Air Quality Assessors Blog

rss

Air Quality Assessors Blog


Mold In The Workplace
Mold In The Workplace


Mold in the workplace is no laughing matter! After all, we spend a considerable amount of time at our jobs. If employees are being exposed to mold in the workplace, it can have a negative effect on their finances, health, and overall stress level. No one should have to put their health at risk at the benefit of their employer. It is smart to be vigilant if you believe there might be mold in the workplace, whether you are an employee or the employer.


Signs of Mold

 

Do you think there might be a risk of mold exposure in the workplace? Mold thrives in warm, damp spaces without proper air flow. If the business recently experienced water damage, does not have proper ventilation, has a high level of humidity or the building is in general disrepair, mold could be growing. There are some signs that you can look for to see if there is a clear mold issue. Keep in mind that only a professional mold remediation company can make an accurate assessment.


Do you notice a leak in the roof or a busted pipe? Is it very humid in the workplace, or have you noticed discoloration anywhere on the walls? Is there a musty smell, or have you noticed condensation forming in the building? These are all signs that the conditions are right for mold to be growing.

 

Are you only experiencing symptoms while you're at work? Sick Building Syndrome is a phenomenon in which people experience health issues while inside of a building, but are relieved after leaving. Some common signs of mold exposure in a work place include respiratory irritation or allergy symptoms such as nasal and eye irritation, and asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath. Repeated exposure to mold can also result in brain fog which has the ability to affect the employees performance at work.


Action Steps

 

It's important to take charge of your health if you think you are being exposed to mold in the workplace. See a doctor if you're experiencing discomfort that can't be traced back to another irritant in your daily life, especially if it gets noticeably worse when you're on the clock. The only way to get an accurate diagnosis of the problem is to bring in a mold remediation company. This should be done at the very first sign of mold in the building. Otherwise, the problem will continue to get worse as time progresses, as well as the health symptoms.


How To Prevent Mold

 

The good news is that mold in the workplace is very preventable. When you prevent moisture intrusion, you also prevent mold. Make sure the building is in good condition with no leaks coming from the roof, walls, or pipes with regular inspections. Be sure that the humidity of the building is in check, as high humidity means more moisture is in the air. Remember, if there are signs of moisture, it's vital to correct the problem as soon as possible.

 


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.

Steps Towards a Healthier Home – After a Major Storm
Steps Towards a Healthier Home – After a Major Storm

Has your home recently been affected by a major weather event such as a hurricane or tornado? Perhaps you're anticipating a big storm and want to be sure you're protecting your household as much as possible. It can be a scary thing to experience an intense weather episode no matter how many times you've been through it before. Each storm is different and has the potential to damage your home.


Impacts of a Major Storm

Your house is one of your biggest financial assets, and it's also a sanctuary for all who inhabit it, so it's natural to want to make sure it is in the best condition possible. For those living in a climate that has unpredictable storms or a predictable storm season, there's a lot to think about when it comes to securing your home against damage during a weather episode. Intense storms can seriously take their toll on the structural integrity of a home if proper steps aren't taken after damage occurs. It's easy to get overwhelmed with damage to your home after a storm, after all, it can get pretty costly. However, when all is said and done, the most important thing is that your home is still a healthy environment to live in after a storm.


Common Household Damages

So, what type of damage can happen to a home after a storm? Of course, the more intense a storm is, the more potential it has to cause damage to structures in the area. The most common damage you will find to a home will be due to water from precipitation getting into the house along with damage from high winds that often accompany a storm.


High winds most commonly cause damage to the roof including the shingles and gutters, siding, windows, garages/sheds. Powerful wind can uproot trees, bring down power lines, and even turn a seemingly lightweight object into an airborne danger. When the high-velocity wind picks up an item in the middle a storm, there's no predicting what route it will take or what damage it will cause! Water damage can quickly turn into a mold remediation issue if you do not take steps to get rid of the water in the home as soon as possible. Mold resulting from water damage can seriously affect the health of those who live in the household!

