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All Posts in Category: Mold

5 Celebrities Who Have Been Affected by Mold

While some might associate mold with subpar living conditions, the truth is that mold can affect just about anyone at any time. In fact, many high-profile celebrities have notoriously been affected by mold, a testament to the fact that it’s a good idea for everyone to be aware of the dangers of toxic mold exposure and to have their homes tested for this dangerous substance.
Take a look at the stories behind some of the most interesting celebrity cases of toxic mold, and what to do if you want to have your home tested.

1. Dr. Oz
Known for providing health tips and advice on his popular TV show appropriately titled The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz himself discovered that he had been living with toxic mold behind his living room walls. On his show, Dr. Oz emphasized the importance of getting your home tested for mold, as oftentimes, you can’t see, smell, or otherwise detect it yourself.

2. Bianca Jagger
Bianca Jagger, former wife of Mick Jagger, reportedly began feeling sick while residing in a New York City apartment that cost a cool $4,600 per month in rent. After three different environmental tests for asbestos came back positive, Bianca quit paying rent and sued the owner of the building for millions, on the basis that she had been living in that asbestos-infested building for the past 23 years and was now experiencing health problems as a result.

3. Brittany Murphy
Although her sudden death back in 2009 remains a Hollywood mystery, there is speculation that late-actress Brittany Murphy died from complications due to toxic mold exposure. Interestingly enough, her husband also passed away from similar flu-like symptoms just five months later.
While it’s impossible to ever say for sure, the back-to- back deaths of Brittany Murphy and her husband may make a case for mold poisoning.

4. Michael Jordan
After paying to have synthetic stucco applied to the outside of his Chicago mansion, NBA superstar Michael Jordan began having problems with mold. According to reports, the synthetic stucco ended up retaining water rather than deflecting it, causing mold growth all over his home. It would seem that MJ had no choice but to file a $2.5 million lawsuit against the company who installed it.

5. Muhammad Ali
As it turns out, even larger-than- life celebrities can get duped during the home-buying process if they’re not careful. Back in 2011, boxing champion Muhammad Ali purchased a home in Louisiana for over a million dollars, only to later find out that it was covered in water damage and mold. Both Ali and his wife struggled with respiratory issues associated with the mold exposure.

Should You Have Your Home Tested for Mold?
In a word, yes. As you can see, even celebrity mansions and pricey New York City flats aren’t immune to toxic mold growth. Rather than risk the health of you and your family, have a professional mold inspector test your home.

For more information about professional mold testing, contact us at (908) 206-0073 or by using our online contact form.

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Why Test for Mold If I Know It’s There?

Many homeowners are now aware of the health hazards of toxic mold that may be growing inside their home. However, merely visually detecting mold is not an effective way to manage or remediate the problem. Even if you already know that you have mold in your home, you should still call in a professional to collect samples and perform a comprehensive test for mold. Here’s why.

It’s Important to Know What Type of Mold Is in Your Home
There are lots of different types of mold, including “black mold,” aspergillus, penicillium, alternaria, and more. Thus, if someone in your home gets sick and is exhibiting symptoms of toxic mold exposure, it is important to know exactly which type of mold they’ve been exposed to so that it can be effectively treated. The type of mold, however, is impossible to tell with just a visual inspection, so having the mold tested, as soon as you see a sign of this problem in your home, is of the utmost importance.

According to the CDC, some of the most common health effects of mold exposure include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Throat, eye, or skin irritation

In the case of black mold poisoning, you might also experience fatigue, muscle weakness, headache, loss of memory function, joint pain, skin tingling and numbness, and shortness of breath.

Mold Testing Can Detect Mold in Other Areas of Your Home
Even though you might only see signs of mold on your bathroom ceiling, for instance, it could also be lurking underneath your tiling flooring, carpeting, inside your walls, or in other less noticeable areas of your home. For this reason, a professional should come in to inspect your home for mold, take samples, and send them off for testing to ensure you don’t miss anything when looking for mold yourself.

It’s Better to Have a Professional Interpret the Results
Another benefit of calling in mold testing experts is that a professional will be able to interpret the results of the testing, which can involve a variety of different factors that need to be taken into account before reaching the final result.
Once you get your mold testing results back and a professional explains exactly what they mean, you can then set to work creating a mold remediation plan that will address the specific problem areas that the testing revealed.

Need More Information on Mold Testing?
Whether you’ve already noticed mold growing in your home or you simply want to take preventative measures to ensure the safety of you and your family, getting a mold test can be extremely helpful. Just make sure you are working with an accredited environmental laboratory that offers mold testing.

