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Air Quality Assessors Blog


At Risk Areas of Your Home
At Risk Areas of Your Home

Not all rooms in your home are created equal! This is definitely true when it comes to areas of the home that are highly impacted by excess moisture, leaks, and mold. So, how do you know which rooms to keep an eye on and what extra precautions to take to make sure your home is free from excess moisture? We've provided you with some helpful tips to ensure that every square inch of your home is as dry and clean as possible for you to live your healthiest life.

 

Rooms At High Risk

So, which rooms of your house are at the highest risk for moisture and mold growth? Any room that is consistently exposed to moisture is higher at risk for mold exposure. This is because those are the conditions that mold thrives in. So, as you can imagine, rooms like the bathroom and basement have the highest risk for excess humidity and mold growth. Bathrooms are especially prone to mold due to the amount of plumbing present and how much humidity occurs daily with bathing. But, mold can grow in any room where there is excess moisture in the form of a household leak, high humidity from the climate, improper ventilation or improper insulation within the home. Mold can even grow on your mattress over time if you tend to excessively sweat at night!


Signs To Look Out For

If you're worried about mold sneaking up on you, there are signs to look out for. You should be especially vigilant if you know that there is excess moisture recently within the home. If you happen to notice visible spots on the surfaces of your home which could be fuzzy or flat, that's a sign that there is mold growing. Mold often has a distinguishable musty and earthy odor, which is another thing to look out for. Finally, listen to your body! Mold impacts the air quality by saturating it with spores that contain mycotoxins. If you're displaying unexplained allergy symptoms such as respiratory irritation, headaches, or dizziness, you could be exposing yourself to mold within the home.


Steps To Take

If you notice excess moisture in any of the rooms in your home, there are steps you can take to solve the problem. Make sure rooms are ventilated properly, use a dehumidifier where needed, and check for excess moisture where plumbing is present. You can also take advantage of products like mold resistant paint for areas such as the basement and bathroom. It's also a good idea to get your HVAC systems maintained to ensure they're working. A professional mold remediation company can help you if you're looking to make sure the room is completely free of moisture, or if you need a mold problem remediated. Professionals have years of experience and first-hand knowledge on how to remedy excess moisture and mold within the home. With these tools at your disposal, you're well on your way to having a perfectly balanced and healthy home that's free from excess moisture.

Mold Awareness Month
Mold Awareness Month


September is Mold Awareness Month! This month of awareness aims to educate and raise awareness about the different effects that mold can have on your health and home. Exposure to mold and the subsequent mycotoxins produced can wreak havoc on your families health. The more knowledge that you have, the less chance you have of suffering from mold in your home.


Why Does Mold Grow?

In order to understand mold, it's important to know how and why it grows. Mold occurs naturally and can grow pretty much anywhere where there is moisture present. In fact, mold loves damp, warm environments, and this is where it thrives. Mold spores are carried through the air, and when they find a suitable surface, they reproduce rapidly. There can be mold present even if there is no visual evidence. Make sure you are vigilant if you've recently had excess moisture in your home.

Types of Mold

It's true that some types of mold are a lot more dangerous than others. This is why you don't need a hazmat suit to take care of moldy leftovers in your fridge! Some of the most common types of mold found within a household include aspergillus, stachybotrys atra (or black mold), and cladosporium. Aspergillus is most often found on food and within systems of the house like air ducts and HVAC systems. Cladosporium is usually green or dark brown with a pepper like appearance commonly found in bathroom areas. Black mold is the most harmful type of mold to have in your home. This type of mold often occurs after a household has experienced heavy flooding or water damage that was not taken care of in a timely manner.


Health Risks

Some of the most common health symptoms experienced from mold exposure are respiratory irritation and flu-like symptoms. Yet, the symptoms experienced can vary from one individual to the next. One person may experience a strange rash, while another can experience chronic fatigue and brain fog. Health risks can be as serious as nervous system damage or extreme asthma symptoms. This is why it is important to act fast when you have found mold in your household.


When Mold Is Spotted

Don't be alarmed! Be aware of the conditions that mold likes to grow in, and keep an eye out for any changes in the appearance and smell of your home, as well as the health of your family. If you find mold in your home, the best thing you can do is hire a professional mold remediation company as soon as possible. Attempting to clean the mold yourself could make matters worse by spreading the spores and exposing yourself to harmful mycotoxins. A professional company can take care of any mold issues you run into in the best way possible. The longer mold isn't taken care of, the more potential it has to wreak havoc on your house and health.


How Mold Affects Children
How Mold Affects Children

The dangerous effects of mold aren't created equal. Mold has the potential to affect everybody in a negative way regardless of age. Children are especially susceptible to the harmful effects. The toxic substances mold emits, mycotoxins, affect children more than adults due to their developing bodies. When mold grows indoors, tiny spores travel everywhere. These spores have the potential to collect and reproduce in places you can't see. This compromises the overall quality of the air inside of your home.

