WHAT COULD BE GROWING IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT?
Mold is a microscopic organism, which grows from spores. Spores are everywhere in our environment and are usually inactive. However, when relative humidity exceeds 60% they will germinate and multiply. As the mold develops it produces enzymes to digest organic materials including paper, cloth, textiles and wood. There are 100,000 different species of mold in the world. Mold is part of the fungi kingdom, a realm shared with mushrooms, yeast and mildews. Some of the more common types of mold is listed below:
Stachybotrys are commonly found indoors on wet materials containing cellulose, such as wallboard, jute, wicker, straw baskets, and other paper materials. Stachybotrys is cabable of producing Myotoxins and is sometimes refered to as "Black Mold".
Botrytis is commonly found in tropical an temperate climates growing on vegetative matter. They may be found indoors in conjunction with indoor plants, fruits and vegetables.
Aspergillus There are approximately 175 different species of Aspergillus, sixteen of which have been documented as etiogical agents of human disease. The diseases caused by these species rarely occur in individuals with mormally functioning immune systems. Toxin production is dependant on the species or the strain within the species and on the food source. These fungi are found in soil, compost piles, plant debris and stored grain, as well as on water-damaged building materials.
Penicillium, like Aspergillus are ubiquitos in environment. It is commonly found in house dusts, wallpaper, decaying fabrics, particleboard, etc. Penicillium can produce Myotoxins.
Cladosporium is a common outdoor mold. They are commonly found on dead plants, food, textiles and a variety of other surfaces. Indoors, they can grow on a variety of surfaces, including wood and moist windowsills. It can grow at freezing temperatures and is associated with rifrigerated foods.
HOW DOES MOLD GROW?
In order for mold to grow it needs a food sources such as leaves, wood, insulation, wallboard, drywall, carpeting, clothing, paper or dirt. In addition, mold needs a source of moisture for a least 24 to 48 hours. Temperatures above 65 degrees increase the likelihood of mold growth.
HOW DOES MOLD AFFECT YOU?
People who already suffer from allergies, asthma, or compromised immune systems and occupy damp or moldy buildings are at an increased risk of health problems such as inflammatory and toxic responses to mold spores, metabolites and other components. The most common health problem is an allergic reaction. Other problems are respiratory and/or immune system responses can include respiratory symptoms, respiratory infections, exacerbation of asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis and allergic fungal sinusitis. Severe reactions are rare but possible. A person's reaction to mold depends on their sensitivity and other health conditions, the amount of mold present, length of exposure and the type of mold or mold products.
Some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. The term "toxic mold" refers to molds that produce mycotoxins, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, not to all molds. Exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and in some cases death. Prolonged exposure, e.g., daily workplace exposure, can be particularly harmful.
HOW DOES A CONSUMER KNOW IF THERE IS MOLD PRESENT?
Air Quality Solutions, Inc. offers air quality testing, utilizing Cell-O-Cassettes (spore trap sampler), direct spore trap sampling through swab testing and direct tape lift sampling. Our tests are overnighted to an AIHA Accredited Laboratory for microscoping screening and fungi identification.
A host of other testing is available through Air Quality Solutions and our network of laboratories.