For more information on how to have your home tested for mold, please feel free to contact IRIS Environmental Laboratories at (908)206-0073 or by using our online contact form. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have and help you better understand the mold testing process.

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When Should I Test The Air Quality of My Home?

There are a number of different substances that may be present in your home that could
contribute to poor indoor air quality, including asbestos, lead, radon gas and mold. What’s more
is that not only can these substances lower the quality of the air that you’re breathing each and
every day, but they can also lead to serious health problems.
While this is by no means an extensive list, these five factors are good indicators that it might be
time to get the indoor air quality of your home tested.

1. You’re Experiencing Adverse Health Effects
If you or a family member begins to develop health issues seemingly out of nowhere, asbestos,
lead, radon or mold that’s lurking in your home might be to blame. Some of the most notable
symptoms that are often associated with these dangerous substances include:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Sinus congestion
  • Eye or skin irritation
  • Asthma and other respiratory problems
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

2. Your Allergies Are Flaring Up
People who struggle with allergies may notice that their symptoms begin to flare up when they
are exposed to hazardous materials like asbestos fibers and mold. While there are other
unrelated causes of indoor allergies, such as pet dander and dust mites, unexplained flare-ups
could indicate poor air quality.
Once you have your air tested by a certified professional, you’ll then be armed with the
knowledge you need to remove any potentially dangerous materials or substances from your
home.

3. You’re Planning to Renovate Your Home
Even if you’ve lived in your home for decades and never seemed to have a problem with
asbestos or other harmful materials, as soon as you begin a renovation project, you could stir up
dangerous particles and release them into the air. In fact, asbestos is most dangerous when you
breathe its microscopic particles into your lungs.
Thus, before you start any demolition or renovation project in your home, call in a professional
asbestos testing lab to make sure you’re not going to stir up any of these dangerous particles
during your project. If asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are detected, you’ll want to hire a
professional to remove them before continuing to ensure the safety of you and your family.

4. You’re Buying a New Home
You may elect to have the indoor air quality tested during a home inspection before purchasing
a new home to make sure you’re not going to be strapped with the cost of installing a radon
remediation system, for example, or dealing with other hazardous issues before you even move
in.

5. You Have Kids
Because their lungs are still developing and they breathe in more air in each breath than adults
do, children are even more susceptible to health complications due to asbestos, lead, mold and
radon exposure. If you have, getting an air quality test could give you the peace of mind you’re
looking for.

How to Test the Air Quality in Your Home
If you’re concerned about poor indoor air quality, the first step is to contact a certified
environmental laboratory to have your air tested. If hazardous substances such as asbestos,
lead, radon gas or mold are discovered through testing, the next step is to hire an experienced,
trained professional to remediate the situation so that you and your family can safely breathe
clean air.
For more information on asbestos, mold or air quality testing, contact IRIS Environmental
Laboratories at (908)206-0073 or using our online contact form.

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Mold 101: Common Spores & Exposure Side Effects

There is almost a complete lack of information on specific human responses to well-defined exposures to molds contaminants. There is currently no proven method to measure the type or amount of mold that a person is exposed to, and common symptoms associated with molds exposure are non-specific, aggravated by the facts that molds are present everywhere in the environment and that responses to exposure vary greatly among individuals.

 

Mold is a non-scientific term for many types of fungi – unwanted, unattractive spots of green, brown, yellow, black, furry, smelly growths. Endless species of mold are found both indoors, and outdoors.

 

Mold and fungus harbor in many different places, most of them being unpleasant: damp basements, underneath carpets, on or behind drywall, ceiling tiles, cabinets, attics, among others. On a positive note, molds are also responsible for penicillin and blue cheese (let’s face it; hot wings and blue cheese are like peanut butter and jelly), yeasts are fungi used in beer, bread, and for those who don’t know……wine.

 

Although mold and its spores are literally, everywhere, active mold growth requires moisture. Common indoor mold species include Aspergillus, Alternaria, Acremonium, Cladosporum, Epicoccum, Penicillium, Stachybotrys, and Trichoderma. Specific types of molds can be tested for and identified. This allows comparison of indoor and outdoor mold species. If both indoor and outdoor don’t correlate, at least roughly, it’s possible that indoor mold has developed. Even without showing signs of visible surface mold.

