Asthma & Indoor Air Quality

Mold, or fungi, lives in virtually any building, under sinks, in bathrooms, basements, refrigerators, or any damp dark place. At first, the mold is inconspicuous, or microscopic. After it has spread and completely covered the area with millions of cells, you start to see the mold.

Mold Control
If mold is discovered, the first task is to locate and fix the source of the problem; this may be roof or window leaks, leaks from wind driven rain, leaks from plumbing, or excess moisture in your home from high humidity.

In most cases, the best level of control of contaminated materials is the complete removal of the contaminated items. This includes completely replacing wallboard, sheet rock, insulation and carpeting or damaged organic materials (wood-bearing products). Small areas of mold may be cleaned using a weak bleach solution. In this case, you must assure that the contaminated item be allowed to dry completely.

Mold Prevention
To prevent mold proliferation in your home or building:
  • Reduce indoor humidity by:
    • Maintaining building under positive pressure (keeps moisture and nutrients outside the building in their natural environment)
    • Venting moisture-producing sources to the outdoors (laundry room exhaust, bath exhaust, cooking exhaust) do not vent to the attic or the crawlspace
    • Maintaining relative humidity in the home below 50%
  • Controlling growth at the source:
    • Look for and correct the cause of water stains on ceilings, walls, and floors
    • Assure plumbing fixture integrity
    • Assure that all HVAC drain pans are sloped properly and that drains are free of obstruction
    • Inspect HVAC equipment periodically for sources of contaminant or moisture buildup
    • Eliminate all sources of condensation, windows, piping, etc.
    • Seal penetrations in walls or floors, especially below ground
    • Check for moldy odors
    • Check crawlspaces for excess moisture, plumbing leaks, or standing water
  • Remove any sources of freestanding water
North Carolina Public Health
How North Carolina Public Health can help:
  • Carteret County Division of Environmental Health does not have any regulatory authority over mold or other indoor air quality problems, but staff is available to answer general questions.
  • The State of North Carolina Division of Environmental Health includes Industrial hygienists, physicians, and toxicologists with Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services who serve as consultants to school systems, local health departments, homeowners, renters, employees, business owners, physicians, and other governmental agencies.