Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Is Black Mold Bad For Your Health

How Do Black Mold Spores Affect Pets

How toxic mold cost one Austin family their home, health

Unlike humans, pets are more likely to consume moldy food and tend to spend more time in places prone to black mold growth. When exposed to black mold for a prolonged period, pets can exhibit allergy symptoms such as respiratory difficulties, pulmonary hemorrhage, nose bleeds, runny noses, fatigue, and more.

Pets can be affected by mold through ingestion. Spoiled items such as cheese or sour cream may contain mold that releases poisonous chemicals known as mycotoxins. Pets that eat food containing mycotoxins may exhibit muscle spasms or body tremors. Dont allow your pets to eat spoiled food. Take your pet to the vet immediately if you suspect theyve been exposed to black mold.

What Happens If You Eat Food With Mold

The thought of eating something moldy likely makes you want to gag. Most of the time, this is the only symptom youd get after eating moldy food. If somethings not right with your immune system and you eat something moldy, you might experience symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • If you are allergic to mold, those allergy symptoms may be triggered also

If you notice mold on your food that you dont want to throw away, consult the USDAs guide on handling moldy food.

How To Remove Mold From Air Conditioner Ducts

Removing black mold can be a challenge, and is very time-consuming. Generally, the process involves taking apart your AC system to vacuum and clean the system using powerful agents. The cleaning must be done thoroughly and correctly, or the mold will grow back, and could even spread to other areas of the house.

Weve summarized the basic steps below:

Step 1: Contact a certified mold inspector to confirm the substance is black mold. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money in the removal process.

Step 2: Examine the insulation around your air ducts. If the black mold in your air vents has spread to the insulation, it will need to be replaced.

Step 4: Clean and disinfect the ductwork using the proper tools and approved killing agents.

Step 5: Perhaps the most important part of the process is to find out what caused the growth in the first place. Otherwise, the black mold will continue to reappear even after you remove it.

Since the process can be complex, sensitive, time-consuming and toxic, its highly advisable to seek professional help if you have a problem with black mold. An experienced AC technician will have the tools and killing agents necessary to clean your air vents and prevent your ducts from being a breeding ground for this dangerous fungus. A professional will also be able to locate and fix the source of the problem, preventing the problem from happening in the future, saving you money and helping to keep your household healthy.

Recommended Reading: How To Clean Up Mold In Basement

How Much Mold Exposure Is Harmful

While there is no magic number for how much black mold you need to be exposed to before it poses health risks, no level of contact is truly healthy, and you should take steps to avoid or limit your exposure. Every persons body reacts differently, and some individuals may have a higher tolerance before exhibiting symptoms of harmful exposure.

If you suspect you were exposed to black mold, look at the symptoms below and contact your physician if youre experiencing any of them.

How To Treat Black Mold Poisoning

The Health Dangers Of Black Mold

Black mold, scientifically referred to as Stachybotrys atra or Stachybotrys chartarum, is typically black or dark green and often linked to serious health problems.

In fact, black mold exposure can lead to poisoning, or stachybotryotoxicosis a condition thats dangerous, particularly for young children and the elderly.

Even though black mold poisoning typically affects horses, cows, and pigs, humans can become infected if they inhale or ingest the spores.

Symptoms of stachybotryotoxicosis include skin rashes , throat and sinus irritation, burning eyes, and a decrease in the production of white blood cells.

Also Check: How Long Does It Take Uv Light To Kill Mold

The Effects Of Mold On Your Home And Your Health

We all know that mold in our homes is a bad thing but exactly how bad is it for your health and your home itself?

Mold grows by releasing its spores into the air, which are invisible to the naked eye. It can spread and grow anywhere as long as moisture and oxygen are present, but commonly grows on surfaces such as insulation, sheetrock, tile, fabrics and wood. It can enter your home through windows, vents and doorways or it can attach itself to clothing and pets and be carried inside. It might be a shock to learn that you can have hundreds or even thousands of mold spores in one cubic foot of air in your home.

Can Black Mold Spores Travel In The Air

Yes. Mold spores are airborne and can attach themselves to peoples skin, clothing, shoes, shopping bags, furniture, carpets, and even pets. Once spores enter your home, they can settle onto any surface and start to multiply. They can also enter your house through open doorways, open windows, and HVAC systems.

Mold spores are microscopic and are virtually found everywhere. They are naturally found in the air we breathe, both indoors and outdoors. Since spores are tiny and lightweight, they become airborne easily, every time we vacuum or walk on the carpets or even sit on our couch.

