What Are Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Another source of irritation from mold exposure comes from substances knownas microbial volatile organic compounds . These compounds are producedthrough fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often givingoff strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate theeyes and respiratory system and has been linked to symptoms such as headaches,dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea. The effects of mVOCs are notcompletely understood and research is still in the early stages.
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.
Associations With Human Disease
Despite the association of Stachybotrys with animal and human disease, early researchers were unable to fulfill Koch’s postulates with the fungus. There was no evidence that the fungus itself was a pathogen, and scientists could not transmit infection or disease by injection of tissue from affected animals . At most, injection of the fungus caused a local response but no systemic invasion . It was only with the identification and application of Stachybotrys toxins that the nature of the disease process was understood.
Recommended Reading: How To Clean Mold Off Of Leather
How To Remove Black Mold
Protect yourself. You don’t need to worry about having mold tested if you find mold in your house. But you should get rid of it no matter what type of mold it is. Take precautions to protect yourself before you attempt to remove mold.
Use an N-95 face mask to avoid breathing in mold spores. Wear gloves to protect your hands and goggles without ventilation holes to protect your eyes.â
Find and destroy the mold. The most important part of removing mold is finding and removing its water source. Mold can’t grow without moisture. Keep the following tips in mind when you’re cleaning up mold:
- Items that can’t be dried quickly should be discarded if they show signs of mold or water damage. Porous items such as carpet, padding, drywall, and paper soak up moisture.
- Do not paint or caulk over moldy surfaces. Remove the mold and dry the surfaces before you paint. Paint applied over mold will peel.
- Use plastic sheeting to block an area with mold from the rest of your house and keep the spores from spreading.
- Scrub hard surfaces with mold with detergent and water and dry them thoroughly.
- Put any moldy items in a plastic bag before you take them out of the room to prevent mold spores from spreading.
- Use a HEPA filter in your air conditioner and furnace to capture mold spores that may be airborne in your house.
- Consult a specialist if you’re not sure of the best way to clean a valuable or sentimental item.â
Symptoms Ofblack Mold Exposure
If you suspect that you have symptoms of black mold exposure, then it is important to talk with a doctor as soon as possible in order to prevent serious health problems. The dangers of black mold should not be taken lightly, because they can cause both short-term and long-term health conditions. Many people don’t realize how severe these health conditions can be, so this article is designed to help you understand the serious nature of mold exposure.
If you arebeing exposed to black mold, it is best to talk to a doctor and a mold removalspecialist as soon as possible. The doctor will be able to help you treatsymptoms that are already present, and the mold removal specialist can clean upthe mold in order to prevent additional symptoms from occurring.
Also Check: Mold In Bathroom Ceiling
Indoor Air And Building
It has long been postulated that exposure to damp, moldy home and workplace environments has detrimental health effects. At the beginning of the 18th century, Ramazzini, considered the father of occupational medicine, described an illness of workers inhaling foul and mischievous powder’ from handling crops . More recently, Platt et al. , found that occupants of wet, moldy buildings had an increase in subjective complaints. Brunekreef et al. found a similar pattern in > 6,000 children in six states in the United States and reported home dampness was a strong predictor of respiratory and other illness in this age group. The list of putative symptoms generally consists of upper respiratory complaints, including headache, eye irritation, epistaxis, nasal and sinus congestion, cough, cold and flu symptoms, as well as generalized gastrointestinal complaints . Taskinen et al. reported an increased prevalence of asthma in moisture-affected schools, although there were no objective measurements of respiratory disease. A number of studies have reported a relationship between similar symptoms and damp housing or workplace environments, although the proposed etiologies have varied .
The indoor environment also contains a wide range of microorganisms including bacteria , mycobacteria , and molds , as well as their products, including endotoxins and mycotoxins. There may often be a much higher bacterial load than fungal load .
How Is Black Mold Exposure Diagnosed
If you havent been feeling well and believe youve been exposed to black mold or any other type of mold, schedule a visit with your doctor. Theyll try to determine your level of sensitivity to mold and its effects on your health.
Your doctor will first perform a physical exam. Theyll pay special attention to how your lungs sound when you breathe.
