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Daily Herald | Washington Post | USA Today
Mold in the News

Does Mold Have A Hold?
By Deborah Donovan
Daily Herald Homes Writer

Any kind of water damage in a home has the potential for a growing problem. The good news is that homes for sale in the suburbs rarely have the ugly, drippy kind of mold infestation seen in the news reports and homeowners nightmares.

The bad news is that any time water goes where it shouldn't in your house you will probably have mold unless it is completeky dried out within 48 hours.

Getting rid of mold which can cause allergy-like symptoms in susceptible people -- require stopping the moisture or improving the bentilation as well as removing or encapsulating the mold.

In addition to anywhere there's a leaky pipe or high humidity, such as a bathroom or kitch, prime areas for mold include attics and basements, especially where paneling has been appied over drywall and carpet is on concrete.

While the really horrible health effects attributed to mold in Texasm Atlanta and Cleveland years ago have not been proved, some experts believe there is a link, said Larry Schwartz, an Arlington heights-based industrial hygienist.

scwartz said any mold infestation in a house should be removed, no matter what type it is. For that reason, he thinks in most cases there is no sense in doing air tests to find out the mold variety. He does test after the remediation to be sure mold concentrations have been removed.

Torre Loftis knew she had a problem when mold was discovered in both attics of the Lake Zurich home she wanted to buy. She and her husband, Paul, were recently married, and finding a home that the four teens in their blended family all loved had not been easy.

The home inspector the Loftises hired discovered the mold after which they had Schwartz investigate the situation.

"Initially I was concerned," Torre Loftis said. "We have one kid with allergies and two with asthma. But after studying the issue I was confident they could eliminate the problem," she said. "The air came up normal afterwards, and I was reassured."

The remdiation included a treatment similar to sandblasting in the attics and adding ventilation that apparently had been removed when storm damage was repaired, Loftis said.

"You could see the mold 5 feet up on the beams in the attic," she said, "It wasn't in the insulation and it was reassuring that it hadn't gotten into the walls."

Schwartz was impressed that Loftis got so involved in researching the issue and checking thr removal process.

Mold grows on materials like drywall and wood. Generally, drywall, paneling, carpeting and ceiling tiles with mold infestation are thrown away. More expensive structural materials like support beams are cleaned and treated.

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