 

Steps Toward a Healthier Home

Here are some quick steps you can take to protect your home after a major storm like a hurricane:

  • Create airflow through the house and ventilate the area by opening doors and windows
  • Dry any wet items that you find as soon as possible, and throw away anything that was damaged too badly for use in the future
  • Ensure any mold remediation is done by a licensed professional in the field
  • Deep clean the entire home to make sure there isn't any moisture lurking around
  • Take precautions to prevent future water intrusion with home repairs both indoors and outdoors
  • Create a structured plan for cleaning, drying, and remediation so you aren't scrambling if it happens again

 


When Humidity Rears Its Ugly Head
When Humidity Rears Its Ugly Head


What is Humidity? 

Humidity is described as the amount of water vapor or water molecules that are currently present in the air. So, what causes humidity in the air to begin with? It can all be traced back to the water cycle and wind patterns on the planet. When it rains and water reaches the ground, it evaporates back into the atmosphere when it reaches a certain temperature. When you hear meteorologists talking about humidity, they are referring to "relative humidity". What does that mean? This term simply compares the current amount of moisture in the air to the total amount of moisture that the air can hold.


Where Humidity is Most Common

Warm air can hold more water than cold air, which is why you experience those unbearably hot and humid days during the summer months. So, it's safe to say that you can usually expect higher levels of humidity in warm climates, especially if they are by a large body of water or experience a lot of rainfall. Humidity is often pushed up from wind currents originating from humid places around the world. This is exactly what causes changes in weather.


Indoor Humidity 

Humidity outside is one thing to deal with, and humidity indoors is another. The level of humidity in your home can impact the concentration of indoor air pollutants, which relates to the overall air quality. Having excess moisture in your house creates the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to form. Mold in the home can cause a variety of health disturbances, and it can affect the structural integrity of your home if it goes unchecked. Headaches, dizziness, respiratory issues, and asthma symptoms are some of the health dangers that mold in the household can bring. Mold caused by high humidity levels can wreak havoc on your health, emotional state, and bank account if you have to resort to remediation! This is why it is important to control the level of humidity in your home, especially in unfavorable weather conditions.


Controlling Humidity in the Home

You might be wondering, "How do I keep the humidity of my house in check in a climate like Florida?", and we're here to give you some tips. It is recommended to consistently use a dehumidifier in your house if you are experiencing excess humidity indoors, even in the cool winter months. Depending on the weather, you may need to adjust the dehumidifier when it does cool down a bit. You can also get a hygrometer, which is a small tool that measures the relative humidity level in a room. You generally want the relative humidity level to be between 35 and 45 percent, depending on your household. When using a dehumidifier, you'll want to be certain you're replacing the filters and cleaning it as needed. If you're using a dehumidifier with a dirty filter, mold and bacteria can grow quite easily, and those spores will go right into the air.

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.


The Dangers of DIY Mold Remediation
The Dangers of DIY Mold Remediation


The presence of mold in your home can have lasting negative effects. Not only is it damaging to the structural quality of your home, but also to your health. A lot of homeowners want to fix problems themselves to save time, money, and effort. If you're a motivated self-starter, you might have the instinct to clean the mold yourself. Before you pick up the cleaning products, do a bit of research. Always leave the mold remediation to professionals, or you can create more issues!


Know When There's a Problem 

There are countless situations that can lead to the presence of mold in your home. You could have had a household leak or weather damage that let dampness accumulate. No matter the cause, it's important to remove the mold as soon as possible. You also want to address what brought on the mold issue, to begin with. Given the serious health risks that mold can trigger, it should not be a DIY job. Without the proper equipment, training, and experience, you could end up causing more problems in the long run.

 

Don't Make the Issue Worse

If you don't know what you're doing when it comes to mold removal, you can exacerbate the issue at hand. Mold spores are microscopic, and you can easily spread the infestation where it wasn't present before. You might think that you're saving yourself money by tackling this project yourself, but that's rarely the case. If you aren't careful, you can double the costs by spreading spores to different areas. This will make the job more intensive when you eventually have to call a professional.

 

The Experts Know Best

Mold remediation experts have the latest and greatest equipment and cleaning agents. They know how to tackle every stage of mold situations. Sure, vinegar might take care of a mildew smell lurking in your laundry room, but it would never kill a large colony. Powerful chemicals are extremely dangerous when they're in inexperienced hands. Professionals know how to shield themselves with respirators, goggles, and other articles of protective clothing. A simple dust mask and long sleeve clothing aren't enough to protect your health!

