MI Mold Finders -

Indoor Air Quality or IAQ, according to the EPA, refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.

Here in Michigan, one of our primary IAQ concerns focuses on our area's natural presence of above average levels of MOLD. As long-term area residents, we at MI Mold Finders have recognized through our own personal health observations plus those of family and friends, whose allergic reactions have ranged from annoying to severe, that maintaining good Indoor Air Quality is essential.

MOLD - It's everywhere!  Outside on leaves and wood, mold is good.  Acting as one of nature's nutrient recyclers, fungi help to break down organic matter thus preventing the buildup of it, which in turn helps sustain the healthy, balanced, forest ecosystem.

Indoors is another matter altogether.  Mold that is allowed to take hold and grow indoors is NOT good because, over time, it can cause several health-related issues for people and pets, through the release of countless spores and production of mycotoxins and Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOC's).

These can range from moderate to severe respiratory ailments, skin and eye problems, neurological disorders and, according to some reports, even cancer. The effects on children, the elderly and those with asthma and/or other compromised, weakened immune systems can be even more intense.  Click here for a short list of common molds, mycotoxins and health effects.

To make matters worse, some molds and fungus consume the organic material they take hold on (known as the substrate), potentially destroying it.  Wood, drywall, paper, cotton, leather, carpeting and food, are great indoor substitutes for what molds naturally find outside. The supply of spores needs only a little moisture to germinate and proliferate as anything above 65% relative humidity (RH) creates a highly supportive environment.

The goal is to maintain a maximum indoor RH of 50-60%, preferably closer to 40% (which in turn will keep dust mite populations down, as they thrive above 50%). The EPA recommends 30-60%, however,  without a dehumidifier in the summer, below 50% is tough to maintain.

It is also important to pay attention to adequate filtering, proper ventilation, and air movement, including outside air exchange. With most mold and mold spores ranging in size from 3-30 microns, using an air filter in your Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of "8" will go a long way to filtering out most annoying particulate matter, as they are effective down to 3 microns.

Any damp, musty, or otherwise "off color" odor in your home (evidence of MVOC's), and/or any past or present water leaks need to be investigated. 

Currently there are no limits for mold contamination defined or set by the EPA (i.e., spore count levels). Well over 500,000 mold species exist. Of those, mycologists have identified about 100 that produce toxic effects in humans, with black mold (Stachybotrys Chartarum) being the most detrimental.  Indoor spore concentrations several times greater than, or consisting of spores other than, those found in outdoor air should warrant further action. Air samples of both indoor and outdoor concentration levels are required to complete a laboratory analysis and help to determine the types found, and relative levels of environmental toxins.

HOW DOES THE PROBLEM START?Most mold problems and issues stem from initial water infiltration into the structure. This typically occurs through a roof or plumbing leak, an HVAC drain problem, improperly sealed windows, cracks in the foundation or any other situation where water has gotten in and not dried, as it only takes a few days in a damp environment for mold spores to germinate and start colonizing. Less than a week later spore production occurs, and the cycle begins again. Simply cleaning up or painting over the mold does little good without addressing the underlying water problem that caused it in the first place.

The environment inside your home can and needs to be controlled by you. If there is any doubt as to whether your indoor air has been, or is currently being compromised, the first step is to schedule a thorough, on-site Mold Inspection.

When the inspection is complete, you'll be provided with a comprehensive industry compliant report, covering both interior and exterior components, plus lab test results (when the situation warrants those tests). Should remediation work need to be done, we at MI Mold Finders can help to develop a remediation plan and provide referrals for companies and individuals that may assist you.

MI Mold Finders, LLC


Serving the Michigan area communities in and around Oakland, Lenawee, Washtenaw, and Jackson County

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