How To Test And Remove Indoor Mold:
There are many ways in which you can test your property for mold, including:
- ARMI testsThe American Relative Moldiness Index test is cost-effective however, it is not the most thorough as it can only detect a select few types of mold.
- ERMI testsThe Environmental Relative Moldiness Index test was developed by the EPA and can detect up to 36 different types of mold within a home. Despite being able to identify more molds than ARMI tests, an ERMI test does not provide information on the source of mold production.
- Mold clearance testingThis is a series of tests conducted by professionals to make certain that the areas of your home where mold was removed have returned to normal conditions.
- MSQ/PCRThese tests can help homeowners identify the genus and species of mold.
- Petri dish testsPetri dish tests are common and often sold in hardware stores. However, homeowners should be wary of the accuracy of these tests. There have even been numerous instances where at-home petri-dish test results have been wrong. Some unopened test kits have even been moldy upon purchase.
- Presence Absence:These are simple swab applicators that detect mold in a home. If the swab comes back as green, then there is mold present in a home. However, these tests do not give homeowners an idea of the level of toxicity/classification of the mold or the moist area of the home that caused it to grow.
Ok So Can Black Mold Kill You
Just because black toxic mold is the most dangerous type of mold, does not mean other types wont affect you. I know this kind of contradicts the theme layed out so far that the Mycotoxins gets you sick and not the mold itself.
But hear me out
If you have an allergy to a particular type of mold, it doesnt necessarily matter if it produces mycotoxins or not.
For example, you may have one child in your home that is experiencing upper respiratory issues after a leak caused mold in your home and another child who is having none at all.
That could be because the one child has an allergy to whatever mold is growing and the other child is not because they have no allergies.
Every person is different
Its not just allergies. It also depends on the health of a person. If a person has an autoimmune disorder and they are exposed to certain types of mold, it may be fatal.
That is why I cannot simply answer the question, can mold kill you?
Because the answer may be yes to one person and no to another.
There are links to health effects of mold exposure, but even the CDC does not list death as one of them:
A link between other adverse health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants, memory loss, or lethargy, and molds, including the mold Stachybotrys chartarum , has not been proven. Further studies are needed to find out what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects.
Keep It Clean And Dry
It never hurts to clean regularly. Make sure humid areas and rooms with plumbing get regular spot checks. Add mold and mildew removal products to your cleaning routine, especially for the bathroom and kitchen.
Mold thrives on moisture, so use dehumidifiers in humid areas of your home like bathrooms, basements, or closets.
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How To Prevent Black Mold Growth
Conducting routine home inspections and maintenance are the best ways to deal with a black mold problem. Keep an eye out for evidence of water damage and visible mold on a regular basis. The conditions that cause mold should be corrected in a timely manner to prevent mold from growing further.
The extent of structural damage black mold can cause to your home, depends on how quickly you act to fix it.
Some of the ways you can keep mold out of your home is by:
To completely get rid of black mold from your home, you must address the root cause of the problem, so that there is no recurrence of mold. For example, just cleaning up the mold without addressing the moisture problem will not solve the issue because the mold will very likely return.
Black Mold Removal Using Vinegar
White vinegar is a mildly acidic product that cleans, deodorizes, and disinfects. It can also kill 82% of mold species, including black mold, on porous and non-porous surfaces. You can use it safely on most surfaces, and its offensive odor goes away quickly.
Pour undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle. Because white vinegar contains only about 20% acetic acid, adding water makes it less effective. Spray the vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave for an hour. Finally, wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.
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Test The Air To Determine What Kind And How Much Mold Is Present
Im going to let you in on a little secret
You actually can get the same air sampling technology that the expensive mold inspectors have a literally a fraction of the cost.
A quick lesson on how mold air sampling works:
Air sampling for mold involves obtaining a negative air pump that captures usually 75 or 150 Liters of air inside a tiny cassette. The cassette is then put under a microscope where it is determined how much and what kind of mold is present in the air sample.
Cool, but how can you do it yourself?
There is a company out there that offers one of these pumps called MyMoldDetective at a very affordable rate. It does the exact same thing as the $1200 machine a mold inspection company may be using.
You dont need to be a genius or really even know what your doing to operate one of these machines.
Take a look for yourself
A Single Exposure To Mold Only Causes A Single Reaction
The reality isfor genetically-susceptible people, a single exposure can cause a life-long problem. If you have the wrong HLA gene type, your body simply cannot target and remove biotoxins. A single exposure could cause an indefinite recirculation of these toxins, provoking chronic inflammation from a continuously triggered immune system.