Theyll then take your medical history and perform an allergy test. This is done by scratching or pricking the skin with extracts of different types of mold. If theres swelling or a reaction to black mold, its likely you have an allergy to it.
Your doctor may also run a blood test that measures your immune systems response to certain types of mold. This is called a radioallergosorbent test.
Some things can increase your risk for a reaction to black mold.
risk factors for illness from black mold exposure
Treatment depends on your reaction and how long youve been exposed. If black mold has made you sick, see a doctor for continued care until your body heals from exposure to black mold spores.
The most common reason for a reaction to black mold is a black mold allergy.
If youre dealing with an allergy, you can take steps to limit your exposure and manage your symptoms. While theres no current cure for mold allergies, there are medications you can take to reduce your symptoms.
Talk to your doctor about taking the following medications:
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Uv Light Take To Kill Mold
You May Like: Best Way To Clean Mold Off Ceiling
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.
Test After Test With No Answers
That was the first episode, lasting for three months starting in November of 2010. In that time she lost twenty-five pounds, was forced to abandon her practice, and withdrew from activities outside the home. Her doctor, family, and friends told her that they thought she had depression or even bipolar disorder. She resisted, even in her confused and debilitated state, and insisted on further testing, believing that something was terribly wrong.
After a series of blood tests, her general practitioner diagnosed Kimberlyn with heavy metal poisoning and recommended she undergo chelation therapy. After undergoing this treatment, she did feel better. However, within five months the illness returned.
During her second cycle of illness, Kimberlyn sought out another doctor who performed a series of tests and suggested that maybe Kimberlyn was suffering from mold illness, also known as toxic mold syndrome. This was the first time mold had been suggested as a possible cause for Kimberlyns symptoms and was unexpected due to the arid climate of Arizona. Yet after having her home tested, three different types of toxic mold were found, including Stachybotrys, also known as black mold.
Recommended Reading: Stair Nose Molding For Vinyl Plank Flooring
Sneezing And Nasal Congestion
While many things can trigger sneezing, its also a symptom of mold toxicity that should get your attention. If youve never had allergies or hay fever symptoms and youre positive you dont have a cold, those sneezes could be indicative of mold exposure.
Sneezing is the immune systems standard response to allergens. It could also be a warning sign that your home has a mold problem.
Coughing And Shortness Of Breath
The irritation and inflammation caused by mold often lead to frequent coughing that is otherwise unexplained.
The throat and lungs are irritated continuously when repeatedly exposed to mycotoxins. If the issue isnt addressed, this coughing can develop into more severe conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
The same inflammation that causes irritated, constricted airways that lead to wheezing and coughing can eventually lead to shortness of breath.
This gives a feeling of tightness in the chest. It may feel like you are unable to take in a full breath.
Read Also: How To Remove Mold On Ceiling
Rental Properties With Mould Issues
When a rental property has mould, the owner should fix any mould caused by faults in gutters or other fixtures, but the tenant should ensure that extractor fans are used when available and the home is aired regularly where possible.
Sometimes, the cause of the mould growth may be due to a building fault that may not be easily rectified.
If as a tenant, you have taken measures to make sure the building is properly ventilated and mould is still growing, you should raise the issue with the owner.
Information on mould in rental properties is available on Consumer Affairs Victorias website.
Tenants seeking further advice on their rights can also contact the Tenants Union of Victoria on .
Where Can Black Mold Be Found In Homes
Black mold thrives in warm and damp environments, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. To prevent black mold growth problems in your home, make sure there are no leaks that can lead to water damage. Use fans and dehumidifiers to keep the humidity in your home between 40% and 50%. Learn more about mold prevention tips here.
Also Check: Cleaning Mold Bathroom Ceiling
Technical Problems In Determining Fungal Exposure
Difficulties in measuring fungal organisms.
A final problem in measuring fungal organisms in the indoor environment relates to selective sampling. As noted above, Stachybotrys species rarely exist in isolation. They are often present in settings which select for a host of other fungal species and their potential mycotoxins, as well as bacteria, mycobacteria, arthropods, and man-made organic chemicals. However, most studies cited below have used methods that preferentially select for Stachybotrys species and mycotoxins. Of more immediate scientific and medicolegal concern, many studies of purportedly affected housing are surveying only for Stachybotrys species while ignoring other organisms .
