I Found Mold Growing In My Home How Do I Test The Mold
If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk.
Products And Tools Youll Need To Test For Mold In Your Home
The only thing you need to test for mold at home is a test kit. In addition to the ones previously mentioned, there are several options available:
- Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit: This kit includes three tests. Your sample can be tested for an additional $40 fee, with results delivered by e-mail or via the companys app.
- MoldCheck Multi-Test Kit: This kit includes supplies to perform ten tests, which is great for an entire home or monitoring an ongoing infestation. However, there is no lab testing option, so you will need to find your own if you need identification.
- ImmunoLytics Mold Screening Test Kit: Perform eight tests with this kit. Each plate can be tested for $33 each.
- My Mold Detective: If you are looking for a more advanced mold monitoring option, the My Mold Detective is a reusable air sampling pump that collects samples in just five minutes. The device comes with four sampling cassettes that can be tested in a lab for $35 each.
- My Mold Detective Additional Samples: The My Mold Detective can be used again and again, so order as many samples as you need to keep tabs on your mold problem.
Is Chrysotile Safer Than Amphibole Asbestos
There is considerable debate in the scientific community about just how dangerous chrysotile asbestos or serpentine asbestos is relative to amphibole asbestos. Some argue that the curly fibres of the serpentine asbestos family arent as harmful to the body as the needle-like fibres of amphibole asbestos.
Indeed, some studies do suggest that it takes less exposure to amphibole asbestos to create the same risk of certain diseases compared to chrysotile asbestos. However, its important to remember that many of these studies were funded by the chrysotile asbestos industry, and need to be viewed with skepticism.
Its also important to remember that even if amphibole asbestos is more dangerous than chrysotile asbestos, chrysotile asbestos is still dangerous as well. Indeed, many sources regard chrysotile asbestos as being just as dangerous as amphibole asbestos. Whoever you believe, chrysotile asbestos is known to be a carcinogen and a leading cause of on-the-job illness and fatality. It is decidedly not safe.
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Natural Ways To Prevent Mold Exposure In Your Home
Since the 1950s, when drywall began replacing plaster, reports of mold infections have significantly increased. The presence of moisture can cause drywall and practically every other home construction surface to grow molds and other fungi, none of which are good for us.
Its estimated that half the buildings in the U.S. may be water damaged. Construction methods in the U.S. can be a feast for mold and fungi, which thrive on drywall and wood. Our homes are often built of these soft materials rather than stone or brick, as is more common in Europe.
Mold flourishes in dark and moist environments. A small drip from a leaky toilet, shower, or sink is all it takes to create a major mold problem. Some studies have linked higher rates of asthma in some communities to living in older homes that are poorly maintained and harbor moisture leaks, which can produce mold populations.
A roof leak may initiate a mold problem. If you see a stain on the ceiling or wall, its a good bet theres a hidden mold growth behind it. Mold also can lurk behind the walls of a shower, as well as in air ducts, crawl spaces, attics, basements, and other areas inside your house.
If you suspect that youve been exposed to mold, its essential to remove yourself from the environment until it can be cleaned up. Mold exposure can be toxic to brain function, including memory and other cognitive functions.
The Different Black Mold Tests
The first thing to do is verify that you have black mold. Symptoms of mold exposure are almost identical to other fatigue issues, like Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. And because mold can grow behind walls as a result of burst pipes or water damage, its often hard to pinpoint where mold is in your home.
If you can see black mold in the caulking around your bathtub or below your kitchen sink, for example and you have no reason to suspect its elsewhere in your house, you may be okay skipping a formal test. Otherwise, you have a few different options when it comes to testing for mold in your home:
- Mold culture test. This test includes a petri dish with a swab. You expose the petri dish to either the air or, through the swab, a specific area in your home, and then you cover it and let it sit for 48 hours. If you get lots of growth in the petri dish , you have a mold problem. If you get little to no growth, youre okay. Mold culture tests are fast and cheap . A mold culture test is a good option if you suspect mold in your workplace or school. The downside is that the test wont tell you where mold is only if mold is present. Heres a good mold culture test.
- ERMI test. Environmental relative moldiness index testing will tell you with much more specificity what mold is in your home and how big of a problem it is. ERMI tests will run you $200-$300.
