Is Toxic Mold in Your Home or Office Making you Sick?
It is more common than you think to have toxic mold secretly growing around you. Mold is a structure of fungi that flourishes on damp, organic materials. Mold doesn’t need much to spread and can become problematic within days. A slow drip of a leaky pipe, an A/C return that isn’t functioning properly, or a roof that needs repair are all normal, everyday issues within our indoor environments. Without proper repair and maintenance, these issues can quickly create a toxic environment for our bodies. Luckily, our bodies give us signs of mold allergies that we need to be aware of and stop ignoring. When you notice these signs, it’s time to give Germ Masters Environmental a call for testing. https://germmasters.com/schedule-an-inspection/
Where Does Mold Come From?
Mold is everywhere; it is a fungus found inside and outside on plants, dirt, dust, food, wood, or other organic materials; it isn’t always harmful. Individual mold spores are microscopic and harmless; when mold spores begin to multiply is when you will be able to see visible mold spots and notice the side effects of mold allergies. There are normal, healthy levels of mold in every household; toxic mold forms when there is an adequate damp environment for mold spores to multiply, causing the spores to emit toxins into the surrounding air. These toxins can cause havoc to the health of those exposed to them. Mold can also cause expensive damage to the affected home or building.
The formula to grow mold is quite simple: Moisture, Humidity, and a Food Source. To break that down we can look at an example of Mold’s Perfect Storm.
How long would it take you to discover a small leak in the water line to your dishwasher? Not too soon in most cases. As that undiscovered leak continues to grow it is creating larger damage to the drywall behind the dishwasher. Your dishwasher typically runs a steam cycle and uses hot water which heats the surrounding area behind it. The moisture in the drywall with the constant fluctuating temperature behind your dishwasher creates Mold’s Perfect Storm.
The CDC is a great resource to find out more facts about mold. https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm
Common Indoor Mold
There are thousands of types of mold in our environment; however, there are only a handful that are commonly found indoors. The five common types of mold are Penicillium, Alternaria, Cladosporium, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys. Each of these mold have diverse appearances and are all caused from excess moisture. Mold can be tricky to identify, which is why hiring a professional mold assessor is so important.
5 Toxic Molds
- Penicillium- Green or blue color with a fuzzy appearance and musty smell. It is commonly found on textiles, especially those with water damage, it is known to cause allergies.
- Fusarium– Plant-based mold that easily enters your home in damp areas. It can grow on food surfaces and water damaged areas. It can be various colors with a velvet, fuzzy texture.
- Cladosporium- Allergenic mold that is found on porous surfaces like wood and fabric. It has an olive green to brown color. It can grow in warm or cold areas and causes severe asthmatic symptoms.
- Aspergillus- Can be found in areas with heavy moisture/dampness and in everyday household dust. It has a yellowish-green appearance, with a reddish-brown bottom layer. It is known to cause severe asthmatic reactions.
- Stachybotrys, aka “Black Mold”- is very harmful to humans and animals. This mold emits a powerful musty smell and produces airborne toxins. It is black gelatin-like and can appear wet or dry with a powdery surface, often compared to the look of coffee grounds.
Signs of Toxic Mold
How can you tell if you have Toxic Mold in your environment?
Mold is often not visible, you may notice a musty smell or health condition before you find any visible mold damage. This is why it is important to get an air sample from a professional at the first sign of a problem. https://germmasters.com/mold-sampling/
Symptoms and Signs of Toxic Mold and Mold Allergies
- Musty, Strange Odor
- Visible Mold Spots (colored, ash-like texture, or a slimy, wet surface)
- Reoccurring Sinus Infections
- Coughing and Sneezing
- Dry/Itchy Eyes, Throat, and Nose
- Runny and/or Stuffy Nose
- Headaches/Dizziness While indoors
- Constant Unexplained Illness
- Skin Dryness and/or Rashes
- Weakened Immune System
According to the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/indoorenv/moldsymptoms.html
It is important to monitor these symptoms in your home or office. Prolonged exposure to Toxic Mold can be detrimental on your body and can cause irreparable health problems. Those who suffer with asthma or other respiratory concerns are at the greatest risk for complications due to toxic mold exposure. If you notice any of the references signs or symptoms of Toxic Mold and Mold Allergies, give Germ Masters Environmental a call for an inspection. Mold grows quickly, every day that passes increases the amount of toxins emitted into your air. Stay informed, and keep yourself and those around you safe and healthy.
A great resource fro information about damp spaces and your health is available in an E-Book from the Institute of Medicine: https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/11011/damp-indoor-spaces-and-health