It’s tempting to walk through life blindly hoping that you can avoid detrimental health problems. Many victims of difficult health conditions could have avoided their illness by taking simple, proactive steps to ensure their environment was clean and healthy. Unknowingly, individuals can be facing potentially harmful home environments that, if not properly cleaned and treated, could result in irreversible health problems, such as the development of severe allergies or cancer. Knowing for certain that the air you breath each and every day is harmless and clean is one of the first steps toward proactive healthy living.
In our previous article in this series, we discussed the danger of mycotoxins drifting through our homes. Originating from attics, crawl spaces, and air pockets between floors and walls, mold can be quite invisible until the sneezing fits, runny noses, and relentless coughs begin. In this next installment, we’ll take a look at three specific types of toxic mold that commonly appear indoors.
Aspergillus Mold: Eats Organic Matter
This type of mold inflicts upon organic materials what is commonly known as biodeterioration. Easily growing on leather and cloth, especially in humid conditions, aspergillus mold contributes to the “musty” odor of older couches, armchairs, clothing items, and shoes. Authorities have classified certain species of this mold to be toxigenic, toxic to humans, and pathogenic, able to cause disease. Instantaneous removal of aspergillus infested furniture, items, and materials is imperative.
One particular type of mycotoxin that results from aspergillus mold is commonly known as “aflatoxin.” This especially dangerous mycotoxin is a potent carcinogen, capable of causing cancer in human tissue. In addition to causing cold symptoms and exacerbating asthma, aspergillus mold can infect both humans and animals and potentially grow inside them. This disease, known as Aspergillosis, is most often located in the lungs.
Penicillium Mold: Feeds on Damp Materials
If penicillium mold exists indoors, it indicates an elevated amount of moisture. Most often, these damp places are crawl spaces or attics, which often collect moisture due to poor insulation. The mold is known to easily catch in upward drafts and circulate through the air pockets between floors and contaminate the air quality in the upper levels of the building or house. Also, this mold often grows in carpet, wallpaper, and insulation that has undergone water damage and is located in high moisture atmospheres.
Penicillium molds are considered allergens, affecting skin and bronchioles. In addition to normal cold symptoms, penicillium molds are known to release mycotoxins that cause extrinsic asthma. When symptoms of penicillium mold exposure become even more acute, people can suffer from edema or bronchial spasms.
Stachybotrys (or Black) Mold: The Killer Wood Mold
Stachybotrys mold, similar to penicillium mold, grows in wet, damp, or water damaged areas. However, it does not grow on plastic, vinyl, concrete, or ceramic products. Even though black mold only grows on wood or paper products, it is still one of the most common types of molds found in homes. Dark brown or black in color, stachybotrys mold carries with it some of the most detrimental health effects. In addition to the usual allergic reactions people feel when exposed to fungi mycotoxins, black mold affects people neurologically.
The “trichothecene” mycotoxins released by black mold are actually neurotoxic, meaning they actually kill neurons in a person’s brain, thus inhibiting the individual’s mental capabilities and finally resulting in brain damage. Symptoms of exposure to this threatening mycotoxin include confusion, brain fog, dizziness and disorientation, short attention span, memory loss, depression, seizures, numbness, or even shock.
Black mold mycotoxins can also be absorbed through the skin or ingested into the lungs. When these toxic spores find their way into the individual’s bloodstream, they can cause low blood pressure, heart damage, irregular heartbeat, or even hemorrhaging. If you see mold growth in your home that fits the description of black mold, waste no time to address the problem. The consequences of putting it off could be quite severe.
Stay Tuned for Clean Air Solutions to Mold Problems
In our final installment in this three-part series on toxic indoor mold, we will explain how to identify the existence of mold, how to get rid of it, and how to keep it from returning. Don’t assume you’re safe from these potential health risks. Proactive protection from the effects of indoor mold will absolutely pay off.