How To Treat Black Mold Poisoning
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.
Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
Many types of indoor mold, not just black mold, can cause symptoms if you are sensitive to them or are exposed to them for a prolonged period of time. Symptoms of mold exposure include:
Symptoms of mold exposure may be worse in people who are most at risk, including:
- People with an allergy to mold
- People with a weakened immune system, who may develop infections
- Older people
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.
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Dangers Of Black Mold
Most molds can trigger an allergic reaction in people that have a mold allergy. One of the reasons that black mold gets so much attention is that in addition to allergic symptoms, black mold exposure has been linked to long-term illness, respiratory disease and neurotoxic effects. How dangerous a particular black mold colony is depends on the person exposed, the duration and severity of exposure and the byproducts released by the colony.
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 .
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How Long Does It Take To Get Sick From Mold Exposure
As we were settling in, making our house a home, and enjoying life in a new country, something started to feel off.
Within a few days of moving in Andris sleep was getting progressively worse. From tiredness to pure exhaustion. He started experiencing different allergies and skin issues. His stomach was constantly bloated, and he looked like he was entering his third trimester of pregnancy. There was a massive contrast from the healthy, strong man I was used to seeing.
When we moved in, I cleaned all the kitchen cabinets because they had a horrible musty smell, but it kept coming back. So it didnt take me too long to put two and two together and understand what was going on.
After a few more days passed, Andri was already struggling to think straight.
He was experiencing brain fog and couldnt focus on anything. We continued to try solve the problem, hoping that our new home would be the happily ever after we envisioned.
But then, around day 9 of moving in, Andri started getting dizzy, and his vision was so blurry he couldnt even read his phone.
So, finally, we knew we had to get out and we escaped our new dream home in Portugal.
What was happening to us?
It turns out that Andri is allergic to mold. He started experiencing various health issues almost immediately. And as soon as we discovered that its coming from the kitchen, he started avoiding the area.
But since I didnt feel anything, I continued to spend time there.
What Does A Mold Allergy Look Like
What Are the Symptoms of a Mold Allergy? The symptoms of mold allergy are very similar to the symptoms of other allergies, such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion and dry, scaling skin. Mold spores get into your nose and cause hay fever symptoms. They also can reach the lungs and trigger asthma.
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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.
Identifying Mold In Your Home
- Appearance or dark spots or clusters. Look for spots or clustered growths, especially in warm, moist rooms.
- Musty smell. You may be able to identify mold by a musty smell.
- Allergies or asthma. If you experience asthma attacks or allergy symptoms in your home, that may also indicate theres mold.
- Potential causes. Look for causes of mold growth, like a leak, water damage, lack of ventilation, or old food, papers, or wood.
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In Need Of Mold Remediation Near Fresno Ca
My Pure Environment specializes in non-invasive mold inspection, testing, and remediation. We do our best to ensure that weve completely eradicated all mold spores and microbes in your home or workspace. We serve the Greater Fresno and San Francisco areas. Contact us today for your free onsite consultation.
Sicknesses Caused By Black Mold
Toxic black mold is associated with many negative health consequences, but whether or not someone develops sickness depends on case-specific factors. Removing yourself from the mold source is typically the best way to find relief. However, some mold-related illnesses continue or develop even after a person is no longer exposed to black mold.
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Navigating All Of The Confusing And Concerning Information About Black Mold Is Hard But Were Here To Tell You The Truth
Many of us have heard of the dangers of toxic black mold and may worry about black mold poisoning, but the truth is that black mold is a much more manageable problem than you might expect.
Few topics get us more upset than seeing misinformation publicized about toxic black mold, and mold in general, by unscrupulous companies and zealous media articles that seem more interested in sensationalism than fact-based reporting.
When you understand what youre dealing with, you can make informed choices to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Were here to cut through the mess and help you understand what having black mold in your home may mean, and give you some tips on how to fix the problem yourself and save big money in the process.
How Does Black Mold Form
The main reason behind the formation of black mold is moisture, which can be caused by several things, such as, water leakage, lack of proper ventilation, flooding, irregular maintenance, humidifiers, condensation, clogged-up gutters, damp clothes, humid basements, or even water accumulation around the foundation of your house.
Did you know?
Direct Water Away From Your House
Take note that black mold prevention isnt just an indoor task. You should also control moisture sources outdoors, especially your downspouts.
Make sure that your drains and downspouts are pointed away from your homes foundation. This way, the moisture wont get into your basement and allow black mold to form. You should also fix your landscaping to ensure that water isnt getting trapped in certain spots.
How Will I Know When Ive Been Exposed To Mold
Chances are you may not know right away. Some individuals are so sensitive to mold, they can tell the moment they step into a moldy room. For the rest of us, it can be more difficult to sense. If you, a co-worker, or a family member are experiencing the harmful symptoms of mold exposure, the best thing to do is consult a physician.
