Photo by Indoor Restore
Is Mold In Your Home Making You Sick?
At some point or another, most homeowners will have to deal with a mold problem. We all know that unsightly fungus damages both the structure and the appearance of a home, but how much do we really know about the negative effects it can have on our health?
The most dangerous household mold is Stachybotrys Chartarum, also known by its other, slightly terrifying name – toxic black mold. Stachybotrys usually manifests as a thick, gelatinous green or black mold, although if it has been deprived of its water source it can look dry and powdery. The Stachybotrys mold is less common than other kinds of fungi, but still affects many homes.
Stachybotrys has been proven to cause many unsavoury health complications because of the mycotoxins it releases into the air, which can then be inhaled. Respiratory problems, internal organ damage, and neurological diseases are just a few of the complications that can result from exposure to Stachybotrys. Symptoms as varied as coughing, wheezing, mental confusion, nausea, vomiting, jaundice and hemorrhaging have been reported, and in extreme cases prolonged exposure to this toxic mold can even be fatal.
If you or a member of your family suffers from asthma or allergies, powdery Cladosporum mold has the potential to exacerbate symptoms and even bring on an asthma attack. It can be hard to identify, as the color varies between green, grey, brown, and black. The symptoms of Cladosporum exposure are similar to those caused by Penicillum, a name you might recognise from your high school science classes and your medicine cabinet. Overexposure to the spores from fuzzy Penicillum mold, which is usually green, white, or blue, can result in the development of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, asthma, and severe allergic reactions.
Memnoniella mold isn’t quite as toxic as Stachybotrys, but it can be hard to tell the difference between the two due to their dark green or black appearance. Mainly found on walls, ceilings, and wood, Memnoniella still has the potential to cause serious respiratory problems and damage to the autoimmune system if left unchecked.
Finally, Aspergillus fungi are relatively harmless, but a number of species are able to synthesise dangerous mycotoxins and also release aflatoxin, a known carcinogen. Aspergillus can spread rapidly, hugely increasing the risk of inhaling these toxins – as well as potentially leading to the development of aspergillosis, a respiratory disease that can cause breathlessness, severe coughing, and permanent lung scarring.
It is important to remember that, although there are many kinds of mold removal products on the market, attempting to deal with a mold problem without consulting a professional could be risky. Certain molds, such as Stachybotrys, release huge amounts of mycotoxins when they are disturbed, which could worsen existing health problems, cause new ones to develop, and help the mold spread to other areas of the home. If in doubt, contact a mold removal expert, who should be able to identify the species and advise you on the best course of action.
See also Symptoms of Mold Exposure