Mold In The Workplace
Some workplaces, such as poorly ventilated factories, greenhouses, and vineyards, may house large amounts of mold.
Any workplace that contains lots of old paper products, such as used book stores, may be a source of mold. Paper contains cellulose, an organic food source that certain mold species thrive upon. Old books thatve been housed in humid conditions may be filled with millions of mold spores.
Farms and stables may also harbor large amounts of moldy hay. Mold toxins often develop in hay after a delayed harvest. Hay that contains mold is dangerous for humans to breathe in and for horses to eat.
What To Do If You Notice What Looks Like Black Mold
Indoor mold is a common problem. Removing it is imperative. Because of the potential for causing health problems, it is best to leave this process to the experts. Begin by identifying how the moisture entered your home. Sometimes, this can be an easy fix such as a roof repair or window replacement.
Next, work with a specialist who tests your air for particulate matter and mold spores. This expert will confirm whether you are dealing with fungus causing black mold poisoning or a different type of fungus. Reputable companies should be able to handle the remediation process as well. It typically requires the removal of infested items and the cleansing of affected structures. Healthy Air USA offers a broad range of services related to mold testing and cleanup.
Contact us today to find out what is growing in your home and might be making you sick.
Mold Toxicity Vs Mold Allergies
Often times confusion surrounds the different mold illnesses, specifically mold toxicity and mold allergies. These two separate illnesses illicit different reactions in the body and can affect a person differently.
Mold allergies are caused by mold spores that become inhaled and stimulate symptoms similar to those of hay fever . Mold toxicity, in comparison to mold allergies, is caused by the volatile toxic vapors that are dispersed by mold that in turn elicits a chronic inflammatory response.
Diagnosing this condition is very hard, especially for medical professionals who often misdiagnose it because of the wide variation of possible symptoms. The first step in diagnosing mold toxicity or even mold allergies is identifying mold within your environment, particularly in your home.
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What Medical Tests Are Available To Determine If I Am Allergic Tomold
There are medical tests to determine if you are allergic to a particularsubstance, such as mold. These can be performed on skin or blood. Skin testsare considered more reliable than blood tests to determine allergic reaction toa substance. Skin tests yield results more quickly, are less expensive thanblood tests and are generally considered more sensitive. If an individual hassymptoms year-round, which may indicate an indoor allergy, skin testing may berecommended.
Blood testing called the RAST test can be done to showif you are allergic to a substance. The RAST test detects levels of antibodiesto particular allergens. The test is expensive to perform and results areusually not available for about two weeks.
Mold Allergy The Most Common Problem Of Mold Exposure
Mold allergy can be tough to outstrip. It occurs due to breathing in mold spores excessively which causes your immune system to overreact. Your health begins to deteriorate upon mold exposure and as a result, your body manifests signs of allergies.
You experience nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and skin rashes. Additionally, it may increase the onset of asthma in otherwise healthy individuals.
Those with pre-existing conditions are at a great disadvantage to these mold exposures as these molds work to exacerbate their condition. They face intense symptoms such as chest stiffness, breathing difficulty, fever, chest colds, or even pneumonia.
Not only these molds cause allergies but also make you susceptible to mold poisoning.
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Summary Of Health Problems
Many types of indoor mold, not just black mold, may cause health problems in some individuals.
Long-term exposure to high levels of mold in the home, however,
People who are most at risk of the symptoms of mold exposure are:
- infants and children
- people with allergies or asthma
- people with weakened immune systems
The main health risks related to mold exposure are allergies and irritation, which typically cause respiratory symptoms.
People with weakened immune systems may also have a risk of fungal infection.
How To Spot A Mould Problem Before It Affects Your Health
Mould is not always easy to recognise. It often looks like fuzz or appears to be a stain, smudge or discoloration. The most common moulds are black, green or white. However, mould can be many other colours, ranging from grey to orange to brown. Here are some warning signs that you might have a mould issue that could affect your health later on.
We insulate our houses to keep the heated or air conditioned air inside the building and forget that we thereby reduce air flow and increase the air humidity. High humidity means excess moisture in the air. This can cause mould to grow as well as encourage dust mites and other allergens to thrive. Timber furniture and building structures can also be affected by this moisture. This can result in dry rot, termite infestation and wet subfloors which also affect our air quality and our personal moods. In Australia, we allow high humidity to enter our homes when windows are left open for cross ventilation, all day or at night.
Condensation on windows
Commonly in modern building structures, we find tightly sealed windows and doors, plus walls and ceilings sealed by vapour barriers. Here in Australia high humidity days are frequent. Traditional ventilating methods coupled with high humidity will raise moisture content in your walls and furniture. Moisture or condensation on the inside of your single or double glazing has become a sign of an unsound indoor climate.