You definitely don't want to neglect mold remediation if you have children in the home. The health and well being of your child is vital, and every parent should have a concern about long-term effects of mold. Children have the potential to be affected by mold more than adults since their immune system and bodies are still developing. In some cases, mycotoxins cause illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, which has the potential to last throughout their life.


Impaired Development

From birth to adolescence, a child's immune system is developing as it is exposed to different substances. When a young immune system encounters harmful substances like mold, development is often affected. Typical reactions to mold might include respiratory irritation and allergic reactions such as coughing and itchy eyes. However, these issues aren't the only harmful effects that mold can trigger. The presence of mycotoxins has been linked to neurotoxicity in some brains of young people. This can have a negative effect on a child's emotions and behavior, even their performance in school.


Long-Term Effects

Another serious condition called chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis can occur when a child is exposed to mold over a period of time. This is a condition that is similar to pneumonia. Yet, unlike pneumonia, it is not cured with antibiotics. The symptoms of this include muscle aches, night sweats, fever, shortness of breath and cough. Children who already have asthma can easily have an attack triggered by being in the same general area as mold. It is estimated that over 20% of asthma illness in the United States is due to mold exposure or damp conditions in the home. Black mold is especially unsafe for infants and children to be around. The mycotoxins produced by this kind of mold have the ability to impair brain function and cause nervous system disorders. Chronic exposure to black mold increases the risk for hemorrhagic pneumonia in infants, and it is known to be fatal.


Steps to Take

Is your child exhibiting signs of persisting respiratory issues, fatigue, or poor performance in school? Has there been an unexplained rash or skin lesions? You could have mold lurking somewhere in your home, even if the adults in the home aren't exhibiting any unusual symptoms. If you have reason to believe mold is present in your home, mold inspection and remediation is vital to the health of your family. Get in touch with a local mold remediation company to ensure the safety of the children in your home.

Black Mold - Is it a Threat?
Black Mold - Is it a Threat?

 

When people think about mold, the picture that comes to mind is black and green fuzzy stuff on sliced bread and fruit. Here we are going to have a closer look into this common fungus. Black mold is one of the most common types of mold that forms in homes. Other names for common black mold is stachybotrys chartarum, and toxic black mold. Black mold comes in many different species and classifications. It might be hard for some to believe, but not all types of black mold are toxic.

 

There are thousands of different kinds of back molds, but only some will affect health in humans and pets. Although it is difficult to determine which species are dangerous and which ones are not on your own, we want to inform you as much as possible so you are prepared to make the right decisions and keep your family safe.

 

 

         

 

 

What does black mold look like? Black mold isn’t just black; it can be gray, green and sometimes look dark blue. It forms in clusters and can sometimes look slimy, fluffy growing outward, and spotty. It can come in the form on small dots or large round patches that are staggered along a wall. You may also notice that around the areas where black mold has formed, there are signs of moisture. Bubbling and cracking paint, brown spots on the ceiling, and areas of condensation are all signs of moisture damage and possible mold formation. Floods and leaks are two main causes of excess moisture that cause mold. Moisture is one of the sources needed for mold to grow. Other sources include organic materials (wood, drywall) and temperature between 70-100 degrees.

 

It is no secret that black mold can cause health problems. From watery eyes to fatigue and eventually brain damage, the symptoms range from common and temporary symptoms to serious life threatening sicknesses. One common sickness caused by mold is Toxic Mold Syndrome. Many people have suffered from this and if you have never heard of TMS before, read our previous blog post “The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome”. In a report conducted by CBS, a family’s story is exposed when they ran into a major mold problem.

 

 


If you have found that you are living in the presence of black mold the BEST way to resolve the problem is to get the effected materials removed by a mold professional. Sprays, tapes, and wiping surfaces can only temporarily fix the issue and possibly spread the mold more. Proper mold remediation and testing are the only ways to solve the problem and prove that it is gone 100%. If you are sick and think that black mold may be the cause, mention to your doctor that you think you may have a mold problem. 

 


The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome
The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome

 

Toxic Mold Syndrome, also known as mold illness, is an illness that effects many people. When people get sick, they typically assume the causes are allergies, a cold, or a bad reaction to medications. When you notice a dramatic decline in your health, you have to wonder, what is the cause? Very commonly, people blame their poor health on  outdoor environments when in reality, they should be considering their indoor environments as the main culprit. Most people spend an average of 90% of their time indoors including time at work, school and at home. This fact alone should initiate further research into your indoor environments.


