HEALTH EFFECTS OF MOLD
Specific reactions to mold growth can include the following:
Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic reactions to mold are common – these reactions can be immediate or delayed.
Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Mold spores and fragments can produce allergic reactions in sensitive individuals regardless of whether the mold is dead or alive. Repeated or single exposure to mold or mold spores may cause previously non-sensitive individuals to become sensitive. Repeated exposure has the potential to increase sensitivity.
Molds can trigger asthma attacks in persons who are allergic (sensitized) to molds. The irritants produced by molds may also worsen asthma in non-allergic (non-sensitized) people.
Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Hypersensitivity pneumonitis may develop following either short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) exposure to molds. The disease resembles bacterial pneumonia and is uncommon.
Mold exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, and sometimes can create a burning sensation in these areas
Most indoor air pollution comes from sources inside the building. For example, adhesives, carpeting, upholstery, manufactured wood products, copy machines, pesticides, and cleaning agents
may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde. Environmental tobacco smoke contributes high levels of VOCs, other toxic compounds, and respirable particulate matter. Research shows that some VOCs can cause chronic and acute health effects at high concentrations, and some are known carcinogens.
Low to moderate levels of multiple VOCs may also produce acute reactions. Combustion products such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, as well as respirable particles, can come from unvented kerosene and gas space heaters, woodstoves, fireplaces and gas stoves.
We test for VOCs using the The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating requirements.
Bacteria, molds, pollen, and viruses are types of biological contaminants. These contaminants may breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in ducts, humidifiers and drain pans, or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, carpeting, or insulation. Sometimes insects or bird droppings can be a
source of biological contaminants. Physical symptoms related to biological contamination include cough, chest tightness, fever, chills, muscle aches, and allergic responses such as mucous membrane irritation and upper respiratory congestion. One indoor bacterium, Legionella, has caused both Legionnaire’s Disease and Pontiac Fever.
We test for Biological contaminants.
40 SIGNS OF MOLD
(and how it can affect health)
1. A Weird, Funky Smell
One of the first signs most people notice is a musty smell in the room. It may be undetectable at first, considering that your nose has likely acclimated to the scent. Open some windows to let some fresh air in, and then close them again. If you do notice a weird smell coming from your damper rooms, then it’s more likely than not that you have mold.
2. Growth of Mildew
Mildew and mold are not interchangeable terms, although many people may mistakenly think they are one in the same. Mold tends to grow in spaces, while mildew grows on flat surfaces that can be scrubbed away. But the presence of mildew is a sign that you’re heading towards the growth of mold, as they both tend to grow in moist, humid spaces.
3. Wood That’s Warping
Wood only tends to warp in moist conditions, so if you notice that your beams or floorboards are starting to bow out, then you have a problem. You may want to start placing a dehumidifier in these rooms to decrease the humidity and hopefully get your wooden structure back into its standard shape. on surfaces, then it’s collecting everywhere. This excess water vapor can easily lead to mold growth since there’s nowhere for the water to go. Install dehumidifiers and extracting fans in these rooms to minimize the chances of this happening.
4. Excess Condensation
Look out for excess condensation collecting on your ceiling and/or walls. Condensation is a sign of too much water vapor in the air, and if it’s collecting on surfaces, then it’s collecting everywhere. This excess water vapor can easily lead to mold growth since there’s nowhere for the water to go. Install dehumidifiers and extracting fans in these rooms to minimize the chances of this happening.
5. Growth of Rust
Rust, also known as iron oxide, is developed by the presence of water vapor in the air interacting with iron. Iron reacts very quickly with oxygen in the air, so it’s prevalent. finding rust in your bathroom or any area of your home is a sign that there is too much moisture in the air and it’s affecting your metal hardware. It doesn’t take much longer for mold to start growing in the rest of the area.
6. Mold Growth
The most obvious sign that you have mold… is seeing mold on your surfaces. It can be black, grey-green, orange, or white. Pay particular attention to where you see the mold growing first. This is the area that has the most condensation so you should start working from this point outwards. If left untreated, it could permeate the rest of your surfaces and actually cause damage to your house.
