There are numerous resources online that provide information and guidance on how to “deal” with mold.
This is a brief synthesis.
Mold grows on organic materials in suitable conditions: relative humidity higher than 65%, oxygen and lack of air circulation, temperatures preferably in the range of 50 – 95°F. Mold decomposes the organic material (something we are usually trying to safe) and produces substances that can cause illnesses and allergic reactions.
During intervention on a mold outbreak:
- make sure to protect yourself first: wear nitrile gloves and make sure mold does not come into contact with your skin; wash hands after removing gloves; do not eat and drink in an environment where mold is present; wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as FFP3 dust mask and goggles, up to respirators and body suits in case of large outbreaks;
- try to identify and address the cause(s) of the mold outbreak;
- create some air circulation, using fans;
- use dehumidification equipment to reduce the relative humidity below 65%;
- use HEPA vacuum to remove mold growth;
- consult a conservator for appropriate of intervention depending on substrate/artifact.
In case of symptoms such as skin rash or asthma, stop immediately and consult your doctor.
For a list of symptoms, you can consult the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2019). Mold Allergy: https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/mold-allergy