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Mold spores are all around you — indoors, outdoors, in your carpet, on your plants — and may pose a severe threat to your health. If you work in an environment with an increased chance of mold exposure, like construction or natural disaster relief, you must wear protective equipment to keep you safe from inhaling mold.
The best mask for cleaning mold is an N95 respirator. N95 respirators are a type of particulate mask with a built-in filtration system that — when fit securely against your face — will prevent small mold particles from reaching your nose and mouth. They are also the only mold mask approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Three protection levels are available for N95 respirators, depending on the extent of your project or mold concerns.
Some N95 respirators have an exhalation valve to make it easier to breathe. These valves do not alter the mask’s safety and provide just as much protection against mold. The exhalation valve might even help you stay safer and more comfortable while working, making these masks ideal for commercial and industrial work. However, due to the nature of the valve, you cannot use these types of respirators in sterile conditions, such as medical offices or surgical rooms.
N95 respirator masks do not protect against gases and chemicals. If you’re working on a construction project or in an area with severe mold growth, you should also wear disposable gloves and protective goggles for further protection. Never tackle a mold project unprotected.
Mold is a common, natural occurrence. It plays an integral part in the natural order of decomposition outdoors. Indoors, however, it can ruin furniture, irritate existing health conditions and spread quickly. Mold colonies grow from small mold spores in the air that can cling to you or objects and make their way into your home. They can remain active for years after they form a colony and have allergenic properties even when dormant.
Mold takes different shapes and colors, depending on the type. The most prevalent types of mold are as follows.
Look for mold in wet or humid environments, including the basement, bathroom, kitchen or crawl space. In industrial settings, check anywhere with stacked cardboard boxes or where possible leaks may occur.
Black mold is highly dangerous, and many homeowners can experience symptoms for a long time without any idea that there may be black mold growing nearby. Keep in mind that black mold, as in the toxic Stachybotrys chartarum, is not the only mold that takes on a dark hue. You might have a harmless type of black-colored mold. However, it’s equally possible that it’s toxic black mold, which is why it’s crucial to contact a professional. Toxic black mold is harmful, especially to those with weakened or vulnerable immune systems.
Possible symptoms vary in different people, some more severe than others. Common symptoms include:
Of course, toxic black mold is not the only unsafe type — it’s merely the most dangerous. Always wear a mask with a filter cartridge and air-purifying capabilities when handling or working near mold of any kind.
Mold can grow virtually anywhere, but it proliferates in wet and humid areas. Some of the most common culprits for growth are cardboard and paper products, carpet, insulation and wood.
Not sure if mold is present? Check for these signs:
Hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods and even snowstorms leave behind more than property damage. They also create ideal mold-growth environments. Whether you’re a part of a natural disaster relief organization or a homeowner trying to rebuild, here are some things to know about mold in these situations:
Mold can thrive anywhere, even in brand-new homes and office settings. However, some circumstances are more likely to expose you to mold than others. If you work in the following projects or industries, you should always have a high-quality mold mask on hand:
If you deal with mold as a part of your everyday job, have multiple masks or work with a supplier to keep them stocked for you and your crew. Always dispose of and replace each N95 respirator mask for mold according to package instructions or required safety guidelines.
People at the highest risk for mold sickness are those with existing conditions that make them more vulnerable to illness, like those with allergies, asthma, immune suppression, lung disease, respiratory challenges and cardiac disease. Some people, like infants and older adults, are also at a higher risk. However, toxic mold can make even the healthiest people sick or symptomatic.
Wearing a mask around mold, particularly an N95 respirator, is the best line of defense against unpleasant or life-threatening side effects. The integrated filtration system will capture and block harmful mold spores, preventing inhalation. Some types of respirators even bring you clean, purified air to inhale, while expelling the contaminated air.
Masks are an easy, effective method of protection, and they might even be a legal requirement, depending on your job or workplace recommendations.
Once mold spores infiltrate your home, they can form a colony in as little as one day. Preventing mold growth is the best form of defense.
Keep your home or business mold-free with these tips.
A mask is only useful against mold spores if it consists of high-quality, durable materials and fits correctly against your face. Always follow all instructions and guidelines on the packaging and test the fit by following these steps:
If you have a medical condition that makes it difficult to breathe, like asthma or heart conditions, consult your doctor before wearing a respirator. If you feel dizzy, faint or can’t catch your breath at any point while wearing the mask, seek a ventilated area and remove the mask immediately.
Most masks offer little to no protection against mold, especially if they don’t sit securely on your face without gaps. For your safety, avoid the following:
If you need masks with particulate filters that remove more than mold, look for something like an N99 or N100 respirator. They are similar to the N95 respirator, but filter most gases and chemicals as well as toxic mold spores.
Wearing a mask may seem simple enough, but you should know a few things if you want to stay comfortable and safe as you remove mold.
If you need protective equipment for your worksite or office, Sunline Supply has you covered. As a dedicated PPE company, our focus is to create products that foster a safer, healthier workplace. We use nothing but high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship to create PPE for the health care, industrial, commercial and educational sectors. Every Sunline Supply factory and product has received approval from the FDA.
Our N95 9500 masks meet the stringent safety standards of NIOSH, the FDA and CE. They consist of non-woven fabrics, with comfortable interior nose clips for a secure fit. You can use them for daily protection and in toxic mold environments.
Learn more about PPE from Sunline Supply and start your order today.
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