Q: What is mold?
A: Molds are fungus and is a natural component of outdoor and indoor air. When molds start to grow, they can produce big amount of spores and if these spores find its place on damp areas indoors, they may start growing, including hidden places like between the furniture and walls. However, you can control the growth of molds indoors by controlling the moisture in your home. For the past many years, the issues about the growth of molds increased as the degree mold spores indoor at home and at working places also increase the risk of ill-effects to health, specifically with respiratory problems.
Q: Are molds hazardous to health?
A: There are several types of molds that bring greater harm to health. The common types of indoor molds are Penicillium, Aspergillus, Alternaria, Mucor, Cladosporium. Results of the studies showed that mold exposure can cause allergic reactions, respiratory difficulties, and asthma. Symptoms may also include difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath, wheezing, irritated eyes, dry and hacking cough, nasal and sinus congestion, irritated nose, skin irritation and rashes.
Q: What are the types of mold are considered “toxic” mold?
A: Stachybotrys chartarum, also called stachybotrys atra, refers to a type of black mold that may grow on water-damaged building materials. This type of mold needs plenty of water or moisture to grow, and so when one discovers it indoors, it shows that there may be an accumulation of molds. It grows on materials or places with high fiber and low in nitrogen content like paper, wallpaper and paper covering of gypsum wallboard. It also grows on wood, jute which is used for backing of old carpets. This mold does not thrive on shower tiles or plastic materials. Outdoors, they are found in the soil, leaf debris, and rotting hays. This type of mold may generate mycotoxins, chemicals that inhibit the growth of other microorganisms that can cause health problems in human.
Q: What are mycotoxins?
A: Certain molds generate metabolic products while they are growing, that stops bacteria or other fungi from growing in the same place. Mycotoxins are metabolic products also cause health problems in human and in animals. These mycotoxins are natural products from the molds that may produce toxic response in vertebrates when they are taken, inhaled, or touched in small amount. Molds are able to produce toxins known as “toxigenic mold” that do not cause in each condition. Some experts believe that some specific situations should be present for toxigenic mold to actually generate toxins, including the right mixture of moisture, temperature, and where the mold is growing on.
Q: Is there any test that can tell if the person is exposed to mycotoxins?
A: No, there are no laboratory tests like blood and urine to determine if the person is subjected to mycotoxins. The blood can be tested for antibodies to certain types of fungi but these tests only determine if the person who has allergic reactions to fungi. Allergy tests cannot determine if the person is exposed to fungal toxins.
Q: Can the amount of mold be measured in a home?
A: There are no present available tests through commercial laboratories to determine if the mold toxins are in the air or on surfaces in a home or workplace. The test methods are presently accessible are used for research purposes and are not applicable to home or workplace conditions. Your decision when to clean up the molds or take precautions during the cleaning process do not need to know that there are mycotoxins. When there is visible mold or moldy smell in a room, then there is a problem of molds that need to properly address.
Q: How can the molds indoors are removed?
A: There is actually no practical method to remove the molds and mold spores in the indoor settings; one way to control the growth of indoor molds is to control moisture. Here are several steps that can be adhered to and reduce the amount of molds or stop them from growing further:
Q: Is there any lawsuit over the toxic mold?
A: Those homeowners who suffered damaged to their homes or health problems received good verdicts and generous settlements from the jury, and some cases received million dollars for damages. A report in Delaware stated that the landlord was held responsible for over a million dollars since he negligently did not repair water leaks in the apartment, resulting to the growth of toxic mold and health problems for tenants. There was a case in California where the poor construction of the contractor resulted to water leaks that lead to mold growth, and later caused severe health problems for the homeowners. The settlement was over a million dollars.