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.
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
What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Black Mold Health Problems
The CDC recommends first consulting a family or general health care provider that can refer you to a specialist if necessary. The type of specialist depends on the health problem. Allergists treat patients with mold allergies, infectious disease physicians treat mold infections, and pulmonologists treat lung infections.
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Can Air Purifiers Reduce Mold Spores
To really protect yourself from the effects of breathing black mold spores, you have to address it in the air. The best way to reduce and eliminate black mold spores from your indoor air is by running a high-quality air purifier for mold. Not sure where to look? Weve got you covered.
At Air Oasis, we create superior air purifiers by utilizing the top purification technologies: activated carbon filtration, HEPA filtration, UV light and two types of ionization. In a 2018 study, our iAdaptAir® was able to reduce the airborne fungus Aspergillus niger by 99.9% after 10 minutes.
When youre ready to get serious about mold elimination, let our top-of-the-line air purifiers do the heavy lifting. By reducing and eliminating mold spores in the air, our air purifiers can prevent mold from recolonizing and help you to breathe safer. If you have questions about our air purifiers, reach out to us online or give us a call at .
How To Know If You Have Black Mold In Your House
Mold isnt always visible. If you can see mold, its only a sign of the real potential health risk the unhealthy levels of harmful types mold in the air of your home or workplace.
Airborne mold is all around us in both the outdoors and indoors. The types and amount of mold determines the potential health risk. Most of us are accustomed to the varieties and amounts of mold present in our outdoor environments.
Healthy indoor environments will have mold conditions similar to or better than those in the surrounding outdoors. Over time, because of moisture , many indoor spaces develop unhealthy types and/or unhealthy levels of airborne mold that can be harmful to you or your pets.
These signs could mean you have unhealthy mold conditions in your house:
- Allergic symptoms
- A damp or musty odor in one or more places
- Frequent headaches
- The air in the home feels different
- Your house has been flooded or currently has leaks
- You previously tried removing mold yourself
Take note of how you feel in and out of the house. If the symptoms disappear or decrease when youre out and about, then you might have a mold problem, yes, even if you cant see mold.
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What To Do If You Breathe In Mold
Of any problem around the house, mold can be one of the most tedious to deal with. Its stubborn, it spreads easily and, without the right knowledge or professional help, it can be difficult to get rid of. On top of all of this, many homeowners live in perpetual fear of mold due to the effects it may have on their health. Over the years, mold has developed a reputation for being toxic, causing chronic diseases and even causing death in some people.
The fact of the matter is, theres a lot more to mold than you might imagine and a lot of misinformation surrounding it. If youre worried about mold growing in your home and what might happen if you and your loved ones breathe it in, this helpful guide can provide you with insight on what youre dealing with, what steps you should take and how to tell if your exposure to mold has become dangerous.
Mold removal is dangerous and should be handled by a professional. Call us at for a free consultation with a licensed remediation expert available 24/7 near you.
The Scientific Evidence Of Mold Dangers
In 2004, The Institute of Medicine determined that there was a link between indoor mold exposure and problems affecting the upper respiratory tract. Otherwise healthy people were coughing, wheezing, and showing other signs of respiratory problems, and the IOM identified mold exposure as a possible reason.2
Additional research suggests that mold exposure at an early age could increase the risk of asthma in children.3
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How Do You Keep Mold Out Of Buildings And Homes
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance, Correct conditions causing mold growth to prevent mold growth.
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
Understanding The Health Problems Associated With Black Mold
While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce mycotoxins, the molds themselves are not toxic or poisonous. However, that doesnt mean that certain types of toxic molds cant cause serious health problems. In fact, there are reports that Stachybotrys chartarum causes memory loss in adults in acute pulmonary hemorrhaging among infants. The sooner you have your home or business tested for black mold , the sooner the mold will be removed, and the less likely you will be to suffer from the following health problems.
Respiratory Difficulties People living in homes or working in businesses with toxic mold are exposed mainly through breathing in mold spores and mycotoxins in the air. Exposure to black mold can cause minor respiratory difficulties such as shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Long-term exposure can lead to more serious difficulties, including pulmonary edema and pulmonary hemorrhage .
Circulatory Difficulties The mycotoxins produced by black mold can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a persons skin. After prolonged exposure, these mycotoxins find their way into the persons bloodstream. The circulatory difficulties stemming from black mold exposure include irregular heartbeat, heart inflammation, internal bleeding, and blood clots. If your doctor has diagnosed any such circulatory problems, schedule a mold inspection today.
