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:
· 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
US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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 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.
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.
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.
Spray on surface affected by mold or mildew, let stand for five minutes and rinse off.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Black mold, a species of toxic mold, is a type of fungus that thrives off of moisture-rich areas. Black mold can appear slimy, and often show up as darkly colored, speckled discolorations. There can be a distinctive smell with a musty odor, which is sometimes the first clue of a black mold contamination. If left neglected, black mold can threaten the health of people and pets alike, as black mold species can produce vast amounts of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by fungus released into the air, and when these mycotoxins are ingested or inhaled, symptoms will develop.
Black mold requires specific ideal conditions in order to grow and thrive in your home. Initially, mold spores must be present in your home. Black mold also requires a food source (such as wood or drywall), darkness, warmth, oxygen, and moisture. When the conditions align, black mold can grow within 24-48 hours. Other contributing factors can cause black mold to develop, such as leaking pipes and roofs, floods, and poor ventilation which leaves pockets of trapped moisture-rich air. Black mold does not always require warmth, as it can develop when condensation collects on cold pipes or concrete.
The symptoms of toxic black mold vary greatly depending on the duration of the exposure and the species of the mold. Toxic black mold is highly dangerous. Immunocompromised individuals such as babies, pregnant women, and the elderly may have intensified symptoms. Exposure to toxic black mold can affect several body systems including the nervous system, respiratory system, circulatory system, immune system, reproductive system, and the muscular system. The mycotoxins produced by black mold are neurotoxins, which lead to varying neurological symptoms. Feelings of brain fog, dizziness, mood swings, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, seizures, and numbness are just a few of the nervous system effects. The mycotoxins can also cause eye inflammation and vision problems. People who breathe in toxic black mold and mold spores experience breathing problems (wheezing, coughing, nasal congestion) and more severe issues such as breathlessness, and swelling or bleeding of the lungs. The circulatory system is easily susceptible, as toxic black mold can be inhaled and ingested, or absorbed through skin. Once the black mold enters a person’s body, it travels through the blood. This can lead to inflammation and irregular heartbeats, blood clotting issues, and hemorrhaging. The chemicals in toxic black mold suppress the immune system. If a pregnant woman is exposed to toxic black mold, she can suffer a miscarriage or experience fetal development issues, as the black mold can cause cell mutations. The muscular system can be attacked with aches, pains, and chronic fatigue. A person can also experience rashes, severe itchiness, and hair loss. Toxic black mold is hazardous to the entire body, internally and externally.
If you see or suspect black mold in your home, it is best to call a professional to assess the contamination and properly remove it. There is a specific protocol to follow for safely removing the black mold from your home, and the licensed professionals at Air Quality Assessors are trained and experienced. We have high-tech, up-to-date equipment to help us perform a thorough inspection of your home. Our guaranteed service helps protect you and your family.
September is here which means mold awareness month is upon us and we at Air Quality Assessors, would like to implement its purpose and inform, educate, and raise awareness so everyone knows the ins and outs of mold and its health effects. When it comes to mold, we’ve heard everything from “mold isn’t harmful because it's natural” to “Oh, I just covered it up with paint so it won’t affect me”. These statements prove that there is much to be taught about the dreaded for letter word we call MOLD. For starters, we are going to tell you a few fun facts that stand out among the rest.
Fact #1: Mold comes in many varieties and colors.
A lot of people assume that mold is only black, and yes, mold is black and the most occurring mold is black mold, but it comes in many different color varieties like green, orange-yellow, and gray.
Fact #2: Regardless of your health, mold can and will affect you…eventually.
Being healthy doesn’t mean mold won’t affect you. We highly recommend that you do everything in your power to remain as healthy as possible, but this won’t necessarily prevent mold from taking its toll on your health. Symptoms range from cold/flu symptoms to fatigue, and sometimes the worse symptoms (blindness, cancer, etc..) show up in your system significantly later than around the times of exposure (more on this shortly).
Fact #3: Mold destroys the material it grows on.
Mold needs 3 things to grow including moisture, nutrients, and proper temperature. Nutrients include multiple types of materials including wood, cotton, and drywall. When mold grows on these materials it is actually slowly eating away at the materials as seen in the photos below. The black mold is present on top of and inside of this wood panel and is growing within the crevices of the panel eating away at each and every area slowly but surely.
There are many more facts about mold and some will be covered through the rest of this post. Next, we will briefly cover the effects mold has on health.
As stated before, regardless of your health, mold can affect you. Chances of it having a negative impact on your health has to do with the length of time you are exposed, the severity of the issue, and the condition of your health. Since mold can grow within 24-48 hours, situations where there is major water damage, for example in a flood, it is best to address the issue immediately and either vacate or remove the affected materials.
The most common symptoms of mold exposure are those similar to a cold including coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and skin irritation. More advanced symptoms include fatigue, nausea, pain in joints, and loss of appetite. As if that wasn’t enough, there are more severe symptoms including memory loss, brain damage, cancer, and death. The results are plain and simple. Mold is BAD for your health.
There are many articles and publications that inform you of different actions you can take to rid your body of mold exposure. Some are doctor recommended and some are more natural ways as simple as drinking a combination of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables. Regardless of which path you take, it's best to be proactive in ridding your body of toxins.
As you can see, there is much to learn about mold. We have many blog posts that can help people understand all aspects of mold including how it effects your pets, mold in rental properties, and even the effects of toxic mold syndrome.
Our final words of advice: Don’t ignore mold because it will continue to grow. Don’t cover it up because it will come back. Always consider your health when dealing with mold and never wait to address it. "Don't just guess it, test it!"