Mold awareness month part 1 of 4

Mold awareness month part 1 of 4

September is Mold awareness month and got mold? wants to help educate our readers on how to prevent mold before it starts and where to look. It’s not uncommon to have mold in your home, as many of you know already mold exists in our every day lives anywhere you go there are spores floating in the air. There are probably a few micro-sized spores floating past you right now as you read this.

For the first part of mold awareness month, we would like to re-share an article written:

20 Interesting facts about mold & What are the most common types and varieties of mold.

1. Mold is Linked to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), also known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), is a combination of illnesses or aliments that are in direct relation with an individual’s place of work or home environment…read more
2. Spraying Bleach on Mold is not Recommended
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…read more
3. There is a Link Between Mold and Miscarriage
There are countless stories of women being exposed to mold during pregnancy and suffering miscarriage or birth defects….read more
4. Vitamin D Supplements Help Fight Mold Allergies
If you are suffering from allergies caused by mold exposure, you may want to consider taking vitamin D supplements…read more
5. Mold Causes Rashes
Mold is an allergen. One of the prevalent symptoms of mold exposure is skin rashes….read more
6. Mold Will Not Eat a Happy Meal
Mold will eat almost anything including wood, fabrics, plastics, concrete, and even metals. However, mold will not eat a McDonald’s Happy Meal….read more
7. Dead Mold Spores Are Just As Harmful as Live Spores
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….read more
8. Mold is Used in Biological Warfare
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring substances produced by mold and are pathogenic to animals and humans. An estimated more than 300 mycotoxins are produced by some 350 species of fungi. The T-2 mycotoxin, which is classified as a trichothecene mycotoxin, is elaborated from the fusariam, aspergillus, and stachybotrys (black mold) species of mold….read more
9. Mold is Linked to Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This demyelination affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other….read more
10. Mold in Schools Cause Sickness
CNN recently reported about a third-grader, Matthew Asselin, in Winsted, Connecticut who missed 53 days of school because he was getting sick at school. The sickness was caused by mold….read more
11. Mold Inspections Are Important When Buying a Home
The basic problem with mold is that it can be hidden. Home inspectors are not mold remediation specialists and do not have the expertise required to identify potential mold issues. Home buyers are well advised to invest in both a home inspection and mold inspection before purchasing a home, particularly if there is any indication that there are potential moisture issues….read more
12. Mold is Linked to Cancer
Aflatoxins are a type of mycotoxin produced by the Aspergillus species of mold. This common mold tends to grow on crops: primarily corn, peanuts, and grains. When we eat enough of these moldy foods, or eat animals that eat them, we can get liver cancer. For this reason, the FDA has established a maximum allowable level of total aflatoxin in food commodities of 20 parts per billion (ppb) and 0.5 ppb in milk products. There are other cancers associated with mold as well, including testicular, breast, and lung cancer….read more
13. Christmas Trees Cause Allergies Because of Mold
During the winter months, asthma and sinus complaints tend to increase. According to Dr. John Santilli, complaints from patients increase during the holiday season. This prompted a study of Christmas trees that made the following conclusion…read more
14. Mold Damage Costs More Than Half A Trillion Dollars Per Year
Earlier this year, we published an article that examined What is the True Economic Cost of Mold? Two key conclusions emerged from this article: 1. Mold adds $3.5 billion dollars to the annual US health care bill. 2. 21 percent of all asthma cases in the US are attributable to dampness and mold exposure. This figure may be higher after new research emerged this year….read more
15. Mold is a Crisis for First Nations
In 2006, the Auditor General and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommended that the government address the problem of air quality and mold in First Nations homes….read more
16. Mold Causes Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
According to the CDC a condition known as “hypersensitivity pneumonitis” can occur if a person is constantly exposed to mold. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis causes permanent lung damage and scarring and will eventually lead to bacterial pneumonia….read more
17. Mold Can Damage the Systems of Your Body
Untreated, exposure to indoor molds can have long term health consequences. According to mycotoxin expert Dr. Harriet Ammann, exposure to indoor molds can damage the systems of your body in the following ways…read more
18. Almost All Sinus Infections are Caused by Mold
In the 1990s the Mayo Clinic published findings from a study that suggests that NEARLY ALL chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the membranes of your nose and sinus cavities) is caused by mold, but blamed on bacteria—then mistreated using antibiotics….read more
19. Mold is Thought to be a Cause of Asthma
Up until now, mold was considered an asthma trigger that could exacerbate the condition and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes there is some link between the onset of asthma and damp buildings…read more
20. Mold is Linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
There is some speculation that there is a link between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and mold growth. A study in New Zealand speculates that environmental poisoning may be the cause of infant mortality….read more
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.

