Some facts about Mold…
Mold spores rapidly colonize when excess moisture is present in a structure. Only professional mold remediation will solve this problem once it starts or if it reaches over 10 square feet. It takes special knowledge and techniques to perform mold removal in the proper manner. These are the typical steps that are involved in mold remediation:
Assessment of the situation is the first step in the mold removal process. This allows our professionals to document all mold damage, and devise a plan to remedy the situation. Most of the time we can guide you through this over the phone if you have pictures or an inspection report. Other times a site visit is necessary for a small fee which is taken off of the mold removal quote once services are performed. The information collected through the remote or in-person assessment will help us document and perform a thorough mold remediation process to return your house or other structure back to a healthy environment once again.
Containment and removal of the mold is next in the process of mold remediation. If water is present, both the water and mold will need removing at the same time during mold remediation to keep the mold from spreading to other parts of the structure. Containment is very important in the mold removal process and should have engineering controls to protect your home and family.
We will clean the area along with your furnishings and belongings with color/material safe methods to ensure that no further damage occurs during this step for mold remediation. They also may use antibacterial and antimicrobial solutions to remove any mold off all areas or items that merit such treatment. In some cases, content cleaning professionals may be needed to help with this process during mold remediation.
Mold feeds on organic materials, such as wood, cellulose insulation, and drywall. This makes these materials weaken to the point of crumbling or decaying. In this case, we will carefully remove these materials. Painting, called encapsulation, is sometimes the last step in mold remediation. Wood components also may require a coat of paint/encapsulant after the mold has been remediated. An encapsulant has anti-microbial properties and usually comes with a warranty if done by a professional.
Once the surface dries from this final mold removal step, you will once again be able to use your structure safely. You should understand certain facts about toxic mold to realize how important it is to act quickly to receive mold remediation when you find it in your structure.
Important Facts about Black Mold: Mold spores thrive in dark, damp locations when moisture is available on a routine basis. They love a moist environment that contains organic substances on which they can feed.
The Stachybotrys spores easily travel into a structure on people, pets, or just through open windows and doors. They are not very common and are present in only about 2% of the homes we perform mold testing or mold removal in. When water invades your structure from a storm, leak or other cause, mold spores will begin to multiply within 24 hours, becoming visible in a few days. This growth will cause health issues such as respiratory illness or allergic reactions in the people inside the structure. Immediate action is necessary to prevent the further spread of mold.
Mold loves to latch onto drywall and wood to obtain nourishment. It digests these substances. This will weaken these materials and could cause decay to begin at least with the wood. Mold removal will prevent this type of damage from happening and limit your family’s exposure. Call us at the first sign of mold to prevent further spread or damage from occurring. Mold remediation will bring the mold back under control to where it is not a danger to your structure or to the health and safety of the occupants.Molds are fungi that are found everywhere – both indoors and outdoors all year round. The terms fungi and mold are often used interchangeably, but mold is actually a type of fungi. Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that exposure to mold can cause a variety of adverse health effects. There are many thousands of species of mold and most if not all of the mold found indoors comes from outdoor sources. It seems likely to grow and become a problem only when there is water damage, high humidity, or dampness.
Molds produce and release millions of spores small enough to be air-, water-, or insect-borne. They can also produce toxic agents known as mycotoxins. Spores and the mycotoxins they contain can have negative effects on human health. For those people who are affected by mold exposures there can be a wide variation in how they react. People at greatest risk of health effects are individuals with allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or other respiratory conditions, as well as infants and children, elderly people, and pregnant women. In addition, individuals with a weakened immune system are at risk.
Mold is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, and the construction industry. On my page you will find some symptoms caused by the Stachybotrys chartarum species of mold, which is also called black mold or toxic black mold.
However not all mold that looks black is Stachybotrys and in fact most dark mold isn’t even toxic.
Toxic black mold causes serious symptoms and health problems such as mental impairment, breathing problems, damage to internal organs and sometimes even death. The main groups of symptoms toxic black mold causes are:
- Mental and neurological symptoms
- Respiratory symptoms
- Circulatory symptoms
- Vision and eye problems
- Skin problems
- Immune system problems
- Reproductive system problems
- Tiredness and discomfort
- Other illnesses and health effects
Mental and Neurological Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
The trichothecene mycotoxins produced by toxic black mold are neurotoxic. This means they can kill neurons in the brain and impair a person’s mental ability. They also cause nervous disorders such as tremors and can cause personality changes such as mood swings and irritability. Some symptoms include:
- Brain fog
- Shortened attention span
- Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
- Slowed reflexes
- Memory loss and memory problems
- Impaired learning ability
- Aggression and other personality changes
People living in homes with toxic black mold are exposed mainly through breathing in toxic black mold spores and mycotoxins. Toxic black mold mycotoxins create irritation and a burning feeling in a person’s air passages such as the nasal cavity, mouth and throat.
