Effects of Mold on Human HealthMay 8, 2019
We have all heard the old adage that, “April showers bring May flowers.” But did you know that excessive rain, snowmelt, and spring humidity can cause something that can make us all sick? We are talking about mold.
Almost all houses have some sort of mold, whether it is the fuzzy growth in your shower, the musty smell in your basement, or the damp places under your sinks. Mold has been on this Earth for millions of years. It is when mold – caused by flooding or water damage – begins to cause negative impacts to your or your family’s health that action should be taken.
What is Mold?
Mold is a form of fungus that can grow indoors and outdoors in countries around the globe. Mold grows best when in a warm, moist, and humid environment. Mold spreads through the production of spores that can grow when they land on a damp spot. There are many varieties of mold that can take on different appearances. Some molds appear as white, black, yellow, blue, or green and often look like discoloration or a stain on a surface such as a wall or ceiling. Many molds have a velvety, fuzzy, slimy, or rough appearance, depending on the type of mold and where it is growing.
What Does Mold Need to Grow?
Mold needs certain conditions before it can begin to grow in a home, the most important being a home that has a moisture problem. Homes that have leaks such as a leaky roof or pipes, recently experienced a flood, or homes that have uncontrolled humidity are most susceptible. Other conditions needed for mold growth include darkness, a food source (such as wood, drywall, or cotton), oxygen, and warmth. If these conditions exist in your home, whether due to plumbing problems, climate control issues, or an act of nature, you will want to have your home inspected for mold.
What Health Dangers Exist Due to Mold Growth?
While mold may be unsightly and smelly, the problems it can cause are far larger than just a bad odor or ugly looking stain. Your health could be in jeopardy if you are living in a home with excessive mold. The World Health Organization states that a moldy environment is associated with, and could worsen, indoor air pollution, a risk factor for people with certain respiratory conditions. Molds can produce a number of substances that can be harmful. Allergens, irritants, and mycotoxins – potentially toxic substances – can affect individuals who are particularly sensitive to them.
In particular, the EPA states that exposure to molds can irritate the eyes, lungs, nose, skin, and throats of individuals, even if they do not have a mold allergy.
People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immunocompromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. Some dangerous toxic molds require more extreme conditions than common molds do, such as the toxic mold Stachybotrys chartarum which requires material to be very wet for several days to grow. A flood can create these conditions putting your home more at risk of being infested with dangerous toxic molds, (MoldPedia).
Has your house recently experienced flooding, a burst pipe, leaky faucets, or other moisture causing conditions? You may want to have your home inspected for the presence of mold. Pro-Care is certified in Mold Remediation by the Indoor Air Quality Association. Pro-Care’s remediation technicians are trained in the proper protocol to remediate mold-affected areas while protecting the inhabitants and the unaffected areas of your home or building from cross contamination. Call us if you have a mold issue that you want to take care of right away. Call us at (781) 933-7400 or toll-free at (800) 660-1973.