Mold: An Indoor Air Pollutant
There are many substances that can pollute indoor air. One that has received much media coverage recently is mold. While some molds are beneficial, others may be a serious health threat. Molds are fungi that produce microscopic cells called spores. Mold spores are present everywhere both outdoors and indoors and spread easily through the air.
The most common problem mold in indoor environments is Stachybotrys atra .
It is a black mold that grows on wet materials containing cellulose. Stachybotrys is one of several molds that produce potent mycotoxins .
Stachybotrys Species As Pathogens
In the Ukraine in the early 1930s, a unique disease of horses was recognized that was characterized by lip edema, stomatitis, oral necrosis, rhinitis, and conjunctivitis. The symptoms often progressed through well-defined stages to pancytopenia, coagulopathy and hemorrhage, neurologic compromise , superinfections, and finally death . There was also a rare atypical or shocking form, which was primarily neurological and highly fatal, with areflexia , hyperesthesia , hyperirritability, blindness, and stupor. In these latter cases, there were no blood dyscrasias. Pathologic examination of tissue from affected animals revealed diffuse hemorrhage and necrosis, with involvement of the entire alimentary tract. Pulmonary changes consisted of lung congestion and edema . Pathologic changes in tissue appeared unique, since there was no zone of demarcation around necrotic foci and since the tissue appeared to be in a nonreactive state. In retrospect, these findings were perhaps the first indication that the entity had a toxigenic origin rather than being due to direct tissue infection. In the wake of the equine outbreak, it was soon realized the disease was not limited to horses. However, there were marked species and age effects on susceptibility: cattle were less affected than horses, and younger animals fared better than older ones .
Do I Need Professional Testing
In short, usually not! Because, remember the saying: no mold, no matter what color, belongs in a healthy home. And that is good news because a professional mold inspection with testing can run anywhere from $300-$750. In most cases where mold is clearly visible, knowing exactly what type of mold you have is unnecessary. We advise most of our clients to forgo the inspection process and just apply that money saved to the cost of fixing the problem. The EPA agrees that mold testing isnt necessary in most cases.
There are exceptions, however, such as when a mold inspection with testing is required as part of a real estate sale or if you require proof that a mold problem is present, such as for a legal dispute. If you think you may have a mold problem, but arent sure, then we recommend formal testing from a professional. And if you require clearance testing to verify an all clear after a mold problem is fixed, then professional mold testing is necessary.
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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 Level Of Mold Spores Is Dangerous
50-200 spores still very low levels the toxic mold species Stachybotrys and Memnoniella are some of the species to be considered an issue at this level. 200-500 spores the most common species are typically not an issue and stay within the normal range.
What mold spores are dangerous? Stachybotrys. Commonly referred to as black mold, stachybotrys is one of the most dangerous types of mold and can cause flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, headaches, memory loss and severe respiratory damage. Chaetomium. Fusarium. Alternaria.
What level of black mold is dangerous? Takeaway. Based on current research, black mold exposure is no more dangerous than any other type of mold exposure. It is impossible to avoid exposure to mold the spores are almost everywhere around us. In high amounts or in people with allergies, exposure to any mold may cause allergy symptoms.
What is considered high mold count? 50-200 spores still very low levels the toxic mold species Stachybotrys and Memnoniella are some of the species to be considered an issue at this level. 200-500 spores the most common species are typically not an issue and stay within the normal range.
What is an acceptable level of mold spores? 200-500 spores the most common species are typically not an issue and stay within the normal range. 500-1500 spores sometimes the Penicillium/Aspergillus & Cladosporium levels are in this range and do not require remediation.
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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.
Question: What Does A Colorless Mold Spore Count Of 6000 Mean
I am trying to locate a lawyer…environmental specialists ….and what a 6000 spore count means – Anonymous 7/18/2012
Unfortunately a spore count of 6000 means absolutely nothing without a context.It’s like saying “no soap, radio”
it said colorless, can it be taken to the ‘genus’ stage
Can “colorless mold spores” alone as a description of airborne mold be translated to a specific genus on the basis of that information alone.
There are about 1.5 million mold genera/species, about 75,000 that have been named and studied, and thousands of those are “colorless” or hyaline, spread across an enormous range of family, genera, and species.