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Signs Of Mold Illness
Mold is a big problem in most homes, but many people are unaware of the problem. Of course, everyone looks at the shower curtain, under the sink, or in the basement when he or she think about mold issues, but mold can grow just about anywhere.
Mold can be found in drywall, in the roof , and even in ones Christmas tree. One study found that Christmas trees can breed mold, quietly releasing millions of spores into the room causing winter allergies and asthma attacks. Studies have found that indoor air quality dropped six-fold over the 14 days a Christmas tree typically decorates a room.
There are 1,000 types of mold that can be found growing in the modern American home. Scientists classify these molds based on the effect they have on humans and other living things.
Is Black Mold Dangerous Heres The Truth
The truth is, many people arent negatively affected by mold. However, mold can cause allergies in some people who are sensitive to mold. In these cases, it can make their lives miserable. Mold can also cause severe medical issues with a small percentage of people who have other health complications.
If youve seen a concerning growth in your home or been told that you have a black mold issue, you probably have a lot of questions.
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Having Your Home Tested For Mold
If you find yourself asking does mold sickness go away because youve been suffering from mold-related symptoms for a long time, you should have your home tested for mold to make sure all traces of mold have been removed. While do-it-yourself mold test kits are available, we recommend having a certified professional test for mold to make certain the results are accurate. Most professional mold testers are engineers and they know all the places that mold can hide in the home. To find experienced certified mold testers in your area, just follow the link provided.
Technical Problems In Determining Fungal Exposure
Difficulties in measuring fungal organisms.
A final problem in measuring fungal organisms in the indoor environment relates to selective sampling. As noted above, Stachybotrys species rarely exist in isolation. They are often present in settings which select for a host of other fungal species and their potential mycotoxins, as well as bacteria, mycobacteria, arthropods, and man-made organic chemicals. However, most studies cited below have used methods that preferentially select for Stachybotrys species and mycotoxins. Of more immediate scientific and medicolegal concern, many studies of purportedly affected housing are surveying only for Stachybotrys species while ignoring other organisms .
Difficulties in measuring mycotoxins.
Morphology of S. chartarum. Representative section of damaged wallboard. Note the areas of black discoloration. Pure culture of S. chartarum, initially obtained from contaminated wallboard . Higher-power view of the same culture as in panel B . Scanning electron micrograph of conidia at the tip of a conidiaphore. Scanning electron micrograph of mature conidia. Slime has been removed by scanning electron microscope processing. Panels D and E are reprinted from Nelson, with permission.
Black Mold Exposure Symptoms
Although black mold is generally harmless, it contains toxins that can react with the body and lead to various illnesses. People who inhale it tend to cough or develop respiratory problems. In addition to that, it can lead to an itchy nose, eyes, and throat. Various people have also reported that when they come into contact with the tiny plants, they develop a running nose and dry skin. Because of that, no matter how harmless it may seem, it is important to protect yourself from .
Black Mold Releases Toxins
Mycotoxins form as the fungus grows spores and spreads. It is important to note that not every type of mold has toxic properties. Moreover, the concentration of the toxins varies, depending on the spread of the fungus. Consider that the fungal colonies you see are only the tip of the iceberg. There may be unseen colonies underneath wallpaper or floorboards.
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Indoor Air And Building
It has long been postulated that exposure to damp, moldy home and workplace environments has detrimental health effects. At the beginning of the 18th century, Ramazzini, considered the father of occupational medicine, described an illness of workers inhaling foul and mischievous powder’ from handling crops . More recently, Platt et al. , found that occupants of wet, moldy buildings had an increase in subjective complaints. Brunekreef et al. found a similar pattern in > 6,000 children in six states in the United States and reported home dampness was a strong predictor of respiratory and other illness in this age group. The list of putative symptoms generally consists of upper respiratory complaints, including headache, eye irritation, epistaxis, nasal and sinus congestion, cough, cold and flu symptoms, as well as generalized gastrointestinal complaints . Taskinen et al. reported an increased prevalence of asthma in moisture-affected schools, although there were no objective measurements of respiratory disease. A number of studies have reported a relationship between similar symptoms and damp housing or workplace environments, although the proposed etiologies have varied .
The indoor environment also contains a wide range of microorganisms including bacteria , mycobacteria , and molds , as well as their products, including endotoxins and mycotoxins. There may often be a much higher bacterial load than fungal load .
How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Mold is very common in homes and buildings.
One 2017 study found mold in every public building studied, with an average of about 14 instances of mold per building.
Another involving 31 European countries found mold in 1 in 6 homes. The author noted that the prevalence of mold may vary greatly depending on the regional climate.
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What About Black Mold
At this point, many individuals may ask: what about black mold effects on lungs?