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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.
How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
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Diy Testing Kits For Black Mold
DIY testing kits are a fast and affordable way to find out if you have airborne mold. Plus, you can purchase them from online retailers and most large hardware stores. Before you buy one, you need to make sure that it can detect the presence of Stachybotrys chartarum in the air, not just on surfaces.
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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Who Should Clean Up Black Mold
When you find mold damage, the first thing youll need to determine is who should clean it up. According to the EPA, if the moldy area is less than 10 square feet, you should be able to tackle the cleanup by yourself. However, if your home has experienced significant water damage or the affected area is much larger than 10 square feet, you may want to consider mold remediation services.
Additionally, if the water damage in your home was caused by sewage or you suspect the HVAC system may be contaminated with mold, you may need professional assistance removing it. Failing to remove all the material that mold has touched as well as remedying the moisture problem will result in fast recolonization.
What Are The Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
Black mold, also known as toxic black mold or Stachubotrys, can cause many serious heath problems if found inside a home. There are numerous negative health effects from mold exposure, such as mental impairment, breathing problems, internal organ damage, and in some cases, even death. The symptoms of black mold exposure can be separated into different groups depending upon the area affected by mold presence.
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How To Prevent Mold Growth
As mentioned earlier, mold is everywhere, including outside. Which is why Industrial Hygienist always tests outside the affected structure to get a baseline level of what is acceptable inside a structure. It is impossible to completely eliminate mold from your home. However, you can dramatically reduce the amount of mold and future growth of mold in your home by reducing and controlling the moisture.Some ways to control moisture in your home include:
Monitor humidity: make sure your home is dry. Ideal humidity levels to prevent mold growth are at or below 50%.
Use exhaust fans and vents: Turn on exhausts in your kitchen, bathroom, and the laundry room, especially when cooking or taking a shower. If you dont have an exhaust fan, open the nearest window to provide ventilation.
Clean up spills immediately: Spills provide a breeding ground for mold. The longer you let them sit, the better chance moisture has to soak into carpets and floorboards.
Fix leaks: Leaking pipes are a leading cause of mold buildup, especially in bathrooms and basements. Take note of areas with plumbing in your home and check them regularly. Fix any leaks immediately.
Run HVAC: Your HVAC acts like a dehumidifier removing moisture from the air, make sure you keep your HVAC system running year round.Mold and Your Health
When To Test For Black Mold
If you suspect black mold is growing in your home, its important to start investigating right away. Luckily, testing for black mold is easier than ever before. Not sure whether you need to? Its a good idea to test for black mold in the following situations:
- You recently experienced flooding or a water leak.
- You live in an area with high humidity.
- Youve noticed a musty smell recently.
- Youre having allergy symptoms for the first time.
- Youre about to buy a new home.
If youve already found a black mold colony in your home, theres no need to conduct a test you already know its there. However, you may want to run a test to confirm its actually Stachybotrys chartarum and not some other darkly colored mold.
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Can Black Mold Cause Skin Problems
Mold reproduces by creating tiny spores that are carried through the air. When you breathe in these spores, they can trigger an allergic reaction, meaning your immune system overreacts. This overreaction leads to the production of antibodies, inflammation, and a variety of nonspecific symptoms that can include a rash.
How Black Mold Spreads
Black mold spreads by releasing microscopic particles called spores. These tiny particles range from two to 100 microns in size and can travel large distances in the air. Eventually they fall, and if they land in a hospitable environment, they can colonize.
Many types of mold spores are readily airborne, but Stachybotrys chartarum only releases spores when its mold clusters are dry or physically disturbed. Thats because black mold colonies are generally covered in a layer of slime. However, they can and do become aerosolized in fact, airborne black mold spores may exist in up to 13% percent of dwellings.
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Testing For Black Mold
You can have your mold tested to find out exactly what kind it is. Cost varies, but you can expect to pay hundreds of dollars to determine the type of mold.
There are also black mold testing kits, available at the hardware store or on , that you can purchase for around $35-50. With this DIY route, you take samples from a suspected affected surface, then send off to be tested in a lab.
Myths About Black Mold
Its important to address myths some people may have about black mold. One common rumor is that black mold releases toxic compounds called mycotoxins that cause health issues, like memory loss, headaches, and infant pulmonary hemorrhage.
But according to a review from 2017, theres no evidence that exposure to black mold causes particular health conditions.
Furthermore, while a variety of molds produce mycotoxins, these compounds are primarily dangerous for humans only when eaten in significant quantities.
A 2019 review of research into this topic states theres currently no evidence that mycotoxins in the air cause disease.
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