How Do These Chemicals Harm My Health
Entering the Body
The harm begins when a person is exposed to an environment that contains a large amount of mold. During this time, damaging enzymes in the mold may enter a persons lungs. After going into the lungs, the enzymes may bypass the persons gut barrier and go into their bloodstream.
Harming the Neurons
Once they are in the bloodstream, these harmful mold antigens may change the persons blood-brain barrier function. This alteration allows the antigens to go into the nervous system. From there, the antigens may harm the persons neurons and interrupt their production of needed antibodies.
The Negative Effects
The disruption of the persons immune system can cause a variety of negative health issues. People may suffer from immune suppression, eczema, allergies, and sinusitis. They may also experience headaches, hyperthyroidism, vomiting, and other negative effects. Mold exposure can also cause people to suffer from myalgic encephalitis, rheumatic disorders, and painful lymph nodes.
How To Cure Mold Related Asthma Symptoms
If youve ever experienced the effects of the persistent and hazardous micro-organism called mold, then you already know how unpleasant and debilitating these effects can be.
The very first step in doing away with your symptoms is to find the and the have it removed.
In most cases, mold problems can be traced back to some sort of moisture problem since water is the leading factor contributing to fungal growth. So, begin with detecting the problematic areas in your home. These areas most often include the kitchen sink, leaking toilets, condensation around windows and cracks in the foundation. Also keep an eye on areas that are poorly insulation and more humid.
In some cases, areas that are contaminated with mold are easily identified theyre unsightly, attract dust and release unpleasant odours. Once youve identified them, the next step is fixing them in an efficient manner.
Unless you are lucky enough to possess specialized equipment and knowledge of proper mold remediation procedures, your best option is calling a team of mold removal experts. Not only are they well equipped with all the latest equipment, but they also have years of first-hand experience dealing with all types of mold problems. Theyll be able to pinpoint with certainty the source of the mold contamination and plan for a strategic remediation. Also, theyll ultimately be able to minimize your risk of future mold growth.
Comparative Testing For Mycotoxins
For this reason, I recommend someone else in your home take a mold toxicity test if possible. That way, if they also test positive for the same mycotoxins youll have further evidence its your home that is the toxic environment.
If you can convince a coworker to take a mold toxicity test and they test negative, that will give you even more confidence that your home is the toxic environment. Of course, if they test positive, that muddies the waters a little. A test of a second coworker could be helpful.
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What About Tiny Mold Toxins Aka Mycotoxins
As mentioned above, though the Stachybotrys spores may be sticky and not easily airborne, there are other airborne contaminants to worry about: tiny fragments of mold and special toxins called mycotoxins. These contaminants may cause illness in those who are exposed, with mycotoxins being the most concerning.
You can think about mycotoxins as the molds defense: they are used for protection from environmental threats. Mycotoxins are minute organic compounds as small as 0.03 microns. These tiny molecules can stick to particles already floating through the air. Studies have found Stachybotrys mycotoxins on mold fragments that have broken off from a mold colony after it has been disturbed . This can be harmfulairborne particles less than 1.0 microns are easily breathed into the respiratory system, where they can cause irritation and potential allergic reactions. If this occurs, mycotoxins could accumulate onto local tissue and ultimately enter the bloodstream. The study by Brasel cited above showed that trichothecenes could be measured in the blood of people exposed to an indoor environment that had Stachybotrys.
Stachybotrys creates a class of mycotoxins referred to as trichothecenes. Trichothecenes have been widely studied and have been proven to be detrimental to the health of humans, animals and plants. In fact, trichothecenes have been investigated for the purpose of biological warfare needless to say, they are not something to which you want to be exposed.
How Mold Toxicity Has Become Epidemic What To Know If You Have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Or Histamine Intolerance
Mold Toxicity is more common than you realize. And its gotten worse in recent years. Part of this started to happen with the new building codes put in place in the 1970s. Buildings are more energy efficient now.
However, part of the reason for that means airflow has been reduced in buildings. And reduced airflow can mean more humidity.
Which then means a better environment for mold to grow. Also, newer materials like drywall can grow mold more readily than concrete. Drywall can serve as a type of food source for mold.
Just how common is mold toxicity?
In 2007, the EPA and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that 47% of all homes in the US have water damage leading to toxic molds!
A study in 2002 by the EPA reported that 85% of commercial buildings have water damage that can grow mold. In 1995, the US government found 30% of schools have major mold growth.