The short answer for these questions is simple: despite what many think, black mold is not lethal.
A large number of molds, including black mold, produce toxins however, they are not likely to be lethal.
As with other molds, individuals who were already at risk may experience symptoms, such as the following:
- Lung problems
Testing For Invisible Hidden Mould
Not all mould is visible, as contamination may be in cavities or the ceiling.
If you suspect mould contamination but cannot find the source of the problem, or if you have already taken measures to prevent mould from growing and you are still having problems, you could employ an occupational hygienist or environmental health and safety professional. For a fee, these professionals can provide specialist mould testing and consultancy services.
Places where you may find hidden mould or damp include:
- Opposite side of dry walls, wallpaper or panelling. Inside walls it often found around pipes that are leaking or condensing and drains.
- Roof materials above ceiling tiles cement roof tiles may lose their outer glaze and absorb moisture into roof spaces. Moisture in roof spaces accumulate, particularly if moist air is vented into the roof space but not allowed to escape
- Underside of carpets and pads, or curtains
- Condensate drain pans inside air handling units
- Porous thermal or acoustic liners inside ductwork
You may need professional help to find and remove hidden mould.
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What Is Mold Toxicity
Mold toxicity occurs when mycotoxins are produced by micro-fungi such as mold, that can affect your bodys system leading to chronic symptoms.
It is estimated that 24% of the population is genetically susceptible to this illness and will begin experiencing chronic inflammatory immune responses as a result of this exposure. Toxins produced by mold will start to accumulate inside the body and begin its takeover of symptoms to an individual.
Association Of Stachybotrys Species With Sick Buildings
One of the best studies of building-related illness showed minimal relation to Stachybotrys. Miller et al. examined 50 Canadian homes in which the occupants had complaints of respiratory or allergic symptoms for which there was no explanation, although at the time of the study, occupants of only 6 houses had building-related illnesses. Looking at air exchange rate, moisture levels, and analyzing air and dust for fungus and fungal products in 37 of the homes, they found S. chartarum in only one house analysis of the 6 sick houses did not indicate fungus-related disease. During parts of the year when windows are open, indoor fungi are comparable to outdoor species . However, in this study, outdoor air spores were negligible and Penicillium and other soil fungi were most important. Toxigenic fungi included P. viridicatum, Trichoderma viride, P. decumbens, and A. versicolor. House dust usually contained appreciable amounts of filamentous fungi and yeast, and so it was expected that spores could be found in air, depending on the activity in the room.
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Black Mold And Toxicity
When you read about molds, you may definitely want to know about black mold, as it is frequently singled out as the biggest culprit. Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold is a greenish-black mold. It was thought to be the reason behind a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis among infants living in a water-damaged environment in Cleveland, Ohio. However, there is not much research to prove the association between acute pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis in infants and exposure to molds, specifically stachybotrys chartarum.15 The guidelines from federal organizations suggest that mold growth, regardless of the type, should be controlled in an appropriate manner.16
Migraines And Chronic Headaches
Its worth mentioning that migraine headaches are often mistaken for sinus headaches . If you experience any of the following symptoms along with your sinus headache, then you might not actually be experiencing a true sinus headache, after all:
- Pulsing or throbbing pain
- Head pain that worsens with physical activity
Its important to understand the difference between a migraine and a sinus headache so that you can take appropriate action. For example, nasal decongestants can actually be habit-forming, so its really not a great idea to take them if your headaches arent caused by sinus issues. Also, if you suffer from chronic headachesthat is, you have 15 or more headache days per month for a period lasting longer than six months, then sinus issues may not be the culprit, either.
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Toxic Mold And How It Destroys Lives
Toxic mold can impact your health in many ways. Were so used to seeing toxic mold in our shower stalls and basements that its easy to view this organic matter as nothing more than an unsightly nuisance. However, research has revealed that while some forms of mold are fairly benign , others can be highly toxic. While exposure to mold will not usually cause sudden death, its cumulative effects can be dangerous, debilitating, and in some cases, even fatal. Heres what you need to know about toxic mold:
Increased Asthma Rate Among Children
Problems With Clinical Studies
Such findings may explain the confusing results of earlier studies. For example, some authors have claimed links between childhood asthma and damp, moldy housing . While retrospective questionnaires reported more wheezing, cough, and chest cold symptoms in children from affected houses, the degree of bronchospasm was not different between groups. Thus, despite the claim that there was a causal association between moldy houses and wheezing, there was no supporting objective evidence. Some studies which claim that moisture and mold were associated with respiratory infections, cough, and wheezing also fail to show differences in asthma prevalence between case and control schools . Other authors report that despite claims of symptoms being more prevalent in case groups , actual asthma prevalence was no different .
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