Read Also: How To Clean Mold Off Concrete Patio

Health Problems Related To Dampness And Mold

Allergies or allergic responses to pollen or animal dander are the most common types of health problems related to mold. Typical symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Nose, mouth, or throat irritation
  • Irritation of the nose, mouth, or throat
  • Nasal stuffiness and runny nose
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes

Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores can cause a person to become allergic to mold. Molds can trigger asthma symptoms including shortness of breath, wheezing, or cough in people with known allergies. People who do not have allergies can also become irritated. Studies indicate that exposure to molds in the workplace can make pre-existing asthma worse. NIOSH investigates associations between damp buildings and developing new asthma.

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a kind of lung inflammation that occurs when people develop immune system sensitization to inhaled organic dust. Immune system sensitization is similar to an allergy. It can seem like pneumonia, but it does not get better with antibiotics for infection. Symptoms of HP can vary. Some persons have:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Night sweats
  • Profound fatigue

These symptoms usually first appear 2 to 9 hours after exposure and last for 1 to 3 days. Other affected persons have progressive shortness of breath and cough, as well as weight loss.

This lung disease has also occurred in workers who worked in water-damaged buildings with:

  • Roof leaks
  • Poorly draining condensation pans
  • High indoor relative humidity
  • Shortness of breath

The Health Risks Of Black Mold Exposure

Black Mold in Your Basement? How Mold Can Hurt Your Family’s Health

Toxic black mold syndrome is a serious disease that affects many people across the country. When you have a mold problem in your home, there may be mold spores in the air that you breathe. Toxic black mold exposure has been linked to serious symptoms, such as respiratory illness and sinusitis. A company offering mold removal near Baltimore can help eliminate a mold problem in your home. By setting up mold remediation and basement waterproofing, you can work to protect your household from the health dangers of mold. To find out more about the importance of black mold removal, watch this video clip.

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Final Word On Black Mold: Best Avoidedbut Not Deadly

As for black molds toxic reputation, those with immune suppression, asthma, or other respiratory problems are most at risk of feeling ill.

Its not likely that youll die from black mold poisoning because its just not that toxic. That said, you should act quickly if you find it in your home. The good news is its treatable, removable, and preventable.

How Fast Does Black Mold Spread

Mold begins to grow as soon as its spores land on a damp, fibre-rich material and it can spread around the house within 24 to 48 hours. It colonizes in one to twelve days and grows at one square inch per day. In less than a week, it can cover surface areas of several square feet.

Unfortunately in most cases, mold is widespread and already a big problem before a problem is even suspected by the homeowners.

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Mold On Roof Shingles

When Do I Call A Professional

Having a health reaction while in your home could be an instant alarm to mold spores in your home. Black mold spores can cause major respiratory issues, as well as some mental disorientation. As soon as you experience anything related to these symptoms, you should call on a professional mold removal company.

If you arent sure where to start and want to get it all, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can refer a reputable mold removal company as well as determine the extent of the black mold damage.

Abc Can Keep Your Family Comfortable And Safe

Health Risks of Black Mold (Stachybotrys chartarum)

Black mold is a serious problem that should be treated immediately and professionally. However, you shouldnt let worry about black mold growth keep you up at night. The truth is, this type of toxic mold is uncommon in air ducts that are regularly cleaned and maintained by professionals. With years of experience and licensed professionals, ABC Home & Commercial Services can provide proactive care for your air ducts and prevent black mold from ever rearing its ugly head in your home. Leave the air duct checkup, repair and cleaning to us.

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Actions You Can Take To Reduce Mould

The most important actions you can take to prevent mould in your home are those that minimise moisture.

  • Fix leaky plumbing and roofs and other building faults
  • Ensure gutters are cleared and maintained
  • Reduce condensation by using exhaust fans, or open windows in the bathroom and kitchen when showering, cooking or using the dishwasher
  • Wipe up excess water caused by condensation such as on single glazed windows and on shower glazing
  • Air the home regularly by opening windows and doors on warmer days
  • Vent clothes dryers to the outside and clean lint filters according to the manufacturers instructions.
  • Use reverse cycle air conditioning and or mechanical dehumidification if available
  • Ensure sufficient exhaust openings to the outside of the building if using evaporative cooling. Evaporative coolers increase the moisture content in indoor air, so the manufacturers instructions should be followed to ensure airflow in the home.
  • Maintain heating, ventilation and cooling systems according to the manufacturers instructions.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
  • Avoid placing mattresses on the floor or surfaces without adequate ventilation.
  • Vacuum, and or turn mattresses if it can be done safely.
  • Increase air circulation around furniture by moving the furniture away from the walls.
  • Refer to information about cleaning up mould: refer to the information on the Better Health Channel website.