If this is you, even after avoiding exposure for days, weeks, months, years, or even decades, you could suffer from CIRS. Thankfully, recovery is not only possible, its probable. Dr. Shoemaker had developed and applied a systematic protocol, The Shoemaker Protocol, to remove biotoxins from the body and re-regulate the immune response to stop inflammation and reverse chronic symptoms.
It begins with removal from exposure. Exposure must be carefully monitored throughout the entire protocol. If there is a new biotoxin exposure from a water damaged building or other source, you must begin the entire protocol from the start. In many cases, re-exposure causes CIRS patients to get sick more quickly. The sicker quicker phenomenon is backed by evidence showing an increase in certain biomarkers in as little as four hours after re-exposure.
Many CIRS patients are highly sensitive to mold and other biotoxins. The smallest exposure can trigger inflammation and feelings of anxiety, agitation, and danger. Its best to trust your bodys reaction and leave a potentially contaminated building immediately.
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How Can I Breathe In Mold
Although mold appears to us as a solid, fuzzy, growth, it is much more complex. Mold spreads by sending tiny, invisible spores into the air. They then land on other surfaces and allow new colonies to grow. If you have mold growing in your home, these spores can travel through the air, even in the ventilation, and you breathe them in.
The Problem With Mycotoxins
What is a mycotoxin? By definition, a mycotoxin is a mold-poison. Produced as a secondary metabolic of the digestive process, mycotoxins can be airborne and, therefore, inhaled.
Mycotoxins have varying toxigenic effects on humans and animals. Some can cause cancer, some suppress the immune system, and others can attack the liver and kidneys. Mycotoxins have also been linked to tremors and nervous system disorders, Eicher explains.
The interesting thing about mycotoxins is they ride on the outside of the mold spore or even the hyphal fragments of mold. This means that, regardless of whether you see the mold growing, it can be producing mycotoxins. For those sensitive to environmental issues, cleaning the environment becomes crucial if you want to remove the spores that you cant see. The cleaning process, which we call the NORMI Sanitization Protocol, must be detailed and exact.
In the case detailed in The Air of Mystery, it was the perfect storm. The infants with their developing immune systems were living in toxic environments with tons of VOCs, odors, and other gases. Because they were also living in second-hand smoke environments, their immune systems were taxed. With the introduction of Stachybotrys mycotoxins, their lungs could not properly develop, and they died. This serious consequence of mycotoxins, though rare, demonstrates that care must be taken to identify and remove mold from indoor environments.
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Quick Tips To Check Your House For Mold
Check for hidden leaks
Remember, it is almost impossible for mold to grow if you do not have a water source.
Normally, when you have a leak, some clues may be available to the naked eye. You will want to check around all windows, doors, plumbing fixtures and dont forget to look up at the ceiling as there may also be signs present above.
Some of the indications of leak include:
- Stains on the walls
- Baseboards and crown molding pulling away from the wall
- Paint bubbling or pealing
- Discoloration on flooring
If you really want to get productive, you can get yourself a moisture meter and start checking the water content on building material yourself.
### Make Sure The Relative Humidity In Your Home Is Between 30-60%
While this may not matter much if you are in a dry section of the world
It is important to make sure that your homes relative humidity is between 30 and 60%.
If your air conditioning is functioning properly, it will be pulling enough moisture out of the air to keep the RH low.
If you have relative humidity above 60%, you may start to notice mold growing on some of your belongs including clothes, shoes, furniture, etc.
Get yourself a standard thermometer where RH is also measured. If you have higher indoor humidity, you should contact and air conditioning professional to determine if your system is working correctly.
Mold Removal & Remediation
Once the source of moisture has been identified and stopped and the mold has been tested, the removal and remediation process can begin.
Technological tools are employed to dry affected areas. Then all mold is removed, and the areas where it once thrived are cleaned and disinfected.
This important step helps to limit the exposure to toxic mold spores that can be inhaled, lowering potential effects on the health of those living and working in a space.
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How Did I Get Mold
Like any other living thing, mold needs food and water to thrive. Mold problems start when a mold spore thats floating in the air lands on a wet piece of organic material , takes root and starts to multiply. Mold spores are everywhere in the air, including in the cleanest of homes.
In fact, every breath you take likely has some mold spores in it at low levels! In the home, mold usually grows wherever there is dampness and moisture, like basements, attics, kitchens and bathrooms, or areas that have experienced flooding.