 

There are different types of mold, and some are more dangerous than others. The reality is that you don't have years of experience diagnosing and testing for mold issues. This means you can't make a distinction between different types of mold by looking up pictures and information online. Without a mold removal expert, you won't know what you're dealing with. Not only can you misdiagnose, but you can miss hidden mold completely if you aren't experienced. If you disturb black mold and release spores, you could experience symptoms like vomiting, nausea, fatigue, and even bleeding in extreme cases.

  

There are countless reasons why you should hire a mold removal expert. While there are many DIY resources available nowadays, mold removal shouldn't be one of these DIY jobs. Leave the job to the experts who know how to contain and remediate the mold issues in your home. It's the smartest thing for your home, budget, 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.

Mold Killers On The Market
Mold Killers On The Market

Mold Killers on the Market

 

Any sign of mold in your home can seriously impact your day-to-day life. It can appear in your shower, countertops, tile floors, drywall or cause serious damage to your roof, windows, pipes and even the air. But we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to live with this! So what are we here to talk about? MOLD PRODUCTS!

 

Sometimes it feels like there are so many solutions out there. Products that claim to get rid of mold, mildew, and clean your air. Luckily, we have outlined some of these home remedies and are highlighting them to show you what is in the market making these claims. These examples come with the disclaimer so please don't confuse these solutions for problematic mold that is airborne or is causing damage to your home. In this case, we 100% recommend you call a professional to assess the situation and identify the source.

 

Mold Armor 

 

This brand offers an array of mold removal products. Mold Armor uses a powerful bleached-based formula that claims to kill mold without scrubbing on multiple surfaces including interior walls, bathroom surfaces or exterior areas such as brick, vinyl siding or concrete.

 

How to use:

Simply spray on to the desired surface, let stand 10 minutes and rinse off.

 

Our thoughts:

Using bleach as an attempt to remove mold, won't always work. Beach opaques mold which turns it white instead of getting rid of it. Using bleach on porous surfaces such as wood and concrete can permanently damage those surfaces and may eat away at them worse than mold would. Also, this product has a strong chemical base which can be dangerous when inhaled or used in closed areas.

 

Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover

 

With a heavier focus on interior areas, Tilex uses a Clorox bleach formula to kill mold, mildew and other bacteria found on any nonporous surface such as showers, counters, sinks, bathtubs or tiles. This spray also claims to remove tough mold stains commonly found in the home.

 

How to use:

Spray on surface affected by mold or mildew, let stand for five minutes and rinse off.

 

Our thoughts:

Again, bleach does not always solve the problem. Our advice would be to use an anti-bacterial soap to clean nonporous surfaces. Why? It's in the name! ANTIBACTERIAL. Mold is a bacteria.

 

 

Concrobium Mold Control 

 

This product claims to serve as a green approach to mold removal. Concrobium is a product that aims to prevent and eliminate mold without harmful chemicals or bleach. On the bottle, it mentions it can be used for general interior maintenance, damage repairs, and construction or renovation projects.  

 

How to use:

Apply a thin layer of the solution to the desired surface and allow it to dry thoroughly. Once the surface is dry, wipe clean and use again for any residual staining. For mold prevention, leave a thin layer on the surface.

Our thoughts:

We like that this product contains no harmful chemicals and also claims to encapsulate mold spores. Even though it may get growing mold spores under control, It almost sounds too good to be true. we would probably classify this as more of a cleaning product rather than a mold killer. 

 

Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit 

 

While this product is not a “mold killer”, a home mold testing kit claims it can help you identify potential harmful and toxic mold spores. Pro-lab offers three types of testing: indoor air quality, AC/heating air test, and surface mold sampling. There is an optional mail-in lab analysis that can tell you the type of mold for an extra $40 fee.

 

How to use:

We won’t bore you with the exhaustive instructions, but each kit comes with all of your testing supplies and a detailed step-by-step guide. The entire process could take about an hour.

