Rainy, wet weather is just part of living in the Pacific Northwest. Residents in Portland are used to this type of environment, and while it does require making certain allowances in terms of outdoor activities, the weather does not impact most residents’ enthusiasm or enjoyment of living in this region. At the same time, wet conditions can have a negative impact on your home or apartment, and it is important to take the appropriate precautions to keep the moisture outside where it belongs.
At the Johnston Law Firm, we handle clients who have been adversely affected by the presence of toxic mold in their home or work environment, and understand the significant impact it can have on your health and well-being. In order to protect yourself and those you care about, it is important to be aware of how mold gets in your home, as well as the symptoms of mold exposure that could put your health at risk.
How Mold Gets In Your Home
According to the Oregon Health Authority, mold is a fungi that grows in moist conditions. In nature, it serves to break down rotting leaves and other plant materials. In your home, it can ruin your possessions while also endangering your health. In wet, damp regions such as the Pacific Northwest, mold spores can be transferred in from outside on clothes, shoes, and other damp or musty items, or grow indoors when moisture enters the home as a result of the following conditions:
- Clogged gutters or downspouts;
- Leaky roofs and ceilings;
- Plumbing problems;
- Improperly sealed windows and doors;
- Steam buildup in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Mold generally does not require testing, as it is easy to see as well as having a distinct smell. You may need professional help in dealing with a mold situation in your home, particularly if it covers a large area. Hard surfaces will need to be washed thoroughly with soap and water, while fabrics, such as carpeting, curtains, and clothing may need to be thrown out and replaced.
Health Effects of Being Exposed to Mold
It is important to address areas with mold in your home in order to prevent it from spreading and having ill effects on your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that mold itself is not poisonous, but it does produce toxins that can be harmful if breathed in. Indoor mold exposure has been linked to the following types of illnesses:
- Allergic symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, and wheezing;
- Upper respiratory infections;
- Asthma and increased severity of asthma attacks;
- Fungal infections.
Mold can be particularly harmful for children, posing a risk for breathing problems and pulmonary hemorrhage, which is acute bleeding from the lungs. The CDC recommends reducing your risk of having mold grow in the home by keeping humidity low, making sure your home is properly ventilated, and using mold inhibitor products in bathrooms and closets. If you or someone you care about is suffering adverse effects due to the presence of mold in your home or place of business, contact the Johnston Law Firm. In cases where a negligent landowner or building developer is responsible for the problems, we can advise you on the best course of action to get compensation for injuries or damages you have endured.