With over 100,000 species, mold comes in about any size, shape, and color you can think of, making it impossible to tell what type of mold you have without testing by a certified mold inspection professional.
Can Black Mold Cause Respiratory Problems
In a residential setting, people are generally exposed to black mold through breathing in mold spores and mycotoxins. When ingested, mold spores have the potential to cause irritation and a burning sensation in air passages, such as the nasal cavity, mouth, and throat.
Some common symptoms for respiratory issues from black mold exposure include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nose bleeds
- Runny, itchy, or stuffy nose
- Bleeding gums
- Burning sensation of the mouth
- Bleeding or swelling in the lungs
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What Is Black Mold
Mold is one of the most common living things on Earth. Molds love damp environments. They grow indoors and outdoors, including in places like showers, basements, and garages.
Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum or atra, is one type of mold that can be found in damp places inside buildings. It looks like black spots and splotches.
Black mold developed a reputation for being toxic after a string of eight infants became ill in Cleveland, Ohio, between January 1993 and December 1994. All of them had bleeding in the lungs, a condition called idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage. One of those infants died.
Results from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation revealed these infants had been living in homes with severe water damage and increased levels of toxin-producing mold inside. This led many people to believe that the black mold was toxic and could kill people.
In the end, scientists concluded that they were unable to link black mold exposure to illness and death in the Cleveland infants.
In reality, all molds including black mold can produce toxins, but exposure to mold is rarely deadly.
People are exposed to mold through spores that are released and travel through the air.
Its true that some people are more sensitive than others to mold. These people tend to be very young, very old, or have:
- a compromised immune system
People who are very sensitive to black mold may develop severe respiratory infections when exposed.
How To Treat Mold With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antifungal, antiviral, and anti-bacterial solution found in most medicine cabinets, and its an effective mold treatment. You can use it safely on a range of surfaces such as kitchen appliances and counters, bathroom fixtures and tubs, hard flooring, and even certain wall surfaces.
Pour a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Test an inconspicuous area of surfaces first to prevent discoloration or damage. Saturate the moldy surface and leave it for 10 minutes. Next, scrub the area with just enough force to remove black mold and mold stains. Once the surface is free of residual mold and stains, wipe dry.
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From Concise To Confused
Out of nowhere, Kimberlyn went from a highly-effective, busy, working mother, to a disorganized, uninvolved, confused individual who couldnt focus long enough to put together cohesive, coherent thoughts. She was no longer able to make decisions for herself and struggled to even get dressed in the morning. Insomnia, anxiety, and a loss of appetite accompanied the confusion. It was like I lost my personality, says Kimberlyn.
What Are Symptoms And Signs Of Mold Exposure
Molds produce irritating substances that may act as allergy-causing substances in sensitive individuals. Furthermore, some molds produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, but mold itself is not poisonous or toxic. The term “toxic mold,” therefore, refers to the fact that certain kinds of mold can produce mycotoxins. The conditions under which some molds produce toxins are not understood, and the presence of mold, even a mold that is capable of producing toxins, does not always imply that toxins are being produced or that a health risk or problem is present. Mold may not cause any health problems, or it may lead to allergy or other symptoms in people, including adults and children, who are sensitive to molds.
Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold and are therefore the greatest health risk related to mold. Allergic reactions may happen immediately or develop after a period following exposure. Both growing mold and mold spores may lead to allergic reactions. Symptoms and signs of mold allergy may include
Mold or mold spores may cause asthma attacks in people who have asthma and are allergic to mold. Even in some non-allergic individuals, mold can cause symptoms of irritation in the eyes, skin, and airways. For example, the “black mold”Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mold, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can cause irritation of the skin and airways in susceptible individuals.
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How To Prevent Mold
Controlling moisture is the key to preventing mold from growing in your home. The following tips will help stop mold from becoming a problem:
- Keep the humidity in your house below 50%. Using an air conditioner or dehumidifier can help with this.
- Make sure your house is clean, dry, and well-ventilated.
- Fix any water leaks immediately.
- Use ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms.
- Don’t put carpet in rooms that are likely to become wet such as the basement, kitchen, or bathrooms.
- Make sure wet floor mats are dried quickly.
How Dangerous Is Black Mold In Bathroom
Mold produces allergens. It may cause those that are sensitive to respiratory problems to experience allergic reactions, increased asthma attacks, or hay fever. Other symptoms could include nausea, skin rashes, dizziness, headaches, etc and these effects are just from mold that is considered non-toxic.
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