Dampness inside buildings is the main reason for the growth of mold. Molds and their spores are widespread in the natural environment. They can easily enter into our homes and offices riding piggyback on our shoes and coats as well as on our hair and the fur of pets. Doors, windows and ventilation ducts offer unrestricted entry too. Water pans of indoor plants, carpets damp with pet urine or food spillage, and damp walls, can be ideal breeding grounds of different types of toxic mold capable of producing symptoms of mold poisoning.
Materials of organic origin such as paper, wood, leather and fabrics are highly susceptible to mold and mildew. They offer not only a suitable substrate for the growth of mold but also some amount of nutrition needed for their survival. Molds growing outside our homes rarely trouble us. However, indoor molds such as Aspergillus and the black mold named Stachybotrys are highly toxic and can cause symptoms of mold sickness. A few other toxic molds commonly found indoors are Penicillium, Fusarium and Cladosporium. They can adversely affect our health in a number of ways, especially since we spend more than 75% of our time inside our homes and offices.
Many of the symptoms of allergies and illnesses experienced by many, may be due to the growth of toxic molds in our homes. ?Humidifier fever? is just one of them. Skin rashes, sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia may result from exposure to the spores of the toxic mold. The majority of the symptoms of mold exposure are due to the mycotoxins contained in the mold spores. These toxins precipitate a condition called mycotoxicosis, which may display a wide range of neurological symptoms of toxic mold poisoning including memory loss and cognitive impairment.
Stachybotrys is the most notorious among the toxic molds found indoors. This black mold first drew serious attention when its spores were detected in the lungs of a young child who died of pulmonary hemorrhage. Since then, evidence against Stachybotrys has been steadily mounting in the medical journals. The cause of pulmonary hemorrhage in several babies in Ohio has been found to be related to the presence of this black mold in their homes. The fact that bleeding, the main respiratory symptom of black mold exposure, recurred in half of them when they returned home after treatment only adds credence to this finding.
The mycotoxins present in the spores of the black mold cause inflammation of the respiratory system. They can suppress the immune system too, making an affected person prone to many infections. The instance of an epidemic-like outbreak, of toxic mold symptoms such as headache, breathing difficulties, and chest congestion, involving two buildings in Florida is a typical example of poor indoor air quality affecting public health.
When molds are found growing indoors, remediation experts should be called in without delay to assess the damage. Mold remediation includes damage control as well as rectification of the original cause of mold infestation such as water seepages and leaks in plumbing. Since the fungicides used in destroying mold growth are extremely toxic, evacuation of the residents may be necessary. Mold is difficult to eradicate completely from indoor spaces. Some buildings may be beyond the scope of the best remediation measures. In such cases, demolishing the building and rebuilding it may be the only solution.