Difficulties in measuring mycotoxins.
Morphology of S. chartarum. Representative section of damaged wallboard. Note the areas of black discoloration. Pure culture of S. chartarum, initially obtained from contaminated wallboard . Higher-power view of the same culture as in panel B . Scanning electron micrograph of conidia at the tip of a conidiaphore. Scanning electron micrograph of mature conidia. Slime has been removed by scanning electron microscope processing. Panels D and E are reprinted from Nelson, with permission.
Black Mold Symptoms: What Happens When Youre Exposed
Dr. Lauren Tessier is a naturopathic physician practicing in Waterbury, VT, and New York, NY. She specializes in treating mold-related, biotoxin and other complicating illnesses and is CIRS-certified. Learn more about her practice Life After Mold by visiting www.lifeaftermold.com. You can also find her on , and .
Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as black mold, was first identified in Prague in 1837. A Czech mycologist discovered the mold growing on an indoor wall of a home. Despite an early discovery, the term black mold only became part of the normal lexicon of the average homeowner in the 1990s, when the nightly news brought the phrase black mold into homes across America. Though black mold is considered harmful, the details are still in question. This article is meant to help inform those who are worried about being exposed to black mold.
You May Like: How To Get Mold Off Ceiling In Bathroom
Treating Black Mold Poisoning
If you suspect youre suffering from symptoms associated with black mold exposure or poisoning, there are some things you can do to improve your health.
In conclusion, the best way to avoid the negative effects of black mold poisoning is to minimize your black mold exposure.
You can do this by preventing its growth in the first place. If its too late to prevent it and you suspect theres black mold already in your home, dont wait to book removal, completed quickly and efficiently by the industry experts.
Black mold, typically green or black, in your home, can be extremely hazardous to your health.
Can Black Mold Cause Health Problems
When you breathe in black mold spores and you have a mold allergy, your immune system overreacts. Mold allergies can cause coughing, itchy eyes, and other unpleasant symptoms. Mold allergies are connected to asthma in some people, and exposure causes restricted breathing and other airway problems. If you have a mold allergy, the best defense is to reduce your exposure to the types of mold that cause your reaction. Medications can help keep mold allergy reactions under control. Inhaling spores from black mold can cause a variety of health problems, the most common being allergies. In addition to coughing and itchy eyes, exposure can also exacerbate asthma symptoms. Anyone with a mold allergy should try to avoid exposure by removing water-damaged materials and reducing indoor humidity levels in their home. So, if you suspect you have black mold in your home, the best course of action is to contact a professional mold remediation company such as National Restoration Experts to remove the mold and prevent future mold growth.
Recommended Reading: Cleaning Mold In Basement
Do You Have A Mold Problem
You can detect Large mold infestations by seeing or smelling. 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.
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.
Also Check: Getting Rid Of Mold On Bathroom Ceiling
How To Treat Mold Exposure In Dogs
As we mentioned before, you should not treat your dog from mold exposure on your own. It is almost impossible to differentiate between mold allergy and other types of allergies without doing allergy testing first. Your veterinarian will also run exams and take history to diagnose your dogs symptoms.
When veterinarians find the reasons for your dogs health issues, they will start treatment of mold poisoning symptoms. Depending on the type of poisoning, the treatment may vary, but generally, it involves medication and possibly a localized cure.
This treatment doesnt end at the veterinary clinic. If mold problems remain in your dogs environment, then those symptoms will likely come back. To ensure that doesnt happen, you need to locate and correct the source of moisture and perform mold remediation to make your dogs environment healthy again.
Pay particular attention to the places where your dog spends most of his time.
Getting A Diagnosis For Mold Sickness
While symptoms to mold exposure are not uncommon , many health care professionals struggle to pinpoint the cause behind these symptoms.
Often only a few people or one person and not everyone, in a home or workplace experience symptoms. This is frustrating and confusing for the sick person. When their doctors cant find any reason for the illness, they can start to feel like the sickness is all in their mind.
People suffering from mold exposure can often be misdiagnosed with disorders such as:
You May Like: Removing Mildew From Bathroom Ceiling
Don’t Miss: Cleaning Mold Off Leather