The mycotoxins can even become lodged in the mucus membranes, sinuses and the lungs which then causes a burning feeling, breathing problems and bleeding in the lungs. Symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing – breathlessness or shortness of breath
- Pulmonary edema – swelling of the lungs
- Pulmonary hemorrhage – bleeding in the lungs
- Sore throat
- Burning sensation of the mouth
- Bleeding gums
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose
- Stuffy, blocked nose
- Nose bleeds
Toxic black mold mycotoxins can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a person’s skin or eyes. Eventually the mycotoxins then find their way into the person’s blood. This leads to heart damage, problems with blood clotting and internal or external hemorrhaging. Some symptoms include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart inflammation
- Damage to heart
- Low blood pressure
- Bone marrow disruption
- Bleeding tendency
- Blood not clotting properly
- Hemorrhage – internal bleeding
- Vomiting up blood
- Bleeding in the brain and in other organs
Toxic black mold mycotoxins that are in the air can enter a person’s eyes. The mycotoxins are cytotoxic (toxic to cells) and when they come into contact with eye cells they cause inflamed and injured eyes and create vision problems. Some symptoms include:
- Eye inflammation and soreness
- Red or bloodshot eyes
- Eye damage
- Blurry vision and vision worsening
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes)
Skin Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
Through the skin is one of the three main ways that toxic black mold mycotoxins enter the human body. There have been cases in the past where people have handled hay contaminated with toxic black mold and developed severe rashes and skin problems on their body where they touched the hay, as well as on sweaty areas like the armpits.
Some Symptoms include
- Crawling skin
- Dermatitis – skin inflammation, rash, blisters, itchiness
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
Immune System Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
Toxic black mold puts out chemicals which suppress the immune system. In fact many immunosuppressive drugs are actually created from toxic molds. A person who is immunocompromised from being around toxic black mold will more easily get infections and sicknesses.some symptoms include Immunosuppression – immune system not functioning properly Infections reoccurring
Like any allergy, mold allergy symptoms are triggered by an overly sensitive immune system response. When humans inhale tiny, airborne mold spores, the body recognizes them as foreign invaders and releases allergy-causing antibodies to fight them.
After the exposure has passed, you still produce antibodies that “remember” this invader, so that any later contact with the mold causes your immune system to react. This reaction triggers the release of substances such as histamine, which causes itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and other mold allergy symptoms.
Molds are very common both in the indoor and outdoor environments. There are many mold types, but only certain kinds of mold cause allergies. Being allergic to one type of mold doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be allergic to another. Some of the most common molds that cause allergies include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium and Stachybotrys.
Reproductive System Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
Mycotoxins from toxic black mold are teratogenic. This means they can cause problems in the fetus during pregnancy which then leads to birth defects. Toxic black mold mycotoxins are also cytoxotic and mutagenic (cause cell mutations) and inhibit protein synthesis including DNA and RNA. Some Symptoms include:
- Fetal development problems
Tiredness and Discomfort Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
When a person is around toxic black mold the immune system may release a sedative called Chloral Hydrate. This is used as a defense to try to slow down the effects of toxic black mold. But this also makes a person tired and causes fatigue. Toxic black mold can also cause soreness of the muscles and joints. Some Symptoms include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Aches and pains
- Muscle pain
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Malaise – general discomfort
- Cold or flu type symptoms or recurring colds
Other Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold, some symptoms include:
- Hair loss
- Weight loss, anorexia
- Hearing loss
- Liver disease
Toxic Black Mold Causes Allergic Symptoms
Like other molds, toxic black mold is allergenic. The spores from toxic black mold cause allergic reactions such as breathing problems, sore eyes, runny nose, itchiness, sneezing and a sore throat.
For a more detailed list of allergic reactions caused by mold visit Mold Symptoms and Allergic Reactions.
Differing Toxic Black Mold Symptoms
Toxic black mold affects different people in different ways. Some people won’t experience symptoms as severe as what others experience. Children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are usually the worst affected by toxic black mold.
