Mold is an eyesore and a homeowner’s worst nightmare. However, there is much more you should know about mold because once you understand what it is, you will be better able to prevent its growth.
To begin, here are some basic facts about mold:
- Molds are fungi.
- Molds grow on plants, wood, fabric, soil, food, drywall, floors and ceilings.
- Molds produce microscopic spores that germinate where moisture has accumulated.
- Mold growth threatens the structural integrity of a building.
- Mold exposure can lead to serious health problems.
If you want to ensure a healthy living environment, it’s important to know the common causes of mold and repair them sooner rather than later. And when in doubt, contact the mold experts at Mold Busters.
Where to look for mold
In this section, you’ll learn about the most common places for mold growth in and around the home.
Generally speaking, mold grows on bathroom grout, water-damaged walls, and wet or damp carpets and as well as around tubs, sinks and windows.
But sometimes mold can hide behind walls, underneath floorboards and in air conditioners, so make sure to check all of these areas thoroughly.
At Mold Busters, we use infrared cameras, moisture metres, air sampling pumps and other top-of-the-line inspection equipment to check your home from top to bottom and in the most hard-to-reach spaces.
Don’t hesitate to contact us—we’re Ottawa and Montreal’s mold removal experts.
Health effects of mold
The presence of mold spores in an indoor environment is a big concern given that mold exposure has been linked to disease in plants, animals and humans.
No two reactions to mold will be the same. Both the extent of exposure and your level of sensitivity influence how you react.
It’s important to know the health effects and symptoms of mold exposure so that they are neither ignored nor mistaken for another ailment.
Three Types of Mold that Can Hurt You
There are several types of mold, and some are more harmful than others. Learn about the types of mold that are hazardous to your health and start preventing exposure to them today.
Everyday, our team speaks with homeowners and business owners who are confused about mold and how it can harm them, which makes it an excellent blog topic.
Part of the confusion about mold – how it affects one person differently than the next – exists because mold can harm humans in several ways rather than one. Some people are simply naturally allergic to mold, whereas others may not be able to fight off the normal pathogens it produces.
Some mold produces deadly toxins that are intended to kill other organisms, to ensure survival. These types of mold can be divided into three categories.
Allergenic, Pathogenic and Toxigenic Molds
Allergenic molds affect people who have certain allergies or asthma. When people who are allergic to mold are exposed to it, they have a hypersensitive reaction, during which an excessive number of mast cells are activated, resulting in an extreme inflammatory response in the respiratory system. About 20%-30% of the population is susceptible to mold and/or other allergens, which can lead to reactions like allergic rhinitis. Most people without allergies are unaffected by allergenic molds in small amounts.
Pathogenic molds are capable of causing certain infections or diseases. Most healthy individuals, with their immune systems in good shape, are able to regularly fight off pathogens. However, pathogenic molds are dangerous to people who have compromised or weakened immune systems, which is why pathogenic molds are considered an opportunistic pathogen. Pathogenic molds most commonly affect infants, the elderly and people with suppressed immune systems.
Toxic molds produce mycotoxins, poisonous chemicals that are dangerous to humans. Unlike allergenic and pathogenic molds, toxic molds intentionally harm other living things rather than the harm merely being a side effect. Some of the most deadly chemicals on the planet are mycotoxins. They’re found both on mold and on mold spores. People can get exposed to mycotoxins via ingestion, dermal exposure (skin contact) and inhalation. This can lead to temporary irritation or even long-term illness depending on the individual.
No matter what type of mold you’re dealing with, it’s best to remove the problem as soon as possible, even if no one has fallen ill yet. Also, if you have mold, then it’s very likely you have a moisture problem that will eventually contribute to even more mold growth. Protect yourself and protect your family from toxic black mold. If you suspect it’s present in the space you live and breathe, promptly have it inspected and removed.
Most Common Types of Toxic Mold Found in Homes
The term “toxic mold” and its meaning is often misunderstood. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mold that’s referred to as toxic mold is not toxic on its own. However, this species is capable of producing chemical substances called mycotoxins, which are harmful to the human body.
There are over 100,000 species of mold, according to scientists’ research. Some species are harmless but others produce mycotoxins that are so dangerous that they can be used for biochemical warfare.
Common Types of Toxic Mold
1. Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys is otherwise known as black mold and is one of the more harmful toxic mold species. Black mold is usually found inside a house. The mycotoxins that this species of mold produce can cause the lungs to bleed, which is fatal to animals and infants. The problem with black mold is that it’s hard to detect; it usually develops behind walls and under ceilings and is resistant to regular air sampling.
2. Memnoniella Memnoniella, also referred to as black mold, is similar to Stachybotrys and has the same effects. Memoniella differs in that when viewed under a microscope, its spores are released in chains, whereas the spores that Stachybotrys releases are in clumps.
3. Aspergillus Aspergillus are gray or green flecks and appear on wooden surfaces. Aspergillus, with 20 species in total, is dangerous, because it will often cause allergies, leading to serious asthmatic reactions, hay fever or lung infections. Every Aspergillus species produces mycotoxins, which are a health hazard, especially for those individuals with compromised immune systems.
4. Penicillum There are many species of Penicillum – some beneficial and some harmful. Some species of Penicillum are used when producing cheese and medicine. Similar to other molds, Penicillium causes allergies, and it’s especially troublesome for people that already have a weak immune system.
5. Alternaria. Alternaria is one of the most prevalent toxic molds and includes many species. Asthma and hay fever are among the conditions one might suffer or suffer worse from when he or she has inhaled Alternaria spores.
There are several mold species. Some are difficult to clean and some are tricky to detect. However, it’s important to find and identify all mold in your home, as mold can seriously threaten your health and the health of your loved ones. The safest, most efficient way to detect mold is to have a professional mold inspector visit your home and carry out mold testing.
It’s always better to prevent mold rather than deal with its effects. And because mold prevention is not as complex as mold removal, homeowners, business owners and tenants can all take preventative steps to avoid serious property damage and health complications due to mold.
Just some of the ways you can prevent mold are ensuring moisture control, proper ventilation, air exchange and cleanliness.
Examine areas you wouldn’t normally pay attention to while cleaning your home, and always stay updated on the latest mold prevention strategies.
Why test for mold?
Sometimes odours, stains and discoloration that you think are the results of mold can, in fact, be caused by smoke, dirt and debris, minerals or insects. Other times, symptoms you attribute to the common cold are actually caused by exposure to mold.
If you suspect that you have a mold problem, a mold test is the only way to get reliable answers to your worries. Only after professional testing will you be able to confirm the presence of mold and to move forward with remediation, which is absolutely crucial.
Remember, it’s not mold until it’s tested, so contact the mold experts at Mold Busters today to book your appointment!