If you are exposed to mold like this, research shows you are 30-50% more likely to develop major health issues from it. It can contribute to anything from weight gain to serious neurological symptoms.
In addition to moldy buildings being more common, mold and their toxins also have become more aggressive.
Why has this happened? Preliminary studies and observations by top mold inspectors are pointing to EMFs from WIFI routers and the tons of WIFI devices everywhere these days.
Although studies are clear that Mold Toxins are very dangerous, it has gone highly under recognized.
Heres the good news, though
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How Are Mold Exposure And Tuberculosis Related
As we mentioned earlier, there are three types of mold:
Each of these types can have a different impact on your health, from a simple skin rash to breathing issues and even cancer. Which symptoms you will experience depends mainly on your immune system. But, even the strongest immune systems can weaken with time if it is continuously expose to mold. Especially to Pathogenic and Toxigenic types of mold.
Tuberculosis is one of the possible mold effect you can experience and we can blame the toxic type of mold for that. Toxic mold spores often produce mycotoxins that threaten your health and make you vulnerable to diseases, like the above mentioned tuberculosis.
At Mold Busters, we often get asked whether mold can cause tuberculosis, given that it has such a profound effect on the respiratory system.
No at least not directly.
Although mold itself cannot cause tuberculosis, it does weaken peoples immune systems, making them more vulnerable to infections. Once your immune systems stops working full-time, you shouldnt worry about tuberculosis only, but many other infections, mold related or not.
People who spend a substantial amount of time in areas with poor air quality are at greater risk of mold exposure and are, therefore, more susceptible to allergic, bacterial and viral infections due to weakened immune systems.
Symptoms Of Mycotoxin Exposure
Now, I want to point out that mycotoxin poisoning is not the same as having an allergic reaction to mold exposure. People with a mold allergy tend to get typical hay fever or allergy symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, or sinus infections when the mold count in their environment is high. And remember, the vast majority of these molds are not toxic molds that produce mycotoxins.
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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 Are Mold Allergies And Exposure Diagnosed
There are no proven tests that show when or where you may have been exposed to mold.
But your doctor may check for mold allergies by reviewing your symptoms and performing one of the following tests:
- Blood test. Your doctor takes a blood sample and then sends it to a laboratory to measure the number of certain antibodies, which can indicate your immune systems sensitivity to different mold species.
- Skin prick test. Your doctor takes a small amount of mold and applies it to your skin using a tiny needle. Your skin will break out in bumps, a rash, or hives if youre allergic to that type of mold.
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How Can You Be Exposed To Black Mold
You can be exposed to black mold, or any species of mold, by breathing in microscopic mold particles in the air, or through consumption of food that contains it.
Stachybotrys is unique because its spores are sticky and easily adhere to a surface when the mold colony dries. They are not regularly found in the air unless the mold colony has been disturbed. Though its spores are not readily airborne, black mold can produce other harmful contaminants more easily found in the air .
A disruption to a black mold colony can be as simple as slamming a door, opening a window or knocking into contaminated furniture. More force is required for Stachybotrys spores to become airborne, as compared to other commonly found indoor molds .
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.
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The Genus Stachybotrys: What You Should Know
Stachybotrys is sometimes called toxic black mold because it produces mycotoxins that can cause severe health problems to those who have been exposed to it.
Stachybotrys exposure symptoms include difficulty breathing, sinusitis, fatigue, and even depression. Dull aches and pains in the sinus cavities are common among sufferers of black mold exposure.
If youve been exposed to Stachybotrys, you may also experience a burning sensation in your throat and lungs, mild chest pain, persistent cough, fever, and migraines. Stachybotrys mold is dark greenish or black in color and has a slimy texture.
Sometimes Action Not Knowledge Is Power
While all of this information is interesting, it may not be particularly useful to the average homeowner in common mold situations. If you find mold in your home, there is probably no need to run screaming from the house and head directly to the emergency room. On the other hand, you shouldnt let an infant, elderly person, or someone with respiratory problems spend time in a room or area where mold has been identified. If you dont see or smell any mold, but have household members develop some type of inexplicable respiratory problem, well, then, its time to go see your doctor. Of course, you should always have a mold problem immediately dealt with, if not for the health of your household, then the health of your home. Mold can eat away at building materials, including insulation and support structures.
Ready to start your mold removal?
