EXPLAINED: How to remove toxic mold

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – Mold can be a real problem for allergy sufferers, but it can also be deadly.

Here’s what you need to know about mold, in case you encounter it in your home.

Mold grows anywhere there is a lot of moisture, like leaky windows or pipes. You can spot it on sight: mold looks fuzzy, stinks and comes in a variety of colors. Whereas something like mildew is usually grey or white and easily cleaned with bleach and a brush.

So, you find some mold in your home. How do you know if it’s dangerous?

There are nearly a thousand types of household molds. Dangerous molds produce mycotoxins that have been linked to immune deficiency and even cancer. Black mold is infamous for producing those naturally occurring toxins, but it’s not the only type that does.

The Center for Disease Control doesn’t recommend routine sampling for spores, because any mold can be harmful to a person with sensitivity and reactions vary greatly from person to person.

Also, there are no standards for an “acceptable” quantity of mold. If you find any, it needs to go.

How do you do that?

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends you call a professional to clean up any area larger than 10 square feet. For smaller patches, you can DIY, but it’s tricky.

You need protective gear, a wet vac and dehumidifier to remove all moisture from the space, and you’ll need to scrub the area with a measured mixture of bleach and water. Get rid of any porous material that may be affected like carpet, upholstery or wood paneling. If you miss a spot and just try to paint over an area, the mold will return. Once finished, you should have the area tested to ensure the mold is gone for good.

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