Mold’s Effects On Your Health
Mold can cause many health effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . It can cause a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing or wheezing, burning eyes, or skin rash. People with asthma or who are allergic to mold may have severe reactions. People who are immune-compromised and with chronic lung disease may get infections in their lungs from mold. Interestingly, out of thousands of mold species, only a few dozen will trigger any health problems at all, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
People without allergies and asthma aren’t immune to the effects. According to the CDC, people without pre-existing lung conditions can also experience symptoms like nasal congestion and a sore throat if they live in a house with damp floors or moisture accumulation.
The CDC also notes a potential link of early mold exposure to the development of asthma in some children.
Will You Inspect My Home Or Apartment
IDPH does not perform inspections of residential environments for mold. We primarily respond to requests for assistance by providing information by telephone and providing recommendations for homeowners, landlords or tenants to take to alleviate conditions that may represent a potential health hazard.
What Is Toxic Mold
Some molds can produce toxins under certain circumstances, but this does not occur everywhere there is mold growth. Research on the presence, detection and effects of mold toxins is ongoing. One mold in particular, Stachybotrys atra has received a lot of attention.
The initial reports on the health affects of this mold have been revised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fear of mold has been sensationalized in the news media and on many websites, and citizens need to be cautious when considering expensive testing and be informed about the kind of information that the testing will yield.
As a rule, mold testing in private homes when visible mold growth is present is not recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention nor the US Environmental Protection Agency.
It is stressed, however, that all mold, no matter the type, must be properly cleaned-up and moisture in the home must be controlled.
- The key to mold control is moisture control.
- If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.
- It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
Read Also: How To Test Mold Toxicity
Treating The Affected Areas
Finding A Mold Problem
MDH does not recommend mold testing in many cases, especially as the first response to an indoor air quality concern. Instead, careful detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems needing correction. Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of liquid moisture or water vapor or where moisture problems are suspected. The investigation goals should be to locate indoor mold growth to determine how to correct the moisture problem and remove contamination safely and effectively.
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Does Illinois Have Laws That Pertain To Mold
In 2003, the Illinois General Assembly adopted House Joint Resolution 12, which established the Joint Task Force on Mold in Indoor Environments. This task force examined the mold issue in Illinois and made recommendations to the General Assembly about the regulation of mold in indoor environments in Illinois. In 2007, the Mold Remediation Registration Act was passed into law. This law requires that IDPH annually report to the General Assembly any federal research and regulations related to mold cleanup and standards for mold remediation training.
Dont Want To Use Chemicals Heres How To Test For Mold In Your Home Naturally
If youre concerned about the effects of harmful chemicals when testing for mold in the house, worry not. Testing for mold doesnt use any chemicals, and kits are non-toxic.
In fact, the main thing you should be worried about when testing for mold is the mold itself. If you are collecting direct samples of mold using the swab technique, wear gloves and a mask to reduce your exposure to the mold.
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Best Commercially Available Products For Diy Mold And Mildew Removal
The best mold removal products are those that are non-toxic and safe to use around children and pets.
There are 2 commercially available mold removal products that we recommend. Both are cleaners that are safe to use in your home and near children or pets. Remember that you should always wear personal protective equipment when cleaning mold of any color, no matter how safe your cleaner may be.
The other product we recommend has not been reviewed by EWG, however, it is an excellent and safe product that we can highly recommend. Bioesque Botanical Disinfectant Solution kills fungi and mold within 3 minutes. It also kills bacteria and viruses including COVID-19.
To learn more about this product and its safety check out the companys website at: Bioesques Botanical Disinfectant Solution.
Clear Mold Reporting And Answers
In addition to finding the mold, the experts at RTK Environmental Group are able to analyze it and determine what type of mold it is and how much of a potential health hazard it is to you and your family. Since we provide you with a blueprint for remediation, you can then make a more informed decision regarding mold remediation and what to do about your mold problem. Once the remediation is complete, RTK will come back to conduct clearance testing to ensure the mold was removed properly.
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How Can I Clean Areas Of Mold In My Home Or Business
The guidelines for cleaning smaller areas of mold growth include the following practices:
The guidelines for cleaning areas of mold growth larger than 30 square feet include these additional practices, which may require the services of a professional mold remediator:
How Can I Prevent Mold After A Flood
During monsoons and after floods the New Mexico Department of Health reminds New Mexicans they need to be proactive about preventing mold from growing in their homes. If you dont immediately dry out your home and clean your belongings, you could be setting yourself up for problems down the road.
Read more about Avoiding Mold Growth After A Flood to learn how to protect yourself.
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Guide To Mold Remediation
Think you might have mold spreading throughout your home in Fort Myers? Its not uncommon. Mold just needs a little warmth and a little moisture. From there, it can experience explosive growth, allowing it to colonize any area of your home. Mold remediation is the answer to your challenge, but you may have some questions about the process.
Is Mold Remediation All I Need?
No. While mold remediation is an important, even vital, step, its only one of several. In addition to removing the mold from your home, its also essential that the water leak that caused the mold growth in the first place is located and repaired.
Is My Home Infested by Black Mold?
Black mold is very common, but it is only one of over 300,000 types of mold that could ultimately grow in your home. The best way to identify the mold is to have it inspected and tested.
Should I Clean Mold on My Own?
If you notice small patches of mold that are growing only on a hard surface, it can be cleaned using a little water and bleach. However, make sure to wear a face mask. In addition, larger mold patches on porous surfaces, such as sheetrock, should be handled by a professional, as they can be very difficult to handle on your own.
How Long After Water Damage Does Mold Start Growing?
