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Mold in the Home.

The first thing to understand about mold is that there is a little mold everywhere – indoors and outdoors. It's in the air and can be found on plants, foods, dry leaves, and other organic materials.

It's very common to find molds in homes and buildings. After all, molds grow naturally indoors. And mold spores enter the home through doorways, windows, and heating and air conditioning systems. Spores also enter the home on animals, clothing, shoes, bags and people.

When mold spores drop where there is excessive moisture in your home, they will grow. Common problem sites include humidifiers, leaky roofs and pipes, overflowing sinks, bath tubs and plant pots, steam from cooking, wet clothes drying indoors, dryers exhausting indoors, or where there has been flooding.

Many of the building materials for homes provide suitable nutrients for mold, helping it to grow. Such materials include paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood and wood products, dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are chemicals (metabolites) produced by molds, which cause a toxic response in humans if ingested, inhaled, or in contact with skin. Mycotoxins can affect the immune system, nervous system, liver, kidneys, blood and blood clotting. Some mycotoxins are known to be carcinogens. Research is being conducted to determine how fungal mycotoxins may contribute to vague health symptoms experienced by those who live in environments with a high fungal load. Many fungi produce mycotoxins, both inside spores and on their surfaces. Killing spores does not disable the toxicity of mycotoxins. In fact, mycotoxins can be present on or in spores, whether the spores are dead or alive. Stopping fungal growth does not stop adverse medical symptoms. Both spores and hyphae can be allergenic and/or toxic.

Under damp conditions, specific species of fungi may produce mycotoxins like some of the following:

Aspergillus versicolor
Penicillium chrysogenum
Penicillium expansum
Stachybotrys sp.

Aspergillus and Penicillium, which produce mycotoxins, are often present in homes following a flood or chronic moisture invasion. Stachybotrys chartarum will grow on very wet building materials which contain cellulose and low nitrogen content. Stachybotrys is associated with a very potent mycotoxin. In addition to unusual mycotoxin symptoms, exposure of Stachybotrys to the skin may also cause a rash.

MVOCs, (Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds) are musty, moldy odors associated with fungi. Fungus release MVOCs as gases, as a result of life processes (farts). MVOCs are composed of alcohols, ketones, hydrocarbons, and aromatics. Porous building materials can absorb MVOCs, and release the odors over time. MVOCs may contribute to health effects in humans although valid information on long term or acute effects is lacking. Individuals can consult with their physicians, or allergists to inquire about individual health effects. It has been suggested that the MVOCs carry the mycotoxins during the evaporation process.

Health Effects of Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins may cause a variety of short-term as well as long-term adverse health effects. This ranges from immediate toxic response and immune-suppression to the potential long-term carcinogenic effect. Symptoms due to mycotoxins or toxin containing airborne spores (particularly those of Stachybotrys) include dermatitis, recurring cold and flu-like symptoms, burning sore throat, headaches and excessive fatigue, diarrhea, and impaired or altered immune function. The ability of the body to fight off infectious diseases may be weakened resulting in opportunistic infections. Because these symptoms may also be caused by many other diseases, misdiagnoses of mycotoxin exposures are common. There are very few physicians with the experience or expertise in correctly diagnosing mycotoxin exposures or mycotoxicoses. Occupational or building-related exposures to mycotoxins through inhalation are slowly being recognized as a major indoor air quality problem. Generally, removal of causative agents is necessary.

There are a host of fungi that are commonly found in ventilation systems and indoor environments. The Cladospo rium and Aspergillus fungi make up 75% of the microbes. These organisms can occur naturally in the exterior environment and enter as spores or active fungi attached to dust particles. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration of incoming air and a regular program of maintenance and cleaning of ventilation ducts can reduce the levels of molds that may enter and multiply in the indoor environment. Damp areas such as basements and attic areas where water seepage or condensation may occur are prime growing areas for molds. Most will reproduce quickly if the temperature (the ideal temperature range is 68 to 86) and humidity conditions (70% or higher) are right.