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.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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.

 

Check out part two of our 4 part sequence here!

 

Back to school – be aware of your childrens surroundings

Back to school – be aware of your childrens surroundings

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 70% of all American & Canadian schools have a mold problem.  With their flat roofs and lack of maintenance this number is not farfetched. With budgeting for public schools constantly being discussed and adjusted, all too many schools fail to be properly maintained. Budget cuts in funding too often leave schools in disrepair. A common site in too many schools is a leaking window, ceiling or water pipe. According to every credible source on the subject, including the EPA, if building materials are not dried out within 24-48 hours mold will begin to grow.

If these conditions are not corrected it can lead to a serious mold problem within the school’s breathing environment for faculty and students. It does not even need to be visibly growing on the surfaces of the windows, walls or ceilings of the school in order to affect the health of it’s occupants. It can be growing inside the walls, where a pipe broke or above the ceiling, without being visible. Many of the structural molds are toxic. They produce mycotoxins to kill off their microbial competitors. Mycotoxins can damage the brain and central nervous system. This is why it is important to keep a close eye on your children and what they are surrounded by each day.

Mold is not the only concern that you should keep an eye on unfortunately, One area of concern for parents and teachers is the finding of asbestos in school buildings. If a school was built before the 1980s, it’s likely that it contains some form of asbestos. About half of all schools in the U.S. and Canada were built from 1950 to 1969, when asbestos materials were highly prevalent in construction.

When maintenance work disturbs these materials, or they start to deteriorate over time, asbestos dust can enter the air and be inhaled. Exposure to the dust puts teachers and students at increased risk for mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious lung conditions.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos-containing materials reside in many of the approximately 132,000 primary and secondary schools in the nation. These schools serve more than 55 million children, and are the worksites for more than 7 million teachers, administrators and support staff.

As long as asbestos building materials remain in good condition, the EPA insists they pose minimal health risks and recommends schools leave them in place. But if negligent maintenance work or improper abatement procedures occur, otherwise harmless asbestos products can cause serious exposures.

For more information on mold and asbestos in public schools please follow us on our social media channels, we often share stories to these topics!

Thinking of Buying A Home, Look For These Moldy Clues

Thinking of Buying A Home, Look For These Moldy Clues
The busiest time in real estate sales tends to be during the spring and summer. If you are in the market for a new home, you should be aware of mold. Since mold remediation is costly, it is much better to thoroughly investigate a home before buying and inheriting a moldy mess.
Here are three clues that you should look for when you are investigating a home purchase.
WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
A bad musty smell is not a good sign because it could indicate mold growth.
Earthy, musty, mildew and even urine like smells are often an indicator of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOC). Which are gaseous by-products produced during fungal metabolism. MVOC’S are an indicator of active and past mold growth.
WHAT’S GROWING ON THE WALLS?
If you see signs of growth on the walls, ceilings, corners of the basement, then you should be concerned. A small mold growth can easily turn into a large mold growth. It is probably a good idea to find out if the home has had any past moisture issues and if, in fact, they have been fixed.
WHY AM I SNEEZING AND WHEEZING?
Our founder, James C. Watson, is particularly susceptible to mold and in some cases can even sense that there is a mold problem when he walks into a home or office building because he begins to wheeze and can also have difficulty breathing. Keep in mind Watson’s sensitivities can sometimes be caused by smoke and or chemicals, etc. The only way to verify a mold problem is through proper inspection and testing. If you know that you are susceptible to mold and have respiratory problems when you do a walk-through, then there is a good chance that there are mold issues.
These are just three clues you should look for. However, keep in mind, just because you do not find evidence of any of the above does not mean that there is not mold present.
The basic problem with mold is that it can be hidden. Home inspectors are not mold remediation specialists and do not have the expertise required to identify potential mold issues. Home buyers are well advised to invest in both a home inspection and mold inspection before purchasing a home, particularly if there is any indication that there are potential moisture issues. (Buyer Beware! How Reliable is Your Home Inspection?)
Since a home purchase is such a life changing event, once you have narrowed down the potential homes you are considering, it is a wise decision to invest in a mold inspection because home inspectors lack mold expertise.
Since extensive mold in a home can make it virtually unlivable, paying for a specialized mold inspection will save you thousands of dollars and your health.
The cost of a professional mold inspection is negligible when you consider the potential price you have to pay if the mold is unabated. When you are buying a home, it’s always better to be safe than sorry with your money and your health. To learn more about our mold inspection service or if you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below and we will get back to you within 24 hours.