    What Does It Cost

    Black mold removal costs can vary based on where it is located in the home and how large of an area is affected. If the size of the coverage area is small, you could probably pay as little as $500. However, if the area of black mold coverage is large, you could pay up to $4,000. If your attic or air ducts are affected by black mold spores, then you are going to pay $2,000 to $6,000 for removal.

    Also Check: How To Remove Mold Behind Drywall

    Where Is Mold Found In A Home

    A research study found that Stachybotrys preferred a very high relative humidity within wallsapproximately 97%which indicates that relative humidity could be an important risk factor . For black mold, you may consider smaller microclimates that may harbor such humidity levels: sweating pipes, under sink cabinets, front loading washing machines, standing water, roof leaks, damp cars, windows with condensation, etc. Generally, common places to check for mold growth include the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.

    However, humidity alone is not the only requirement for mold growthmold requires nutrients to grow. Any environment that has nutrients like cellulose or other organic matter can harbor mold if the humidity level is right. To further enable mold growth, an environment that has poor air flow and minimal disruption is ideal. For example, you can find mold on wallpaper, furniture, drywall, overly-packed bookshelves or overstuffed closets.

    How Can I Prevent Black Mold

    How Dangerous is Black Mold?

    Of course, moving out is not a simple or accessible process for everyone. If you dont have the resources to move or simply dont want to, consider these prevention measures to protect yourself against black mold:

    • Immediately repair leaks
    • Constantly wipe down/dry wet or damp surfaces
    • Invest in a dehumidifier to clear the air of excess water vapor
    • Clean rooms that are susceptible to water collection with anti-fungal products
    • Open windows to facilitate air circulation when possible
    • Clean rooms/spaces that dont get much use to ensure mold isnt growing there

    Like any prevention method, these steps do not ensure that black mold will not grow in your home, but they lessen the chances. The biggest takeaway here is that black mold flourishes in objects that retain water or places that harbor standing water, which is why avoiding humidity is so imperative in preventing fungus growth.

    Read Also: How To Properly Clean Mold Off Walls

    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.

    What Is Black Mold

    Stachybotrys chartarum is a common black mold. It can also be a greenish color. It grows on cotton, wood, and paper products. It sometimes produces toxic chemicals that are found in its airborne spores and fungus fragments.

    These are called mycotoxins and are dangerous if they’re eaten. There’s no link to inhaled Stachybotrys chartarum mycotoxins and deadly diseases. But there are risks for people with allergies, asthma, and other hypersensitivities.

    There is no evidence that black mold causes symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, an inability to focus, or a headache. These symptoms have been referred to as “toxic mold syndrome” but are largely due to media hype. Yet some people are allergic to mold. It should always be removed from your home.

    Also Check: What To Do After Being Exposed To Mold

    How To Spot Signs Of Black Mold In Air Vents

    Mold can be one of the negative effects of floods or can indicate a problem with your air conditioning system. When black mold grows on walls, floors, carpets and so on, its relatively easy to spot. However, when black mold starts growing in your air vents, things get a little trickier.

    You may have black mold in your air ducts if you notice any of the following signs.

    Long Term Effects / Difficulty Of Concretely Establishing Causes

    How dangerous is black mold in bathroom?

    In some cases, experts believe that long term black mold exposure manifests as cancer. Again, because there is no one biomarker that helps identify the presence of black mold within the human body, this linkage is causal at best. Scientists know that mycotoxins are responsible for creating health problems in humans, among other creatures but creating a solid cause/effect chart is difficult. Mycotoxins can immediately manifest harm, or lay dormant for years. Their ferocity is based on the relative state of the immune system of the person they encounter, along with a host of other as yet undefined factors.

    Read Also: How To Clean White Mold Off Concrete

    I Found Mold Growing In My Home How Do I Test The Mold

    If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk.

    Exposure Sources And Prevention

    The primary sources of mold exposure are from the indoor air in buildings with substantial mold growth and the ingestion of food with mold growths.

    While mold and related microbial agents can be found both inside and outside, specific factors can lead to significantly higher levels of these microbes, creating a potential health hazard. Several notable factors are water damage in buildings, the use of building materials which provide a suitable substrate and source of food to amplify mold growth, relative humidity, and energy-efficient building designs, which can prevent proper circulation of outside air and create a unique ecology in the built environment. A common issue with mold hazards in the household can be the placement of furniture, resulting in a lack of ventilation of the nearby wall. The simplest method of avoiding mold in a home so affected is to move the furniture in question.

    Prevention of mold exposure and its ensuing health issues begins with the prevention of mold growth in the first place by avoiding a mold-supporting environment. Extensive flooding and water damage can support extensive mold growth. Following hurricanes, homes with greater flood damage, especially those with more than 3 feet of indoor flooding, demonstrated far higher levels of mold growth compared with homes with little or no flooding.

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