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Toxic Mold




Toxic Mold

History of Toxic Mold

Since Biblical times it has been known that indoor mold growth can be a health hazard. In the 1930s, mold was identified as the cause behind the mysterious deaths of farm animals in Russia and other countries. ''Stachybotrys chartarum'' was found growing on wet grain used for animal feed. In the 1970s,building construction techniques changed in response to the energy crisis. As a result, homes and buildings became more air-tight. Also, cheaper materials such as drywall came into common use. This combination of increased moisture and suitable substrates contributed to increased mold growth inside buildings. Today, the agriculture industry keeps a close eye on mold and mycotoxin levels in grains in order to prevent the contamination of animal feed and human food supplies. In 2005 Diamond Pet Foods, a US pet food manufacturer, experienced a significant rise in the number of corn shipments containing elevated levels of aflatoxin. This mold toxin eventually made it into the pet food supply, and dozens of dogs died before the food could be recalled.

Causes of Toxic Mold

Since common building materials are capable of sustaining mold growth and mold spores are ubiquitous, mold growth in an indoor environment is typically related to an indoor water or moisture problem. Leaky roofs, building maintenance problems, or indoor plumbing problems can lead to mold growth inside homes, schools, or office buildings. Another common source of mold growth is flooding.

Symptoms of Toxic Mold

Human bodies can tolerate molds and mycotoxins in small quantities. In larger quantities, they can be a health hazard. Molds are a very common human allergen. Because exposure to mycotoxins is relatively rare, allergic effects are more common than toxic effects.

The health effects of mycotoxin exposure are different from allergic reactions to mold spores. Toxic effects can include flu-like symptoms, respiratory problems, headaches, cognitive problems, and skin irritation.

Another health threat from mold exposure is systemic fungal infection. Immuno compromised individuals exposed to high levels of mold, or possibly individuals with chronic exposure paired with mycotoxic exposure may become infected. Sinuses and digestive tract infections are most common. Lung and skin infections are also possible.

Systemic fungal infection can be a serious health problem. Alcohol and mycotoxin production may result from the fungal growth, leading to myriad symptoms. Sudden food allergies and digestive problems can mislead diagnosis. Treatment can belong-term (many years).

Systemic infection may be of the environmental mold itself, or by other common food-related molds consumed under a weakened immune system. A weakened immune system may also result in other opportunistic infections, for example bacterial infection.

Environmental illnesses can be difficult for health care practitioners to diagnose. Those who are living in houses contaminated by the mold may not be able to smell the mildewy odor, and may be unaware that the problem exists.

Toxic Mold Remedies

The first step in solving an indoor mold problem is stopping the source of moisture. Next is to remove the mold growth. Here are the most common remedies for small occurrences of mold.

* Sunlight
* Ventilation
* Non-porous building materials
* Household cleansers

Significant mold growth may require a professional cleanup service and removal of affected building materials. A conservative strategy is to discard any building materials saturated by the water intrusion or having visible mold growth.

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