What is mold?

Mold refers to multiple types of fungi that grow and reproduce by forming spores. The term "mildew" is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season.

Mold reproduces by forming tiny spores that are not visible to the naked eye. Mold spores are very hardy and can survive under harsh environments where they can go dormant. They will start to re-grow and reproduce when introduced to moisture. These spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When mold spores land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can start to grow.

Outdoors, mold plays a role in the decomposition of organic matter such as dead trees, compost, and leaves. They are most common in damp, dark areas or areas of decomposing plant life. Indoors, mold is often found in basements or shower stalls. Indoor mold has the potential to cause health problems and can destroy surfaces and objects where it grows.

Mold has two stages in its life cycle. Growth stage in which it is actively growing and the second cycle is dormant. Mold can be dormant for hundreds of years waiting for the right environmental conditions and then start a growth cycle. Ancient civilizations have cultured mold from when the pyramids were built!

Where can mold be found?

Although shower stalls and basements are typical moist areas prone to the growth of mold, any moist area in the home may harbor mold. Drywall, ceiling tiles, carpets, furniture, ductwork, roofing, paneling, wallpaper, and the areas around plumbing pipes are examples of areas in the home that may become infested by mold if the requisite growing conditions are present. Mold from the outdoors can enter the home through doors, windows, and vents. It may also attach to clothing, shoes, and pets and be carried indoors.

Mold can have many different colors and sometimes appears as spots. Additionally, a musty odor may be present but not always. Mold growth may also be hidden underneath carpeting, on the back side of wallpaper, and behind drywall or paneling.

What causes mold?

Moisture: this can be from a variety of areas such as rain, flooding, roof damage, broken plumbing, and leaking appliances such as refrigerators, a/c units and dehumidifiers with leaking outputs.

Things you can do once water has entered your house:

  • When water leaks or spills occur indoors - ACT QUICKLY. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.

What are the most common types of mold?

The most common types of mold that are found indoors include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as "black mold") is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors. Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint.

Mold and its dangers:

Mold sickness and related illnesses from mold exposure are real. Mold has been linked to lung damage, brain damage, cancer and even death. The latest discovery of "mold fine particulates" in our environment coupled with the associated medical documentation; prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, sickness and disease from mold exposure and exposure to mold. Fine particulates are very real.

If mold spores are inhaled or ingested you can become seriously ill. The longer you go undiagnosed, and untreated, the mold will continue to grow inside your body, making you sicker with each passing day. As mold continues to grow inside your body it produces poisons called "mycotoxins", these poisons leach into your body day after day. Each day it is left untreated the colonies of mold grow larger producing and releasing larger amounts of toxins into your body.

Different species of mold produce different toxins and people will suffer a wide range of different symptoms. Mold sickness will affect many people in many different ways and produce a variety of symptoms. Because the variety of symptoms from mold exposure is so wide in range many physicians deem their patients to have psychological issues. Below are the symptoms of mold sickness:

Level - I Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure
The most commonly reported symptoms of short term mold exposure:

  • Sneezing
  • Itching Skin
  • Redness and skin irritation
  • Watery Eyes
  • Itching Eyes
  • Headache

Level - II Advanced Symptoms of Mold Exposure
The following symptoms of mold exposure have been reported generally as a result from people being in a mold contaminated environment on and off for an extended period of time. Symptoms are reported to have become more severe and longer lasting directly in proportion to the length of exposure time. Their reported symptoms are as follows:

  • Constant Headaches
  • Nose Bleeds
  • Feelings of Constant Fatigue
  • Breathing Disorders
  • Coughing up Blood or Black looking Debris
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Hair loss
  • Skin Rashes
  • Open Sores on the Skin
  • Memory Loss "Short Term"
  • Neurological & Nervous Disorders
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Swollen Glands in the Neck Area and under the Armpit
  • Sudden Asthma Attacks or Breathing Disorders
  • Ear Infections and Pain
  • Chronic Sinus Infections
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Pain in the Joints and Muscles

Level - III Late Stage Symptoms of Mold Exposure

The following mold exposure symptoms are the most severe and are attributed to high levels of exposure:

  • Blindness
  • Brain Damage
  • Memory Loss "Long term"
  • Bleeding Lungs
  • Cancer
  • Death





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