Can Mold Exposure Be Lethal
This is a major area where information becomes muddled. Some sources of information will tell you that mold exposure of any kind can be deadly, whereas others will say that only exposure to toxic molds can seriously harm you.
Fortunately, exposure to mold isnt usually lethal to a healthy person. However, higher-risk groups can experience far more serious health complications after being exposed to pathogenic and toxigenic molds. Similar to those listed above, people at a higher risk include:
- Pregnant women
- People who have recently had surgery or major medical treatments
- People with compromised immune systems or immune disorders
Mold & Mildew: Where Does It Lurk
Most molds are microscopic fungi that grow on a host surface, like a loaf of bread or a musty, kitchen cabinet. The green mold you see on an old loaf of bread is not one mold, but is actually clusters of hundreds of connected networks of mold.
Mold spores join together using tiny, tubular arms to create a singular organism, commonly referred to as a cluster. This clustered type of mold is visible.
But, high amounts of “un-clustered” microscopic individual mold spores are often moving through our airspace. These spores are completely invisible to the human eye. For this reason, mold and mildew can be hard to spot, and therefore even harder to get rid of. Although a small amount of mold and mildew won’t hurt most of us, it begins to become a big concern when the mold spores get out of hand. When quantity does get out of hand, or when individuals who are highly sensitive to toxic mold, breathe it in, it can present a serious health hazard. Mold and mildew are known to cause respiratory concerns, common allergic reaction symptoms, nervous-system disorders and depression.
In particular, there are certain types of molds that produce what are called mycotoxins . These molds are particularly dangerous and create a toxic breathing environment for you, your children and your pets. Studies have shown that breathing in large amounts of these mycotoxins can impair the entire human body, and can even lead to death.
How Can You Avoid Exposure To Mold During Pregnancy
You can’t avoid all exposure to mold because there is mold everywhere, indoors and out. You can, however, avoid prolonged exposure to excessive amounts of mold, and that’s what you should do. If you think there’s mold growing in your home, you should have it removed as soon as possible. Until then, ask your doctor or midwife if it’s safe for you to remain in the home until the mold can be removed.
To prevent increased exposure to potentially dangerous mold, don’t attempt to clean up mold on your own when you’re pregnant. Arrange for someone else to do the work for you, either a friend or family member or a mold removal professional.
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What If I Dont See Any Mold
Unfortunately, just because you dont see mold doesnt mean that it isnt there. Mold is an expert at hiding in the places you cant see. It can live behind drywall, in the ceiling, in your ventilation, and even in your homes insulation. Regardless of where it lives, if you have mold growing in your home, its spores will be airborne. Being constantly exposed to those in the air that you breathe can have many negative effects on your health.
How Can You Tell If Theres Mold In Your Lungs
If your exposure to mold is fairly minimal, chances are you may not even experience any symptoms. For more prolonged cases of exposure, the symptoms are generally recognizable across the board: sneezing, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or discomfort, and shortness of breath are all strong indicators that there are mold spores in your lungs.
The issue here is that all of these symptoms can be found in a variety of illnesses or allergic reactions, so it can be difficult to directly pin down mold exposure as the cause. Pay close attention to your symptoms, as well as when they started and how they change. Make a mental note of when you discovered mold growing around you, how long you were around it and whether or not you had any protection . If you fear at all that there may be mold in your lungs, dont hesitate contact medical professionals and let them know whats going on. Its always better to be safe than sorry.
Mold exposure can potentially cause serious problems, but most healthy people have nothing to worry about aside from some uncomfortable, temporary symptoms. If youre worried about mold in your home, contact your local professional to learn what you can do about it.
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If You Have Asthma Or Other Chronic Illnesses
If a member of the household has allergies before exposure, they are at risk of developing asthma.; So for family members who already have asthma?; Breathing in mold spores can trigger an asthma flare-up, or worsen existing asthma.;;
For asthmatics or people with a compromised immune system, the effects of mold can be severe. ; Those at risk can also develop allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This is a lung infection caused by breathing in spores; it causes fever, fatigue, and chest pain.;;
People with weakened or compromised immune systems can suffer long-term consequences of mold exposure.; A study done by the National Institute of Health noted that people with chronic fatigue syndrome had mycotoxins in their system, even years after the exposure to mold.;
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.
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Consequences Of Mold For Your Home Itself
Clearly, mold presents a danger to the health of you and your family.; But it can also damage the structure of your home. Every component of the structural wood framing in your home are all susceptible to mold spores.; Left unchecked, there are varieties of mold that will cause the wood to rot and decay. This compromises the structural integrity of your home, and will negatively impact your homes worth and resale value.;;
Treating mold in your home will not solve the problem if you have a wet basement or crawl space.; As long as it remains sufficiently damp, the mold will return. Long-term exposure to humidity can also damage your home.; For more information about waterproofing and why its essential, we have two resources.; Please check out our guide to basement waterproofing or this blog post that reviews the damage water can do to a crawlspace.
Dont Let Mold Hide In Your Home
To an untrained professional glancing at a suspect problem area might not give you the answers you need. Give us a call to discuss how we can help identify and solve the issue. DIY mold clean-up can also be beneficial, but the harsh chemicals that need to be used tend to be harsh. Check out 6 natural ways to treat mold without using bleach.;;
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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.
