Mold Identifications: Black Mold Vs Regular Mold
It is also important as a homeowner that you do not confuse toxic black mold with regular mold. In fact, both types can look similar to each other. However, the regular type of fungus does not pose as much risk to your home or your family.
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The regular variety may be black in color but is not toxic. Toxic black mold can be either green or black. It releases mycotoxins that can make you seriously ill if you come into contact with or inhale them.
Common Signs Of Toxic Mold Poisoning
Symptoms and signs of mycotoxins poisoning are very different depending on many factors. How this poisoning presents itself depends on:
- Type of mycotoxin
- Genetic structure
- And others
This means there can be a major difference in symptoms between individuals in the population exposed to it. To some extent it is clear that mycotoxicosis can increase susceptibility to infections, worsen the effect of other toxins present and advance other health conditions.
Although acute poisoning is more obvious and sometimes has grave effects, chronic exposure is much more present in the population in general. Finally, mycotoxin exposure can cause changes in immune, nervous system, behavior, mood and even development problems like stunting.
How Can I Find Out If Mold Is Harming My Health
You dont have to sit back and accept the harmful effects of mold exposure. Getting a mycotoxin test may help you determine whether you have mold toxicity in your body. This is a great way to test whether the harmful antigens in the mold are negatively impacting your health. This test may help you decide how to treat your mold exposure and allergies.
Treating these conditions may improve your symptoms and allow you to regain your health. These treatments may also prevent you from developing more serious mold-related health conditions.
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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 Do You Prevent Black Mold Exposure
To prevent exposure, first you must remove any black mold in your living or working space. If you find mold growing on any surfaces or materials, either discard them if possible or clean them with a bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
If carpets, insulation, drywall or other porous surfaces become saturated with water, they should be cleaned and dried within 48 hours to prevent mold growth. If they cant be dried promptly, its best to remove and replace them.
There are also other ways to lower your risk of black mold exposure, including:
Lower the humidity in your home. If you live in a humid climate, using air conditioning or a dehumidifier will help reduce the level of humidity in your home. Aim to keep humidity levels between 30 to 50%.
Remove carpet from bathrooms and basements, which are more likely to be humid or have a lot of moisture.
Improve the ventilation in humid rooms of your home. Fans that remove moisture from bathrooms and kitchens will help lower humidity and help prevent mold growth.
Clean bathroom tiles and other damp areas regularly.
Fix leaks in roofs, walls or plumping promptly.
Remove books and newspapers from damp areas, and get rid of them if they become moldy.
Wear a mask over your nose and mouth while mowing the lawn or doing other yard work to prevent inhaling mold.
Stay indoors on days when airborne mold counts are high.
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Is Mold Causing Your Symptoms
The symptoms described above can all be caused by exposure to mold, but they can all be caused by other things, too. It can be difficult to determine whether mold poisoning is causing your symptoms or if something else is going on. Let your doctor know if youve been exposed to mold in the home, as that information can aid your doctor in making a diagnosis.
If youre not sure if youve been exposed to mold or not, we recommend having a professional come in to test your home for mold. You can pick up mold test kits in many home improvement stores, but they arent always accurate, especially if the test isnt conducted exactly right. A professional knows exactly how to conduct the tests, and where in the home to test for mold, so youll get a much more accurate result. A professional can even identify the type of mold growing in your home, which may help your doctor in making a diagnosis and prescribing the most effective treatment for you. Follow the link to find a local professional that can test your home for mold.
How Are Mold Allergies And Exposure Diagnosed
There are no proven tests that show when or where you may have been exposed to mold.
But your doctor may check for mold allergies by reviewing your symptoms and performing one of the following tests:
- Blood test. Your doctor takes a blood sample and then sends it to a laboratory to measure the number of certain antibodies, which can indicate your immune systems sensitivity to different mold species.
- Skin prick test. Your doctor takes a small amount of mold and applies it to your skin using a tiny needle. Your skin will break out in bumps, a rash, or hives if youre allergic to that type of mold.
