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Indoor mold may be unsightly and smelly, but the potential problems are more serious than that. By definition, actively-growing mold damages the material it lives on, thereby impairing structural integrity. Not only can it ruin your home, but it can ruin your health! Mold growth in homes, schools, and businesses should be eliminated for the sake of human health, structural integrity, and quality of life.
This photo demonstrates that under wallpaper, and behind cupboards, Stachybotrys (toxic black mold) was growing in an otherwise, very clean, nicely decorated kitchen.
Types of Toxic Black Mold Symptoms
Toxic black mold causes serious symptoms and health problems such as mental impairment, breathing problems, damage to internal organs and sometimes even death. The main groups of symptoms toxic black mold causes are:
•Mental and neurological symptoms
•Vision and eye problems
•Immune system problems
•Reproductive system problems
•Tiredness and discomfort
•Other illnesses and health effects
- Mental and Neurological Symptoms From Toxic Mold
The trichothecene mycotoxins produced by toxic black mold are neurotoxic. This means they can kill neurons in the brain and impair a person's mental ability. They also cause nervous disorders such as tremors and can cause personality changes such as mood swings and irritability.
•Shortened attention span
•Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
•Memory loss and memory problems
•Impaired learning ability
•Aggression and other personality
- Respiratory Symptoms From Toxic Mold
People living in homes with toxic mold are exposed mainly through breathing in toxic mold spores and mycotoxins. Toxic mold mycotoxins create irritation and a burning feeling in a person's air passages such as the nasal cavity, mouth and throat. The mycotoxins can even become lodged in the mucus membranes, sinuses and the lungs which then causes a burning feeling, breathing problems and bleeding in the lungs.
•Difficulty breathing - breathlessness or shortness of breath
•Pulmonary edema - swelling of the lungs
•Pulmonary hemorrhage - bleeding in the lungs
•Burning sensation of the mouth
•Stuffy, blocked nose
- Circulatory Symptoms From Toxic Mold
Toxic mold mycotoxins can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a person's skin or eyes. Eventually the mycotoxins then find their way into the person's blood. This leads to heart damage, problems with blood clotting and internal or external hemorrhaging.
•Damage to heart
•Low blood pressure
•Bone marrow disruption
•Blood not clotting properly
•Hemorrhage - internal bleeding
•Vomiting up blood
•Bleeding in the brain and in other organs
After removing the drywall, we found more mold inside the wall, on the insulation, and the studs.
- Vision and Eye Symptoms From Toxic Mold
Toxic mold mycotoxins that are in the air can enter a person's eyes. The mycotoxins are cytotoxic (toxic to cells) and when they come into contact with eye cells they cause inflamed and injured eyes and create vision problems.
•Eye inflammation and soreness
•Red or bloodshot eyes
•Blurry vision and vision worsening
•Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes)
- Skin Symptoms From Toxic Mold
Through the skin is one of the three main ways that toxic mold mycotoxins enter the human body. There have been cases in the past where people have handled hay contaminated with toxic mold and developed severe rashes and skin problems on their body where they touched the hay, as well as on sweaty areas like the armpits.
•Dermatitis - skin inflammation, rash, blisters, itchiness
•Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
- Immune System Symptoms From Toxic Mold
Toxic mold puts out chemicals which suppress the immune system. In fact many immunosuppressive drugs are actually created from toxic molds. A person who is immunocompromised from being around toxic mold will more easily get infections and sicknesses.
•Immunosuppression - immune system not functioning properly
- Reproductive System Symptoms From Toxic Mold
Mycotoxins from toxic mold are teratogenic. This means they can cause problems in the fetus during pregnancy which then leads to birth defects. Toxic black mold mycotoxins are also cytoxotic and mutagenic (cause cell mutations) and inhibit protein synthesis including DNA and RNA.
•Fetal development problems
Visible mold growth could also be a sign that there is a much larger mold colony growing hidden away from view.
Sometimes you might not realize there is mold in your house, especially if it is unusual looking mold. Some mold growth looks white and thread-like. Other mold appears as clusters of small black spots. Mold can be black, gray-brown, gray-green or white in color. Mold growing behind wallpaper made of vinyl can even appear orange, pink or purple.
- Tiredness and Discomfort Symptoms From Toxic Mold
When a person is around toxic mold the immune system may release a sedative called Chloral Hydrate. This is used as a defense to try to slow down the effects of toxic mold. But this also makes a person tired and causes fatigue. Toxic mold can also cause soreness of the muscles and joints.
•Aches and pains
•Malaise - general discomfort
•Cold or flu type symptoms or recurring colds
- Other Symptoms From Toxic Mold
•Weight loss, anorexia
Mold Illness Explained -
Yes, people are indeed ill, and stay ill by exposure to Water Damaged Buildings (WDB). There have been lots of names for the illness over the years, including “Mold illness.” The best discussion of the academic basis for this illness is found in the Expert Treating Physicians Consensus report published 7/2010. Here are some basic ideas: this illness is not an allergy. It is an inflammation within the body which is caused by an immune system that has gone haywire. The term “mold illness” is a subcategory of biotoxin illness called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). The proper definition of CIRS is:
“An acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and mycobacteria as well as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases, mannans and possibly spirocyclic drimanes; as well as volatile organic compounds.
We live in the Era of Dangerous Buildings with 50% of our buildings (NIOSH, 2011) having water damage so the likelihood that you won’t ever be exposed to dangerous buildings is quite low.
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