Blog Articles About Mold


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.

 

 


Solve Your Allergies Seattle Problem – Symptoms Caused by Mold

Does Mold Cause Allergic Reactions?

Mold Allergies - Mold Solutions NWDo you feel like you are “doomed” to live with cold symptoms forever? Is it one of those seasonal colds  or sinus infections that you just can’t get rid of?

  • You’re sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Congested
  • You have watery itchy eyes
  • You have constant postnasal drip
  • Irritated throat
  • Headaches
  • Irritated Skin

Maybe it’s not a cold or sinus infection at all…maybe you have a mold allergy. Mold allergy symptoms are frequently thought to be cold symptoms, the big difference is that cold symptoms eventually go away – mold symptoms remain as long as you are exposed to mold spores.

 

Does Mold Affect Everyone the Same?

Not everyone has an allergic reaction, but those who do can become very uncomfortable, even to the point of becoming very ill. In fact, if you’re someone who suffers from asthma, exposure to mold may cause your asthma symptoms to get worse.

People who are at the highest risk of health problems especially allergies from mold are:

  • The very young
  • The elderly
  • People who already have respiratory problems such as asthma, other allergies or emphysema
  • Weakened immune systems such as people going through chemotherapy, those who have HIV, and those who have had organ transplants.

 

How Does Mold Make You Ill?

Mold is a living organism (a fungus) that grows and reproduces as tiny, microscopic spores are formed and released into the air. As the spores land on a surface that offers them what they need to live, moisture and organic materials for food, they can begin to grow.

Because mold spores are always in the air around us, whether we are inside or out, they can find their way into our bodies naturally as we breathe. This usually isn’t a problem unless the mold spore levels are too high when our bodies start reacting in the form of allergies or illness.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that just don’t seem to go away, you should examine those places where you spend a lot of time, home or work, to see if there is mold growing there.

 

Locating Mold – Where to Look After Experiencing Symptoms?

  • Mold on Ceiling - Mold Solutions NWWhere there might be water leaks
  • Where there may have been flooding
  • On your walls or ceilings
  • In your carpet or behind your wallpaper.
  • In your basement or crawlspace

Mold can grow in your walls or ceilings especially if the external wall has a crack (or multiple cracks) that collects moisture whenever it rains.

Painting over mold is never a good idea, the only way to stop it from reappearing is to remove it first, and sealing all cracks that are collecting water.

 

What about leaks?

One family had a leak from their dishwasher they weren’t aware of. Over time, the linoleum on their kitchen floor started turning gray. As they investigated and found the leak, the mold on the linoleum and on the plywood flooring became evident and had to be replaced.

If left unattended, mold will still linger on, causing allergies even when the source of the moisture has gone away. If there were small children in the house in the above mentioned case, the floor would have been a source of allergens for years to come – if not for a mold inspection and testing run.

 

Mold in Ventilation Shafts And Air Ducts

Another big issue is that you might be living in an older building which has air ducts that are not cleaned regularly, or at all. Air ducts are ventilation infrastructure that is supposed to guard the building against stale air but dust, pollen, and even bird feces and feathers all pile up in ducts over the years.

Combined with moisture, the end result is not pretty at all and could potentially pose a health hazard, not just as a mold-spreading machine.

Even defunct, without a spinning blade at the end, air ducts can be dangerous and have air flowing through them via draft currents or strong winds. Once a strong wind “activates” all of the piled up dirt in an air duct, all rooms that feature an air duct are at risk of becoming a cause for various allergies as everything that’s piled up in the shaft will now disperse across the rooms.

HVAC ducts can be particularly nasty. Cleaning both the filter in the HVAC unit itself and the ducts will get rid of mold. Mold only needs warmth and moisture, so keep this in mind.

 

Symptoms That Get Worse When the AC Turns On

If you or others start showing allergy symptoms whenever the AC is turned on, your #1 suspect should be dust and mold spores. If there’s a noticeable musty odor as well, there’s a high chance it’s not just dust, but actual mold growth you’re dealing with. Dispersed like this, mold can cause headaches, skin, nasal and throat mucosa irritation, nausea and other more serious symptoms.

You can always go to an allergy specialist doctor to check if it’s dust (which is 90% comprised of human skin, by the way), seasonal pollen, or the mold growth that’s causing the allergic reactions. The worst scenario is if you have multiple allergies and a weakened immune system.

 

When Do You Need to Call an Expert in Seattle?

