac has been on awhile the smell dissapates. Any suggestions besides throw a very expensive ac away.

Nov. 30 2012 01:37 PM
Rich from New Jersey

I have a room full of old books and papers. During the summer, I get a smokey smell which I assume is mildew. I don't see any mildew. When I run a dehumidifier the smell disappears. What can I do? I don't know for certain where the mildew is located.

Nov. 30 2012 01:36 PM
Adam Cherson from Manhattan

Are mold community compositions being altered by global environmental changes?

Nov. 30 2012 01:34 PM
Liz from Glen Cove

Can your experts please talk about whether there is any scientific connection between household mold and the symptoms of autism?

Nov. 30 2012 01:31 PM
LGNY from Brooklyn

your suggestions for non-toxic for the worker and the environment (or less toxic?) mold abatement strategies after the flooding of Sandy? I've heard about using dry ice, I've read about vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. I understand that bleach is no longer recommended because it doesn't work on porous surfaces and because it can make the problem worse by masking the issue.

Also please talk about masks -- N95 is recommended widely, but is that enough if you're doing demolition and cleanup of a basement?

Nov. 30 2012 01:31 PM
Gretel schwartzott from Scarsdale

I believe I have a mold allergy, every time the basement humidity increases
I get a dry cough, then the mold appears. I spray with bleach and My cough
Disappears.

I have recently begun unpacking some old books which smell of mold
And mildew... The cough is back. How might I remove the mold from paper
Or is it a lost cause?

Nov. 30 2012 01:31 PM
Matt from Brooklyn

I was born allergic to penicillin (at least in medication form) and know very little about where that allergy comes from or any effects it might have. Can your guests speak at all about it?

Nov. 30 2012 01:30 PM
janet from east hampton, ny

I live in wetlands with a sand covered crawl space about 4 feet in height. How do I get rid of mold from my home permantly?

Nov. 30 2012 01:30 PM
Danielle Jensen

how does mildew differ from mold-something may smell like mildew but there is no visible mold.

Nov. 30 2012 01:28 PM
George from Astoria

I have a basement that has flooded a few times, 2-4" the most.
I cleaned it up and dried it out. It doesnt smell down there, but i do have drywall walls. Am I at risk of having mold and not knowing it?

Nov. 30 2012 01:26 PM

Slightly off-topic: regarding Mildew

I have a window air conditioner with a chronic mildew problem.

I suspect the reason is that it had been showered with mortar by our building being repointed. It got inside the AC. My thinking is the nooks and crannies of the mortar created breeding grounds for the mildew.
I cannot hose it or spray it enough with diluted bleach to eradicate the problem. Nor can I remove the mortar without completely disassembling the thing.

Is it time to get rid of it?

Nov. 30 2012 12:14 PM
Lucy from Manhattan

What is the difference between green, brown, and black mold that grows in the shower, if any? Thanks!

Nov. 30 2012 11:16 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.