When I was in first grade, my teacher told us that if we ever opened a container of food and found mold growing there, we should throw the whole container of food away immediately. “Don’t just scrape off the moldy part and eat the rest,” Mrs. Jensen said (that’s not her real name, by the way). “You should always throw away moldy food and never eat it.”
Fast forward to when I was a Boy Scout. On week-long Scouting trips to the canyons, lakes, and mountains of Utah, it can be hard to keep food fresh. During one trip, we found some of our food was moldy. Some of my twelve-year-old peers suggested we eat it anyway. Into my mind came the warning of my first grade teacher: “Don’t just scrape off the moldy part!” I didn’t eat the moldy food, and I warned my companions not to eat it either. Not all of them listened, and they suffered the consequences. Those of us who didn’t eat it didn’t get sick!
The truth is, most folks don’t realize how bad mold can really be. My first grade teacher saved me a severe illness—perhaps even saved my life. Certain kinds of mold can be deadly (especially black mold), and most mold will make you very sick. I assume you probably aren’t eating mold on a regular basis (if you are, I strongly suggest you stop!), but ingesting mold is not the only way to be affected by it. Mold spores in the air can make you ill if you breathe them.
But you don’t have mold spores floating around in the air, do you? I’ve been quite surprised—most people aren’t aware that they have mold growing in their house. During home inspections, we commonly find mold behind walls, in insulation, behind cabinets, in food storage rooms, and anywhere else where there is moisture, a food source, and just the right temperature. Whenever we go out to remediate mold, we always wear protective gear, seal off the area, and clean ourselves up afterward with special chemicals. Why? Because mold can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and pretty bad illnesses. I don’t want that for myself, and I definitely don’t want it for you. You wouldn’t eat mold. Why would you live with it in your home?