The most common hazardous species associated with a water loss belong to the families: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium, Mucor, Stachybotrys atra, Absidia, Alternaria, Fusarium and Cryptostroma. The greatest risks are caused by the Aspergillus and Penicillium strains. Various strains of these families of molds have been implicated in being causative agents in asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and pulmonary mycosis.

Many species in the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium and Cladosporium are known to produce mycotoxins. These three groups of fungi are also very common indoors. Other toxigenic fungi frequently found indoors are Alternaria, Trichoderma, Fusarium, Paecilomyces, Chaetomium and Acremonium.

When discussing mycotoxins, species of Aspergillus deserve special attention. Species of Aspergillus produce such well-known toxins as aflatoxins, ochratoxins, and sterigmatoeystin. Aflatoxins that are produced by Aspergillus flavus and Asparasiticus are detected in stored peanut and grains. Ochratoxins are produced by many species of Aspergillus as well as Penicillium. These fungi grow well on many common building materials soiled and contain higher than normal moisture content.

Allergic Fungal Sinusitis

Allergic fungal sinusitis (infection of the sinus) is a unique, probably under diagnosed condition similar to the lower airway disorder, allergic bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis. Characteristic features of fungal sinusitis are signs or symptoms of chronic sinusitis unresponsive to antibiotic therapy. The sinus contents in patients with fungal sinusitis contain allergic mucin, a thick cheese-like secretion, Charcot-Leyden crystals, and fungal elements. The fungi associated with this condition include Aspergillus, Curvularia, Drechslera, Bipolaris, Exserohilium, Alternaria, Helminthosporium, and Fusarium. (John W. Georgitis, MD, FCCP Professor of Pediatrics Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Winston-Salem, North Carolina.)

The importance of mold in the real estate market today

Much has been made of indoor mold in advertising and the media lately, so it’s a common concern for homeowners and buyers. It's common to find mold even in new homes. Whether you’re selling your current home or looking into buying one, it’s vital to get a mold inspection. Presence of active mold can drastically affect the resale value of any home.

For homeowners, a mold inspection will either put your mind at rest or make you aware of any problems that could otherwise cause delays or deal breakers once you’ve entered negotiations with a buyer. A professional mold inspection will give you a signed report from an expert before you put the home up for sale. Imagine being able to show a “clean bill of health” to potential buyers that express concerns – they’ll be impressed by your thoroughness and commitment to your home.

For buyers, getting a mold inspection will ensure that you’re not surprised by costly clean up and the potential health hazards of mold. If any mold is found to be present and active in the home, the mold inspection will allow you to ask the seller to do the clean up prior to buying the home.

Exposure to mold

Everyone is exposed to some amount of mold on a daily basis, most without any apparent reaction. Generally mold spores can cause problems when they are present in large numbers and a person inhales large quantities of them. This occurs primarily when there is active mold growth.

For some people, a small exposure to mold spores can trigger an asthma attack or lead to other health problems. For others, symptoms may only occur when exposure levels are much higher.

The health effects of mold can vary. The production of allergens or irritants can cause mild allergic reactions and asthma attacks. The production of potentially toxic mycotoxins can cause more severe reactions, and in rare cases death.

Should I be concerned about mold in my home or Building?

Yes. If indoor mold is extensive, those in your home or building can be exposed to very high and persistent airborne mold spores. It is possible to become sensitized to these mold spores and develop allergies or other health concerns, even if one is not normally sensitive to mold.

Left unchecked, mold growth can cause structural damage to your home as well as permanent damage to furnishings and carpet.

According to the Centers for Disease Control*, "It is not necessary, however, to determine what type of mold you may have. All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal."

Can my home be tested for mold?

Yes. AAA Inspections offers thorough mold inspections that involve visual examinations of the most likely areas to harbor mold. We also take air samples indoors and out to determine whether the number of spores inside your home is significantly higher. If the indoor level is higher, it could mean that mold is growing inside your home.