 

The Nitty-Gritty

Although difficult to predict, exposure to mold growth indoors is most often associated with the following allergy symptoms:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Cough/sore throat
  • Chest tightness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Asthma
  • Epistaxis (nosebleed)
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Headache
  • Skin and eye irritation

 

Having long term exposure in indoor molds is certainly unhealthy to anyone, but some will develop more severe symptoms sooner than others, including:

  • Infants and children
  • Elderly people
  • Individuals with respiratory conditions, allergies and/or asthma
  • Immunocompromised patients

 

Don’t freak out! There are ways to prevent and eliminate indoor mold!

Now let’s be honest. Mold spores are found typically anywhere! The key aspect of preventing their growth is in controlling the moisture. This means preventing leaks, removing standing water, venting areas prone to condensation (bathrooms and kitchens) and drying furniture or removing wet carpets immediately.  Air conditioners and dehumidifiers should be used during humid temperatures.

In the event mold in present or suspected, having the property inspected for mold and mold spores is important. Although, there are no nationwide standards for mold inspectors, testing methods, or reporting formats – this makes it difficult to interpret test results. Hiring an inspector can be a very delicate process, you need to make sure the inspector you hire is very knowledgeable when it comes to mold, this will save you a lot of time and headaches when you need someone to provide a breakdown of the analytical results.

If mold is present during the visual inspection, it should be remediated as soon as possible to avoid destroying any materials that the mold is growing on and to prevent health problems. The longer you hold onto this problem, the worse it will get. Check out some more FACTS or feel free contact us directly to learn more about how we might be able to help with your mold problem.

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6 Types of Harmful Mold That May Be Lurking in Your Home

6 Types of Harmful Mold That May Be Lurking in Your Home

6 Types of Harmful Mold That May Be Lurking in Your HomeWhile mold is found virtually everywhere you go and is not always harmful, there are certain types of mold or fungi that can pose a serious health risk to you and your family if they are present in your home. Here are a few of the most common species of toxic mold that can grow inside homes when ever there are wet surfaces or water damage, and a few tips for what to do if you think there might be harmful mold in your home.

1. Stachybotrys

Commonly referred to as “black mold,” stachybotrys is one of the most dangerous types of mold and can cause flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, headaches, memory loss and severe respiratory damage. Because their lungs are still developing, children are at an even greater risk for health problems associated with exposure to black mold.

As its nickname suggests, black mold is dark in color, although it can also be grey or dark green. It typically has a very musty or mildewy odor and is found in very damp areas of homes and other buildings.

2. Chaetomium

Chaetomium is most commonly found in homes that have water damage, as it thrives in wet, dark environments such as drywall, wallpaper, baseboards and carpets. This type of mold is similar to black mold and sometimes even shares the same environments.

Along with general signs of allergies such as red, watery eyes and trouble breathing, chaetomium spores can also cause neurological damage and certain autoimmune diseases.

3. Aspergillus

Although aspergillus spores are present in the air that many of us breathe every day, this type of mold can be dangerous to people with comprised immune systems. Exposure to aspergillus may cause allergic reactions, lung infections and a specific type of infection known as aspergillosis.

4. Penicillium

Like aspergillus, penicillium is abundant in many everyday environments, but if trapped inside your home, it can cause asthmatic symptoms, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.

5. Fusarium

Fusarium is a type of mold that is most commonly found in plant debris and soil, although it can also be found in very damp areas of your home such as underneath carpeting, inside drywall or foam insulation and in humidifier pans and HVAC systems.

Although quite rare, a serious eye infection called fusarium keratitis can result from exposure to fusarium spores.

6. Alternaria

A well-known allergy-causing mold, alternaria is present in high amounts in many climate zones during the spring and summer. Although this type of mold is usually not found in building materials, it can be present in the air inside your home and may also be found in electric cables, cardboard, canvas and other textiles.

What to Do If You Suspect Your Home Has Toxic Mold

Because toxic mold exposure can be a serious health threat, it’s important that you get professional help if you think you might have dangerous mold in your home. The first step is to have your home professionally tested for mold. This should involve a thorough inspection for any water damage or mold growth found on materials in your home, as well as an air quality test to check for airborne spores.

Next, samples will be sent to an environmental testing laboratory to determine if there are harmful species of mold in your home. If needed, you can then call in a mold remediation company to remove the toxic mold in your home and get to the bottom of any remaining sources of water damage.

Once the mold has been remediated, a clearance air test can be performed to ensure that the mold levels in your home are safe.

Don’t Let Mold Hide In Your Home!

To an untrained professional glancing at a suspect problem area might not give you the answers you need. Give us a call to discuss how we can help identify and solve the issue.

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got mold

Got Mold?

Got Mold? Mold exists naturally everywhere, indoors and outdoors. There is no such thing as mold-free environment. Remediation is all about putting the mold level back to normal.

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