Experts suspect that toxic black mold can cause cancer, although there still needs to be more research. Some other toxic molds, like Aspergillus for example, definitely cause cancer though. The aflatoxin mycotoxins which Aspergillus produce are among the most powerful carcinogens.
Are Toxic Black Mold Symptoms Permanent?
Once a person is no longer around toxic black mold most of their symptoms should gradually decrease. Some of the health problems caused by toxic black mold are permanent though. For example, after a person has lived with toxic black mold their immune system won’t be as strong as it used to be and they’ll be more sensitive to mold and mycotoxins in the future
Health Effects of Mold
Mold causes allergies in humans and pets. The symptoms of mold exposure can be mild with symptoms such as a runny nose, eyes and a sore throat. In sensitive individuals more severe allergic reactions to mold can occur. This often causes asthma attacks or skin diseases. Sometimes with toxic mold neurological conditions can occur from the mold mycotoxins. If your feeling ill and have had water damage or notice a musty smell at your property, it is advisable to get a mold inspection and mold air testing.
Hidden mold can be determined during the mold testing phase by Red Star Restoration’s microbiologists. If the mold is determined to be hazardous typically all exposed have symptoms and medical attention may be needed. It is important to realize that not all mold inspections find hazardous mold. Sometimes we find surface mold and no major remediation is needed. If a large mold infestation is located we advise our clients not to panic and we will offer you workable solutions. We advise our clients to use our certified scientists which are also microbiologists. Our mold inspection teams are highly trained for your property inspections. This makes Red Star Restoration shine brightly from our competitors
When it’s not an allergy
Although a mold allergy is the most common problem caused by exposure to mold, mold can cause illness without an allergic reaction. Mold can also cause infections or irritant and toxic reactions. Infections caused by mold can lead to a variety of problems from flu-like symptoms to skin infections and even pneumonia.
An irritant reaction is caused when substances from molds called volatile organic compounds (VOC) irritate the mucous membranes in the body. Symptoms of an VOC irritant reaction are similar to an allergy and include eye irritation, runny nose, cough, hoarseness, headache and skin irritation.
Mold Risk Factors:
A number of factors can make you more likely to develop a mold allergy, or worsen your existing mold allergy symptoms, including:
- Having a family history of allergies. If allergies and asthma run in your family, you’re more likely to develop a mold allergy.
- Working in an occupation that exposes you to mold. Occupations where mold exposure may be high include farming, dairy work, logging, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, wine making and furniture repair.
- Living in a house with high humidity. If your indoor humidity is higher than 60 percent, you may have increased exposure to mold in your home. Mold can grow virtually anywhere if the conditions are right — in basements, behind walls in framing, on soap-coated grout and other damp surfaces, in carpet pads, and in the carpet itself. Exposure to high levels of household mold may trigger mold allergy symptoms.
- Working or living in a building that’s been exposed to excess moisture. Examples include leaky pipes, water seepage during rainstorms and flood damage. At some point, nearly every building has some kind of excessive moisture. This moisture can allow mold to flourish.
- Living in a house with poor ventilation. Tight window and door seals may trap moisture indoors and prevent proper ventilation, creating ideal conditions for mold growth. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements, are most vulnerable.
Most allergic responses to mold involve hay fever-type symptoms that can make you miserable, but aren’t serious. However, certain allergic conditions caused by mold are more severe for toxic black mold severe (Stachybotrys). These include:
- In people allergic to mold, breathing mold induced asthma spores can trigger an asthma flare-up. If you have a mold allergy and asthma, be sure you have an emergency plan in place in case of a severe asthma attack.
- Allergic fungal sinusitis. This results from an inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses.
- Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This reaction to fungus in the lungs can occur in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis.
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This rare condition occurs when exposure to airborne particles such as mold spores cause the lungs to become inflamed. It may be triggered by exposure to allergy-causing dust at work.
Other health problems caused by mold:
Besides allergens, black mold may pose other health risks to susceptible people. For example, mold may cause infections of the skin or mucus membranes. Generally, however, mold doesn’t cause systemic infections except for people with impaired immune systems, diabetes, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or who are taking immunosuppressant medication.
Exposure to mold may also irritate eyes, skin, nose and throat in some people. Other possible mold reactions are the subject of ongoing research.
*Text courtesy of the Mayo Clinic 2015* – Reference 2014