Blog Articles About Toxic


What are Mycotoxins and How Can They Affect You?

What are Mycotoxins?

Mold Spore-MoldSolutionsNWJust hearing the last part of the word – “toxin” – we know automatically that mycotoxins can’t be good for us and they are something to stay away from.

A mycotoxin is a type of toxin that is produced by fungus, (another word we don’t like), and is more commonly known as black mold. And just as you assume from its name…it is poisonous, in fact some of the most poisonous substances known.

Mycotoxins, like mold spores, travel through the air, and are too small to be seen without magnification. But unlike mold spores, they are not alive.

Mold spores typically enter a person’s body when they breathe, but mycotoxins can enter not only through the air but can also enter through our eyes and sometimes they can be absorbed through the skin. If toxic mold has been growing on food, it can also be ingested. After a period of time it can end up in the blood stream.

The greatest majority of the mycotoxins we come into contact with either come from the air we breath or the food we eat.

Symptoms you may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Skin rash
  • Itching eyes
  • Tachycardia
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Immune problems
  • Respiratory problems

These symptoms and so many others can go from mild to serious, but the good thing is that once the source of exposure to mycotoxins is removed, the symptoms will decrease. Nevertheless, some health problems caused by black mold may leave you more sensitive to exposure in the future and your immune system could be weakened.

When Black Mold Grows in the Home…

There is one common denominator between homes and buildings that have mold growth in them…moisture accumulation. A home without a moisture problem is a home without mold.

The excess moisture is usually caused by:

  • Condensation encourages mold growth - Mold Solutions NWHigh humidity
  • Condensation
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Roof leaks
  • Flooding
  • Repeated spills
  • Poor ventilation
  • Dampness in the basement

Along with the moisture, mold spores need things that are readily available in our homes to begin growing and reproducing, such as warm air, organic materials, oxygen and a little time; only 24-48 hours to be exact.

If you think your home might have a mold problem, and in the fight to keep your home “mycotoxin free”…

 Contact us  – Mold isn’t always easy to see, but we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.

 


How Clean is the Air You Breathe in Your Seattle Home?

Seattle Indoor Air Quality Guide

BreatheCleanAir-MoldSolutionsNWThere is all kinds of talk about the outside air we breathe…is it clean; is it free from such things as the toxic emissions from cars, manufacturing pollutants or even outdoor burning?

But have you ever considered the air you breathe in your home where air quality can be just as toxic or worse and detrimental to your health as those things we have mentioned above?

Sources of indoor air toxins:

Although you are usually not aware that you are breathing in toxins in your home, believe it or not, they can be found in every room. They can come from:

  • Your pet
  • Your fireplace
  • Space heaters, water heaters and furnaces
    • Many of our appliances release gases and particles that we breathe every day
  • Cleaning products
  • Dust mites
  • Carpet
  • Plastics
  • Certain building materials
  • Mold spores

Just as you can suffer from chronic illness, your home can suffer from chronic poor air quality…sometimes called “Sick Building Syndrome”. Although that may sound funny, to people whose health is affected by it, it’s no laughing matter.

Bad air quality can cause:

  • Cold symptoms that won’t go away, such as coughing and sneezing
  • Respiratory problems
  • Frequent and lasting headaches
  • Asthma -If you already have asthma it will increase your symptoms

These conditions affect the elderly, the very young and those who already struggle with some of these issues the most.

How to improve the air quality in your home

Regular cleaning is a great way to improve the condition of your home’s air. Although frequent dusting and vacuuming is important, it’s also important to have your furnace and your air ducts cleaned regularly.

Use your ventilation fans whenever you’re cooking or showering. Good ventilation in your home can help eliminate humidity issues which help cause dust mites and mold growth. If your home seems to always have high humidity, using a dehumidifier can be very helpful.

PreserveAairQuality-MoldSolutionsNWChoose your cleaning products carefully. Beware of those that might contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) including ammonia and bleach. Choose products with low or no VOCs and avoid aerosols and other sprays.

Keeping your pets clean can help reduce allergy causing dander.

No smoking in the house.

Grow live plants in your house. There are several plants that can help remove the pollutants that fill your air: The Peace Lily, Dracaena, English Ivy and Areca Palm to name a few.

If you think you have mold that is causing poor air conditions in your home, it may cause serious problems if not dealt with correctly, it’s damaging to your health and to your home.

Contact us if you think you have a mold problem – we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.

 

 


Types of Mold

Are All Types of Mold Dangerous?

Types of Mold - Mold Solutions NWIt’s amazing to note that there are over 100,000 different types of mold that we co-exist with, which makes it all the more understandable to realize that mold is everywhere and is always with us.

And although we shudder when we think about living with mold, many of its species are harmless and serve an important purpose in our environment.

Along with the harmless mold, there is also the toxic type, which can cause health issues, some of which are quite serious. When toxic mold spore levels are low, there is not much risk to your health, but when the levels increase you may experience such symptoms and illnesses as:

  • Headaches
  • Increased asthma symptoms
  • Infections
  • Respiratory problems
  • Rashes

The elderly, the very young, and people who already have pre-existing conditions such as auto-immune deficiencies or respiratory conditions are especially affected.

The 3 Major Mold Groups:

These mold groups are the most common and are the ones that will jeopardize your health.

