Mold Awareness Month Part 3 of 4

As part of mold awareness month, got mold? wants to educate our readers on as much helpful and interesting information about mold awareness as possible. This is why we have conducted a 4 part mold awareness segment for the previous articles please read
part 1 & part 2

For this article we wanted to address the issues of what not to do when you find mold in your home. Many people do things that they will later regret because it causes contamination in the homes by doing things people tell you to do on youtube or by googling answers and not finding the right answers from a reliable source but from someone with little to no experience in the professional mold removal field of services.

There seems to be lots of mis-information on the Internet recommending that you spray chemicals on mold. This article explains why spraying mold will in fact make the situation worse.
WHAT IS MOLD?
Molds are a type of fungi and are neither plant nor animal. There are over 100,000 types of mold with at least 1,000 types found in North America and live in colonies growing on food, fabric, bathroom walls, construction materials, and soil. Mold proliferates through the release of spores into the air we breathe and are not visible to the naked eye.
Indoor molds cause two key problems.
1. They destroy the material that they feed on, including bathroom walls, carpets, insulation, and ceilings.
2. Exposure to high concentrations of certain types of mold creates health problems. For this reason, materials that are infected with mold need to be removed. In fact, mold is like a cancer, unless it is dealt with and removed, it will continue to grow. The only way to deal with mold is to eradicate it.
HOW DOES MOLD GROW?
Most homes and buildings have mold because they offer the three ingredients mold needs to grow:
1. Food, which includes materials high in cellulose content such as paper and wood. Drywall, wallpaper, carpet, ceiling tiles, dust, and dirt, are also food sources for mold.
2. Temperatures of 5 degrees to 38 degrees present the perfect environment for mold.
3. Finally, water is the key ingredient. Mold can not grow without moisture. Where there is moisture, you will find mold. This is one of the reasons that leaking pipes, roofs and ceiling, sewer backups, floods, and condensation end up causing mold issues.
Mold is a growing concern because we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, creating a situation ripe for health issues.
KILLING MOLD IS NOT THE ANSWER!
Getting rid of mold by applying bleach or chemicals is NOT the answer to the problem because dead mold spores are just as harmful to the human lung as live spores. You may have read or heard about the myth of the “Mummy’s Curse” in which all of the Archaeologists that discovered King Tutankhamen’s Tomb eventually died. They, in fact, died from dead aspergillus mold spores that laid dormant for centuries!
In addition, mold spores like Aspergillus and Stachybotrys (black mold) are toxic in both a live form and a dead form. The key to proper mold removal is to remove all of the mold spores.
Mold is toxic and can cause many health issues. In fact, mold produces mycotoxins that are pathogenic to animals and humans. In 2011 we posted an article on the uses of mold as a biological weapon to illustrate just how toxic mold is.

 

There seems to be a misconception that getting rid of mold by applying bleach or chemicals is the answer to the problem. This is actually not the case because dead mold spores are just as harmful to the human lung as live spores.
There is actually a historical anecdote about the toxic nature of dead mold spores. You probably have heard of the myth of the “Mummy’s Curse” in which all of the Archaeologists that discovered King Tutankhamen’s Tomb eventually died. In 1922, a team of British archeologists in Egypt found the tomb and by 1929, the eleven people associated with the tomb died of early and “unnatural” causes and this is how the myth of the “Mummy’s Curse” evolved. In reality, the actual cause of death of was the result of inhaling dead Aspergillus mold spores and this is the reason that Archaeologists today wear respirators and suits when they are on a dig site.
In addition, mold spores like Aspergillus and Stachybotrys (black mold) are toxic in both a live form and a dead form. The key to proper mold removal is to remove all of the mold spores. This is what Got Mold? does and the reason we follow an Eight Step Process on all of our projects. Our ultimate goal is to provide Health & Longevity to our clients, their friends, and family.
If you discover mold in your home, don’t take this issue lightly and review one of our earlier articles on Mold Do’s and Don’ts. We give you straight forward information to help you stay healthy and to prevent further spread of spores in your home or business.
Mold is toxic and can cause many health issues. In fact, mold produces mycotoxins that are pathogenic to animals and humans. In 2011 we posted an article on the uses of mold as a biological weapon to illustrate just how toxic mold is.

