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.
What Does All This Mean
Black mold has the potential to make you sick, leaving you to deal with health issues that may take time to recover from. Keep in mind, various factors weigh in on how severe the health risk is for every individual. However, black mold is definitely something you want to get removed as soon as possible.
Dealing with black mold can be scary and overwhelming. If you are reading this and just discovered you may have mold, Dont panic by assuming the worst. Indiana Mold Remediation can help restore your peace of mind and restore your home to a healthy place for you and your family. Check us out online today.
What Is Black Mold
Black mold is the common name for a certain type of mold called Stachybotrys, which is thought to be particularly harmful to a persons health.
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.
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.
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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.
What Happens If You Inhale Black Mold Spores
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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Understanding The Health Problems Associated With Black Mold
While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce mycotoxins, the molds themselves are not toxic or poisonous. However, that doesnt mean that certain types of toxic molds cant cause serious health problems. In fact, there are reports that Stachybotrys chartarum causes memory loss in adults in acute pulmonary hemorrhaging among infants. The sooner you have your home or business tested for black mold , the sooner the mold will be removed, and the less likely you will be to suffer from the following health problems.
Respiratory Difficulties People living in homes or working in businesses with toxic mold are exposed mainly through breathing in mold spores and mycotoxins in the air. Exposure to black mold can cause minor respiratory difficulties such as shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Long-term exposure can lead to more serious difficulties, including pulmonary edema and pulmonary hemorrhage .
Circulatory Difficulties The mycotoxins produced by black mold can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a persons skin. After prolonged exposure, these mycotoxins find their way into the persons bloodstream. The circulatory difficulties stemming from black mold exposure include irregular heartbeat, heart inflammation, internal bleeding, and blood clots. If your doctor has diagnosed any such circulatory problems, schedule a mold inspection today.
How Do Doctors Test For Mold Exposure
If you are aware of mold growth in your home and you feel sick let the doctor know that right away. But sometimes you cant see mold, and it is not clear whether its mold exposure thats made you sick or not.
Because mold allergy or mold exposure symptoms can resemble that of other allergies, the doctor will typically start by asking about your medical and family medical history. Additionally, doctors usually run tests for mold exposure which may include one or more of the following:
- Skin test for reactions to allergens, including mold
- IgG mold antibodies test to see the immune systems reaction to molds. A positive test means that an individual was or is currently exposed to mold
- Urine mycotoxins test
- A fungal culture of the nose sinuses
The type of testing youll receive depends on the doctor you visit, so be sure to ask questions ahead of time so you can feel confident in your diagnosis.
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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.
How Do I Know If My Cough Is From Mold
Coughing. Another one of the most immediate symptoms of a mold allergy is a dry and scratchy throat, prompting a nagging cough. In some cases, mold can cause heavier coughs as well. Mucus and histamine production can lead to persistent coughing as your body tries to clear the throat of mucus buildup.
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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.
In Severe Cases Symptoms Caused By Inhaling Black Mold Can Lead To The Following Health Troubles:
- Respiratory complications
Sometimes mold invades spaces that are hard to see and reach. It spreads fast, burrowing into walls and ceilings and hiding in cupboards and under carpets. Quite often, people are exposed to black mold without even knowing it. If you or anyone in your home is experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms without knowing why, you may be exposed to mold.
Black mold should be approached with extreme caution. Tackling black mold without proper knowledge and equipment is unsafe. The suspected contamination should always be examined and removed by professionals.
A professional black mold removal service will tackle the contamination with advanced equipment and technology. For instance, protective masks and gear should be worn at all times, to ensure maximum safety.
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Black Mold Symptoms And Health Effects
Learn about black mold symptoms and health effects so that you can identify indicators of black mold exposure and black mold poisoning.
A mold infested room of an old building.
Mold in homes can be a costly and dangerous problem, particularly when infestations of toxic black mold occur. The symptoms and health effects of black mold exposure and black mold poisoning cover a wide range of health problems, but understanding the indicators can help keep you and your family safe.
Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, as it’s known to scientists, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials in common household materials like drywall, carpet, insulation or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture. These spores, if ingested or inhaled, can cause a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms in humans.
Growth Spots Of Varying Colors
Black mold, as the name implies, is often dark in color. When searching for black mold, look for circular-shaped spots that are black, dark green or dark brown. Some black mold can also take on shades of orange or have flecks of white within it.
