Skip to main content

The Effects of Mycotoxins

What are Mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are produced on the surface of mold spores. Uniquely, they remain toxic even after the spore itself is dead. Mycotoxins are what cause the sicknesses in people and animals. The good news is that not all molds produce mycotoxins.

Molds are split into two genres. Toxigenic and Non-toxigenic. Molds that produce mycotoxins are considered to be toxigenic. Those that don’t are non-toxigenic.

What Types of Mycotoxins Are There?

There are 5 main strands of mycotoxins: Aflatoxins, Ochratoxin A, Fumonisins, certain Trichothecenes and Zearalenone.

What do Mycotoxins Do?

Mycotoxins can cause the more serious issues that occur i.e. breathing problems, lung inflammation, fever, burning sensations etc. They can also be responsible for acute and chronic sicknesses as serious as cancer, fibromyalgia, heart problems, lupus, and even mental deficiencies.

Two of the most common mold types that produce these mycotoxins are stachybotrys chartarum or chaetomium. Most symptoms can be treated with medication and diet though there has been no head way towards the more serious consequences like brain damage and loss of eye sight.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Mold Uses: Good Mold

What Is Mold?

A mold or fungus is an organism that survives on almost any material; it digests its food externally and absorbs the nutrient molecules into its cells. With the onslaught of publicity about molds that threaten human health, we now fear molds and destroy them on sight. Very understandable since it’s our general well-being that is being looked out for, but what is being forgotten is that molds have good uses too.

The first and most important role of fungi is that without it, there would be piles of trash everywhere. Don’t forget fungi get food from our weekly trash. They eat the garbage and transform it into soil. They are the first, natural garbage dispensers.

Uses of Fungi

Fungi are very important and have a variety of important uses. Yeasts, for one, are responsible for fermentation. Fermentation is the process used in making beer and different wines. The same fungus is used in most of the bread that is eaten, and without it, bread would be flat.

Mushrooms are a form of fungus. In many countries, mushroom farming is a very big industry. The biggest role of Fungi is probably acting as the primary decomposer of dead plant and animal matter in almost all ecosystems. That’s why we commonly see molds on old bread.

Remember – Mold can be put to good use too!

The MoldBlogger Team

2 Easy Steps to Mold Removal

What Should I Remember When Removing Mold?

There are two easy to remember steps when it comes to knowing how to remove mold.

  • Cleanup
  • Prevention

Combine these two easy steps together and you know how to remove mold. It is nearly impossible to completely remove mold spores from the air around us, because they’re floating everywhere looking for an optimal place to land and reproduce.

Preventing mold from growing is the main goal every individual trying to remove mold must have.

Getting rid of mold would never be necessary if prevention worked every time. Yet, there are still times when mold DOES grow even when everything is done to prevent it.

If you were to clean the area affected with mold and remove all visible signs of mold invasion, but leave the problem unfixed, will the mold magically be gone forever? Of course not! Mold will always grow back if the problem is not taken care of. In the same way, if the problem is fixed, yet the visible mold is left to grow and prosper – it will continue to grow and thrive happily.

But together – Fixing the problem by removing moisture (in most cases) from the equation AND cleaning the affected area – Mold Removal is easy AND it works!

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from The MoldBlogger Team

Moisture & The Conditions for Mold Growth

What does Mold need to Grow?

Moisture is the number one thing needed in a home for mold to grow. Two main problems of moisture in the home are: water coming into the home, and water vapor. Flooding is the main event that allows a lot of water to intrude at once.

If the foundation of a home is found to be unsound, it is easy when heavy rain comes for the water to seep up from underneath and dampen beneath the carpet or cement in your home.

Without knowing it and having no way to dry out this area of a house mold begins to germinate and spread rapidly throughout the house.

If the roof, walls, windows, and general outward structure are not sealed and protected correctly, mold literally “flows” in and attaches itself to everything moist and “tasty” looking.

How Can I Minimize the Growth of Mold?

Good ventilation is extremely important because the vents are what remove water vapor in the home.

Also make sure all the vents lead to an outside source, otherwise the water vapor is just being moved around to different parts of the house.

Don’t forget to turn on the fans to these vents because thats what removes the vapor.

Mold CAN grow between 32 and 95 degrees, but optimum temperature is between 77 and 86 degrees F.

Where Does Mold Grow in My Home?

The 5 most common places mold can grow in a home are:

Laundry rooms

Basements

Kitchens

Bathrooms

Closets

All of these collect moisture and humidity and stay relatively warm.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from The MoldBlogger Team

Q & A: 5 Easy Steps to Remove Mold from Furniture

On October 8, 2007, a reader asked the following question:

Question

I have had a chase lounger in storage only now to find mold on the bottom skirt. How do I remove it? Thanks

Answer

How to Remove Mold from Furniture

Removing mold from furniture is probably one of the more harder tasks. You can’t exactly place your sofa in the washing machine. Not all furniture is saveable either.

If you suspect mold growth inside your chair or sofa, disposing of the piece entirely would be the safest action.

If mold growth is only in one specific area and does not smell:

  • 1. Rent a HEPA certified vacuum and clean the area affected.
  • 2. Then use a detergent/water mixture (add bleach if detergent does not contain ammonia)
  • 3. Scrub the area well.
  • 4. Rinse the fabric thoroughly.
  • 5. Set the piece in a highly ventilated area where it can dry quickly within the first 24 hours to prevent mold regrowth.

Be sure to watch and make sure the mold does not come back.

For more information on removing furniture and mold visit Remove Mold from Furniture

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Q & A: Dealing with Mold Exposure

On October 14, 2007, a reader asked the following question:

Question: “I breathed in some mold… what should I do?”

Answer:

When dealing with mold remediation or clean up, personal protection and safety are extremely important.

