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Environmental Health

Can mold make me sick?
Mold can affect the health of people who are exposed to it. Exposure occurs primarily by breathing spores or other tiny fragments, but can also occur through skin contact and through ingestion. The type and severity of health effects that mold may produce are difficult to predict and vary greatly from one location to another, over time, and from person to person. People having mold reactions often report problems such as: nasal and sinus congestion; cough; wheeze/breathing difficulties; sore throat, skin and eye irritation and upper respiratory infections. On rare occasions, more serious problems can develop. Mold-related symptoms typically disappear when the mold is eliminated from the indoor environment.

Does the Florida Department of Health in Indian River County (DOH-Indian River) test for mold?
DOH-Indian River does not typically conduct mold testing in investigations. There are no standards for molds in living and working environments, so it's very difficult to interpret testing results. If the mystery material in your house looks or smells like mold, it probably is. Don't continue to expose yourself waiting for a mold test. It is important to protect your health and property by stopping the moisture causing the growth and eliminating mold from the house as soon as possible. If you absolutely must know what that black slime is on your wall, it is recommend that a lab with Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program (EMLAP) certification from the American Industrial Hygiene Association be used.

How do I solve a mold problem?
The critical step in solving mold problems is removing the moisture source and removing contaminated materials. Repair of the defects that led to the moisture problem should be conducted in conjunction with fungus removal. Once the moisture source has been eliminated, building materials supporting fungal growth must be remediated as rapidly as possible. Specific methods of assessing and remediating fungal contamination should be based on the extent of visible contamination and underlying damage. The simplest and most expedient remediation that is reasonable and properly and safely removes fungal contamination should be used. The EPA webpage on Mold and Moisture is an excellent resource.