Mold Information

Mold and Your Health

There are a number of documented cases of health effects and physical problems resulting from indoor exposure to mold and mold spores (sometimes referred to as sick building syndrome). Mold related illnesses can result from high level / short-term exposures and lower level / long-term exposures. The most common health effects or symptoms reported from exposure to indoor mold environments are a chronic clearing of the throat, runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma, allergic reactions similar to cat allergies, headache, and fatigue. Mold related health effects are often reported as feeling like you have a cold but you don't. Eventually it may feel like you have the flu, but you don't. Many of our customer report feeling better when they leave their home for a week or more. Once they arrive back within a day or so they are ill again.

Some individual have a higher risk of negative health effects than others these including the following groups of people:

  • Infants
  • Children
  • Elderly
  • Those with severe allergies
  • Individuals with existing respiratory problems
  • Pregnant women
  • Immune-compromised individuals (those with cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses)
  • Individuals recovering from surgery

When high levels of airborne toxic mold spores are inhaled deep into the lungs they can enter the bloodstream and affect the immune system, nervous system, liver, kidneys, blood and cause brain damage. With enough long-term exposure to elevated mold environments, it is possible for mold related illnesses and health effects to become life-long chronic diseases.

Mold and Indoor Growth

Mold has different appearances depending on the species, stage of growth, and growth media. Often mold has a fuzzy or wooly appearance ranging in color from black, green and brown to yellow, gray and white. Fungi are a diverse group of single-celled organisms that includes mushrooms, molds, mildews, smuts, rusts, and yeasts. When the environment is favorable and the right amount of nutrients, moisture, and oxygen are present, mold can begin to grow. Indoor fungal contaminates can grow on different kinds of cellulose debris.

Common indoor materials containing cellulose include:

  • Drywall
  • Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Hardwood Flooring
  • Insulation
  • Wood Members
  • Carpet
  • Carpet Pad and Tack Strip
  • Baseboards
  • Fabric
  • Clothing/Leather
  • Food

Molds are organized into three groups according to human responses: Allergenic, Pathogenic and Toxigenic.

Allergenic Molds

Allergenic molds do not usually produce life-threatening health effects and are most likely to affect those who are already allergic or asthmatic. The human system responses to allergenic molds tend to be relatively mild, depending on individual sensitivities, typically producing scratchy throats, eye and nose irritations and rashes. These can lead to uncomfortable living for some if high amounts of allergenic molds are present.

Pathogenic Molds

Pathogenic molds usually produce some type of infection. They can cause serious health effects in persons with suppressed immune systems. Healthy people can usually resist infection by these organisms regardless of dose. In some cases, high exposure may cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis (an acute response to exposure to an organism).

Toxigenic Molds

Toxigenic molds can release harmful toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can cause serious health effects in almost anybody. These agents have toxic effects ranging from short-term irritation to immunosuppression and possibly cancer. Therefore, when toxigenic molds are found further evaluation and action is recommended.

Mold Information
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