Mold is everywhere and has been on the earth for millions of years. It can enter your home through doors, windows, vents, heating systems, and air conditioners. Mold in the outside air may attach itself to clothing, shoes and bags. Pets can carry mold. Mold grows where there is moisture. Examples: a damp cabinet under the sink, around a leaky window, wet clothing that has been sitting in a washing machine, the walls of a bathroom that isn’t well ventilated, a basement that has been flooded.
Mold growth often looks like spots. It can be many different colors, including green and grey, and it can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, there may be a health risk to you and your children.
Some people are bothered more by mold than others. A baby who is sensitive to mold may have:
Sometimes reactions can be more serious. Mold can cause asthma attacks. Babies who have serious lung problems are at greater risk than other babies.
Inside your home, be sure to:
If the moldy area is small (less than a patch 3 feet by 3 feet), you can probably clean it up yourself. Be sure to also fix the water problem. If you don’t fix the water problem, the mold will probably come back. If the moldy area is larger, you may want to hire an experienced contractor to clean it.
To clean mold from hard surfaces (like walls and window frames), you can use any of these:
You don’t need to know the type of mold before you clean it. If you can see or smell mold, clean it.
Since mold affects people differently, sampling and testing cannot estimate the health risk for you and your children. Also, testing can be expensive. The best thing to do is clean mold and prevent future growth.
If you do decide to test or sample, be sure to use experienced professionals who are skilled in interpreting the results.
For more information
Scientists are debating whether BPA (bisphenol A) and phthalates pose a risk to children's health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed concerns about chemicals used in plastics. BPA is used to make plastics clear, strong and hard to break. Some baby bottles, dishes and toys contain this chemical. Some research has found that bisphenol A can affect the brain, behavior and prostate gland in infants and children.
If you're concerned, buy BPA-free plastic baby products. You can also use baby bottles made of glass, polypropylene or polyethylene. If you use plastics, avoid plastics numbered 3 or 7 (look for the number in a triangle typically found on the bottom of containers). Use plastics numbered 1, 2 and 4. If plastic baby bottles and infant cups contain BPA, discard them if they have scratches. Don't put boiling or very hot liquids, such as formula, into plastic bottles or containers that contain BPA.