According to the Florida Department of Health , it can cause the following types of health problems:. People with allergies may be more sensitive to mold than others. If they come into contact with mold, they may experience symptoms, such as:. Mold exposure may also worsen asthma or lung problems in people with preexisting lung conditions. A study found that infants and young children exposed to mold in the home had an increased risk of developing asthma by the age of 7. The research examined homes and 36 types of mold.
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However, S. Research published in by the Institute of Medicine IOM indicates that spending time in damp indoor spaces is related to respiratory symptoms, including those of asthma. However, people with weakened immune systems — such as those with uncontrolled HIV , transplant patients, or people undergoing cancer treatment — are at risk of fungal infections. Some people believe that black mold is particularly dangerous because it releases mycotoxins. However, the fact is that all molds are capable of producing mycotoxins.
Just because mold is present does not mean that it is producing these toxins. Most cases of mycotoxicosis result from eating moldy food, rather than from inhaling fungal spores in the home or outdoors. The evidence does not indicate that inhaling or touching mold can cause mycotoxicosis. The IOM's report was unable to back up claims that issues such as fatigue , lung disease, or cancer result from mold exposure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC state that there are very few reports of unique or rare health conditions resulting from mold in the home. It appears that many types of indoor mold — not just black mold — may cause health problems in some people, but not in everyone. People who are most at risk of the symptoms of mold exposure are:. The main health concerns seem to relate to allergies and irritation, which typically cause respiratory symptoms.
A doctor may diagnose a mold allergy based on a person's symptoms and their medical and family histories. They may also perform tests, including:. To diagnose a systemic fungal infection in someone with a weakened immune system, a doctor may take a blood sample. In some cases, further testing may be necessary. Treatment for a mold allergy is similar to treatment for other types of inhaled allergies. Options include:. For a long term solution, a doctor may recommend immunotherapy.
This involves getting a series of allergy shots over a few years. Immunotherapy can be highly effective, but it is only suitable for certain types of mold allergy. Individuals should treat all molds the same when it comes to removing them from the home. The most effective way to prevent mold growth is to monitor the humidity level in the home.
Also, use proper safety equipment when cleaning up mold in an industrial setting or after a natural disaster.
The Truth About Black Mold—And How You Can Stay Safe
Based on current research, black mold exposure is no more dangerous than any other type of mold exposure. In high amounts or in people with allergies, exposure to any mold may cause allergy symptoms. In people with underlying health conditions, it may lead to more serious complications. Regardless of the type of mold, it is important to remove it from the home for hygiene and health reasons.
Article last reviewed by Tue 17 September Visit our Allergy category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Allergy. All references are available in the References tab. Borchers, A. Mold and human health: A reality check [Abstract]. Damp indoor spaces and health.
Stachybotrys mycotoxins: From culture extracts to dust samples. If the environment remains ideal long enough, specialized hyphae may grow to produce new spores at their tips. These new spores may be released back into the air. This allows the mold life cycle to continue. Control Humidity Humidity levels should remain as low as possible. They offer that a dehumidifier or air conditioner can help keep the humidity level lowered. Ventilate Keep your home well ventilated. The CDC suggests that kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are utilized when possible.
Exhaust fans carry air from inside the home or establishment to outside the home or establishment. Repair Be sure to repair plumbing, walls, and roofs so there are not any leaks that allow moisture to seep in. Mold can thrive in these damp regions. Rapidly Clean If there is a flood, rapidly clean and dry the building, home, or establishment. This would ideally be done within the first 24 to 48 hours after a flood has occurred.
Replace Items After a floods or water damages, tear out and replace any items that were unable to be quickly dried. Carpet can hold moisture.
Carpet Use Tips The CDC suggests that carpet is not utilized in areas, like basements and bathrooms, where moisture it prevalent. To remediate means to improve or correct something that is damaged or incorrect. Black mold remediation means to get rid of unwanted black mold growth. The key procedure points to get rid of black mold are to: Get the required materials and equipment needed to do the job.
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Get the required safety gear. Stop and repair the source of the moisture. Contain the mold-infested areas. Decontaminate the areas. Materials needed to complete a mold remediation project can vary depending on the cause, location, and size of the mold-affected areas. OSHA states that workers can clean items that have the ability to be fully cleaned, dried, and then reused.
This process may utilize blowers, biocides, and manual scrubbing. OSHA goes on to state that items that cannot be completely cleaned and dried must be removed. The items that OSHA recommends for mold remediation include, but are not limited to:. This will minimize the spread of spores. Trashcan A trashcan is needed to dispose of the water-damaged materials including, but not limited to: carpet, drywall, and insulation.
The trashcan may need to be large or small.
The size of the trashcan depends on the size of the job. Wet Vacuums Wet vacuums may be needed to help collect the water from floors and other hard surfaces covered in water. Biocides A biocide can be a synthetic or natural chemical or microorganism.
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It is a molecule that destroys or controls the growth of a bacteria or fungal. Bleach is an example of a biocide.
After the surface of a hard and non-porous item is cleaned with a detergent and washed off , if disinfecting is needed, a biocide can be used to disinfect the area. Biocides are harmful to humans, animals, and mold.
Biocides are not always needed during mold remediation. Precautions should be taken when suing biocides. Construction Tools and Materials Where the mold contamination is will determine the extra tools and materials that will be needed. Tools may be needed to remove drywall, replace drywall, remove carpet, replace carpet, etc.
How to Get Rid of Black Mold
Ventilation Air is needed during mold remediation. If natural exhaust ventilation is unavailable at the scene of contamination, exhaust ventilation must be provided. A vacuum with a HEPA air filter will filter the air before it recirculates. A top HEPA filter may trap Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter will help.
Safety gear is also referred to as personal protective equipment or PPE. Thank you to 1 Mold Removal Nationwide for the use of their image. PPE is needed to complete mold remediation without the worker sustaining harm. Thank you Tony Verner. The EPA recommends wearing long gloves that come up to at least the middle of the forearm. They suggest that ordinary rubber gloves be worn if one is only using a mild detergent. However, in cases where a chlorine bleach or another biocide , a potent cleaning chemical, or another disinfectant are being utilized, the EPA recommends that workers wear PVC gloves, neoprene gloves, nitrile gloves, polyurethane gloves, or even natural rubber gloves.
PVC is the abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride. It is a plastic polymer. PVC is synthetic and can be flexible or inflexible. PVC has been around since PVC gloves protect against many oil based products, basis, alcohols, acids, and caustics.