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Toxic Mold: Is Your Home At Risk?

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| 2011 Mar 17 |
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Toxic Mold: Is Your Home At Risk?

Could your house be making you sick? Could you be suffering from symptoms associated with toxic mold exposure without even knowing it?

Toxic mold often grows in hard-to-reach corners, hidden from view. It can, therefore, go undetected for long periods of time.

According to Dr. Hernando Perez, one of Toronto’s leading experts on mold, mold spores float through our air after entering our homes from the outdoor environment. The spores stick to a surface and, if that surface is wet, they reproduce and multiply.

The real problem occurs when these spores become airborne. We inhale them and experience unpleasant and recurrent symptoms. After long-term exposure, we may even develop serious health conditions such as damage to our nervous systems.

Toxic mold species

The three most common types of mold that are capable of producing toxins are Stachybotrys (a.k.a. black mold, which has even been linked to deaths) Penicillium (which can cause severe symptoms and hay fever), and Aspergillus (which has been linked to mold growth in the lungs).

“These molds are microscopic. Sometimes we see them growing on walls but the real problem is what we can’t see – the ones in the air that we breathe. These small particles are the perfect size to get into our lungs and cause problems,” explains Perez.

You can expect to see toxic mold growing around bathtubs, sinks and places where moisture levels are high. While small amounts of surface mold are normal, what isn’t normal is an active mold infestation in your home, or what experts call colonizing.

If colonizing occurs, this means your home has a moisture problem. If left untreated over an extended period of time, the mold growth can turn into toxic mold.

Toxic mold and your health

The link between toxic mold and health problems prompted the city of Toronto to create a new task force on mold. The task force met for the first time in January.

Dr. Perez is on the panel and describes some typical symptoms of mold exposure that a person might suffer: watery eyes, runny nose and sometimes a dry cough, or symptoms you would normally associate with hay fever or allergies.

Other symptoms believed to be associated with toxic mold are certain types of hypersensitivity, breathing difficulties, skin infections, lung infections and nose bleeds.

Jim Wansacz is also on the task force. He says that toxic mold is a serious problem. “New construction of homes in which houses are tighter, mold is creating a lot more problems. People are getting sick. This is the first step, studying this, which we’ve never done before,” Wansacz explains.

Check your home for toxic mold

To determine if you have a moisture or a mold problem, using a flashlight can help, allowing you to check out darker, more hidden spots. Also, check the surface of the wood, drywall, wallpaper, carpeting and even ceiling tiles. Any areas that appear to have odd colours such as black, green or white are probably mold.

It’s often difficult, and at times impossible, to detect mold even if you’ve checked every single corner of your home. In many cases, professional equipment and industry experience is necessary to properly diagnose a mold problem.

For the most accurate and reliable inspection, it’s crucial that you call on a professional mold inspection company. For mold inspection services in Toronto, call Mold Busters, a reputable mold removal company that can give you a helping hand.

Furthermore, if there’s any indication that mold is growing in your home or workplace, you must contact a mold contractor immediately and have the mold removed.