7. Peeling or Cracking Paint
It’s one thing to have paint that starts cracking after several years of wear and tear, but it’s another thing for huge cracks to form or for it to start peeling from the walls in huge sheets. Paint that is separating from the surface of your wall is a sure sign that you have moisture trapped behind it. Paint doesn’t stick well to wet or even damp surfaces, so it could be a definite sign that you have mold growing behind your walls.
8. Black Mold is the Worst
Of all the molds you should look for black mold; it should be at the top of your list. It’s the most common sign of a humidity problem in your home, and it’s also the most dangerous to your health. In what is known as black mold poisoning, a form of mycotoxicosis, the symptoms look no different from those of the flu, but if left untreated, could lead to some severe health issues.
9. Black Mold Can Cause Respiratory Issues
The first signs you’ll notice if you have mold in your home are respiratory issues. The mycotoxins created by black mold, when inhaled, can cause irritation and a burning sensation in a person’s mouth, through and nasal cavities.
10 Severe Respiratory Reactions to Black Mold
In slightly more serious cases, the inhalation of black mold spores can lead to pulmonary edema (swelling of the lungs) and pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding in the lungs). Both of these are severe conditions, and you should seek medical attention immediately if you notice that you are coughing up blood. You may not even know that black mold is to blame.
11. It’s Not Gingivitis
What may be surprising to you is that black mold can actually cause your gums to bleed. Because the mycotoxins get lodged in mucus membranes, this also includes the membranes of the mouth and gums. They interfere with the normal blood flow to the gums and teeth, which is why they bleed. Made worse by this is the fact that inhaling mold spores can lead to a stuffy nose, making you more prone to breathe through your mouth and inhale even more of these spores.
12. Bleeding Nostrils
In addition to bleeding gums, mold poisoning can also lead to nose bleeds. If you’re already prone to these, it can be difficult to tell whether you are experiencing a normal episode or if your health is being affected. In any case, you should have your home looked at if you notice that you’ve had more nose bleeds at home than when you’re outside.
13. Damage to the Heart
Because the toxins are absorbed through mucus membranes, that means that it also gets into the blood. That means it’s spreading through the major organs, one of them being the heart.
Many conditions can arise from exposure to black mold. You can suffer from an irregular heartbeat, inflammation, and physical damage to the heart. This can be a slow, painful process that can eventually lead to death if it’s not caught early and treated.
14 Hemophiliac Tendencies
Because of the circulation of these toxins in the blood, they interfere with the body’s natural response to clotting. That means that when you get a clot, it will be harder to stop the blood flow and for a clot to form so that it can heal. This can be dangerous for the body, as it puts the liver into overtime with making new blood cells. A drain is placed on the body to try and compensate for this, making you feel weak and tired most of the time.
15. Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure may seem like something you shouldn’t be concerned about, but it can have detrimental effects on the rest of your body. And black mold poisoning can definitely lead to low blood pressure. Low blood pressure results in a reduced flow of blood to the organs. Long term, it puts you more at risk for strokes, kidney failure, and heart attacks. Worst-case scenario, you can even experience shock, where the organs don’t receive enough oxygenated blood.
16. Disruption to Bone Marrow
Bone marrow is the semi-solid substance that is found in the middle of the bones. It is where new blood cells are created and sent to the rest of the body. On average, marrow can produce about 500 billion new blood cells per day. Without that process taking place, the blood cells you have will die naturally without anything to replace them. You can only imagine what can happen to the body with such a condition.
17. Bleeding in the Brain
Once this toxic blood gets past the organs, it can go straight to the brain to cause havoc. Bleeding in the brain is nothing something you want to experience, as the symptoms can become severely hazardous to your health. Headaches would be the first starting point, and then several psychological conditions would arise. And because there’s nowhere for the blood to go in your skull, the pressure would only increase, damaging the rest of your brain in the process.