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For Help With Mold Removal
If you need assistance with mold removal, Environmental Protection Agency recommends engaging mold remediation professionals that comply with the guidelines established by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. Many offer free consultations and home inspections, so you can benefit from some expert advice whether or not you opt to handle the mold removal yourself. Follow this link to find qualified mold remediation professionals offering free consultations in your area.
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Breathing Problems Caused By Exposure To Toxic Mold
Black mold is fungus that lives naturally in the environment. Often referred to as toxic mold, the Centers for Disease Control educates that no proven link has been found between black mold and serious health conditions in exposed individuals. Exposure to black mold, as well as other types of mold, may cause health reactions in some people. The CDC, however, states that respiratory problems are more likely to arise in people with underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma, than healthy individuals. Medical evaluation can help determine if breathing problems are due to mold exposure.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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What Does Black Mold Exposure Treatment Look Like
Just like the diagnosis, the treatment of mold exposure differs from doctor to doctor. One thing most doctors will advise you to do is to test for and, if needed, remove any unhealthy mold conditions from your home. Even if the treatment will help in the short-term, it wont be effective over the long-term if your indoor environment isnt improved.
To treat the symptoms, doctors may suggest:
- Over-the-counter medication. Medicine that would decrease the airway inflammation and suppress the allergic reactions.
- Nasal sprays to deal with a runny or stuffy nose or rinses to clear your nasal passages from inhaled mold spores.
- Regular allergy medicine
A persons immune system must be working properly to fight mold symptoms, so changes in a lifestyle or diet might be necessary. In more severe allergy cases, doctors prescribe immunotherapy to relieve symptoms
Preventing Future Exposure To Mold
Most people with mold-related health problems are exposed to mold in the home. While there is plenty of mold outdoors, in the open air the mold spores spread out more and in most areas, people simply do not inhale enough mold spores to lead to health problems. While there may be mold in other indoor areas, most people spend more time in their own homes than anywhere else, so that is where the prolonged exposure likely to cause respiratory infections and other serious mold-related health problems is most likely to occur.
If you suspect your health problems are symptoms of mold exposure, youve probably already found mold growing in your home. However, mold often grows in places where its hard to see, like inside walls, inside heating and ventilation ducts, under carpets and above ceiling tiles. In order to remove all of the mold, youll first need to make sure youve located it all.
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What Does Black Mold Look Like
The appearance of black mold can vary depending on the species, but it is usually a black to dark brown or greenish-black slimy film that grows on organic matter. It is often found in damp and dark places such as basements, bathrooms, and crawlspaces. Its easy to confuse black mold with other types of mold that you might encounter in your home.
Here are some signs that indicate youve got black mold:
- Unpleasant odors coming from your walls or other surfaces
- Moldy patches on walls or ceilings
- Mold growth on woodwork or other building materials
- Musty smells in different rooms of your house
How To Prevent Mold Growth
As mentioned earlier, mold is everywhere, including outside. Which is why Industrial Hygienist always tests outside the affected structure to get a baseline level of what is acceptable inside a structure. It is impossible to completely eliminate mold from your home. However, you can dramatically reduce the amount of mold and future growth of mold in your home by reducing and controlling the moisture.Some ways to control moisture in your home include:
Monitor humidity: make sure your home is dry. Ideal humidity levels to prevent mold growth are at or below 50%.
Use exhaust fans and vents: Turn on exhausts in your kitchen, bathroom, and the laundry room, especially when cooking or taking a shower. If you dont have an exhaust fan, open the nearest window to provide ventilation.
Clean up spills immediately: Spills provide a breeding ground for mold. The longer you let them sit, the better chance moisture has to soak into carpets and floorboards.
Fix leaks: Leaking pipes are a leading cause of mold buildup, especially in bathrooms and basements. Take note of areas with plumbing in your home and check them regularly. Fix any leaks immediately.
Run HVAC: Your HVAC acts like a dehumidifier removing moisture from the air, make sure you keep your HVAC system running year round.Mold and Your Health
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What Causes Black Mold
Molds are an important part of our environment. They decompose dead plants and animals. All types of mold will grow if the conditions are right. Mold grows and spreads quickly in the right conditions, which include:
- Moisture level at or over 70%
- Adequate food source
- Temperatures that range from 40 to 100 degrees F
Mold can grow anywhere in your house that provides these conditions. The most likely places mold will grow are:
- Anywhere that there has been a water leak.
- Damp rooms without adequate ventilation, such as bathrooms.
- Basements where humidity tends to be higher.