For allergies and disease symptoms, contact a doctor immediately and get your symptoms in check. If left unattended, allergy symptoms can get out of hand and influence your day-to-day life, mood, routines, work capability and cost you more in the long run.

Regarding the mold, you may need an expert to locate and determine the extent of the problem.

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.

 


How Quickly Does Water Damage Need to be Dried?

Dry Water Damage Quick

Water Damge - Mold Solutions NWWhen most people think of water damage, the first thing that pops into their mind is damage from floods. Floods are devastating, and happen only periodically…but there is water damage that happens frequently, is more common place than floods and can cause a great deal of damage.

  • Leaking pipes
  • Recurring condensation
  • Frozen pipes
  • Leaking roofs
  • Overflowing toilets, sinks or tubs
  • Leaking shower stalls

Whether the water damage comes from one source or another really doesn’t matter, unless it is dried out completely and quickly it can result in damaged carpets, flooring and furniture, all of which can lead to costly repair bills.

Another damaging side effect of water damage…

Mold growth is another by-product of water damage that hasn’t been dried out soon enough or thoroughly enough. Not only will mold damage your possessions, but it can damage your health as well, causing or increasing respiratory problems, headaches and other illness.

I keep saying how important it is to dry things out as soon as possible because mold can begin to grow in a very short period of time, between 24-48 hours. And once it starts, it can spread rapidly.

Prevent Mold

The best way to prevent mold is to go to the root of the problem, find out where the water damage is coming from and eliminate the source and get things dry.

If the damage is larger than you can handle, you should contact professionals who will come in and take care of things properly.

One family had just moved into their brand new home. They had installed a Jacuzzi tub in the master bedroom and decided to let their children be the first to use it. With their swimming suits on, the water heated, they were ready to take the “plunge”. Just as they were climbing in, they heard a loud “pop” and the water level began going down. Some of the plumbing had broken, and 500 gallons of water emptied out onto the master bedroom floor, then down through the ceiling into the kitchen and from the kitchen if flowed into the crawl space.

The homeowner quickly called a water damage restoration company who told him to immediately rip up all the carpeting and carpet pad and toss it outside. Several fans were set up inside the home to help with the drying out process, carpets were cleaned, dried and stretched and insulation from the crawl space had to be replaced.

Water Damage Can Start Mold - Mold Solutions NWAlthough the family couldn’t avoid all the damage, they were able to avoid the beginning of mold growth and the damage it would have caused.

Once water damaged is discovered, acting quickly can help you prevent the onset of even more extensive damage.

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.

 


What are the Real Facts About Mold?

Mold Facts That Everybody in Seattle Should Know About

Mold Facts - Mold Soutions NWIf you look throughout the internet and through various news articles, you can find a lot written about mold, how it grows and its adverse affect on people.

You can especially find a lot of information about it in conjunction with the victims of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina.

Those people didn’t have a chance at preventing mold from taking over their homes; because they had to be evacuated for extended periods of time, and because mold growth begins within 48-72 hours after water damage occurs, they were destined to have mold infestations.

It doesn’t always take a natural disaster for mold to begin…

Here in the Seattle Washington area, yes we have our share of flooding, but we also have a lot of moisture in the air all the time; moisture without ventilation is a formula for mold growth.

Of course there are other ways for mold spores to find the moisture they need in order to begin growing: plumbing leaks, condensation, leaky roofs or or blocked rain gutters.

What you should know about mold:

  • Mold Smells - Mold SolutionsNWMold grows in colonies that give off a musty odor.
  • There is a certain amount of mold in every home or building…it can never be eliminated because it is a natural and necessary element of nature that enters your home everytime a door or window is opened or someone comes in.
  • Mold can become dormant, but will not go away on its own, it needs to be removed (remediated).
  • The presence of mold doesn’t affect everyone, but for so many, mold exposure is from mild to extremely deadly to their health, especially, the very young, the elderly and those who already have respiratory problems.
    • Mold has been known to cause over 30 health problems.
    • It is the airborne spores, that when breathed in, cause illness.
  • Not only does mold like moisture, but it prefers to grow where there is no light.
  • Not all molds are dangerous – penicillin is actually derived from mold.
  • Mold can grow in the duct work of your heating system.
  • New homes are just as likely to have mold growth as old homes.
  • Mold growing on non-porous surfaces such as glass or ceramic tile is easily cleaned with detergent and water – but when mold is growing on walls, ceilings or wood you should probably hire a professional remediator.

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.