18. Black Mold Affects the Eyes
Your vision isn’t left unscathed because of mold either. Your eyeballs are giant spheres of mucus membranes, so they’re bound to be affected too. Some of the most common conditions that arise from black mold poisoning are blurry vision, eye inflammation, and soreness, bloodshot eyes, or jaundice, which is characterized by yellowing of the eyes.
19. Skin Conditions Arising from Poisoning
Toxic black mold can also be absorbed through the skin, the first few signs being severe rashes. But continued exposure can lead to more serious conditions. Those who have had contact with mold have described a crawling sensation on their skin, which can be very annoying if you’re trying to sleep. Other symptoms can include dermatitis (such as rash and blisters) and yellowing of the skin.
20. Affecting the Immune System
Along with the red blood cells of the body, toxic mold can also affect the white blood cells and lymphatic system. This can lead to suppression of the immune system and make a person immunocompromised. What this means is that a person who affected this way doesn’t have the means to fight off infections or other diseases properly. They’re more prone to getting sick with simple colds or other viruses that further compromise their health.
21. Increased Risk of Infertility, Impotence, and Miscarriage
Black mold can lead to both men and women having problems with fertility. A pregnant woman may even have a miscarriage if she breathes in black mold spores. Men who are surrounded by black mold may have a hard time achieving erections in the bedroom, further complicating the matters if both parties are trying to get pregnant.
22. Developmental Problems with the Fetus
The toxins in the black mold are teratogenic, meaning that they can cause problems related to fertility and the actual development of a fetus in a pregnant woman. They are also mutagenic and cytotoxic, meaning that they cause mutations in cells and affect the ability of the fetus’ body to synthesize DNA and RNA, the basic building blocks of the fetus’ development and growth.
23. The Body Always Hurts
These toxins can spread to the muscles as well, leading to all kinds of pains all over the body. Muscle pain is the most common of them all. Further complications can include chest pain, similar to a heart attack, and severe abdominal pain. You should seek medical attention immediately if you experience any or all of these symptoms.
24. It’s Not Really the Flu
How can you tell if you’ve got the flu or mold poisoning? You can’t because the symptoms look so similar. Headache, body aches, fever, and feeling generally achy and tired all over are the first signs of poisoning, but because the flu is so rampant, most people don’t notice or take it as seriously as they should. And because the flu forces them to stay inside more, they’re inhaling more of the mold, making their symptoms worse.
25. Digestion Issues
The effects of black mold may eventually reach the stomach lining and the rest of your intestines. Blood flow to these areas may increase, leading to nausea and possible vomiting blood. Diarrhea also follows, resulting in severe dehydration of the body and making it more prone to other infections. Take these digestive issues seriously so that you can get medical assistance.
26. Overall Lethargy Every Day
It’s one thing to feel a little tired after a long day of work. But if you notice that you’re feeling exhausted every single day, even after a long night of rest, then there’s something else going on. Chronic fatigue is a condition you should take seriously. Other symptoms you may notice are drowsiness throughout the day and weakness throughout the body. Together, these symptoms could mean that you have a black mold problem.
27. Feelings of Malaise
You can’t quite put your finger on it; you just feel like crap all day, and you don’t know why. You feel discomfort all over, but you don’t know what to do about it. Malaise could eventually devolve into headaches and fever, which you might misinterpret as stress or just getting another cold. But these are milder symptoms of what we’ve been talking about, so you may not even know how sick you are until it’s too late.
28. Going Bald Up There
Blood flows to hair follicles to help them grow. Obviously, if there are mycotoxins in your bloodstream, then your hair follicles are going to be affected as well. And this can mean that your hair starts falling out. The follicles can die and shrivel up, so the next time you run your hand through your hair, it may come away with a lot more strands than you’re comfortable with.
29. Losing More Than a Few Pounds
With all the vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea, you may not notice that you’re losing an unhealthy amount of weight. Left unchecked, you could end up with anorexia. Anorexia is usually considered an eating disorder that is closely tied to mental health, but it can also be a physical symptom that you have no control over if there is black mold in play in your home.