For example, colorless mold spores might be a surge of basidiomycetes common at verh high levels in outdoor air after start of a rainfall, unidentified spores – the lab had no idea what they were, or Penicillium sp. or Aspergillus sp. mold spores at high levels and including spore chains – that would indicate a nearby fungal contamination indoors.
We discuss this range of toxicity among mold spores at
MOLD LEVEL IN AIR, VALIDITY discusses the general validity of counts of airborne particles.
Also ACCURACY OF AIR TESTS for MOLD explains why variations in test conditions can cause 1 to 3 orders of magnitude variation in the airborne particle count that is detected in a given test indoors.
MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ? for help in deciding when to hire someone.
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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.
Clean Up Safely After A Flood
Flood water may contain bacteria, petroleum and chemicals. Mold can grow in a flooded home that is not properly cleaned and dried out.
Learn how to safely clean your home after a flood:
Mold , mushrooms, and yeast are all types of fungi. Fungi are found both indoors and outdoors. Hundreds of different kinds of mold are commonly found in the United States and New York City.
Exposure to mold can cause or worsen asthma symptoms and allergies, such as hay fever. People who are allergic or sensitive to mold may experience congestion, runny nose, coughing and trouble breathing.
Some people are at risk for more severe reactions to mold, such as fever and shortness of breath. This includes people who are exposed to large amounts of mold at work such as, agricultural workers and building demolition workers. People who have had or are undergoing certain medical procedures, such as bone marrow or organ transplants and chemotherapy, are also at risk. Health symptoms usually disappear after the mold has been removed.
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Question: Are High Levels Of Penicillium/aspergillus Spores And Basidiospores Dangerous Are They Likely To Have Caused Cancer
Had testing done in a home where the occupant developed lung cancer. Would high levels of the spores basidiospores and pen/asp group be a contributing factor? – Cyndi, 6/21/2012
Reply: Define “high levels of mold”, Aspergillus flavus carcinogenicity, Basidiomycetes?
You have not defined “high levels” of mold, nor whether you meant high levels in air or on surfaces. And if in air, there are many variables that can increase or decrease the actual airborne particle levels, and thus human exposure, by orders of magnitude, such as fans on or off, windows open or shut, active or still conditions in the building and more.
To prove that a specific mold exposure caused a specific illness is difficult enough that it’s rarely attempted people, their individual health sensitivities, lifetime exposures, genetics, and other variables are wide in extent. Burge cited at least 4 tests that would have to be met – and that are generally cost prohibitive.
Hazardous mold: distinguish between causing illness and aggravating an existing illness for sensitized people
Indeed there are some fungi and toxins associated with them that are considered potential carcinogens. For example, Aspergillus flavus produces an aflatoxin that is a known carcinogen.Quoting G. A. Payne et als: “Aspergillus flavus is an opportunistic pathogen of both plants and animals, and it produces one of the most potent naturally occurring carcinogens known.”
How Do You Control Mold Growth
Studies have found that mold contamination can be greatly reduced if a home is kept dry and clean, and efforts are made to reduce the level of mold spores entering the home.
Controlling moisture. To control mold for good, you must solve any moisture problems in your home. Because there are mold spores everywhere, and mold grows on any wet, organic surface, the only way to prevent mold growth is to keep things dry.
Cleaning. Regular cleaning and disinfecting can help prevent mold problems.
- Use a disinfectant on floors and countertops.
- After cleaning moisture-prone surfaces in kitchens and bathrooms, spray them with an alcohol-based spray or disinfectant.
- Dry tub, shower and shower curtains after each use, or apply a product that prevents mildew growth. If shower curtains and liners become mildewed, replace them.
- Clean and disinfect garbage and trash cans at least weekly, and use disposable liners.
- Have carpets and upholstery professionally steam cleaned periodically. Vacuum often using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtered exhaust and double-wall dust collection bags. A central vacuum cleaner system is best because it exhausts pollutants outside the home.
- Launder area rugs frequently.
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Contamination Levels Of Specific Allergenic Or Toxic Mold Spores
Some species specific acceptable levels have been addressed and vary considerably by species, environmental conditions, and proponent.
