Have you ever heard about or even experienced mold infestation in your home? Do you know the risks associated with mold? Black mold is extremely dangerous and has the potential to occur in any home. Recent research by organizations such as the World Health Organization and Unicef, have linked mold exposure to upper respiratory tract diseases like wheezing, coughing, and in severe cases- death.
What Is Black Mold?
There are hundreds of different species of mold, some of which are dangerous and some that are not dangerous. For instance, Penicillium is a species of mold that is not harmful and is used to treat bacterial infections. Conversely there are species of molds that do the opposite, and can cause sickness among humans. Black mold is one of the species that is considered dangerous and is likely to lead to illness. Black mold is a species of fungus-like Stachybotrys chartarum that thrives well in damp and warm areas in and around buildings, most commonly spotted in bathrooms, flooded areas, and laundry rooms. However, black mold isn’t always easily detectable given its ability to grow in dark, hidden areas. The toxins released into the environment by black mold is what makes this mold so dangerous. When inhaled, these toxins can cause a wide range of of health problems. Toxins emitted are especially dangerous for asthmatic people, those with pneumonia, and those susceptible to other respiratory health conditions. All molds detected in buildings and homes should be removed regardless of their degree of potential harm.
How Does Mold Enter the Environment?
Mold spores can enter homes and buildings through windows, heating systems, and ventilation systems. Spores are also carried by people or pets, and once those spores fall on moist places they are able to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, the average buildings provide the nutrients and conditions that directly attribute to mold growth.
Is Black Mold Dangerous?
Black mold releases toxins known as mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can inflict specific health symptoms when humans are exposed to them for an extended period of time. These symptoms often include:
- Nose bleeding
- Red eye
- Sore throat
- Persistent coughing
- Running nose
Some symptoms might have an amplified effect for individuals with pre-existing health conditions. Symptoms may worsen for people with weak immune system, asthma, and/or allergies. Oftentimes, children are at a high risk of disease when exposed to mold. A 2016 report by UNICEF suggests that mold exposure to children is a possible link to childhood asthma.
How to Keep Mold Away From Our Homes
Follow these proven tips to deter mold from entering your home or building.
Keep Your Home and Environment Moisture-Free
Wet spots on the floor or ceiling of your property can be a signal that you have a leaky roof or pipe. Pipes in our homes run behind walls and above the ceiling, causing most leaks to go unnoticed for quite some time. When standing water from leaks are neglected mold can use the moisture to grow behind walls, and oftentimes spread through the ducts and pipes. Contact a professional home improvement contractor to help you identify these leaks and minimize the chances for mold growth.
Clean Your Air Conditioners Regularly
Home air conditioners often trap moisture within them, creating favorable conditions for mold breeding. Regular cleaning and maintenance of these conditioners keeps the moisture away. Keeping ducts clean and dust-free eliminates the ‘food’ that mold feeds off of. Homeowners are highly encouraged to replace filters after no more than 3 months. Lastly, running your air conditioner at a low level will help with air circulation and prevent a rise in humidity levels.
Heat directly accelerates the growth of mold. Therefore, it is vital that all rooms are well ventilated to keep away heat, moisture, and humidity. Adding mold inhibitors to the paint on your walls is another preventative measure that can be taken to keep mold at bay. Avoid placing carpets in moist areas, such as laundry rooms and basements, as those kinds of carpet placement creates a favorable environment for mold survival. Regularly keeping your home clean and investing in mold spray can help. Clean your house regularly, and keep common areas for mold as clear as possible. There are several mold sprays you can use to help with this.
Don’t panic if you notice black mold in your home. Mold is easily removed by cleaning the affected surfaces with soap, water, and appropriate commercial products. However, sometimes the amount of mold can be so extensive that you are unable to clean it by yourself. Clearing large mold can be challenging when you lack the appropriate equipment to do the job properly and to keep you safe. In some cases, it is wise to have the mold remediated by a professional company who possesses the necessary equipment. It is crucial that affected areas are thoroughly cleaned and dried to prevent allergic reactions from the dead mold. If the affected surface isn’t dried carefully, mold can very easily return.
Facts about Black Mold
Here are a few facts about black mold you probably didn’t know.
- Black mold weakens the immune system when inhaled. Exposure to black mold can lead an individual to become more susceptible to other illnesses that aren’t directly mold-related.
- Prolonged exposure to black mold can lead to death from incapacitation of the immune system and brain damage.
- Black mold can cause miscarriages and congenital disabilities in pregnant women.
- Toxins released by black mold directly affects the brain’s neurons and thus can lead to memory damage. It can also have neurological effects such as mood swings and tremors.
- Black mold is easily detectable since it has a strong mildew odor.
- Mold spores can be found anywhere and everywhere around us.
- Some health conditions caused by mold can never go away even after remediation. Symptoms like a weak immune system and sensitivity will often persist for a long time after exposure.
Mold, in general, is a harmful and unwelcome guest in our homes. Health effects associated with mold can pose a danger to occupants and lead to very serious medical conditions.
You can keep mold away from your house or remove it once you notice it. If you smell or notice mold, it’s wise that you contact a professional contractor like Blackmon Mooring to inspect and remove it
All mold should be remediated following the stipulated guidelines on mold removal, regardless of species or color. Give us a call today, and we’ll take care of the rest.