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All Posts Tagged: mold

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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How Does Mold Affect Allergies

How Does Mold Affect Allergies

How Does Mold Affect AllergiesAllergies are a very common problem amongst many families all over. Most often seasonal changes can bring on symptoms of coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes etc. Environmental surroundings can also play a part, but did you know that mold can also affect allergies. Household issues like mold can contribute to a person’s symptoms and they might not even know it. Read this article to learn more about how mold affects allergies.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a term used to refer to fungi that grow in the form of multicellular thread-like structures called hyphae. There are different kinds of mold and it can grow in many different areas, but one thing that’s the same is that mold requires moisture to grow.

The sources of moisture could be washing, cooking, air humidifiers, condensation or leaks from plumbing or from the outside. Poor ventilation contributes to higher humidity levels and leads to condensation, which also allows mold growth.

A person might buy an older home, doing renovations, skimping on the home inspection, and then start having symptoms of a cold or allergies. They might not realize that they have mold in their home and it’s causing them health problems.

Mold Allergy Symptoms

Mold allergy symptoms can be similar to those of other respiratory allergies:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Irritated eyes
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy throat

Because mold allergies have similar symptoms as common cold or seasonal allergies it can  sometimes go unnoticed. It’s important not to ignore these signs especially if you suspect your home might have mold. If you have infants, children, and elderly living with you they  can develop symptoms sooner and be more at risk.  Some indoor mold can  produce toxins that are absorbed through your body and have serious side effects causing harm to your health.

Controlling Mold In Your Home

If you think you might have mold in your home, it’s a good idea to contact an expert. Have them assess the area and let you know if there is in fact mold. If you feel like you’re having health related symptoms to mold be sure to contact your physician and speak to them about your situation.

Controlling the mold is very important. Depending on the kind of mold you have in your home, you might need professional care to remove it. However, there are a few things you can do to help prevent it in the future.

  • Use dehumidifiers or exhaust fans — or crack open a window — to help reduce moisture and humidity in bathrooms or other rooms in your home.
  • Regularly clean garbage cans and refrigerator drip pans.
  • Regularly clear your gutters, and ensure that drainage flows away from your home’s foundation.

Be sure to contact a professional to learn more about what steps need to be followed for mold removal.

Have More Questions About Mold?

Check out our FAQ page 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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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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