 

 

Our thoughts: 

If your mold issue is unexplained growth, it's best to consult with a professional and we'll tell you why. Even though this test may tell you whether or not you have mold in your home, this test still doesn't tell you where the mold is coming from. A lot of surface mold leads to a source of hidden mold which a lot of times is more severe than what meets the eye. If you're using this test to cut cost and you find you have mold, you're missing vital steps in the mold detection process including consulting, support with questions, expertise, and a post-remediation clearance test to ensure the mold is completely removed. After sampling and sending in the results, the cost difference is not that large and with professional mold testing, you get a professional with years of experience and more assurance.

 

 

Until we use these products and conduct the proper before and after testing, we will not be able to fully judge whether or not they work. A case study with a record of results is what is needed to really judge the effectiveness of each product. Remember, these products are only designed to rectify mold to a certain extent. We would always advise consulting with a professional, like Air Quality Assessors, to determine what type of mold you are dealing with to prevent any further damages.

 


Black Mold vs. White Mold
Black Mold vs. White Mold

 

Mold comes in many different forms, shapes, sizes, smells, colors, you name it, the differences are endless. The most speculated types of mold are white mold and black mold with the black mold being the most common. A frequently asked question that sometimes goes unanswered is, what are the differences between white mold and black mold?

 

 

First, we’re going to give you the rundown on black mold. Black mold, technically termed Stachybotrys chartarum, is both dangerous and toxic to both humans and pets. The way black mold forms is by feeding off natural food sources including wood and dust in moist areas. The CDC offers a large collection of information on black mold and common questions asked. The most common places in homes and buildings black mold forms are under sinks, in basements, inside walls, and around windows and AC units. Often times, some molds can look just like black mold but actually are very dark green, gray, and brown and just assumed to be black mold. Depending on whether or not people living in homes with black mold are experiencing symptoms and how severe the infestation is, will determine if you need to leave completely, or just avoid areas where black mold is found. We suggest airing on the side of caution and removing yourself and pets from homes and buildings where black mold is found.

 

Industry professionals have long debated the categorization of white mold. White mold can be considered the beginning stage of many different types of mold. To simplify this, white mold can be a young black mold or a growing Stachybotrys chartarum. White mold is also an adult type of mold. Generally, white mold is identified as what you see growing on food and plants at the beginning stages before it turns into a different color but is also prevalent in homes and buildings. Just like black mold, people should consider white mold dangerous and get it tested as soon as possible. If it is mold at the beginning stages, it is best to catch it before it spreads and releases spores into the air.

 

To conclude the differences between black mold and white mold is mold is mold and it should be treated the same. Take the same precautions with white mold, as you would with black mold. Always air on the side of caution when dealing with the mold of any color. Be sure to reach out to mold professionals in your area when you find mold whether it be white, black, blue, gray, or green. 


 


Mold Exposure Treatments
Mold Exposure Treatments

 

Mold toxicity, mold sickness, black mold poisoning. These are just some of the names used to describe the ailments related to mold exposure. Mold exposure can cause minor ailments including headaches, coughing, runny nose, and body aches, but depending on the length of exposure and the severity of the mold, can cause serious conditions such as cancer, disease, and even death.

 

There are many stories related to the sicknesses caused by mold exposure, but luckily, there have been many cures both natural and medical, that have healed those who have suffered. The video below features Dr. Josh Axe, who we have featured before, explaining the symptoms of mold exposure and natural remedies that have helped those dealing with possibly misdiagnosed as something else.

 

 

A very important step that Dr. Axe didn’t mention is to be sure to leave the place that is causing your sickness. If you are exposed to mold in your home, move out as soon as possible. If it is from your workplace, consider working from home or exploring other options. Be sure to see our blog on who to call for a mold inspection for more information on the proper steps to take.

 

The next video features Julia, who had extreme mold exposure symptoms and was even wheelchair ridden. She saw approximately 25 doctors and spent around “$80,000 or more” on treatments that just did not work. In this video, she talks about her horrible experiences with being misdiagnosed and overmedicated by doctors who did not know the cause of her pain. Watch the video to find out of Julia finds her happy ending during treatments with Sponaugle Wellness Institute, or is still dealing with the symptoms of mold exposure.

 

 

For more information on how to rid your surroundings of dangerous toxins and harmful mold, give us a call at (844) CALL-AQA.