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Seek Social Support Restorative Resources And Adjunct Therapies
Recovering from illness caused by mold exposure can be exhausting, isolating and incredibly stressful. Social support is essential for your overall wellbeing and for a return to optimal health. Additionally, specific tools may also be beneficial in bringing your body back into balance after an overactive stress response.
Why Some People Are Susceptible
As mentioned by Dr. Shoemaker, approximately 24 percent of the population is genetically vulnerable to mold toxicity they have a certain immune response gene . If youre one of those people with mold susceptibility genes, you are far more likely to have an adverse reaction to mold when exposed to a sufficient quantity. In fact, 95 percent of mold illness occurs in this subgroup. Additionally, theres 2 percent who are particularly susceptible with a sicker quicker variation of the genes. If you arent susceptible, your chances are lower but not zero.
People like me who are genetically mold susceptible arent able to recognize specific toxins as toxins, such as mold, and the toxins get recirculated in their bodies. As a result, the toxins, in this case mold, trigger a persistent inflammatory response. Most of these folks dont know that they have a genetic susceptibility.
Mold illness from water-damaged buildings is a serious health problem.4Dennis, D. P. Chronic sinusitis: Defective T-cells responding to superantigens, treated by reduction of fungi in the nose and Continue reading Its not an allergy its a state of chronic inflammation caused by the immune system becoming out of whack. The CIRS doesnt heal on its own, will not abate, and will continue to provoke illness unless its treated. Their illness is built into their DNA and once triggered, the inflammatory response and resulting symptoms can last for years.
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Mold Inspection: How To Test Your Home For Mold
Is my house making me sick? – a question that bothers many people with respiratory problems, allergies, rashes, fatigue and brain fog, and other symptoms of mold sickness. If you suspect that your home environment is the reason for your health problems, it is high time to check your home for mold.
Check out basements wall, laundry rooms, air conditioning systems, bathroom, underneath the sinks, windowsills, closets, refrigerator door seals and drain pans, and closets. Search not only for black or green patches but do the sniff test. The musty smell will help you detect the source of mold growth.
Look for causes of mold growth, such as broken pipes, a leak, past flooding, lack of ventilation, old food or wood furniture. Knowing the cause of possible mold growth will help detect this insidious intruder faster.
Dont ignore your symptoms. If you start coughing, sneezing, or wheezing when you enter the room, it could be caused by spores or mycotoxins produced by mold.
As soon as you have detected the mold, get rid of it. Dont postpone it till its too late, especially if youve managed to detect the toxic mold like Stachybotrys. Long exposure to toxic mold can cause life-threatening symptoms.
Who Should Consider Mold Or Mycotoxin Testing
First, lets distinguish between mold and mycotoxin testing.
Mold testing generally refers to environmental testing , while mycotoxin testing refers to tests that look at the presence or effects of mycotoxins in the body.
You might want to consider mycotoxin testing if:
- You have already taken care of foundational health steps, including modifying diet and lifestyle and healing your gut, but you are still not feeling well
- You are experiencing symptoms or health effects consistent with mold toxicity, and
- You have access to an experienced, trusted, and rational practitioner who can help to interpret your results.
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The Impact Of Mold: 5 Steps To Regaining Health
The impact of mold on health is far reaching, and the occurrence of mold might be higher than you might think. Symptoms of mold exposure go beyond an allergic response and can include a vast range from achy joints to dysregulated hormones, cognitive issues or sapping fatigue.
To complicate matters, you could be exposed to it, and simply not know. Mold could be hidden behind walls or be disguised as a fine powder instead of the striking black spots you might expect.
Curious if mold is playing a role in your mysterious symptoms? Have a hunch you need to address it to achieve optimal wellness but overwhelmed with where to start? Here are 5 steps worth investigating if youre concerned about how a moldy environment might be affecting your health and wellbeing.
How To Test For Black Mold
Do you keep getting a whiff of something musty in your bathroom or basement? Afraid it might be mold? Learn about three of the most popular kits to test for mold at home.
Its no secret that damp areas of the home provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Whether your nose knows, or your eyes spy dark spots in strategic locations, you want to make sure.