If you have experienced any sort of water incursion, mold can begin growing in as little as 24 hours, making mold remediation essential.
Summary Of Health Problems
Many types of indoor mold, not just black mold, may cause health problems in some individuals.
Long-term exposure to high levels of mold in the home, however,
People who are most at risk of the symptoms of mold exposure are:
- infants and children
- people with allergies or asthma
- people with weakened immune systems
The main health risks related to mold exposure are allergies and irritation, which typically cause respiratory symptoms.
People with weakened immune systems may also have a risk of fungal infection.
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The Shower And Bathtub
Your bathroom is a mold spores dream come true. Over time, and with repeated use, high high-traffic areas within the bathroom, including the shower and bathtub, accumulate a constant level of dampness.
Unless theyre properly ventilated, these spaces become the perfect habitat for mold spores. While it might seem like mold in these areas would be obvious, thats not always the case.
As you evaluate your shower and bathtub for mold, be sure to check shampoo bottles, loofahs and washcloths, your shower curtain, the space around the faucet and shower head, and the tile grout.
If You See Mold Testing Is Usually Unnecessary And A Waste Of Money
If you already see obvious, visible mold, you usually do NOT need a mold inspection or mold testing you simply need to remove it following industry standard guidelines as we discuss below.
There are many cases where a mold inspection and mold testing IS a good idea, and we discuss these below. We also discuss why home mold tests that you can buy at hardware stores are a waste of money.
Many consumers who call us already see visible mold and think they therefore need to get it tested to determine what type of mold it is, whether its toxic, and other characteristics.
Do you think most companies who inspect for mold care to reveal that testing is often unnecessary when they have an easy $350-$1000 mold inspection on the table from a worried customer who is misinformed? Obviously not. Of course, there are some companies and individuals who are truthful, and we commend them, but they are sadly few and far between and drowned out by the others.
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Mature Coloration After Spore Formation
Let me take a short break and tell you about some cool products.
Further down the article resumes discussing toxic black mold identification and shows some images of actual toxic black mold.
This newer variety of do it yourself mold test kits seen above is by My Mold Detective. It will not give you the fun of watching the mold grow, but it is similar to what mold inspectors such as myself use. It works much better at successfully identifying the presence of toxic black mold in your homes air. They also do a much better job of telling how many spores are in your air.
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Perform A Visual Inspection
If you suspect you have mold, the first step is to perform a thorough visual inspection of your home. You will recognize mold as spots that can appear in many different colors. Mold thrives on moisture, so pay particular attention to roofs, windows, pipes, basements, laundry areas, bathrooms, previously flooded spaces, and so on. Mold commonly appears on fibrous surfaces like drywall, upholstery, wallpaper, fabrics, and cardboard. If you see any signs of mold, call a professional.
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Poor Reason For Testing #5 To Determine If The Environment Is Safe
At this time, it is unknown what level of mold is safe or how much is necessary to cause health problems. Mold tests cannot measure all the molds in an environment or how much occupants are exposed to. Such testing can also miss evidence of problems and results may mislead or be misused. MDH recommends assuming that any visible amount of mold may potentially cause illness and advises that the best approach is to remove this potential threat as soon as it can be done safely. MDH also suggests that it is also reasonable to conclude that an area should be relatively safe with regard to mold, if all visible growth was removed, the surrounding areas thoroughly cleaned, and it remains dry and free of mold odors.
Can Mold In Apartment Give You Headaches
These compounds are produced through fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often giving off strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate the eyes and respiratory system and has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea.
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What Is Stachybotrys
Stachybotrys is a greenish-black, slimy mold found only on cellulose products that have remained wet for several days or more. Stachybotrys does not grow on concrete, linoleum or tile. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal. Exposure to any mold could cause health effects under the right conditions.
How To Remove Mold
- Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work.
- Wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators, in addition to goggles and gloves.
- Set an old box fan or a cheap new one in a window to ventilate the room while working. Throw it out when you’re done cleaning, because the spores are almost impossible to clean off. Tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so the spores can’t blow back in.
- Wrap and tape moldy carpeting in 6-mil plastic, and double-bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags for disposal.
- To control airborne spores, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
- Turn off your furnace and air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
- Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
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Black And Toxic Molds
The term “black” mold is misleading at best. First, while the terms “toxic” and “black” mold are commonly used interchangeably, only one is recognized as black mold by most professionals: Stachybotrys chartarum, sometimes called Stachybotrys atra. Other common indoor toxic molds include – but are not limited to – Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. Furthermore, Stachybotrys isn’t actually black, but a greenish-black color instead. Finally, with more than 100,000 known types of mold, many of them are black. Unless they are Stachybotrys, however, they aren’t “black” mold and may not even be toxic.
What The Results Mean
Regardless of how to test for black mold, there is some question of what the results mean. Neither the Environmental Protection Agency nor the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control have established levels that are considered safe. The CDC points out that if you or any family members seem to suffer ill effects that can be attributed to the presence of mold, you should leave the house if possible and invest in mold remediation.
However, even though no safe level has been established, if you have a black mold test performed before you clean up the mold, you can then perform another test to find out if the level is at least significantly reduced. If you have a professional perform the cleanup, make sure you get a test for the presence of black mold both before and after the cleanup. The mold tester should be able to advise you as to what level of mold in the home he believes to be dangerous keep in mind, however, no amount of mold is really healthful to breathe day in and day out. Of course, you can also consult with a doctor about whether or not any health problems you are experiencing are related to black mold in your home.
You can also compare the results from one room to another by conducting air tests in several rooms. If you notice the mold level is much, much higher in your bedroom than in your living room or kitchen, that might explain why your sinuses act up every night.
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