1. What is mold?
Molds are microscopic fungi, which are commonly found in all places with a major part in the decomposition of dead plant in general, including wood and leaves. It is responsible for the “blue” in the so called blue cheese and most importantly it is the initial source of penicillin. On the other hand, it is also among the most frequent allergens out there.
2. Where are the places where mold grow?
Mold needs moisture to grow and can grow almost anywhere, such as wallpaper, wood, ceilings, sheet rock, paint, carpet and insulation. A high level of moist in the environment triggers the growth of mold which is a potential danger to your health. Mold is commonly found in basements, garages, kitchens, bathrooms and crawlspaces.
3. Is exposure to mold risky to your health?
Mold growth has a harmful effect on your health and it also damages the structure of your home. Exposure to mold can occur by breathing the spore in the air, by getting in contact with materials with mold on them and by eating moldy foods. You might not even notice it and you can easily breathe in more than half a million spores each and every minute. Common allergy symptoms include congestion, runny nose, cough, skin rash, irritated eyes and severe asthma.
A 2005 study revealed that exposure to mold greatly increases the chances of asthma development in children.
4. Which kinds of mold are allergenic?
Similarly to pollen, there are spores that are allergenic. These spores are very small and easily float in the air, without being filtered by the protective means of our respiratory system. The list of indoor allergenic molds includes Aspergillus, Alternaria, Cladosporium, Chaetomium, Stachybotrys, Mucor and Penicillium.
5. What is toxic mold?
Actually, the mold itself is not toxic, but their products, the mycotoxins are poisons, which can lead to various respiratory problems, headaches, fatigue, eye irritation and nausea. Furthermore, the black mold (Stachybotrys mold) can lead to lethal lung bleeding in infants in combination with the cigarette smoke in the environment.
Generally, all toxigenic molds can lead to allergy symptoms. On the other hand, Chaetomium and Stachybotrys, which are extremely toxigenic can cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary hemorrhage, cancer, lupus, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, memory loss, learning disabilities, rheumatoid arthritis and even death.
Mycotoxins are neurotoxins as well, and some people claim that the Gulf War Syndrome might be partially caused by the use of mycotoxins as part of the biological warfare.