- Any areas with a lot of water condensation.
- Any areas where flooding has occurred.
Sneezing And Nasal Congestion
While many things can trigger sneezing, its also a symptom of mold toxicity that should get your attention. If youve never had allergies or hay fever symptoms and youre positive you dont have a cold, those sneezes could be indicative of mold exposure.
Sneezing is the immune systems standard response to allergens. It could also be a warning sign that your home has a mold problem.
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What Are Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Another source of irritation from mold exposure comes from substances knownas microbial volatile organic compounds . These compounds are producedthrough fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often givingoff strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate theeyes and respiratory system and has been linked to symptoms such as headaches,dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea. The effects of mVOCs are notcompletely understood and research is still in the early stages.
What Are The Mold Health Effects I Am At Risk For If Exposed
The most common effects of black mold exposure will be allergy-like symptoms similar in nature to severe hay fever. The mucous membranes of your respiratory passages will become inflamed and irritated. You may suffer from a cough, runny nose, and irritated eyes. In the event the infestation is more concentrated or you are a person who is already sensitive to respiratory ailments, you may also experience headaches, dizziness, or pulmonary irritation that becomes so severe, bleeding is actually caused. Prolonged exposure can also result in more serious respiratory health issues from mold, such as lung or throat cancer.
Black mold can also attack your central nervous system and cause even more serious consequences. It can result in memory loss and lack of concentration. You may also experience headaches, nausea, unexplained aches or pains, chronic fatigue, and chronic fevers. These are all very serious signs that black mold is present and affecting your nervous system, a critical situation. If unaddressed, permanent brain or nerve damage may be the result.
Many people never regain their full memory capacity or ability to concentrate and stay keen after being exposed to black mold over time, gravely affecting their quality of life. Others even go on to develop various sorts of cancers and other serious ailments. Black mold doesnt stop at the respiratory and nervous systems either. Your liver, kidneys, or other organs can start to fail or develop issues as well.
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Black Mold Exposure Can Damage Your Circulatory System
Black mold spores can be inhaled, consumed, or absorbed through a persons skin or eyes. When mycotoxins find their way into the bloodstream, mycotoxins have the potential to cause serious damage.
Symptoms of circulatory system damage from black mold include:
- Irregular heartbeat
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Can Black Mold Cause Fungal Pneumonia
Exposure to mold can lead to allergic reactions, asthma attacks and even pneumonia, although pneumonia as a result of mold exposure is rare, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Infections can also occur in people whose immune systems are weakened.
Similarly, can you get fungal pneumonia from mold?
Fungal pneumonia is an infectious process in the lungs caused by one or more endemic or opportunistic fungi. Fungal infection occurs following the inhalation of spores, after the inhalation of conidia, or by the reactivation of a latent infection.
Additionally, can mold affect your eyes? Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms. Sensitive people who have touched or inhaled mold or mold spores may have allergic reactions such as a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching . Such infections can affect the skin, eyes, lungs or other organs.
Beside this, what are the symptoms of mold in your lungs?
Exposure to Aspergillus fumigatus mold can cause an infection/reaction called aspergillosis in some people. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest pain and fever.
If the disease progresses, symptoms may include:
- Coughing, sometimes accompanied by mucus or blood.
Can black mold cause COPD?
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Indoor Mold: A Threat To Our Health
According to the World Health Organization, up to half of the buildings in North America are water damaged and, thus, prime real estate for indoor molds. Molds such as Stachybotrys chartarum and Aspergillus thrive in damp environments rich in porous materials, such as particleboard, wood, and drywall. In the presence of these materials, a small water leak from a poorly sealed window or a hole in a basement foundation is all it takes to trigger a bloom of mold growth, with potentially drastic repercussions for residents health.
Once mold has established itself in a water-damaged indoor environment, it begins to release secondary metabolites called mycotoxins. Examples of mycotoxins include trichothecenes, produced by the Fusarium fungus, and gliotoxin and ochratoxin A, produced by Aspergillus fungi.
Mycotoxins pose a serious threat to human health, particularly when they are inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed via dermal contact in moldy buildings. The adverse health effects of mycotoxins are compounded by the presence of other biotoxins in damp buildings, including bacterial endotoxin, fungal and bacterial cell wall fragments, and microbial volatile organic compounds .
The constellation of symptoms caused by mold and biotoxin exposure is referred to as mold illness, biotoxin illness, or chronic inflammatory response syndrome . While mold and mycotoxins impact diverse body systems, the cognitive effects are among the most disconcerting.