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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How Dangerous Is Mold In Your Home The Impact On Your Family And Home
We all know what mold looks like- its the fuzzy growth on food not eaten in a timely fashion or the dark grime that creeps on the grout in the corners of the shower.; And sure, youre conscientious about throwing out spoiled food, and you clean your bathroom regularly. But what about the mold growing where you dont see it?;;
Your basement or crawl space might be out of sight, but it should not be out of your mind.; Studies have shown that when you are on the main floor of your home, between 40- 50% of the air you breathe is coming directly from your crawl space or basement.;;;
Acculevel has been repairing foundations, basements, and crawl spaces since 1996, and we are an Anabec-trained contractor.; Anabec is a manufacturer of premium cleaning chemicals that are designed to remediate and prevent mold with the smallest environmental impact.
In this article, well review the various types of health risks that come from mold inhalation and the consequences for your family and home.
Is Mold Dangerous To Breathe
For people sensitive to mold, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath.
Beside above, can breathing in mold kill you? In reality, all molds including black moldcan produce toxins, but exposure to mold is rarely deadly. People are exposed to mold through spores that are released and travel through the air.
Likewise, how do you know if mold is making you sick?
If your Total Body Burden is high, or you are genetically predisposed to recycling toxins, regular exposure to mold can cause allergy symptoms, such as:
Is it bad to breathe in black mold?
The most common black mold symptoms and health effects are associated with a respiratory response. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches can all be symptomatic of black mold exposure or black mold poisoning.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Exposure
Mold allergies are progressive. The more contact you have, the more likely you are to experience severe symptoms.
In some instances, no symptoms or only vague symptoms of mold exposure may occur. These can go unnoticed, especially in babies.
Even without immediate, noticeable symptoms, long-term health effects, such as asthma, have been associated with mold. Its not currently known whether this is a direct cause of mold or merely an association.
Mold may cause:
- skin irritation
- sporotrichosis, a skin infection that starts out as a small pink, red, or purple bump on the skin
- itchy, red eyes
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The Truth About Toxic Mold
Concern about toxic mold is increasing with heightened public awareness that exposure can cause serious health problems- and even death. However, all molds, toxic or not, should be of concern when they persist at elevated levels indoors.
Mold affects both the home and workplace environment, compromising the structural integrity of buildings and the health of those inside.
Recent claim settlements have reached high into the millions-the most notorious case being a $32 million settlement in Austin, Texas, which was later reduced to a $4 million verdict.
The heath effects associated with mold vary depending on the type of mold and the person exposed. Immuno-altered and immuno-compromised individuals are at a much higher risk of suffering health effects. Exposure to mold, via skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation, can result in allergic reactions, infections, or toxic effects. The associated symptoms range from a rash and cold and flu-like effects to neurological damage and even death.
In some cases, indoor mold growth may not be obvious. Mold can grow on hidden surfaces, such as the backside of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Some building materials, such as vinyl wallpaper may act as a vapor barrier, trapping moisture beneath the surface and thereby providing a moist environment where mold can grow on the wallboard or wood paneling underneath.
How Much Mold Exposure Is Harmful
Molds are a type of fungi, which can flourish both indoors and outside. There are millions of mold species.
Mold is important for the planets ecosystem, because it helps break down waste products and organic matter, such as leaves, dead trees, and garbage.
Some people get sick from exposure to mold. Others have no symptoms and dont experience ill effects of any kind.
In this article, well talk about the potential dangers of mold exposure, identify whos most vulnerable, and provide solutions for keeping your environment mold-proof.
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Cleaning Up Small And Medium Mould Problems
Bleach is not necessary to clean up mould.
You can clean up small areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Unless the mould growth is on smooth surfaces such as bathroom tiles, surface cleaning will not eliminate the problem.
In most cases you can clean up medium areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Materials damaged by mould must be physically removed and disposed of under safe conditions. However, it is important to seek professional assistance if there is a large mould problem or if mould comes back after cleaning.
Susceptible individuals such as pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and occupants with asthma, allergies or other health problems should not be in or near the area where the mould is being cleaned up.
Minimum protective gear needed:
- a disposable N95 mask; and
- household disposable gloves.
You can purchase an N95 mask from a hardware store. Make sure that the label says “N95”. Other masks are designed to provide limited protection against dust and are not suitable for protecting against mould exposure. Make sure that the mask is properly fitted and you can breathe through the mask.
What Are The Effects Of Breathing In Mold Or Mildew
Mold and mildew, found everywhere in the environment, are both fungi that need to be in moist areas to grow. Areas that are dark and have poor air quality can also contain mold and mildew. These fungi will eventually damage the surfaces they grow on by spreading seeds or spores. These spores can enter the air and be inhaled, or come into contact with your skin. While not always harmful, inhaling or touching mold or mildew can cause both minor and serious symptoms in some people.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Top Tips For Controlling Mold
It’s impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. If there is already mold growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mold and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely return.
Following is some advice for reducing moisture throughout the home with specific tips for the areas most prone to dampness and mold growth:
Around the house:
In the kitchen:
- Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
- Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
- Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
- Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.
In basements and crawl spaces:
In the laundry room:
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
- Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
- Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.