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How Do You Test For Mold In Your Home
Do a home mold test or arrange to have an environmental hygienist or mold specialist take samples from an HVAC system, contents or patch of visible mold growth. Lab analysis can determine which species of mold are growing and the severity of an infestation. Professional tests may take place before and after remediation.
How To Test For Black Mold
Do you keep getting a whiff of something musty in your bathroom or basement? Afraid it might be mold? Learn about three of the most popular kits to test for mold at home.
Its no secret that damp areas of the home provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. Whether your nose knows, or your eyes spy dark spots in strategic locations, you want to make sure.
Mold doesnt just eat away at your wood, wallpaper, or grout. Its spores get airborne and cause all kinds of health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says enough evidence exists to link mold to upper respiratory tract symptoms like itchy eyes and runny nose to cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
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Indoor Environmental Sampling And Analysis
Professional mold testing is more detailed and specialized than any DIY test. The accuracy of home mold test results vary widely, and these tests may not offer insight into the concentration of mold spores in indoor air or which species of fungus are growing in a home. These tests may also not differentiate between active growth and desiccated airborne mold spores from past growth.
Having a property inspected and tested by certified experts can provide a clearer sense of the scale and severity of a fungal infestation. Indoor environmental hygienists and other specialists trained in assessing mold damage may take air, batch or surface samples to submit for lab analysis. Air samples may also be taken from a central HVAC system. These results can include information about the species of mold present in a structure and whether growth is active or old, and can be used to guide remediation work.
Even professional mold tests cannot determine whether individuals have been exposed to mold spores, mVOCs or mycotoxins. Such information requires lab testing of biological samples taken from the residents of a home or regular occupants of a commercial building with a mold problem. Only licensed healthcare professionals are qualified to interpret the results of medical mold exposure testing.
How To Test For Toxic Mold
If you have mold in your home, your nose is one of the most inexpensive devises you can use to detect it. Mold smells, and chances are, you’ll be able to detect the distinctive odor that taints the air around moldy walls, carpeting and other objects. The struggle is in understanding when mold is dangerous to your family or home.
The term toxic mold is a little confusing. Some molds, like Stachybotrys chartarum or black mold, produce mycotoxins, toxic substances that cause health problems in some people. There is no direct link yet between mold-produced toxins and serious conditions like idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, but there are concerns that exposure to these toxins can exacerbate existing lung conditions and allergies, and possibly cause problems in otherwise healthy people. Common molds that aren’t considered toxic also have the potential to cause reactions in some people, which makes it important to get rid of any type of mold you find in your home as soon as possible, particularly if you suspect that someone in your family is having a reaction to it.
Mold can be scary. There are potential health implications for your family, and a mold outbreak can take a financial toll, too. Once established, mold can be very invasive, releasing millions of spores into your home. Many homeowners’ insurance policies now exclude or limit coverage for mold related problems.
First up, let’s learn a little more about household mold.
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Indoor Air Sampling Kit
Indoor air sampling kits are the next step up from DIY mold testing. Air sampling kits generally include an air pump and containers for collected air. After collecting the samples, users mail them to a laboratory for analysis. Laboratory analyses offer a distinct advantage over DIY mold tests in that they provide mold concentration in addition to type.
Long Term Effects / Difficulty Of Concretely Establishing Causes
In some cases, experts believe that long term black mold exposure manifests as cancer. Again, because there is no one biomarker that helps identify the presence of black mold within the human body, this linkage is causal at best. Scientists know that mycotoxins are responsible for creating health problems in humans, among other creatures but creating a solid cause/effect chart is difficult. Mycotoxins can immediately manifest harm, or lay dormant for years. Their ferocity is based on the relative state of the immune system of the person they encounter, along with a host of other as yet undefined factors.
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How To Get Rid Of Black Mold
Trying to kill or remove toxic black mold yourself is not advisable. If not handled properly, you could end up disturbing the mold and releasing millions of spores and mycotoxins into the air. This could worsen you indoor air quality and cause damage to your home.
Since black mold is toxic, youre better off contacting a professional mold remediation company with experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes.
Mold removal specialists will be able to accurately determine the extent of the mold infestation and can suggest the right course of action for your home. If you suspect that your home has black moldthat is, if you can see and/or smell it .