You may experience symptoms that are similar to colds and common allergies when dealing with Toxic Mold Syndrome including:


·         Coughing

·         Wheezing

·         Sore throat

·         Runny nose

·         Itchy eyes

·         And more…

 

There are more serious health problems related to toxic mold syndrome. In many cases, the above symptoms are just the beginning. Not only does toxic mold syndrome affect your respiratory health, but also your nervous system, circulatory system, skin, vision and mental health. As you can see, mold and any of the symptoms related to mold are all something that should not be taken lightly. It can lead to very serious health issues and even death.


In order to avoid long term health problems related to mold exposure, one would ask what is the real cause of mold growth? The simplest reason mold forms is because of moisture. There are many different forms of moisture that cause mold formation including leaks, condensation, humidity, and flooding. When moisture comes in contact with any and all kinds of organic materials (wood, carpet, clothing, etc.…) mold begins to form. There are many great mold prevention tips listed in our “How to Avoid Indoor Allergens" blog post that are easy and affordable to implement. Doing yearly inspections and taking care of your home overall will help lessen the chance of experiencing health issues related to mold.

 

There have been many case studies conducted to prove the effects of mold exposure symptoms. In this presented case study individuals that were tested ranged from 1.5 years to 52 years of age. The conclusion was conditional, however those who were involved experienced similar symptoms and reactions. Along with case studies, there are many personal stories, testimonials, and articles that present personal experiences people have had with toxic mold syndrome and mold related sicknesses. There is one story that stands out among all the rest about a woman who is now doing well, but at one point did not know what happened to her or where to turn. Kimberlyn is someone who one day, completely lost her motivation and began to become very confused as to why her personality and normal demeanor completely changed. With multiple doctor visits over 6 months, she started to find out what may be the cause of her sudden life altering ailment. If you are worried that you may be dealing with mold, her story is very relatable and could save you many unnecessary steps.


Ideally, we would like to say that mold will never be an issue in our lives, but that is not the case. Mold is everywhere. It really all depends on how quickly you handle a situation and how serious it is. Our best advice: be mindful of your surroundings and educate yourself on the signs and the steps to take to resolve your mold problem.



Recommended Links: Black Mold

                                       AMEN clinics

       US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health

                                       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 


September is Mold Awareness Month
September is Mold Awareness Month


Mold Awareness Month is among us in its 7th consecutive year to raise awareness about the health risks linked to the presence of mold. With that being said, we would like to inform you of how important it is to be aware of mold in your surroundings, and how to solve your mold problem from start to finish.


Keeping your home safe and mold free contributes greatly to the health of your family members and the prosperity of your home. Mold comes in many forms and can grow in many different places. Mold can grow on virtually any organic material as long as moisture and oxygen are present, which means mold can grow almost EVERYWHERE.


Mold is omnipresent and you may have noticed that you’ve always seen it around. This could cause you to question, “I’ve never felt the effects of mold, what makes it dangerous?” Reactions to mold sometimes don’t happen instantly. The immediate (Level 1) symptoms of mold exposure are sometimes the same as cold symptoms & common ailments such as headaches, watery eyes, sneezing and vomiting. The second stage of mold exposure symptoms (Level 2) include chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, ear infections and even bronchitis. The most advanced (Level 3) symptoms which give mold its nickname “the silent killer” are blindness, brain damage, cancer and death. All of the above symptoms can be prevented by having your home inspected and properly remedied.


Below are the steps to take if you find your home may have a mold problem:


5 STEPS TO SOLVING YOUR MOLD PROBLEM


Step 1: Write down which areas in your home may have mold and what the mold looks like. This information will be requested is important to have on hand.


Step 2: Call your homeowner’s insurance company to find out what mold coverage you have within your policy. You may also need to contact your Homeowners Association and ask if certain areas in your home covered under them, or your personal insurance.


Step 3: Call your local mold detection service company and set up an appointment to have your home checked. This process is known as a Pre-Remediation Assessment. Be sure to only use a certified mold inspector.


Step 4: After the results are in, choose a remediation company to extract the mold from your home. This process is called Mold Remediation. Again, be sure to only use a certified/licensed remediation company to ensure the proper removal of materials containing mold.


Step 5: Schedule a Post Remediation Verification Assessment to obtain a Clearance Certificate to allow new construction (carpet replacement, building, etc.…) to begin and to ensure all mold is removed.


After these 5 steps, you will have the relief of knowing that you are living in a mold-free environment. Not only is it important to be aware of mold issues in your home, but it can also be an issue in buildings of any kind including businesses, churches, schools and restaurants. Be sure to take care of mold issues at the earliest sign, as this can make all the difference to protect those around you and your investments.


Recommended Links: Air Quality Assessors Website

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