Most of the time, black mold has a slightly furry appearance. Larger growths of mold may appear as a black stain that stretches along your wall, floor or ceiling.
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Can I Remove Black Mold Myself
If the black mold growth in your home is small enough for you to treat alone, a simple mixture of bleach and water can help. Add one cup of bleach to one gallon of water and apply it to the moldy spots. Apply the cleaner to the mold spot and scrub away the growth. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly when youre done.
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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Signs Of Black Mold And How To Get Rid Of It
Do you know if theres mold in your home? Mold grows in areas that are dark and damp, like bathrooms or around heating and cooling units that produce condensation.
The thought of any type of mold growing in your home might have you reaching for the nearest scrub brush and cleaning agent. Before you start scrubbing, be sure to evaluate what type of mold youre facing. While you dont want any mold in your house, black mold may pose more health risks than other types.
Learn more about black mold so you can identify it and prevent it from contaminating your home.
What About Black Mold
While black mold is often used as a blanket term to describe many forms of mold, the picture of black mold that probably appears in your mind is that of Stachybotrys chartarum. This mold usually has a greenish-black appearance and tends to grow on materials with a high cellulose content, such as paper, fiberboard and drywall. Black mold needs a continuous supply of moisture to grow and spread, so its especially prevalent in locations with water leaks, water damage, condensation or flooding.
Stachybotrys chartarum is one of the most widely feared types of mold, often being used as the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening mold in households worldwide. This was largely impacted between 1993 and 1996, when 10 young infants in Cleveland, OH, all developed a serious condition known as idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage . One of the infants passed away from this disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study on this incident and determined that each of the children was living in households with very high levels of Stachybotrys chartarum. Following the release of this CDCs research, people all over the country concluded that black mold was extremely dangerous and potentially lethal.
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How Can Mold Affect My Health
Many molds can cause health effects. Molds produce allergens, irritants and,sometimes, toxins that may cause adverse reactions in humans. A reaction tomold depends on how much a person is exposed to, the age of the person and thepersons sensitivities or allergies. The same amount of mold may causehealth effects in one person, but not in another.
Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms. Sensitive people who havetouched or inhaled mold or mold spores may have allergic reactions such as arunny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching. Molds can trigger asthma attacks in people who are allergic tomolds, causing wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. A diseaselike pneumonia may also develop after exposure to mold, but this is uncommon.
Infectious diseases from molds can occur in people with weakened immunesystems, such as those who are immune-compromised or immune-suppressed fromdrug treatment. Some types of mold are known to cause infections inimmune-compromised people. Such infections can affect the skin, eyes, lungs orother organs. These are considered opportunistic infections that usually do notaffect healthy people.
How To Get Rid Of Mold
There are plenty of DIY mold removal options for you on the web some more effective than others. These may suffice if the problem is minor. After DIY treatment, it may be good to have an air quality test taken to determine the effectiveness of your work.
If the problem is more than minor, DIY methods will likely only remove the appearance of mold for a short time. If the problem is more serious, the best approach is to hire a certified and reputable local mold remediation company.
Most mold remediation companies will recommend demolition of the infected part of your home to get rid of mold, so keep in mind that you might have additional expenses to restore a portion of your house. Besides that, the process might take several days.
If you are looking into demolition-free mold removal, then look into the companies that use a dry fog technique. When properly done, this method not only kills mold without demolition to your home, but it also takes less than a day to complete.
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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.
Is There More Than One Type Of Aspergillosis
There are several types of aspergillosis.
Pulmonary aspergillosis is most likely to develop in people who have chronic lung disorders or damaged lungs. These people are likely to have abnormal spaces in their lungs where the fungus can grow. The fungus can also rarely infect sinuses and ear canals. The mold spores can colonize inside lung cavities that developed as a result of chronic diseases, such tuberculosis, emphysema, or advanced sarcoidosis. The fibers of fungus might form a lump by combining with white blood cells and blood clots. This lump or ball of fungus is called an aspergilloma or mycetoma. In some cases, a fungus ball may be present in other organs of the body.
Invasive aspergillosis, the most severe type, occurs when the infection travels from the lungs into the bloodstream. Other organs, such as the kidneys, liver, skin or brain, may become infected. This is a very serious condition that may result in death if not treated. People with very weakened immune systems are more susceptible to invasive aspergillosis. Other risk factors include a low white blood cell count, long-term use ofcorticosteroids, or hospitalization.
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Can You Live In A House With Mold
Its impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores cant grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air.