A healthy, mold-free home ensures a healthy, happy family.
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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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What Is A Mycotoxin Test
Have you been suffering from new allergies, headaches, or other health problems? If so, you may have been exposed to mold. Fortunately, theres an easy, safe way to determine whether youre suffering from the harmful effects of toxic mold. At The Metabolic Institute in Spokane, WA, we offer a specialized mycotoxin test that may determine whether you have mold toxicity in your body. Read on to learn more about how this powerful testing method can help you address the damaging effects of toxic mold exposure.
What Are Symptoms And Signs Of Mold Exposure
Molds produce irritating substances that may act as allergy-causing substances in sensitive individuals. Furthermore, some molds produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, but mold itself is not poisonous or toxic. The term “toxic mold,” therefore, refers to the fact that certain kinds of mold can produce mycotoxins. The conditions under which some molds produce toxins are not understood, and the presence of mold, even a mold that is capable of producing toxins, does not always imply that toxins are being produced or that a health risk or problem is present. Mold may not cause any health problems, or it may lead to allergy or other symptoms in people, including adults and children, who are sensitive to molds.
Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold and are therefore the greatest health risk related to mold. Allergic reactions may happen immediately or develop after a period following exposure. Both growing mold and mold spores may lead to allergic reactions. Symptoms and signs of mold allergy may include
Mold or mold spores may cause asthma attacks in people who have asthma and are allergic to mold. Even in some non-allergic individuals, mold can cause symptoms of irritation in the eyes, skin, and airways. For example, the “black mold”Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mold, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can cause irritation of the skin and airways in susceptible individuals.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Black Mold Poisoning
Black mold exposure may often present with your typical allergic complaints that are listed above. However, one must be mindful that other non-allergic, mold-related illnesses exist and may present similarly to a mold allergy, but often with more seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Research has found that people who have been exposed to mixed mold, mold spores and mycotoxins have experienced neurological and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms have been corroborated by other studies like Gordon et al. and Rea et al. .
Such non-allergic symptoms to mold may include, but are not limited to:
- Cognitive impairment
What Does Black Mold Exposure Treatment Look Like
Just like the diagnosis, the treatment of mold exposure differs from doctor to doctor. One thing most doctors will advise you to do is to test for and, if needed, remove any unhealthy mold conditions from your home. Even if the treatment will help in the short-term, it wont be effective over the long-term if your indoor environment isnt improved.
To treat the symptoms, doctors may suggest:
- Over-the-counter medication. Medicine that would decrease the airway inflammation and suppress the allergic reactions.
- Nasal sprays to deal with a runny or stuffy nose or rinses to clear your nasal passages from inhaled mold spores.
- Regular allergy medicine
A persons immune system must be working properly to fight mold symptoms, so changes in a lifestyle or diet might be necessary. In more severe allergy cases, doctors prescribe immunotherapy to relieve symptoms
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What Causes Black Mold
Molds are an important part of our environment. They decompose dead plants and animals. All types of mold will grow if the conditions are right. Mold grows and spreads quickly in the right conditions, which include:
- Moisture level at or over 70%
- Adequate food source
- Temperatures that range from 40 to 100 degrees F
Mold can grow anywhere in your house that provides these conditions. The most likely places mold will grow are:
- Anywhere that there has been a water leak.
- Damp rooms without adequate ventilation, such as bathrooms.
- Basements where humidity tends to be higher.
- Any areas with a lot of water condensation.
- Any areas where flooding has occurred.
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How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.
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What Makes Black Mold Dangerous
Theres a lot of controversy surrounding black mold and its health effects. While some people are relatively unaffected by exposure to black mold, others have allergic reactions. Research suggests that in cases of acute exposure, a person may even experience severe symptoms, including lung disease and neurotoxic effects.
The health effects of black mold not only depends on the individual exposed, but also on the particular mold colony. Black mold can release a number of byproducts, including spores, mold fragments, microbial volatile organic compounds and mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are the most dangerous of these byproducts, but not all black mold colonies release them.