Understanding what “Toxic” Implies, and its Health and Safety Implications
Mold is everywhere. It plays a vital role in our ecosystem. It is perfectly harmless unless it begins to grow at elevated levels indoors. Mold spores are constantly coming in and out of indoor environments. Mold spores may enter a home through doorways, windows, and HVAC systems. People and animals make great vehicles for carrying outdoor mold spores indoors; spores can latch onto clothing, shoes, bags, pets, etc. Ideally, you want your indoor mold count to be below your outdoor mold count to be considered normal and safe levels. Mold counts vary depending on the environment, normalcy is usually unique to the property location. Elevated mold growth can be toxic to humans depending on the individual, and the property damage can render your home unsafe.
Often times, this cross contamination of mold goes relatively unnoticed if they are at normal levels. However, mold is opportunistic, in that it depends on opportunity to reproduce. Mold cannot actively “hunt” for food or derive energy from the sun, so it only thrives in opportune environments. When mold spores land in warm environments with excessive moisture and enough organic matter to feed on, the spores will proliferate into expansive colonies. Excessive, abnormal mold growth should be addressed as soon as possible. Whether it’s a smaller are that you can yourself or a larger area that requires a professional New Jersey mold remediation, mold needs to approached with a sense of urgency. If mold is neglected and given the opportunity to continue to spread, it can result in long-term health implications and cause expensive property damage.
The release of mycrotoxins pose a “Toxic” threat to those exposed to mold.
When discussing abnormal mold growth in the home, a common fear is “toxic mold.” The term “toxic mold” is misleading. It implies that the actual mold spores themselves are toxic, but that is not the case. “Toxic” refers to what the mold spores release into the air. Mold can produce mycotoxins, which are toxic chemicals that can cause chronic, adverse health effects in those exposed. Various mold species can produce mycotoxins that are dangerous to humans. The negative health effects are dependent upon the mold concentration, duration of exposure, and the individual’s sensitivities.
The Dangerous Effects of Mold
Studies have linked indoor mold exposure to various upper respiratory symptoms: coughing, wheezing, sneezing, stuffy/runny nose, throat irritation, etc. Symptoms range from mild to severe depending on the individual and depending on the mold species. Different mold species release different mycotoxins. One of the most infamous toxic molds is Black Mold, or Stachybotrys Chartarum. However, the truth of the matter is, any number of mold species can be dangerous to an individual’s health. There is not one specific species of mold that is considered toxic. Prolonged exposure to elevated mold growth (of any kind) can lead to negative health effects depending on the individual and the situation. If you are experiencing unexplained symptoms, consult a physician and get your home tested.
The mold exposure is a health threat; the water damage causing the mold is a physical threat.
The Importance of Finding Causation
Mold research is relatively new and the science community is constantly discovering and understanding more about its potential health and safety implications. However, Toxicity is not the only major concern when it comes to mold. If there is major mold growth in the home, it is a good indicator of more serious underlying issues. Continuous mold growth is often the result of a water problem. At the first sign of serious water buildup, you should contact a professional water restoration company to dry out the property. A constant water source (ie: leaking, flooding, etc.) is feeding the mold and allowing it to thrive. Neglected water problems lead to costly and dangerous property damage. While mycotoxin exposure can be dangerous to you and your family’s health, a home with compromised structural support (due to water damage) is simply unsafe for you and your family. Call the professionals if you know of a water problem feeding mold in your home. A mold professional is trained to identify the causation of mold, and will offer solutions to remedy the problem to prevent the mold from growing back and endangering you and your family once again.
When it comes to mold doing the job wrong can result in a costlier future remediation or, worse, serious health implications.
Finding and removing black mold in New Jersey or any mold for that matter is a daunting and stressful endeavor. In some cases, DIY mold removal is sufficient. If the mold growth is in a small isolated area on a hard, nonporous surface, it can be easily wiped off with a mild detergent, vinegar solution, or baking soda solution. However, if it seems to be a more serious problem, CALL A PROFESSIONAL. Do not risk cross contamination or worsening the situation by attempting to resolve it on your own. If you are unsure whether or not it is mold, contact a professional for a NJ mold inspection.