Health Consequences Of Exposure To Dangerous Mold Types
Before we get into how to tell if mold is toxic, lets talk about why you need to take this so seriously.
One of the most frightening things about exposure to mold is that it will impact everyone differently. This means that, in some cases, you could go for months potentially even years without even realizing that youre being exposed to it. This long-term exposure makes you much more likely to suffer more severe consequences.
The first sign of exposure to black mold is usually some kind of respiratory illness. If you have a history of asthma and other breathing problems already or if you have a weakened immune system in general the respiratory symptoms will be more severe.
Youll notice yourself sniffling, coughing, and feeling like its hard to catch your breath. You may even feel like youre suffering from a cold, right down to itchy and watery eyes. Expect to experience headaches, exhaustion, and potentially even rashes across the body.
In more severe cases, the consequences to your health are incredibly serious. This is because the spores of the black mold have impacted your lungs.
You may experience nosebleeds, nausea and extensive vomiting, and even bleeding in your lungs. Youre also much more likely to develop bronchitis and other lasting respiratory infections.
In some cases, you may even experience extreme depression and mood swings due to a presence of toxic mold.
Worst of all, toxic mold has been linked to brain damage.
How To Prevent Mold And Mildew
- Keep things clean.
- Increase ventilation in the affected area with exhaust fans.
- Install dehumidifiers to reduce humidity.
- Ensure that sources of natural ventilation such as windows remain open, if possible.
- Make sure that sources of mechanical venting such as HVAC vents remain open and unblocked.
- Inspect vents for clothes dryers and ensure that vents are clean and that they are attached.
Why Does Mold Form In Homes
Mold forms in homes because, in many cases, a home is the ideal place for mold to grow particularly in basements and other areas which may be dark and moist, and have a similar temperature all-year-round, due to furnaces and water heaters.
Essentially, there are mold spores in the air at all times and once they find a place thats hospitable to them, theyll start reproducing, causing a visible mold problem.
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How Long Does It Take To Remove Black Mold
Armen D. Glendale Ca.
The time it takes for Black mold removal, is all dependent on how severe the growth is, the location of it, what caused the mold to grow in the first place, sewer wastewater, or freshwater leak.
We have removed black mold in 4 hours for lite contamination, and up to 4 days for severe contamination.
Having the proper certified black mold removal agents makes the removal process safe and very effective.
Silent And Deadly: How To Tell If Mold Is Toxic And What To Do If Its In Your Home
Mold can show up in hidden places and start affecting your familys health. Learn how to tell if mold is toxic and what to do about it in your home.
Youve worked hard to create the home of your dreams.
The last thing that you want is for black mold to take it all away from youand even cause you to suffer severe health consequences.
Especially if you have any kind of pre-existing health conditions, mold is something that you need to take seriously.
Identifying black mold can be notoriously tricky.
In this post, well tell you all about how to tell if mold is toxic.
Even more importantly, well let you know the steps that you need to take to get toxic mold out of your home for good.
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What To Do If You Have Mold
If there is mold in your apartment, you need to notify your landlord immediately. You might also consider asking your landlord to bring in a professional mold inspector. Mold usually grows in difficult to see places, like behind walls or appliances, and the professionals will have equipment to detect it. Whatever they do to find the mold, though, it is important that you and your landlord work together to get it addressed immediately.
In On And Under The Kitchen Sink
A lot happens in your kitchen sink. Dirty dishes pile up , food goes through the garbage disposal, wet sponges sit in the sink or in caddies and collect bacteria, and faucets run. All of these things contribute to the potential for mold growth, so check in these areas often if you want to prevent mold. Oh, and dont forget to check underneath the sink leaky pipes are a big problem for mold.
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When Should You Consider A Mold Inspection
If you notice a musty smell in your home but cant find any visual evidence and you or a member of your family has persistent symptoms, you need to hire someone to inspect your home for mold. Or if you need help locating the source of the water thats causing the mold. If you are buying or selling your home you need to have a mold inspection and if you need a formal plan to remove the mold and repair the damage.
Your Bathroom Exhaust Fan Is On The Fritz
Mold is a particularly common problem in bathrooms with inadequate ventilation, says Yoel Piotraut, a managing partner at MyHome Design + Remodeling. A bathroom exhaust fan is an essential tool to keep toxic mold at baybut it wont work if its clogged or not running well. In fact, if its still steamy five to ten minutes after you get out of the shower, your fan isnt circulating enough air. It may need to be cleaned or replaced with a unit that meets the square footage of your bathroom. Piotraut also suggests cleaning the walls regularly with a bleach solution or other mold-killing product. These are the household items you use that could be poisoning your air.
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How To Tackle Mold
Now that weve covered how to identify mold, lets talk about what you can do to get a handle on the situation.
The first thing that you need to do is get specific when it comes to where exactly the mold is coming from. In some cases, it could be sourced all the way back to a leak in your homes foundation.