How do I remove mold from my home?

Go to USGPC.COM for Green Performance Chemistry mold removal products.

http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm

http://www.epa.gov/mold/

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/mold/

http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/7287/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold

 

     WARNING

WARNING:

DO NOT USE CHLORINE BLEACH TO CLEAN UP OR KILL MOLD

 

     WARNING


WARNING!!!

Do NOT use Chlorine bleach to kill mold or disinfect moldy areas. It is not an effective or long lasting killer of mold and mold spores. Bleach is good only for changing the color of the mold and it has a short term effect on mold.

CHLORINE BLEACH IS INEFFECTIVE IN KILLING MOLD FOR THESE REASONS:

(1) Chlorine Bleach DOES NOT kill mold, it merely BLEACHES it - meaning that it takes away the color of the mold.

(2) Chlorine Bleach does kill bacteria and viruses, but has not been proven effective in killing molds. Bleach itself is 99% water. Water is one of the main contributors of the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. Current situations using bleach re-grew and regenerated mold and bacteria twice the CFU counts than were originally found before bleaching, within a short period of time. Bleach is an old method used for some bacteria and mold. It is the only product people have known for years. The strains now associated within Indoor Air quality issues are resistant to bleach.

(3) What potential mold 'killing' power chlorine bleach might have is diminished significantly as the bleach sits in warehouses, on grocery store shelves or inside your home or business 50% loss in killing power in just the first 90 days inside a never opened jug or container. Chlorine constantly escapes through the plastic walls of its containers.

(4) The ionic structure of bleach prevents Chlorine from penetrating into porous materials such as drywall and wood---it just stays on the outside surface, whereas mold has enzyme roots growing inside the porous construction materials---however, the water content penetrates and actually FEEDS the mold---this is why a few days later you will notice darker, more concentrated mold growing (faster) on the bleached area.

(5) Chlorine Bleach accelerates the deterioration of materials and wears down the fibers of porous materials.

(6) Chlorine Bleach is NOT registered with the EPA as a disinfectant to kill mold. You can verify this important fact for yourself when you are unable to find an EPA registration number for killing mold on the label of any brand of chlorine bleach.

(7) Chlorine Bleach off gases for a period of time. Chlorine off gassing can be harmful to humans and animals. It has been known to cause pulmonary embolisms in low resistant and susceptible people.

(8) Chlorine bleach will evaporate within a short period of time. If the area is not dry when the bleach evaporates, or moisture is still in the contaminated area (humidity, outside air dampness), you could re- start the contamination process immediately and to a greater degree.

(9) Chlorine is a key component of DIOXIN. One of the earliest findings of dioxin's toxicity in animals was that it caused birth defects in mice at very low levels. This finding led to dioxin being characterized as "one of the most potent teratogenic environmental agents". The first evidence that dioxin causes cancer came from several animal studies completed in the late 1970's. The most important of these, published in 1978 by a team of scientists from Dow Chemical Company, led by Richard Kociba, found liver cancer in rats exposed to very low levels of dioxin. This study helped establish dioxin as one of the most potent animal carcinogens ever tested and, together with the finding of birth defects in mice, led to the general statement that dioxin is the "most toxic synthetic chemical known to man."

Using bleach can cause serious health problems.

The fumes are very caustic and great care must be taken not to breathe it in too much.

It is also very damaging to clothing and carpeting, the human body, and the environment.

 

ALL molds reproduce by making "spores." Mold spores are microscopic and only become visible when individual spores accumulate. According to the United States EPA, these microscopic particles continuously move through indoor and outdoor air. When mold spores find moisture indoors, they may "begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive." Molds gradually destroy whatever they are growing on.

 

 

 

 

 

Mold in your property

IF YOU NEED HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT MOLD OR YOUR PROPERTY ASK A NO OBLIGATION QUESTION, AND WE WILL GET RIGHT BACK TO YOU.

MOLD