Information on this all too common problem…
In the great outdoors mold plays a vital part in the environment. Mold is one of the few things in nature that can digest wood. Even termites cannot properly breakdown wood, they can eat it but they cannot digest it, instead they rely on one celled organisms in their digestive tracts to break it down.
Even the well known beaver, with a reputation for eating wood cannot readily digest wood. Beavers are mostly eating the more digestible inner bark of trees and then, mostly in the winter when their favorite foods are buried under snow and ice.
Every time a tree dies it’s wood must follow one of two fates, it either becomes petrified, or it decays turns into soil and rejoins the cycle of life and death.
Fortunately mold comes to the rescue and digests the wood, causes it to rot, and helps it turn into soil. If it was not for mold the entire earth would likely be a mile deep in dead trees.
The only thing separating the wood in our homes from a state of decay brought on by fungal infestation is a lack of moisture. Once moisture touches non living wood, or any of it’s man made derivatives: ( lumber, paper, cardboard, drywall encasement paper, cellulose insulation, Masonite, Orientated Strand Board, or particle board) then mold takes over and we have mold in the home.
Fungal invaders immediately start to attack the moist wood products with enzymes, break it down, and absorb it.
Few others in the animal, plant, or even microbial world want to consume wood, so the fungal colonies n our water damaged homes go unchallenged in their endeavor to break down, absorb, and assimilate the otherwise un-digestible organic compounds in wood and it’s derivatives.
All this nutritional and energy utilization makes it possible for the organism that started as a single celled spore to grow and release thousands or even millions of new spores. These spores contain the highest concentrations of allergens in the entire organism.
In addition to spore production products are produces. With fungal organisms including mold in the home or household molds these waste products consists of microbial volatile organic compounds. These compounds are ignored by most mold testing consultants and by the media. However detection of these compounds thermal desorption tubes, or via my favorite method, with my nose is an important part of every mold investigation. From a From the point of view of your health these compounds are an important consideration. Microbial volatile organic compounds are similar to esters, and similar to aldehydes like formaldehyde. Thus when your homes air is contaminated with these fungal waste products your air quality goes down and I have seen first handmany times how these compounds seem to have a direct correlation to health complaints, even more so than spores. For example if mold growth, and the spores it releases are trapped inside a wall people still have respiratory health problems as long as the odors or volatile organic compounds are escaping into the ambient air. It is interesting to note that these compounds are also related to alcohols. In some cases when oxygen is in short supply or not present, and when sugar is the food source, the waste product of some forms of fungi is in fact drinking alcohol. Unfortunately alcohol production typically takes place in some large industrial vat in a beer brewery in Milwaukee. In our homes all are fungal buddies want to produce for us is allergy and asthma inducing smelly microbial volatile organic compounds.
When we have mold growing in our houses humans and even pets tend to have a negative reaction to both the allergens in the spores, as well as to the microbial volatile organic compound type waste products released. To make matters worse these growths produce superfine fungal particles, Beta-Glucans, and toxins, in addition dust mites are also often associated with wet fungal environments. We end up living in an invisible, unhealthy, stew of particles and compounds. We cough, we sneeze, we may even have asthma attacks, and in some cases other reactions may occur.
When this happens in your home the best option is to call a mold inspector who can locate the problem, ascertain the extent of spread, and diagnose the cause. If a mold inspection is not conducted in your home much of the mold problem will often go unnoticed, undocumented. Also the cause may not be fully understood and addressed if you do not have your mold testing consultant diagnose the cause. If the cause is not understood and addressed then you should expect the problem to return. A non bias remediation protocol should be prepared by that same consultant.
Daryl is a South Florida mold assessor with A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc.
A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc.
6742 Forest Hill Blvd # 271
West Palm Beach, Florida 33413
State Licensed Mold Assessor
# MRSA 328