Mold has definitely become a major problem for a number of households – and has received quite a lot of publicity for this too. However, there are still too many people who aren’t completely familiar with the hazard posed by fungal exposure. ‘Toxic mold’ is a term that causes confusion for people because it implies that there are molds that are directly toxic – the truth is that several types of mold release secondary metabolites that are responsible for toxin production, more correctly known as mycotoxins.
Health Problems Caused by Mold
There is no room for doubt in the assertion that airborne mycotoxins are bad for health. In many instances, people aren’t even aware of the fact that they are inhaling mycotoxins and mold spores; they only realize their own plight when they become horribly sick. Some individuals get their allergies triggered by certain molds, but the reactions are minor, so they recover, in most cases, once they leave the affected area. Exposure to dangerous molds such as Chaetomium or Stachybotrys, however, can lead to serious allergic symptoms and diseases such as learning disabilities, chronic bronchitis, mental deficiencies, cancer, heart conditions, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, bleeding lungs, multiple chemical sensitivity and several others. Several of the common ailments that occur due to mold can be treated and alleviated after the person leaves the contaminated location. Diet, medication as well as other treatment protocols are often necessary. However, certain effects e.g. weakened immune systems and brain damage, can become permanent – memory, coordination/balance, eyesight, and hearing are generally the residual effects which often cannot be improved, even after treatment. The most common types of mold found in North America are Alternaria, Aureobasidium, Rhizopus, Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Epicoccum, Mucor, Fusarium, Helminthosporium and Penicillium. However, none of these are as harmful as Chaetomium and Stachybotrys, which have been proven to create mycotoxins that can cause immunological and neurological damage which is irreversible.
Why Get Help?
The reason why many people are not absolutely aware of the damage potential of mold is the government’s inability to develop guidelines to determine the quality of indoor air, which makes it impossible for hundreds and hundreds of ill people to get help. It is known by many that mold can affect allergic people, but the knowledge that molds can also produce toxins (that affect everyone if they are exposed long enough) is not as common. It is estimated that some 25 million US citizens suffer from allergic reactions because of molds without realizing the culprit behind their predicament. Because there is no sure shot way to assess the extent of the damage that has been caused by mold, you need to be proactive in your fight against it. If you have the slightest reason to believe that the air in your house is compromised by mold spores e.g. a minor allergic reaction, you should get it tested at once by experts. It can cost quite a bit, but nothing compared to the health crisis you will be averting. There are plenty of websites that list certified mold inspectors who will help you identify whether you’ve got a mold problem much more reliably than DIY mold detection kits.