In other cases, the source of the leak could be something as unexpected as condensation thats created by a small appliance.
You Visibly See Mold Spores
Of course one of the most obvious ways to determine that you have mold in your house is if you can see it. The downside? If you see a ton of visible mold, it can be an indicator that you have a big problem on your hands.
“Once you see it, you’ve got a big mold problem because what you’re seeing is literally just the tip of the iceberg,” Kelly Hayes-Raitt, a housesitter and the former director of the HomeSafe Campaign in California, told INSIDER.
Simply scrubbing the visible mold with soap and a sponge won’t actually get rid of the mold. So if you see visible mold, you need to reach out to a mold remediation company or another expert to help you get things under control, including any leaks that may have caused the issue in the first place.
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Preparation For House Mold Remediation Work:
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 Poisoning Symptoms In Humans
Mold poisoning can cause a number of different symptoms, depending on the age of the affected individual, the strength of their immune system, and whether or not they have a pre-existing mold allergy. Here are a few of the most common signs and symptoms of mold poisoning in humans.
- A stuffy or runny nose
- Sinus issues or infections
- Worsening or development of asthma
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Skin itchiness, redness, or discomfort
- Fever and shortness of breath
Is Mold Really A Big Deal
The answer depends, but it can definitely turn into a huge deal for the building and your health. Even regular, run-of-the-mill mold can make you miserable and should be dealt with immediately. However, mold that is left untreated can develop into black mold, which is toxic to humans and can make you extremely ill.
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What Mold Looks Like
Molds are a type of fungus and can look like their fungal cousins, mushrooms and yeasts. Outdoors, molds can be seen gobbling up the dead organic matter on decomposing surfaces like fallen leaves and rotting logs indoors, house mold thrives in wet, humid environments like bathrooms and basements or anywhere that has recently flooded. There are thousands of types of mold, and their appearance can vary depending on the type of mold and where its growing.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum , is also sometimes found in homes and other buildings. This greenish-black growth can grow on fiberboard, paper, dust, and lint, particularly in areas that may have recently flooded or suffered other types of water damage. While black mold can certainly look scary, the CDC says that Stachybotrys chartarum isnt any more harmful than other types of mold.
Visible Growths And Odd Colors
You may be able to visibly see a black mold growth in your home. While most black mold is indeed black, it can have a wide range of variations. For instance, you may notice a dark, furry growth or what appears to be a black stain, or there could be white, orange, brown, and even green specks.
A good rule of thumb is no matter what the color, get it treated to avoid damage to your health.
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How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.
Addressing Moisture And Mould In Your Home
Health Canada considers indoor mould growth to be a significant health hazard. The word mould is a common term referring to fungi that can grow on building materials in homes or other buildings. Damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mold-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.
People living in homes with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:
- eye, nose and throat irritation
- coughing and phlegm build-up
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- worsening of asthma symptoms
The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents. Some people are more susceptible than others. For example, infants, children, the elderly and those with health problems such as breathing difficulties are more at risk from mould and dampness.
Any respiratory health concerns should be discussed with a physician if you suspect that these could be caused by poor indoor air quality. Your physician is best suited to determine if your symptoms may be related to environmental factors or some other underlying cause.
Health Canada recommends controlling dampness indoors and cleaning up any mould regardless of the type of mould presentFootnote 1.
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Finding Hidden Mold Before Its Too Late
If you are a homeowner, you may already know that excessive moisture can promote mold growth that could cause allergic reactions in some individuals, as well as damage building components and personal items.
The key to controlling mold lies in eliminating the source of moisture and the conditions that promotes its growth.
Investigating a mold-related issue has many facets and can be a daunting task, especially for individuals who are not familiar with the inspection process.
Often, observing the appearance and pattern of mold growth on surfaces can provide pertinent information regarding the moisture source.
For instance, if you observe a linear growth pattern on ceiling areas, this could indicate condensation issue.
More specifically, the line to the AC unit in the attic could be sweating, resulting in water from the line dripping on the upper surface of the ceiling tiles.
Picture of mold growing on ceiling
In contrast, mold growing in a circular pattern on the surface of a ceiling usually indicates a leak centered in that location. When indoor humidity is an issue, the mold growth will be scattered and take the shape of droplets.
Picture of mold growth caused by high indoor humidity levels
Mold growing along baseboards of an exterior wall that has no plumbing could indicate a water intrusion issue.
Mold growth may also appear in the form of black conk-like structures on surfaces such as wallboard and drywall, if they are hidden behind cabinets or furniture.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Mold Problem
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.
Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
For more information on mold, see our website at www.epa.gov/mold.
Read the publication, “A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home” at www.epa.gov/mold/brief-guide-mold-moisture-and-your-home
Una Breve Guía para el Moho, la Humedad y su Hogar está disponible en el formato PDF . Documento de la agencia EPA número 402-K-03-008.
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