REFERENCE:A number of resources cited here are reviewed more carefully in “Comparisons of seasonal fungal prevalence in indoor and outdoor air and in house dusts of dwellings in one Northeast American County,” Ping Ren,Thomas M. Jaunkun and Brian P. Leaderer, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University Schoolof Medicine, New Haven Ct. and appearing in the Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology 9, 560-568.http://www.stockton-press.co.uk
See REFERNCES for important additional information such as mold testing, cleanup and mold remediation guideline resources.
How Long Does It Take To Get Sick From Mold Exposure
These spores proliferate quickly and can take hold in places with poor ventilation and high humidity in less than 24 hours. The problem starts when you inhale these spores. They produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins that can produce an immune response in some individuals and actually extremely toxic themselves.
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Association Of Stachybotrys Species With Sick Buildings
One of the best studies of building-related illness showed minimal relation to Stachybotrys. Miller et al. examined 50 Canadian homes in which the occupants had complaints of respiratory or allergic symptoms for which there was no explanation, although at the time of the study, occupants of only 6 houses had building-related illnesses. Looking at air exchange rate, moisture levels, and analyzing air and dust for fungus and fungal products in 37 of the homes, they found S. chartarum in only one house analysis of the 6 sick houses did not indicate fungus-related disease. During parts of the year when windows are open, indoor fungi are comparable to outdoor species . However, in this study, outdoor air spores were negligible and Penicillium and other soil fungi were most important. Toxigenic fungi included P. viridicatum, Trichoderma viride, P. decumbens, and A. versicolor. House dust usually contained appreciable amounts of filamentous fungi and yeast, and so it was expected that spores could be found in air, depending on the activity in the room.
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The Toxic Effects Of Mycotoxins On Humans Sheep & Possibly On Pets
Mycotoxins are produced by some common molds found in buildings, including Aspergillus,Penicillium, Fusarium, Stachybotrys, and even Alternaria. Common classificationgroups of mycotoxins include aflatoxins, fumonisins, trichothecens, and ergotalkaloids. Arora has pointed out that the following conditions are necessaryfor mycotoxins to affect humans:
How To Check Mold Levels In House
The earlier you become aware of a mold problem in your home, the easier it will be to take care of it. Therefore, its very important to learn how to detect mold in its earliest stages and how to test mold levels in your home, so that you know what measures to take in order to get rid of the harmful microorganisms and prevent further troubles.
Step 1. Watch out for the first signs of mold growth in your home musty smell, cracked or blistering paint, bulging of the walls, cracked or loose tiles, a softer, spongy feel of the floor or walls, inexplicable allergic reactions among members of your household, etc.
This looks like bad news.
Step 2. Check for visible mold inspect the areas in your home where mold is most likely to grow the basement, shower curtains, ceiling corners, around windows, under sinks, any places recently exposed to excessive water, etc.
Step 3. Collect mold samples use a mold test kit to:
- take samples of the air in your home to identify the concentration of mold spores in your indoor environment or
- take samples from different household surfaces to find the amount of mold growth on household materials.
Then, submit the sampling to a local mold testing laboratory for examination and analysis. Keep in mind, though, that the results are not very reliable because the amount of mold spores in the air can change drastically in a small amount of time and mold growth isnt spread evenly across all surfaces in the home.
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The Myth About Bleach Killing Mold
Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of bleach when proposed as a cleaner or sanitizing agent is that its effectiveness is greatly reduced in the presence of organic material. To be a successful sanitizer, bleach must be used on clean materials and surfaces. This is why bleach products are used in the laundry after the wash cycle or in a commercial kitchen as a component in the third sink after the dishes have been washed and rinsed. The efficacy of bleach as a sanitizer is also compromised by heat and light. Despite the fact that the chlorine odor may linger for some time after use, bleach loses strength so quickly that it is not considered to have a residual effect that would prevent future bacterial or fungal growth. Micheal Pinto CEO of Wonder Makers Environmental
One of the greatest invention thus far today has been the Internet. It has given everyone an equal opportunity to search and invest their time into any topic of interest. Unfortunately, this does allow for both good and bad information to be available for research. As we are barely getting into the scientific studies on mold and the effects of exposure, it is hard to gain valuable information.
In respect to mold, the internet is full of incorrect information! Bleach may have some impact on non porous materials such as bathroom glass, tile, or porcelain toilet but it is completely ineffective on porous materials.
Set up an AFD to create negative pressure allowing to clean the air during air exchanges.