Local News

Indoor Mold Growing Concern

Posted August 2, 2003

— The wet weather this year has created the perfect environment for mold to grow.

Slimy, nasty and potentially toxic,


has closed parts of the library at Duke University and some classrooms at North Carolina Central University. It could also be lurking in your home.

"We should all be concerned about mold," said Romie Herring, the state Health Department's mold expert.

Herring said mold is often

traced to a moisture problem

and should not be in homes.

"It can be an

asthma trigger

and allergies are associated with [mold]. Sometimes you'll have upper respiratory tract irritation or some eye irritation," he said.

Mold can be deadly. Herring said the issue of mold is growing as quickly as mold itself.

"We're seeing more, I think, because people are looking for more than they did in the past," he said.

In fact, mold is an up-and-coming business, with millions of dollars to be made. It also means the potential for fraud.

"There are no government certifications for people who do this kind of work, no type of licenses," Herring warned.

The state

has issued publications

to help protect consumers.

"I think with the national media, and the stories that come out with the word toxic, I think it is a loose term. We rarely find a toxic mold," said Bruce Hatcher, who runs a mold identification business.

For $400 to $500, he will inspect your home and take mold samples.

Hatcher and a technician check all over the house. Mold found under a refrigerator, for example, could be due to a slow leak. On window sills, condensation can be to blame. Mold can also be found in air vents and under the house.

The mold identifiers set equipment to sample the air, but the state's mold expert said he does not see the need for all this.

Herring said anyone who notices mold and moisture in their home

can take care of it


"From our standpoint, we think the homeowners are better off correcting the moisture issue and getting the mold-contaminated materials out of the house," he said.

Hatcher sees things differently, saying there is a value in the service he offers.

"Our service is all about going in and doing a complete and full inspection of the premise to determine what caused the mold to be a problem and if there is an issue," he said.

Hatcher and Herring do agree that mold found in a home should be taken seriously.

Homeowners who hire a company to check their house for mold, are recommended to hire another company to clean it up, eliminating any conflict of interest.


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