Mold is a fungus that is mostly present in areas with damp and it lives in the air or on the surfaces of it. It can be found almost everywhere and it tends to be harmless when outside in the fresh air. Still, if it grows inside a building it can be a cause of many problems. In case you are thinking of buying a new house or apartment, have it checked for mold to avoid any later surprises.
Even though most types of mold are known to be non-toxic, there are cases where they are the source of health problems. Still, don’t get too alarmed – only a few forms of mold are “toxigenic,” which means they can produce small molecular toxins, also known as “mycotoxins”. Variety of serious health issues stem from mycotoxins if ingested in large quantities over a long period of time.
Toxic mold is divided into two main types: aspergillus and stachybotrys chartarum. These two toxic molds are found in flood damaged and unventilated areas with high concentration of damp. They are not of same toxic strength yet they both can cause a lot of damage under the right circumstances. Aspergillus is actually a family of molds and not all members of this family are poisonous. Even those that are, they are not nearly as poisonous as stachybotrys chartarum. Stachybotrys chartarum is also known as ‘black mold’. You will recognize it by its green-black color and they are to be found in areas that have been damaged by floods.
How to recognize health problems caused by toxic mold and who are people that are most at risk?
It is important to know that people in good health aren’t usually affected by mold.
Mold attacks the respiratory system. Therefore all those with weak immune systems, asthma, and sensitive lungs/any lung condition and allergies are most at risk. Depending on the exposure to the mold, the symptoms vary from mild to serious. Toxic mold can cause respiratory infection and trigger breathing difficulties and asthma attacks. In case you are already asthmatic, the risk of catching it is even higher. In case of an allergic reaction, symptoms are runny nose, sneezing, scratchy throat and cough.
How Do You Get Rid of Mold?
As previously mentioned, if you are just buying a new apartment or a house, have experts inspect your home for mold. If you are not buying a home, but already have one it doesn’t harm to pay those same experts to detect mold in your home (if there is any). In case you’ve discovered the mold yourself and you personally want to get rid of it, these are some of the tips that may help.
Regardless of the type of mold you have discovered in your home (toxic, non-toxic) you need to have it remediated. Bad news is, this is quite an expensive operation. These are the things you should know:
– A surface has been infested, it has to be removed and replaced. This includes replacing of ceiling tiles, rugs, wallpaper and drywall
– An entire wall (or walls) has been penetrated by mold, an extensive renovation is required. Follow all cleaning methods and protocols to eliminate mold from hard surfaces. Since there is a danger of spores being spread during cleaning, the protocol must be followed to the letter
– Mold and mold spores in the indoor environment are not eliminated through any practical way. They are controlled through moisture control
– If you vent dryers, bathrooms and other moisture-generating sources to the outside you are reducing the indoor humidity and decreasing the chance of mold growth
– The way to clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent. You must let it dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
– Add insulation on piping, windows, roof, floors and exterior walls to prevent condensation
Don’t wait long before you react.