Mold occurs both indoors and out. Much of it is not necessarily harmful, but there are types and levels of mold that can be much more than a nuisance. They can be potentially deadly and destructive, so it is important to be informed on potential hazards of mold in homes.
There are numerous types of mold that can exist in a home. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, problematic molds include Alternaria, Epicoccum, Rhizopus, Helmin thosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Aureobasidium (Pullaria), Aspergillus, Penicillium and Cladosporium (Hormodendrum). The most dangerous strains, according to Mold Help, are Chaetomium and Stachybotrys chartarum. Although harmful levels of mold can be more likely to occur in humid climates, toxic mold can grow anywhere geographically. A key precursor to toxic mold levels in a home is water damage from an issue such as a leaky roof or indoor plumbing leak.
Testing can help residents determine mold levels in their homes. There are inexpensive home testing kits, but the accuracy of these is uncertain. The resident can also hire a professional to perform air quality and other tests for mold, and these can be somewhat costly. Professional testing can assist the resident in confirming or denying the presence of mold, as well as the levels of mold, and can help him make decisions based on this information.
A key reason why mold in homes is such a serious issue is that toxic mold can involve serious and long-lasting health damage. According to “Mold Warriors” by Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, “Symptoms exhibited from the exposure to biotoxins affect everyone differently.” Mold exposure symptoms are wide ranging and can include headaches, allergies, anxiety, depression, shortness of breath, sinus infections, fatigue, cognitive problems, abdominal cramping, rashes and dizziness.
High levels of toxic mold in a home can produce a major impact on health. There are also significant material effects, in that mold can damage or destroy a home and all of its contents, thus affecting the owner’s home investment. Many insurance policies do not have coverage for mold-related claims.
One potential solution, if you discover harmful mold levels in your home, is to perform removal and remediation of mold. However, with remediation, there is a risk of all mold not being removed, and mold can recur even if remediation is seemingly complete. Many people who discover toxic levels of mold in their homes must move out of their homes and abandon all of their possessions, if these have become contaminated with mold beyond repair or remediation and if their health would be damaged further from continued exposure to contaminated possessions.
Mold in homes is an issue to be taken extremely seriously, because of the potential for devastating impact on health and possessions. If you suspect unhealthy levels of mold in your home, it is critical to research further by, for example, investigating possible mold tests that you could order.
- “Mold Warriors”; Ritchie C. Shoemaker, MD, 2005
- Mold Help: Mold…What Is It All About?
- Mold Survivor: Mold Exposure Symptoms, Illnesses and Tests
- Truth About Mold: Resources
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Mold Allergy
- Photo Credit house image by Anton Chernenko from Fotolia.com
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