30. Hearing Loss
Things may sound a little quieter than usual if you have black mold poisoning because it can severely affect your hearing. Not many think of the ear as a mucus membrane, but it can actually get quite moist in there. Having mold spores entering the ear canal, as well as having toxic blood flowing to the inner ear, can compound the problem from both sides.
31. Serious Mold Exposure Leading to Comas
As we’ve seen, black mold can interfere with all of the body’s natural functions. The combination of all these symptoms is inevitably a shock to the system. That’s why a coma is not unexpected when you’ve had extended exposure to these toxic spores. Because the symptoms themselves are hard to diagnose, an individual falling into a coma can be sudden, and medical personnel may not be able to find out the cause of it until it’s too late.
32. Liver Disease Is Just Around the Corner
The functioning of the liver is one of the most important regulations that keep the body in working order. Its purpose is to filter out toxins from the blood as it passes from the digestive tract before it reenters the body. Of course, with the build-up of these toxins in the liver, it’s like dumping a whole pile of garbage into your backyard; the grass isn’t going to grow, and you’ll end up with toxic sludge. The liver is the same way, and these mycotoxins wreak havoc on its normal functions.
33. Death Could be Inevitable
After a coma, if left untreated, death is the only inevitable end. We’ve all heard the story of Britney Murphy and her husband, and how they passed away under mysterious circumstances. Many speculated that the toxic mold in her home resulted in a more raw form of pneumonia, which became untreatable with over-the-counter medications. It was a shame that they didn’t get help before meeting their tragic ends.
34. Cancer Is On the List of Symptoms
Depending on the kind of toxic mold you have in your home, you may be at risk for cancer. Experts have suspected that strains like Aspergillus are capable of causing cancer, as the spores are carcinogenic. The most common type of cancer that exposed individuals are most prone to is lung cancer. This is because the mold causes bleeding and scarring of the lungs, which leads to abnormal cell growth when trying to repair the damage.
35. The Brain’s in a Muddled Place
With bleeding in the brain as one of the symptoms of exposure, you’re going to start experiencing other problems as well. Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re in a brain fog or have problems paying attention. Exposure can result in a shortened attention span and difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand. Not only is this annoying, but it can also make it very difficult for you in your professional life.
36. Dexterity is Down
If you’re someone who likes going on runs or participating in sports, and you’ve been exposed to black mold, you may notice that you’re not as quick as you used to be. That has nothing to do with aging. Exposure can result in slowed reflexes so you can’t run as fast or dodge as quickly as you used to. If you’ve noticed this physical change in your body, then it would be a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
37. Can’t Put the Pieces in Place
Can’t find your car keys? Don’t remember whether you close the garage door before leaving home? Most people pass that off as healthy aging and cognitive decline, but mold could also be responsible If you’re having memory issues at this point, then your exposure to black mold has gone on too long, and your health is in serious jeopardy. The best thing you can do is remove yourself from the environment first before you start treatment.
38. Hallucinations Aren’t Easy to Deal With
Because of bleeding on the brain, the pressure in the skull is going to increase, which presses down on other areas of the brain. This can lead to neurons misfiring and your senses going wild. Visual and auditory hallucinations may result. They can be unnerving to deal with if you’ve never experienced them before in your life, and there’s no real cure for them either until you start recovering from exposure to toxic mold.
39. Rapid Mood Changes
Your brain is responsible for the release of hormones into the body that regulates mood. But if your mind is on the fritz, these hormones are going to be too. You may start to experience anxiety, aggression, depression, or a wide variety of mood changes that you have no control over. That can make it challenging to seek help, as these kinds of changes could result in terminated friendships and relationships.
40. Uncontrollable Fits All Over
Along with the biochemical parts of your brain, the motor functions can be interrupted as well. The neurons that send signals to the muscles of the body can also misfire, resulting in a physical movement that you have no control over. This can lead to trembling, shaking, or even a seizure in the worst-case scenario. For someone who’s not prone to seizures, to begin with, doctors may have a hard time diagnosing the problem if they don’t know you have mold in your home.