Health Risks of Toxic Mold
Mold is a general name for several types of fungi: patches of growths which are fuzzy and smelly. These growths can develop in many different colours, including black, brown, yellow, pink, green, and more. An enormous variety of species of mold are found both in both indoors and outdoors locations. Mold spores are a common component of dust found in workplaces and households. As such, it is prudent to inspect and secure occupied spaces from health risks of toxic mold. Mold in home or workplace buildings is a serious concern for the health of those who inhabit or work there. Up to 40 percent of American schools and 25 percent of homes are reported to have mold infestations of some kind.
Aside from ingestion of food with mold growths, the main sources of toxic mold exposure comes from the indoor air in buildings with substantial mold growth. Allergic reactions are among the most common types of reactions people have to toxic mold exposure. Some indoor mold types are capable of producing extremely potent toxins. These toxins can be easily absorbed by the lining in our intestines, our skin, and our airways. These agents, usually found in fungal spores, can have toxic effects manifesting in symptoms from short-term irritation to development of immunosuppression and cancer.
The type and severity of health effects resulting from toxic mold exposure can be extremely variable in different areas, with a wide range of symptoms from person to person and over varying lengths of time. Studies have shown people who are atopic (people with sensitive skin), already suffer from asthma, allergies, or compromised immune systems are at a significantly increased risk of health problems from toxic mold exposure. People occupying damp or moldy buildings are particularly susceptible to these risks. These health problems can include symptoms such as toxic and inflammatory reactions to toxic mold spores, metabolites and other elements.
The most common health problem to come from toxic mold exposure is an allergic reaction. Other health risks of toxic mold exposure include respiratory/immune system responses (respiratory infections, asthma, exacerbation and, more rarely, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic alveolitis, chronic rhinosinusitis and allergic fungal sinusitis) as well as other types of reactions. Severe reactions can be rare but are still very much possible; a person's reaction to toxic mold depends on their sensitivity to the spores in relation to other health conditions, the amount of toxic mold present, length of exposure and the type of toxic mold or mold products.
Other symptoms of toxic mold exposure can include:
- Nasal/sinus congestion
- Respiratory problems (difficulty breathing, chest tightness, wheezing)
- Throat irritation
More severe symptoms that could result from continuous human exposure to indoor toxic mold include:
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis/pulmonary fibrosis
- Hepatic, endocrine and/or renal toxicities
- Pulmonary injury (internal bleeding)
- Hematologic/immunologic disorders
- Pregnancy, gastrointestinal and/or cardiac conditions
The relationship between mold and asthma
In some situations, and depending on personal health, the connection between mold and asthma can get problematic. Typically, people who have allergies from season to season may also be susceptible to household mold. And while symptoms may be similar and hard to differentiate, it would be wise to determine if mold or mold spores are the source and cause of the symptoms.
In more serious situations, mold can release spores – and when this happens, inhaling spores could have serious health reactions. For some, it could even trigger asthma symptoms. Needless to say, preventing mold from developing is the best course of action. However, in the event of an outbreak, it’s important to take immediate action – and thorough remediation is the answer.
A mold allergy could be connected to mold and asthma
With allergies, it’s sometimes difficult to ascertain whether the cause is “usual” or whether household mold is making things worse (mold allergies can actually trigger asthma symptoms).
More than that - a mold allergy can often mimic the symptoms of other allergies – like breathing problems, throat irritation, sinus congestion, and even dry, scaly skin.
When a mold breakout is not properly addressed, mold spores may start to spread. For some, it may cause aggravated allergy symptoms. For others, it could trigger asthma symptoms. Under these circumstances, it’s time for action. And here, a professional approach to assessment is the best course of action, followed by a comprehensive remediation plan.
Preventing the potential for mold and asthma symptoms
Undoubtedly, preventing mold from developing and reducing exposure to mold spores is the very best approach. Heating and air conditioning units should always be in good repair and working properly. Humidity levels in the house should be well controlled in the summer and winter.
In most homes, indoor humidity should be set at between 35 and 45 percent. Homes that tend to have high humidity could make use of a dehumidifier to control air moisture and thus prevent mold from developing. Bathrooms, basements, and laundry are prone to high air moisture.
Expert mold management - inspection, testing, removal
Mold outbreaks, especially when out of control, require safe and effective management. The do-it-yourself approach with mold is not well advised – expertise is required and the health risks are ever present. In an effort to prevent mold and asthma symptoms from further developing, it’s recommended that professional remediation be contracted to experts.
At Matrix Remediation, mold technicians are trained and skilled in managing mold. Matrix deals with both mold and spores - a comprehensive remediation approach that makes use of non-toxic cleaning products that are completely safe for occupants. Matrix technicians are IICRC Certified, a quality standard ensuring the very best mold removal and remediation.
When a mold outbreak is more serious, and allergic symptoms of mold and asthma are obvious, Matrix recommends an experienced mold hygienist to evaluate the scope of the issue. This type of assessment allows for a proactive remediation plan, with long-term results, guaranteed.
For more information on how to deal with the health risks of toxic mold, call Matrix Remediation at 1-888-885-8683 or visit www.matrixremediation.com.
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