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Is Water Damage Mold Dangerous?


Water damage is an all-too-familiar challenge in New York, where the unpredictable weather and frequent flooding can wreak havoc on properties. The immediate aftermath often leaves homeowners grappling with the loss of personal items and facing hefty repair bills.

Yet, lurking beneath the surface water damage is a more insidious threat: mold. Thriving in moist environments and feeding on organic materials, mold can cause extensive structural damage and pose serious health risks. As experts in mold remediation, we understand the critical importance of swift action following water damage to halt mold growth in its tracks.

This guide is designed to shed light on the hidden dangers of mold and offer practical advice on how to safeguard your property against this silent destroyer. So let’s delve into effective strategies for mold prevention and protection, ensuring your home remains safe and sound.


Mold and moisture: Why they’re the perfect match

Moisture facilitates mold growth—but why? Moisture gives mold spores hydration, enabling them to grow and multiply. When water damage occurs in a property, it can impact drywall, wood, and fabrics—all types of organic matter.

The combination of moisture and organic matter enables the mold spores to flourish, penetrating materials and infesting the building.

According to Crain’s New York Business, over 500,000 properties in NY are at risk of flooding, while leaks, sewage backups, and faulty appliances are also significant contributors to water damage.

Any excess moisture – including condensation, can result in indoor mold spores.

The types of mold that occur from water damage include:

  • Stachybotrys chartarum: Known for its distinctive greenish-black color, this mold often grows on fiberboard, lint, and paper. It needs a consistent moisture source to thrive, making black mold a common side effect of leaks and high humidity levels.
  • Cladosporium: This form of mold growth is characterized by tiny dots that expand into large patches over time. It’s olive green in color with tones of brown and black. Cladosporium is common in bathrooms and kitchens but can survive on carpets, flooring, and wall coverings.
  • Aspergillus: Commonly confused with traditional black mold, aspergillus has a black surface with white and yellow tones. It’s a highly dangerous mold, and exposure causes diseases that result in breathing issues and lung damage (also known as aspergillosis).
  • Alternaria: This mold typically grows outdoors, but it can easily penetrate the interior of a building, causing damage to ceilings, attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Alternaria comes in green, grey, and black colors, so it’s notoriously difficult to spot.

Health risks associated with mold exposure

When left untreated, mold spores can expose people to various health problems and side effects. They range from mild to severe, depending on the type of mold you have, whether you’re dealing with other health issues, and the strength of your immune system.

Respiratory problems

A key sign that you’re dealing with a mold infestation is respiratory issues. For some people, this might mean coughing or wheezing, but others may struggle to breathe. Individuals with asthma can feel the effects more than others, with mold aggravating their symptoms.

In some cases, people develop respiratory infections, which cause flu-like symptoms, including a runny nose, sore throat, and chronic coughing.

Allergic reactions

If you have pre-existing allergies or sensitivities, mold growth can cause allergic reactions, including a runny nose, skin rash, sore throat, and general discomfort. Individuals with allergies and weakened immune systems are more at risk of adverse health effects from black mold exposure.

Skin irritation

Mold spores are also known to cause skin irritation, especially if the person already has eczema and dermatitis. Coming into contact with mold can result in fungal infections and allergic dermatitis, which causes discomfort and frequent itching.

Poor mental health

Mold can also result in mental health problems due to the stress of dealing with it. Studies show that mold can increase the risks of depression and anxiety while also causing brain fog and sleeping issues (Polygon).

The effects of long-term exposure to mold

Unfortunately, hidden mold might damage your health, and you don’t even know it. The long-term effects of exposure vary depending on the types of mold you’re dealing with and how you react to it. They include:

  • Serious respiratory complications: Breathing difficulties can worsen, resulting in lung disease. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions can find their symptoms worsen, causing complications and – in severe cases – even death.
  • Cognitive issues: Some people who deal with mold growth might find they struggle with brain fog, problems concentrating, and memory issues. Prolonged exposure can impact your professional and personal life, causing depression and avoidant behaviors.
  • Neurological difficulties: Mold-related neurotoxicity is a serious condition resulting in a range of symptoms. They include personality changes, mood swings, seizures, and tremors. Most people develop mold-related neurotoxicity when exposed to high mold levels over a prolonged period.
  • Weakened immune system: Molds containing mycotoxins can suppress the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight infections. This puts you at risk of numerous health conditions.

How to identify mold in your home

There are numerous signs of mold in a home, but they can often go unnoticed until the mold colonies begin to expand. The typical indicators of mold damage include:

  • Musty odors: If you’ve ever dealt with mold before, you’ll know it has a musty smell that’s very distinctive.
  • Visible signs: Mold spores often grow in high-moisture areas around the windows, bathrooms, and kitchens. You may have an infestation if you notice visible discoloration on building materials.
  • Moisture meters: The moisture level in your home can also help you identify mold. Meters that record a score of 60% or over mean there’s a high mold risk in visible and hidden areas.
  • Professional inspections: Unfortunately, mold can grow everywhere, and some spores are hard to spot. Arranging a professional inspection from a remediation service ensures technicians can identify mold in all areas and take steps to eradicate it.

How to prevent mold growth after water damage

When it comes to mold growth, preventive measures can reduce the risks of toxic mold from developing. Taking these steps can stop mold spores in their tracks:

  • Immediate water removal: Removing water from the property is essential as soon as damage occurs. Not only does this prevent further damage, but it also limits the breeding ground for mold spores.
  • Ventilation: Whether opening the window while using the shower or drying clothes outside, adequate ventilation can reduce moisture in your property, ensuring mold cannot thrive.
  • Dehumidify the property: Installing dehumidifiers in high moisture areas, including bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, can keep the property dry and reduce condensation risks.
  • Contact professionals: Water damage restoration professionals don’t just fix existing problems; they also help you prevent them. Full inspections can highlight dangerous areas, and our technicians will advise you on protecting your property.

The mold remediation process

Whether it’s black mold spores or any other mold, remediation is the only way to remove them from your property. Professional help gives you the best chance of recovering your property and salvaging personal belongings.

Mold remediation services know how to identify mold in hidden areas and develop a comprehensive strategy to eradicate it. With access to specialist tools, we follow a proven remediation process:

  1. Extracting all standing water from the property.
  2. Thoroughly cleaning it using specialist solutions that eliminate mold spores.
  3. Drying and sanitizing each room with industry-grade extractors, dryers, and odor eliminators.
  4. Thoroughly cleaning and restoring any salvageable belongings.
  5. Performing vital structural repairs and sealing areas that are prone to leaks.
  6. Providing advice on preventative measures and ensuring your property is safe from future water damage.

Why DIY mold removal is never a good idea

Saving money and performing remediation work yourself might seem like a good idea, but many homeowners underestimate the extent of their mold problem. It’s hard to identify hidden spores and remove mold without specialist knowledge.

Some people believe bleach is a good idea, but it doesn’t fully remove mold and can also result in moisture buildup over time. Specialist mold remediation services have access to specialist equipment that successfully removes hidden and visible mold, making your property safe again.

Get immediate support for your mold problem today

Whether it’s water leaks, condensation, flooding, or storm damage, water in your property can cause severe damage. Fixing it immediately is the only way to prevent mold from causing long-term health risks and salvage your belongings.

With a specialist team of technicians, iFlooded Restoration is New York’s premiere remediation service. We offer a full-service solution, including providing support with your insurance claim and restoring and repairing your property to its pre-damage condition.

Please use our 24/7 emergency line for instant support, or contact us if you have any questions.