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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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