For more information or if you have any questions regarding mold removal we are always here to help! Don’t hesitate to call and book a consultation or inspection.

Further Research Linking Mold With Asthma

Further Research Linking Mold With Asthma
Yet another study has been published that links the presence of mold with asthma.
The study by Dr. Richard Sharpe of the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK, found that increased levels of the fungal species Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium can pose a significant health risk to people with asthma. The study further concludes that these fungi will worsen symptoms in children and adults.
Cladosporium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Penicillium species were found to be present in higher concentrations in homes of asthmatic participants. Exposure to Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium species were found to be associated with increased risk of reporting asthma symptoms by a limited number of studies. The presence of Cladosporium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Penicillium species increased the exacerbation of current asthma symptoms by 36% to 48% compared with those exposed to lower concentrations of these fungi, as shown by using random-effect estimates. Studies were of medium quality and showed medium-high heterogeneity, but evidence concerning the specific role of fungal species was limited. (Indoor fungal diversity and asthma: A meta-analysis and systematic review of risk factors)
These conclusions were based on findings gathered by systematically reviewing 17 studies that were done in 8 different countries.
During an interview by Dr. Marie Benz of www.medicalresearch.com, Dr. Sharpe emphasizes the following:
1. Dampness and fungal contamination in the home has been consistently shown to increase the risk of asthma and the severity of its symptoms.
2. Majority of the evidence reviewed focuses on the exacerbation of asthma symptoms, and few assess their role in the development of asthma.
3. So far Aspergillus and Penicillium species have already been linked to an increase in the risk of asthma development in children, but we know little about the effects of the other species we considered.
4. Dampness is one of the major factors affecting the growth of mold inside homes – a problem which has been on the rise as aging houses are sealed and retrofitted with new energy efficient technology. We currently know very little about how people’s living habits can contribute to indoor air quality, and ultimately affect their health. This study highlights the need for homes to have adequate heating, ventilation and home maintenance – all factors that will help to reduce the presence of mold and its effects on asthma symptoms.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

What is the Link Between Mold and Cystic Fibrosis?

What is the Link Between Mold and Cystic Fibrosis?
Recently there was a news report that found approximately 50 percent of cystic fibrosis patients were also infected by Aspergillus fungus, caused by exposure to mold.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF), first described by Dorothy Hansine Andersen, is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, liver, and intestine. The name cystic fibrosis refers to the characteristic scarring (fibrosis) and cyst formation within the pancreas. Difficulty breathing is the most serious symptom and results from frequent lung infections that are treated with antibiotics and other medications. Other symptoms, include sinus infections, poor growth, and infertility.
Research, conducted by Jo Armstead, a medical student at Manchester University, found that there are over 75,000 people, both afflicted with CF and who also suffer from an aspergillus fungal infection.
This research highlights the dangers of mold. Aspergillosis causes airway infections, bronchitis, and the allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) allergy, which starts in childhood and reaches a peak in late teenage years. Treatment involves anti fungal therapy or oral steroids, however, neither treatment has been shown to be very effective, as anti fungal resistance to these treatment types continues to be an issue for clinicians.
According to Professor Denning, Director of the NHS National Aspergillosis Center:
“The life expectancy of people with CF has been increasing, but aspergillosis has a major negative impact on many.”
Aspergillus is a common mold and readily found outdoors. CF patients need to be aware that their condition can worsen if they are living, working, or going to school in a building that has suffered moisture damage because this could expose them to high levels of aspergillus spores.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

    What Are The Most Common Types and Varieties of Mold?

    What Are The Most Common Types and Varieties of Mold?
    One of the objectives of mold remediation professionals is to determine what type of mold is present in a property. This is important because it will help the professional and the property owner determine the relative health risk that the mold poses and how best to remediate it. Unfortunately, not all molds are the same, in fact there are over 1.5 millions species of mold in the world. However, only about 100,000 have been identified.
    Mold is a fungus, as are mushrooms and yeast, and has a biologicial function as nature’s recycler consuming dead organic matter. Understanding it’s biological importance is essential to understanding why it poses health hazards. For the purposes of mold inspections and remediation, one of our goals is to identify whether or not the mold is allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic.
    1. Allergenic Molds
    Allergenic Molds: Not usually life-threatening but are most problematic for individuals with allergies or asthma. The challenge is figuring out what mold is triggering the reaction. Children are particularly susceptible to mold allergies.

