Mold in the news issue #174

At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of mould related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. We share these links every time we can on all of our social media channels.
Please share this information so that we can continue to increase awareness of mould and mould related illnesses.

Mold Awareness
September is Mold awareness month and got mold? has put together a 4 part segment to help educate our readers, Here are the first 3 articles.
Part 1 – Interesting facts about mold & the most common types and varieties of mold
Part 2 – What you should look for when buying or renting a home 
Part 3 – What mold is and what you should do if you find it in your home

Mold In Public Buildings, Homes & Schools
The house that Colleen Weesies described as her family’s “dream” has turned into what she now calls her family’s nightmare. 
After mold was discovered inside walls on all three levels of their home, the Weesies have had to uproot their lives and move into their garage and two in their driveway.

Georgia’s peanut farmers are having problems this year with white mold. White mold disease has always been a problem for Georgia peanut farmers, according to University of Georgia plant pathologist Tim Brenneman. The disease has been even more of a nuisance due to the hot and humid weather conditions this growing season.

Pittsburgh’s UPMC Presbyterian probing itself within the deaths of two sufferers. A hospital in Pittsburgh is investigating whether or not the deaths of two sufferers are linked to infections from mould they could have contracted whereas in an intensive care unit.

A mold problem at Wilson County school had some students displaced over the summer. Wilson County Schools received its most recent mold report last week for Watertown Elementary School. Mold assessments on September 9 and 14 showed no disease-causing or toxic-producing molds were amplified in the indoor environment.

Minor mold issues at a pair of Clarksville-Montgomery County schools were addressed prior to the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, officials say. Elise Shelton, the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System director of communications, said some mold was found at Northeast High School in both a textbook storage room and in the choir and band rooms at the end of July. Additionally, Northeast Middle had a mechanical system failure the week before school started, and they have scheduled the ducts to be cleaned as a precautionary measure.

BPL assessing rare book section after mold outbreak. A significant mold outbreak has forced the Boston Public Library to close its Rare Books Department for five to 10 weeks after staff found fuzzy white spores on a medieval manuscript and other prized items in the renowned repository for ancient publications and artifacts. The library routinely battles mold, but has never faced an outbreak “to this scale,” according to Laura Irmscher, the chief of collections strategy. Mold was discovered on a reference book by a staff member Monday in the main library in Copley Square, Irmscher said.

U.S. court catching flak over moveFederal officials are planning a major renovation to stem water and mold damage at Pensacola’s federal courthouse, but a government document released Tuesday alleges court staff may have jumped the gun by vacating the building.

Health Department official talks about mold and public health. Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 reporter Bob Mayo sat down with an Allegheny County Health Department official to get the big picture on mold and public health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Mold Prevention & Information

Mold Prevention & Information

Mold is an important part of nature. It’s almost impossible to not be around mold at least once in your lifetime as mold surrounds us in our homes, offices, and outdoor environment. Outdoor mold is responsible for breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and tree branches. However the difference is, you never want mold to grow inside your home. Keeping that in mind, every house has mold regardless of how new, how old or how clean you keep it. It’s virtually impossible to have a mold free home, even if you live in a plastic bubble there is probably a chance that a spore got in there!

There are many types of mold, but none of them can grow without moisture. 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.

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.

In fact, tiny mold spores are floating through the air around you right now; you just can’t see them. The spores are harmless until they land on a damp surface and begin to grow. That’s when mold colonies form and expand, damaging your indoor air quality and causing your asthma and allergies to flare up.

Use these mold prevention tips to keep that fuzzy, slimy stuff at bay.

Prevent Standing Water

Rooms with standing water are the most likely places for mold to start growing. Use these tips to keep standing water at a minimum:

  • Clean up spills quickly: Wet carpet, upholstery and blankets could harbor mold growth if you don’t act quickly to dry them. In 24 to 48 hours, damp materials become breeding grounds for mold.
  • Fix leaks without delay: If you see mold growing under the sink, behind the toilet or in the attic, it means you have a plumbing or roof leak. Clean up the mold and fix the leak to prevent the mold from coming back. Plumbing and roof leaks can go unnoticed for a very long time, so be sure to check hard-to-reach place regularly.
  • Wipe down the tub or shower: Mold growth is common in the bathroom where standing water abounds. To prevent mold growth on tub and shower tiles, wipe down wet surfaces with your towel after drying yourself. Hang the towel to dry instead of throwing it in the hamper right away to prevent mold growth on the fabric.
  • Check the slope around the home’s foundation: Your property should slope outward so rain water drains away from the foundation, not toward it. If this isn’t the case, water could collect around the foundation or enter the basement and lead to high amounts of mold growth.
  • Watch out for condensation: Condensation is most likely to occur in winter. When cold surfaces “sweat,” they become a potential location for indoor mold to grow. If moisture beads on windows, pipes or walls, act quickly to dry these wet surfaces. Then, find the source of the problem, which is most likely high humidity. Increasing ventilation, covering cold surfaces with insulation and increasing the indoor temperature are specific ways to combat condensation.

Reduce Indoor Relative 

Humidity Mold can grow indoors any time of year if the relative humidity is too high. For better mold prevention, strive to keep indoor relative humidity at around 50 percent in the summer and closer to 30 percent in the winter. To reduce indoor humidity, follow these tips:

  • Run the air conditioner in the summer: As you know, the A/C removes heat from indoor air, but it performs another function as well: removing excess humidity. This is the key to feeling cool and dry rather than cold and clammy when the air conditioner runs. A dedicated dehumidifier also removes moisture from the air. You can run this appliance separately from the air conditioner for a more comfortable, less humid interior on mild summer days.
  • Vent moisture-producing appliances properly: The clothes dryer is the most common moisture-producing appliance found in the average home. Sometimes, the dryer is improperly vented to the attic or crawlspace. Warm, humid air accumulates in these areas and encourages mold growth, which can destroy insulation and compromise your home’s structural integrity. To prevent these situations, simply make sure the dryer vents to the exterior.
  • Use exhaust fans year round: Showering and cooking are two daily activities that produce a lot of humidity. A good mold prevention tip is to run the bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to draw excess humidity outside when performing these tasks.

Mold prevention is very important for maintaining good indoor air quality. If you think you have a mold problem, please got mold? Disaster Recovery Services to learn about our mold clean up and mold remediation services.

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.