Welcome to North Shore Health Department North Shore Health Department Highlights 4/16/2019 What is Mold? Mold refers to the more than 300,000 species of fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. While mold grows best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, their spores can survive harsh environmental situations, such as dry conditions, and then bloom again when conditions are ripe. Though mold growth can occur year-round, it is encouraged by warm and humid conditions such as those that occur in the Spring here in Wisconsin. Outdoor mold can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation are decomposing. Indoor mold can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers. If you can see or smell a mold problem, testing or sampling is typically not necessary. It is more important to identify and remediate the moisture source and clean up the mold, than to spend the time and money on testing. In addition, there are no agreed-upon, health-based standards for human exposure to mold or mold spores. Small areas of mold growth on nonporous surfaces can usually be cleaned by the removal of the gross mold buildup, followed by application of a simple bleach solution (1 cup bleach in 1 gallon water). The affected area(s) should be allowed to dry thoroughly. Extensive cleanup of large areas may require the use of a mold/water cleanup service and the removal of mold-contaminated surfaces (including drywall, carpeting, or wood flooring). Specific Recommendations to help control mold: Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%--all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help keep the level low. Humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day. Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months. Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans. Add mold inhibitors to paints before application. Clean bathrooms with mold killing products. Do not carpet bathrooms and basements. Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery. Seeking professional help: If you suspect you have an indoor air quality problem, you may want to discuss it with an indoor air quality specialist. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has information on mold and a list of Indoor Air Quality Consultants. The list can be accessed at the following link: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/mold/consultants.htm If you are renting and feel your landlord is not being responsive to your concerns, you can call the Tenants’ Rights and Responsibilities at 608-224-4976 or Toll-free in WI at 800-422-7128. Missed the highlights? Click here to view previous highlights.