Mold exposure can cause severe illness depending upon the amount of mold and time exposed.

Are you experiencing any side affects such as difficulty breathing, skin rash, or trouble seeing?

If so, definitely make an appointment with your doctor asap.

Depending upon the amount of exposure experienced, you might want to ask your doctor’s advice in any case. Remember for future reference to always wear Personal Protective Equipment.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Cancer Causing Mold Found

Iowa & S. Dakota have Become Breeding Grounds for Mold

Because of a high temperature summer in both Iowa and South Dakota, an extremely toxic type of mold has been found: Aflatoxin. This mold type can cause cancer in humans if large amounts are consumed.

With the humidity up from a long, hot summer, these two states have become a breeding ground for mold. Are there more? What can be done?

With several parts of the Midwest having gone through a scorching summer, more farmers in the Corn Belt may find aflatoxin, said Don White, professor of crop sciences at the University of Illinois.

Can anything be done? Read the conclusion!
Toxic Mold Aflatoxin

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Affresh Tablets V. Mold

High Efficiency Washing Machines & Mold

Do you have a high efficiency washing machine?

If so, these tablets may be for you. Front loaders tend to seal extremely well, maybe too well trapping the moisture in allowing mold to grow.

If this mold grows it will give out a very non-appetizing smell. How can you get rid of this moldy odor?

To combat (or prevent) an odor problem, Whirlpool developed Affresh tablets. The tablets are said to prevent residues from accumulating. And if a problem has already begun, the company recommends using one tablet in three consecutive washes.

Read more on Affresh Tablets by visiting News-Leader.com

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Tips for Mold Clean Up

When Does the Maximum Amount of Mold Exposure Occur?

According to Real Estate Magazine, the most exposure a person can have to mold is acquired during the clean up process. The good news? There are so many ways to prevent sickness or other side affects! Here is what they have to say:

Note :

The following is directed for large or extreme areas of mold infestation. Smaller levels or few spots of mold can be cleaned without professional help.

Large Areas :

    • Consider having a professional cleanup the areaTo find a professional, check under “Fire and Water Damage Restoration” in your Yellow Pages. If you decide to clean up on your own, follow the guidance below.
    • Protect yourself by using goggles, gloves, and breathing protection while working in the areaFor large consolidated areas of mold growth, you should use an OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) approved particle mask.
    • Seal off area from the rest of your homeCover heat registers or ventilation ducts/grills. Open a window before you start to clean up.
    • Remove all your furnishings to a neutral area to be cleaned laterFollow cleaning directions below.
    • Bag all moldy materials, you will be discarding

.

  • Scrub all affected hard surfaces: First with a mild detergent solution, such as laundry detergent and warm water. Then use a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one quart of water. Wait 20 minutes and repeat. Wait another 20 minutes.

    Last, apply a borate-based detergent solution and do not rinse. This will help prevent mold from growing again. To find a borate-based detergent, read the ingredients listed on the package label for borates.

  • Give the entire area a good cleaning Vacuum floors, and wash bedding and clothes if exposed.

Small Areas :

  • Protect yourself by using goggles, gloves, and breathing protection while working in the areaFor small isolated areas of mold growth, a cotton dust mask should do.
  • Seal off area from the rest of your home Cover heat registers or ventilation ducts/grills. Cover all your furniture. Open a window before you start clean up.
  • Bag all moldy materials, you will be discarding.
  • Scrub all affected hard surfaces:First with a mild detergent solution, such as laundry detergent and warm water. Then use a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one quart of water. Wait 20 minutes and repeat. Wait another 20 minutes.

    Last, apply a borate-based detergent solution and do not rinse. This will help prevent mold from growing again. To find a borate-based detergent, read the ingredients listed on the package label for borates.

  • Give the entire area a good cleaningVacuum floors, and wash bedding and clothes if exposed.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Real Estate Magazine Post

Manage Mold for Good Health

Mold Spores are Everywhere

According to Phoebe Yin, mold spores are everywhere, floating in and out of our homes. These spores reproduce in moisture which is why limiting moisture in our homes is so imperative for mold prevention.

Besides from just seeing the red, green, and black colors of mold, it also gives off a musty smell and causes asthma like symptoms.

She says there are six main ways of preventing moisture build up:

  • Run a fan or open a window for 20 minutes after showering or bathing.
  • Make sure to ventilate whenever doing laundry.
  • Wash your bathtub or shower as well as the toilet with borax as often as possible. Borax kills mold.
  • Use a Dehumidifier.
  • Once a week, wash windows with a solution of 20% white vinegar.
  • Every once in a while sprinkle baking soda on basement carpets followed by a good vacuuming. (Or remove the carpet all together)

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Phoebe Yin, ND

10 EPA Mold Prevention Tips

10 Approved Tips to Prevent Mold :

The following 10 tips are EPA approved and will help you prevent any mold contamination before the spores even think to settle and spread through your home!

1] As soon as a liquid is spilled, no matter the surface, make sure to clean up immediately. Mold most likely will not grow within the first 24-48 hours if moisture is removed.

2] Surround pipes and other cold surfaces with insulation.

3] When looking for a home or to build one, make sure the ground slopes away from the base house to avoid moisture collecting at the foundation.

4] Make sure air conditioning drains are kept clean and flowing properly.

5]
Keep humidity levels in homes below 60%, preferably between 30% and 50%.

6] Store appliances like stoves and dryers outside where they get plenty of airflow, and vent moisture from collecting inside.

7]
Be watching for moisture collection. This includes on appliances, windows or any furniture piece.

8]
Periodically open doors and windows to increase airflow through your home.

9] When showering or bathing be sure to open a window or turn a bathroom fan on.

10]
Clean and repair roof gutters as often as possible.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Mary Beth Almond

Want The Inside Scoop?