Is There A Test To Determine If I Have Been Exposed To Mold
Some physicians have recommended testing for mold-specific antibodies. Thepresence of antibodies only indicates that you have been exposed to a substanceat some time. It does not tell you when you were exposed, where the exposuretook place, or how much of the mold you were exposed to. Having a positive testfor mold-specific antibodies alone is generally considered insufficient toprove that health effects reported by individuals in moisture-damaged buildingsare caused by exposure to mold.
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.
How Long Does It Take For Mold To Get Out Of Your System
Again, the answer to this question is highly dependent on several factors: your level of exposure, health history, environment, type of mold, and degree of sensitivity.
Some individuals get better just weeks after removing the source of mold and immersing themselves in clean, mold-free environments.
Other people have reported it took over a year to fully recover.
A good way to gauge how long you will be battling mold in your system is how much mold has built up. The more mold that is in your body, the longer it will take to remove.
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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 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.
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Who Is Most At Risk For Health Problems Associated With Exposure To Mold
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
Causes Of Damp And Mould
Mould and damp are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames.
A newly built home may be damp if the water used when building it is still drying out for example, in the plaster on the walls. Excess moisture indoors can also be caused by condensation.
If you have mould or damp it’s important to find out why you have excess moisture in your home. When you know what’s causing the damp, you can make sure your home is repaired or take steps to limit the moisture in the air. You may need to get a professional to remove mould for you, but if it’s only a small amount you may be able to remove it yourself.
Page last reviewed: 8 August 2018 Next review due: 8 August 2021
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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.
When Should You Test Your Home For Mold Exposure
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , if visible mold is present on inspection, testing is usually unnecessary. There are no Environmental Protection Agency or government standards that have been established for mold or mold spore levels, so it is impossible to prove that a building or room complies with any health regulations concerning mold exposure. Likewise, the CDC does not recommend routine sampling and testing of mold in the home. Health officials haven’t defined tolerable or acceptable limits of mold exposure for humans, and since individuals vary in their susceptibility to mold, testing cannot reliably predict the degree of health risks from any occurrence of mold.
When mold has previously been identified and cleanup procedures have been undertaken, sampling and testing may be carried out if necessary by qualified professionals to determine that adequate cleaning of a building has occurred.
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Does Mold Cause Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion, otherwise known as a stuffy nose, can happen to you regardless of whether or not you have allergies. Often, a stuffed up nose can be the result of a cold, the flu or dry air and shouldnt be a cause for concern. However, if you notice recurring and persistent nasal congestion, particularly at night, then there may be something in your environment thats causing your body to react this way. One of the most common reasons for a stuffy nose is mold, and if you experience this repeatedly over a long period of time, you likely have a mold problem somewhere in your house one that should be remediated as soon as possible.
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:
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Can Mold Exposure Be Lethal
If you are wondering, can you die from breathing in mold?, you are likely not alone. Mold exposure can be frightening.
It is important to know, however, that most mold exposure is rarely deadly.
Exposure to molds, even some toxic molds, is unlikely to be life-threatening.
Although exposure can present adverse health effects, it is most likely not lethal.
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Should I Be Worried About Mold
While there can often be a lot of worry and concern surrounding the issue of mold exposure, there can also be a lot of fear-mongering around this issue too.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to mold exposure is that you are exposed to mold every single day. Whether in the air or on surfaces, indoors or outside, mold is an inextricable part of the ecosystem and can be found almost anywhere.
The only time you should be concerned about exposure to mold and dangerous levels of mold spores is when you are exposed to excessive amounts of mold in an enclosed area.
Excessive mold growth is easy to spot, or in some cases, smell. Mold will be visible as small spots or larger patches, often appearing on tiles, walls, carpets, and furniture. It is often accompanied by a damp, musty smell.
Although these mold growths might be easy to see, it is the invisible airborne spores from mold that present an issue to your health. It is these spores that allow mold growths to spread, and it is also these spores that will trigger allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues if allowed to grow for too long.
When it comes to measuring mold levels or determining what levels of mold could be considered dangerous, we usually refer to the percentage of mold spores per cubic meter of air.
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What Are The Signs Of Mold In Your House
Musty smells are a tell-tale sign of mold. Another common indicator is visible signs of water damage.
As mentioned earlier, mold grows fast. Within 24 hours of a water leak, or a flood, mold will begin to take hold. This mold can grow on anything thats humid walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and even wet laundry.
When there is a chance of mold, its important to have a professional in to test. Professionals qualified to do environmental investigations can:
- Check the surfaces of your house for mold
- Test the air for spores
- Help you to identify sources of moisture
- Identify where the mold is growing and help you decontaminate your house
- Use natural enzymes to kill mold spores
If you dont get rid of all sources of mold, you risk getting sick from it.
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.
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How Can I Be Exposed To Mold
People are exposed to molds every day, usually by touching or breathingthem. Because molds naturally exist outdoors and indoors, living in a totallymold-free environment is practically impossible. As molds grow, spores can bereleased into the air where they can be easily inhaled. People who inhale largenumbers of spores may get sick. Possible health concerns are an importantreason to prevent mold growth and to clean up molds in indoor environments.
I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family
There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.
Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.
Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.
There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.
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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.
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.
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Mold Exposure Standardslevels Of Allergenic Or Toxic Mold & How Much Mold Means A Problem
- about standards for acceptable or unacceptable toxic mold spore counts, levels, or measurements in building interiors
InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.
Mold Standards for Exposure & Testing:
This InspectAPedia technical article describes various current & proposed mold standards as well as the very substantial shortcomings in any mold exposure standard whatsoever.
Here we also explain reasons for substantial variation in and interpretation of the meaning of airborne mold spore counts, moldy surface density, and other measures of the exposure level of allergenic, infectious, and levels of toxic mold in buildings.
At what level is allergenic or toxic mold considered a problem in buildings? How do we obtain an accurate and meaningful measurement of mold exposure indoors?
We also provide an ARTICLE INDEX for this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.
A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
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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.