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.

Asthma In School Children Caused By Mold!

Asthma In School Children Caused By Mold!
In about 30 days, summer holidays will be over and our children will be back in school. One of the questions we have been researching is the impact that poor air quality has on the health of children. In fact, February, 2012, Got Mold? posed the question: Should Canadian School Boards be Concerned About Mold?. This question stemmed from the fact that earlier that year, CNN reported that one-third of American schools had poor air quality.
One of the most common health concerns for children is asthma. What causes asthma?
One study based on a survey of more than 10,000 university students, cited that there was a strong correlation between mold and asthma.
Another study of 300 children found a strong correlation that three species of mold–Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus unguis and Penicillium variabile–caused asthma in children. The studies author went on to conclude that: “It’s proof of common sense that you want to take care of mold in the home. It’s just proving that if you don’t do that, your kids are more likely to develop asthma.
December, 2013 the New York City Housing Authority was forced to recognize mold as a health threat and specifically that one of the core causes of asthma was moisture and mold.
It would appear that more research is pointing to the fact that the prevalent and core cause of asthma in children is, indeed, mold.
Research out of Taiwan, provides even more proof that mold causes asthma.
The researchers studied school children aged 6 to 15 years old in 44 schools and concluded that:
Classroom Aspergillus/Penicillium and basidiospores are significantly associated with childhood asthma and asthma with symptoms reduced on holidays or weekends (ASROH). Government health policy should explore environmental interventions for the elimination of fungal spores in classrooms to reduce the prevalence of childhood asthma.
Based on this conclusion, it is fairly clear that parents, teachers, school trustees, and the government needs to take the issue of mold in schools seriously. It is no longer a theory that poor air quality affects the health of school children, it is fairly clear that it does. It is also fair to conclude that the prevalent cause of childhood asthma is mold.
If we want to reduce the number of children with asthma, then the obvious solution is to address the issue of poor air quality in schools. Will this happen? I am hopeful, but in an age of constant government cutbacks and tight budgets, the likelihood of this happening is not very high. The driving force for change in schools will ultimately have to be the parents whose children are impacted by poor air quality.
As a parent, the only way you can determine if your child’s school is causing sickness is to monitor their health during the summer when they are away from school and monitor their health when they are in school.
Here are some questions you may want to consider when your child is back in school.
How do I know if my child is getting sick at school from mold?
Some children are more sensitive than others. But watch out for symptoms that seem to appear only at school – for example, wheezing, hoarseness, cough, runny nose, acid reflux, digestive issues, headache and irritated eyes.
What should I do if I suspect my child is getting sick because of school?
Visit your children’s classrooms and other parts of their schools. Do you see or smell mold or mildew? Are there signs of water leaks on walls, around windows or on the ceiling?
Musty and earthy odors are always an indication that a mold problem is present. Dirty carpet and water damage might also mean mold and bad air quality. Mold grows where there’s moisture.
How do I know if it’s mold?
If you see fuzzy, slimy, or discolored surfaces — especially in damp or wet areas — it’s probably mold. Molds can be green, black, gray, purple or even orange.
What if I see a problem?
Alert your principal or a School Board member. A lot of times, it will take more than one call or e-mail to get a response. Although calls might be quicker, your letters will provide a paper trail. Also, be sure to log all your calls, letters and observations. Inform other parents of the problem.
How can I protect my child?
Educate yourself. Talk to school officials about what they’re doing to control humidity and how quickly they’re fixing leaky roofs and windows. Ask to see copies of investigative reports and work orders for repairs and mold removal. Finally, ensure that your child is maintaining a healthy diet so their immune system is strong.
If you have questions, 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.

Don’t Spray Mold!

Don’t Spray Mold!
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the words of our founder and President, James C. Watson:

“There is no chemical that should be sprayed on mold as the dead mold spores are just as harmful as the living mold spores. All standards and reference guides including the IICRC mold removal guideline frown upon spraying mold. It is all abut removal, air filtration and proper cleaning. When you spray stuff on mold it will release its spores into the air and the air is the last place you want a large contamination of mold spores“.
Well stated James! 🙂

Did the Elliot Lake Mall Collapse Because of Mold?

Did the Elliot Lake Mall Collapse Because of Mold?
Earlier this year we reported that asbestos was released into the air when the Elliot Lake Mall collapsed.
In addition to asbestos issues, this mall also had a history of leaks and mold.
A recent news article highlights the extent of the mold issues, which were caused by leaks in the roof.
A letter dated June 1, 2005 from Elliot Lake chief administrative officer Troy Speck to Richard Kennealy of Elliot Lake Retirement Living, which owned the mall through a subsidiary, said the library had experienced “severe leaks from the roof” for several years.
This letter, written seven years ago, highlights the extent of the moisture issues in the mall. In this instance, rather than moving the public library out of the mall to keep staff and patrons safe from bad air quality, Elliot Lake’s city council chose to renew the lease with the mall owners.
Deputy mayor Al Collett believes some of his colleagues voted in 2009 to keep the library inside the Algo Centre, despite concerns about the state of the facility, because of a desire to draw patrons to the financially struggling mall. “I still can’t understand that one,” Mr. Collett said. “We wanted a new building,” he said. “It was deplorable – there was leaks, there was mould.”
It is fairly clear that financial concerns, as opposed to the health and safety of the staff and library patrons, took precedent in this issue. What is even more disconcerting is that the mold issues were caused by a leaky roof which was not being repaired properly. The first rule of mold remediation is to address the cause of the moisture issues. Once this is done, then the mold and contaminated materials must be removed. In this case, neither was done!
According to former library board chair, Katherine Croxson, many staffers and board members wanted to leave the building, and raised several concerns about the state of the facility because the mold posed a health hazard and there were safety hazards because the ceiling tiles were saturated with water and could fall.
“There was water in the light fixtures,” Ms. Croxson said. “We pointed it out to council…It was obvious. You could see it, and nobody did anything.”
According to this news article, there is no evidence linking the structural issues leading to the collapse and the moisture issues. From a liability stand point, it probably makes sense for such a conclusion to be made because the mall owners and the city probably do not want anyone to point a finger at them accusing them of negligence, particularly because two people died and several people were injured when the roof collapsed.
However, where there is moisture, the right temperature, and food, there will be mold. Mold is natures way of breaking down organic matter and is a necessary part of our ecosystem. When mold begins to grow indoors, the same process will occur and in this case, the mold will begin to break down the structural integrity because it’s food consists of building materials such as paper, wood, drywall, wallpaper, carpet, and ceiling tiles.
In fact, mold is like a cancer because it will continue to grow unless it is removed. Since mold continues to grow, it requires a constant supply of food, which should be a concern for any property owner because it destroys the surface that it is growing on. Simply treating mold is not enough.
Mold is not just a health problem, but a structural one too. Property and home owners that have moisture issues should not neglect or ignore the problem, but rather address it aggressively. To not do so could lead to mold, health problems, and maybe even structural integrity issues. Bottom line, ignoring Your Mold Issue Will Only Make The Situation Worse!
Common sense dictates that if a structure has constant leaks, leading to years of moisture issues, then this will most likely have some impact, particularly if there is a large mold infestation. Should we question the conclusion that there is no evidence linking the structural issues with the moisture issues? Maybe. What do you think?