Mold doesnt just eat away at your wood, wallpaper, or grout. Its spores get airborne and cause all kinds of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says enough evidence exists to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose to cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
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Supporting Your Immune System
Because chronic mold exposure can wreak havoc on your immune function, you will definitely want to maintain a clean, TRUE gluten free diet. You might consider avoiding foods that contain mold or help with mold proliferation. Some of the most common include: sugar, alcohol, peanuts, pistachios, products out of the self serve bins in the grocery store, dried fruits, yeast additives, and foods high in starch. The use of vitamin C and Vitamin D can be very helpful in attenuating mold induced damage and controlling inflammation.
Supporting The Gi Tract And Motility
Depending on the clinician, treatment following steps 1 and steps 2 can diverge in any number of ways. I have found that it is very critical to support the health of the gut ecosystem and most specifically gut motility prior to pursuing any further mycotoxin removal treatments. We are coming to understand that some of the challenges posed by mycotoxins are mediated through a disturbed gut microbiome and disrupted gut barrier. Many clinicians will utilize various binders that seek to support the elimination of toxins including mycotoxins through bile/bile acids. Many of these binders that stay within the GI tract can negatively affect gut motility and actually cause worsening symptoms from reabsorption due to incomplete elimination. Spending time supporting the gut microbiome, the gut barrier and overall gut motility is a critical step as part of any mycotoxin specific treatment plan.
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Is Chrysotile Asbestos Safe
Some argue that the curly fibres that make up chrysotile are safe, or at least safer than the needle-like fibres of amphibole asbestos.
However, the World Health Organization specifically and unequivocally declared that all forms of asbestosincluding chrysotilecause cancer in humans. Likewise, the International Agency for Research on Cancer labels chrysotile along with other forms of asbestos a known carcinogen.
When you hear claims of chrysotile being safe, consider:
- Chrysotile asbestos historically accounts for 95% of asbestos use world-wide, yet
- Asbestos exposure is the leading cause of work-related deaths in Canadacausing more deaths than highway accidents, chemical exposure and fires combined.
Reports defending chrysotile asbestos are typically funded by the asbestos industry, while credible independent sources like the WHO and IARC conclude that chrysotile asbestos causes cancer and other diseases, just like other forms of asbestos.
How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
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How To Remove Mold On Your Own
All you need to remove mold:
- A commercial mold removal product
- Undiluted white vinegar
- A mixture of 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water
- Use an even mix of clear ammonia and water to remove mold spores spay a moldy area with this mix, wait a few hours and then rinse and dry
- Make sure to get rid of porous materials with mold such as carpets
Note: When cleaning the mold on your own, it’s important to use mask, gloves, and goggles for your safety.
When To Test For Mold
Situation 1 – When Mold is Successfully Detected
If you have found mold, you may not waste time on testing but move to the removal stage.
Situation 2 – When Mold is Invisible
When you cannot find the mold but the smell is present, this is a case when testing is needed. Specific tests and assistance of professionals will eliminate the guesswork and help prevent health issues.
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Common Signs Of Toxic Mold Poisoning
Symptoms and signs of mycotoxins poisoning are very different depending on many factors. How this poisoning presents itself depends on:
- Type of mycotoxin
- Genetic structure
- And others
This means there can be a major difference in symptoms between individuals in the population exposed to it. To some extent it is clear that mycotoxicosis can increase susceptibility to infections, worsen the effect of other toxins present and advance other health conditions.
Although acute poisoning is more obvious and sometimes has grave effects, chronic exposure is much more present in the population in general. Finally, mycotoxins can cause changes in immune, nervous system, behavior, mood and even development problems like stunting.
The other way that molds can affect your health is through allergy and IgE-mediated pathways. Mold can introduce multiple different types of antigens to your system. One of the main antigens involved is mold spores. Mold can lead to asthma, hypersensitivity reactions, and pulmonary inflammatory disease.
There are many different variants that could cause a patient to have one reaction compared to another. One of these factors is the human leukocyte antigen patterns. Another likely significant factor is the glutathione transferase genes. One study found that polymorphism in GSTP1 influenced illness and treatment after exposure to water-damaged buildings.
How To Remove Mold
- Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work.
- Wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators, in addition to goggles and gloves.
- Set an old box fan or a cheap new one in a window to ventilate the room while working. Throw it out when you’re done cleaning, because the spores are almost impossible to clean off. Tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so the spores can’t blow back in.
- Wrap and tape moldy carpeting in 6-mil plastic, and double-bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags for disposal.
- To control airborne spores, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
- Turn off your furnace and air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
- Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
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