  • Allergenic mold – Typically this type of mold will not cause severe illness, but rather cause scratchy throats, irritated eyes and nose and skin rashes.
  • Pathogenic mold – This mold can cause infections and more severe health issues especially for people who have HIV, Auto-Immune Disorders or who are currently having chemotherapy treatment.
  • Toxic mold – This type of mold actually produces toxins that are harmful. Luckily they are rare, because they have been linked to cancer and in rare cases, death.

Toxic Molds

Black Mold - Mold Solutions NWThere are 2 types of toxic molds:

  1. Stachybotrys, which is more commonly called black mold. (Just the name sounds ominous!) Because it is difficult to find, which gives it the opportunity to easily grow and reproduce, black mold is extremely dangerous. Unlike other molds whose spores float easily through the air, when black mold spores are damp, they become sticky making them harder to detect with air quality sampling. A lethal toxin, it has been known to be fatal to animals and cause extreme health conditions in human.
  2. Memnoniella, like Stachybotrys, is a contaminant and also thrives on organic, wet materials such as fabrics, wood, and wallboard. Their toxicity and danger are also very similar.

If you are experiencing health issues that you can’t explain, or you think you have toxic mold growing in your home, you should contact a certified mold inspector and remediator to assess your situation.

Because mold is so easily spread, and you’re not trained to locate, recognize and remediate mold, it’s probably not a good idea to tackle the job yourself

 


Sick Building Syndrome

Are You a Victim of Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome - Mold Solutions NWYou may be wondering if this is a made up term or if it’s real, but believe me, it is very real. Health issues and syndromes may be caused by buildings.

Buildings, such as homes, schools, churches and offices can become toxic, and cause what is called Sick Building Syndrome or SBS. SBS is an environmental illness or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity manifested by a variety of symptoms in people who inhabit these spaces.

Symptoms of SBS

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Irritation in eyes, nose and throat

You can see by the types of symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose this syndrome, but one thing that can give you a hint into what the problem might be is if after leaving a building, you get relief.

Causes for Building Toxicity:

  1. Chemical contaminants which could be anything from vehicle exhaust to adhesives for upholstery, cleaning agents or pesticides.
  2. Biological contaminants such as pollen, viruses, bacteria or mold.

Mold is everywhere around us, it’s part of our natural environment, but when it takes hold and grows uninhibited in the spaces we “live” in, it can cause many health issues, even more than the ones listed above.

Interesting Facts About Mold

  • Mold has been known to cause over 30 types of health problems.
  • Penicillin is created by purified mold.
  • Health Issues Caused by Mold - Mold Solutions NWMold is the great wood destroyer: It destroys more each year than the combined destruction of fire, termites or floods.
  • Mold can survive and thrive on just about any surface.
  • People who suffer with chronic sinus infections are usually exposed to mold growth.
  • Mold likes dark, damp humid areas for growth.

With the knowledge that approximately 50% of homes in the United States are affected by mold, it stands to reason that many of us could face the possibility of being exposed to mold and the risk of Sick Building Syndrome.

If you or someone you know is experiencing unexplainable symptoms such as the ones mentioned above, you should have your home, or possibly another building where you spend a great deal of your time, inspected.

Contact us for a Free Mold Assessment


What Mold Does to You

What Can Mold Do to You?

Open Door to Mold - Mold Solutions NWBecause mold spores are always in the air, everytime you open a door or a window, you’re inviting mold into your home. It’s unavoidable. Spores can also enter your home through your air conditioning or heating systems and on the bodies of your pets as they come and go.

You wouldn’t think that something so tiny as these microscopic spores could cause the damage they are able to, but because they are the reproductive cells of mold, their reason for existence is to multiply and continue their life cycle.

Food for Mold

Their means of growth is to attach themselves to anything organic in warm, damp, humid conditions:

  • Walls, ceilings
  • Wood  and wood products
  • Drapery, upholstered furniture
  • Paint
  • Carpet
  • Even household dust

Once they have accomplished this task, it only takes between 24-48 for growth to begin. When this happens, mold begins digesting whatever it is attached to, and if left alone will destroy it and whatever else it spreads to. More spores are then created, and the cycle continues.

Mold Destroys More Than Your Home

Mold can destroy your health, especially if you are someone who has respiratory conditions, immune suppressed conditions, if you are elderly or very young. It can cause:

  • Allergy symptoms
  • Congestion
  • Nasal irritation
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Asthma attacks
  • Skin rashes
  • Eye and throat irritation
  • What Mold Does to You - Mold Solutions NWMigraine headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Chills or fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Nausea

As you can see from this list, because mold symptoms can be attributed to any number of  conditions, it is often difficult to diagnose that what you’re experiencing has been caused by toxic mold. For this reason, many people have become very ill from mold exposure.

If you or someone in your home is experiencing chronic symptoms that can’t be attributed to a physical condition or doesn’t respond to treatment, you should consider having your home inspected for mold. Mold is not always visible to you because it can grow in places you don’t necessarily look at frequently, if at all.

Call a professional, trying to handle a mold problem on your own can make the situation worse by inadvertently spreading it. A professional mold remediator will locate the cause of the mold, then safely and thoroughly get rid of it for you.