    Allergenic Molds

    Not usually life-threatening but are most problematic for individuals with allergies or asthma. The challenge is figuring out what mold is triggering the reaction. Children are particularly susceptible to mold allergies.
    2. Pathogenic Molds
    Pathogenic Molds: Produce an infection of particular concern if your immune system is weak or compromised.  This type of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia. An example is Aspergillus fumigatus, which can grow in the lungs of immune-compromised individuals.

    Pathogenic Molds

    Produce an infection of particular concern if your immune system is weak or compromised. This type of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia. An example is Aspergillus fumigatus, which can grow in the lungs of immune-compromised individuals.
    3. Toxigenic Molds (aka “toxic molds”)
    Toxigenic Molds: Toxic molds produce mycotoxins that will make anyone sick. Possible reactions include immune suppression and cancer. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which can be inhaled, ingested, or touched. An example of this is aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxin grows on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.

    Toxigenic Molds

    Toxic molds produce mycotoxins that will make anyone sick. Possible reactions include immune suppression and cancer. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which can be inhaled, ingested, or touched. An example of this is aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxin grows on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.
    In order to determine the exact species of mold, mold inspectors will usually recommend that a tape or swab sample is taken. Sometimes, air quality tests may also be recommend because air borne mold spores are not visible to the eye; such a test will enable the inspector to report back on the concentration of indoor spores. Samples are then sent to accredited laboratories who analyze them to determine the exact species. Over the years, we have received many lab reports that have identified these five most common indoor molds.
    1. Alternaria
    Alternaria is commonly found in your nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic responses.

    Alternaria

    Alternaria is commonly found in your nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic responses.
    2. Aspergillus
    Aspergillus is usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust.  This mold produces mycotoxins which is a poisonous chemical compound.

    Aspergillus

    Aspergillus is usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust. This mold produces mycotoxins which is a poisonous chemical compound. This mold variety can cause lung infections, aspergillosis.
    3. Cladosporium
    Cladosporium is a very common outdoor fungus that can find its way indoors and grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials.  This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.

    Cladosporium

    Cladosporium is a very common outdoor fungus that can find its way indoors and grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials. This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.
    4. Penicillium
    Penicillium is a very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. It is known for causing allergies and asthma.  Some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.

    Penicillium

    Penicillium is a very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. It is known for causing allergies and asthma. Some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
    5. Stachybotrys
    Stachybotrys is extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs. This mold can be found on wood or paper.

    Stachybotrys

    Stachybotrys is extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs. This mold can be found on wood or paper.
    If you have questions or suspect you have mold issues, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

    Where Should I Look For Mold?

    Where Should I Look For Mold?
    Spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dryness, that do not support normal mold growth. In fact, many spores can lie dormant for decades until favorable conditions allow them to spring back to life.
    Molds can be found almost anywhere and can grow on virtually any substance, provided moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, tile, dry wall, insulation, leather, fabrics and foods. Molds survive by digesting what they are growing on.
    There is no way to eliminate all mold and mold spores from your indoor environment. The only way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
    Here is a list of the most common areas where you will find mold growth:
    1. Bathrooms and kitchens, especially under sinks–check for leaks and other moisture.
    2. Behind or under appliances that hide slow plumbing leaks (refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.)
    3. Leaky roofs
    4. Around windows where condensation collects
    5. High humidity areas of your home, such as basements
    6. Closet corners of exterior walls because humidity is attracted to the cold spots where the vapor barrier may be broken and/or a lack of insulation may be present. This causes humidity to be trapped behind clothing and/or other items, such as boxes and could cause mold to grow.
    The first sign of a mold problem is a “musty” or “mildewy” odor. Other signs of mold include buckled floorboards, discolored carpet, a new water stain on your wall, or black or white specks—these are all signs you could be developing a mold problem.
    If you find mold, we recommend that you do not disturb it because you could release more spores which will make the problem worse. The key to control mold growth is to contain it and prevent it from spreading to more areas of the home. Best piece of advice we can offer is to just Do Not Disturb the mold and then contact a professional to assess the concern further.
    If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.