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Getting A Mold Checkup
Getting rid of the mold in your home is your first priority. Since CDC guidelines don’t distinguish between different types of mold and recommend the prompt removal of all mold in your home, testing beforehand isn’t a priority if you’ve already decided you have a problem. Testing can be useful when you want to make sure your property is free of mold after a cleanup, though.
There are a couple of ways you can arrange for a test. You can purchase an in-home test kit, follow the directions and submit the resulting sample to a lab. The costs for this can vary quite a bit, anywhere from $40 to more than $200, and the results might not be reliable. Consumer Reports conducted an evaluation of home mold testing kits in 2006, and none of the four kits they looked at received a recommendation. The problems ranged from the kits having no expiration dates, potentially compromising the results, to being difficult to use .
There is a third choice. After a cleanup, you can make periodic, careful evaluations of the infected area yourself and monitor your family’s health to see if the problem recurs. The time and effort you take with the clean-up and the extent of the mold damage may have an impact on how comfortable you feel with this option. If a foul smell alerted you to a mold problem in the first place, using your nose to check the area periodically might be a good way to gauge the success of your cleanup efforts.
How To Get Rid Of Mold
There are plenty of DIY mold removal options for you on the web some more effective than others. These may suffice if the problem is minor. After DIY treatment, it may be good to have an air quality test taken to measure the effectiveness of your work.
If the problem is more than minor, DIY methods will likely only remove the appearance of mold for a short time. For more serious problems, the best approach is to hire a certified and reputable local mold remediation company.
Most mold remediation companies will recommend demolition of the infected part of your home to literally remove the mold, so keep in mind that you might have additional expenses to restore a portion of your house. On top of that, the process might take several days.
If you are looking into demolition-free mold removal, then consider companies that use a dry fog technique. When properly done, this method not only kills mold without demolition, but it also takes less than a day to complete.
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How Do You Treat Mold Toxicity Symptoms
Right now, youll see a lot of experts recommending handfuls of supplements and strict diets but the reality is, we just dont know for sure if these are the right treatment approach, says McElroy. Instead, she recommends the steps below. You might be surprised to see that killing the mold is only one out of five. Thats no coincidence! As McElroy explains, I often dont focus on killing mold since most symptoms are due to the immune response, not the mold itself. Instead, she starts with simple lifestyle steps and utilizes non-pill practices to achieve a state of better immune health , including:
Dangers Of Black Mold
To test the dangers of breathing in black mold toxins, researchers injected Stachybotrys particles into the nasal passages of mice. The result was irritation, inflammation, and atrophy of the nose and up into the brain. Similar results were discovered with tests on rat and mouse lungs. When injected with black mold spores, the animals showed lung inflammation and hemorrhage, and many didnt survive the study.
In several well-documented cases, horses and other livestock that breathed in Stachybotrys or ate feed that was contaminated with it became very sick. In mild cases, symptoms included swollen lips, conjunctivitis, mouth sores, and nasal irritation. As the conditions worsened, the animals experienced blindness, blood problems, hemorrhaging, irritability, motor deficiencies, lung congestion and swelling, and in many cases, death.
The animals human caretakers were also affected, either by directly touching the mold-infected feed or by breathing in toxins when handling it. They showed symptoms such as bloody nose, cough, fever, low white blood cell counts, mouth sores, skin lesions, sore throat, and tightness in the chest.
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Health Effects And Symptoms Of Black Mold
According to the EPA, various types of mold can cause health problems for some people. Those health problems are primarily in the form of allergies such as stuffy head, headache, itchy eyes, trouble breathing, etc. These ailments can be more severe in the young, the old, and those with other health issues. The CDC basically says the same thing that mold can cause health issues in some people, or no issues in other people.
According to the CDC, Stachybotrys black mold is unproven to cause serious medical issues beyond those mentioned above. In other words, symptoms of black mold are only proven to be similar to other molds. The CDC simply states that various types of mold may cause health symptoms, to consult with a doctor if symptoms persist, and that no color or type of mold belongs in a building.
You may be thinking: If all we know for sure is that mold causes allergies in some people, and maybe some serious health problems in a small percentage of other people, then whats the big deal?
Well, our answer to that is to imagine yourself as one of those people who are sensitive to mold. Constant allergies, constantly feeling sick, and miserable in your own home. Theres even a scientific name for it: Sick Building Syndrome . Mold, along with other problems such as radon, Chinese drywall, etc., can cause Sick Building Syndrome. Suffering through Sick Building Syndrome is a terrible way to live, and we wouldnt wish it upon our worst enemy!
Is black mold dangerous?