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This page is for our customers who would like further information about toxic mould — what it is, how to detect it, and how it can affect your health.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all moulds have the potential to cause serious health effects.  Moulds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mould.  There are some others which we know produce irritants and/or potent toxins.  Black mould – Stachybotrys, Penicillium and Aspergillus are three of the most commonly found yet dangerous indoor toxic moulds.  Moulds have even been found to grow inside your nose, throat and lungs.

In recent years, mould and so-called “toxic mould” has become the subject of mounting health concerns as well as numerous lawsuits. Because the scientific explanations of mould are both complex and technical, numerous misconceptions have crept into the popular perception of toxic mould and its dangers. These misconceptions only add to the widespread fear of mould at home, in schools, in the workplace, and elsewhere. And coverage in the media and on many websites has often been misleading or inaccurate.

What Is Mould and Where Does It Grow?

Mould is a form of fungus that grows both indoors and outdoors and thrives in warm, damp, and humid environments. There are over a thousand different varieties of indoor mould, and the good news is that the presence of a moderate amount of mould in your home is generally not harmful to your health. Most health problems related to mould exposure arise only when there is a build-up of high concentrations of mould for some reason.

Mould spreads by generating spores, and like so many nuisances in life, mould spores are able to survive for long periods even in harsh, dry environments in which mould itself could not grow — which is one of the things that makes mould so hard to eliminate. Mould spores can become airborne and are invisible to the human eye — so this needs to be important consideration during the clean up and elimination of any  mould infestation.

Where mould is found?

Some amount of mould is more or less everywhere all the time. Its many forms are so common and it travels so easily that trying to make your home or any other building totally mould-free would be next to impossible. But high concentrations of mould — which might result from water damage or moisture build up, for example — can be cleaned up and eliminated.

Detecting and preventing mould

You may detect mould by seeing it (usually in the form of spots of almost any colour) or smelling its musty odour. Once mould can be detected either by sight or smell, it may have built up a high enough concentration to present a health hazard, and you should take steps to eliminate it (a procedure called “mould remediation”).

How can mould affect your health?

Moulds produce irritants, allergens and even sometimes toxins which can cause unpleasant reactions in people. How someone reacts to mould depends on a number of factors such as how much of it a person is exposed to, their age and of course their individual sensitivities or allergies. The same amount of mould could cause health issues for one person, but not another.

There are a variety of symptoms which can be caused by exposure to mould. People who have touched or inhaled mould or mould spores may (if they are sensitive to it) get an allergic reaction such as sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, skin rashes & itching (dermatitis) and nasal congestion. People with asthma can also have an attack triggered by mould. Less common but also documented are diseases like pneumonia may also develop after mould exposure.

Infectious diseases from moulds can occur in people with weakened immune systems, such as those who are immune-compromised or immune-suppressed from drug treatment. Some types of mould are known to cause infections in immune-compromised people. Such infections can affect the skin, eyes, lungs or other organs. These are considered opportunistic infections that usually do not affect healthy people.

Toxicity

The toxic effects from mould are actually associated with exposure to toxins on the surface of the mould, in the air, or through skin contact. Studies have shown that these mycotoxins (organisms that are toxic to higher plants and animals, including humans) can produce upper respiratory tract irritation and rashes. When the mould was substantially reduced, the symptoms disappeared. For more information on the toxicity of moulds, please contact us and we can provide you with additional research.