Mold isn't always visible in your property, and there are several telltale signs that there may be mold present in your property. The following list has been compiled to outline signs of potential mold contamination in your home.
1. Your HVAC system (air conditioning) has an odd odor emanating from it: Mold can grow within the air ducts due to a faulty air handler, abnormal condensation around the air ducts and poor maintenance. Signs of mold growth can be indicated via leaking around the air handler, poorly maintained air filters, as well as heavy condensation around the air vents or dark specks spotting around the air vent.
2. Dark grout around the shower: This may just be a caulking issue where slight moisture from showering has gotten into the caulking and is manifesting through mold growth. However, it could also indicate a larger issue, such as a plumbing issue or a larger leak, such as from the shower pan. It is recommended having a plumber assess the area, and if there is a leak, have a mold inspector assess the area.
3. Cold like symptoms, akin to type 1 allergies, which won't subside: The majority of molds can trigger type 1 allergies, such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes.
4. A musty odor in the property: This usually suggests a moisture issue/ventilation issue in the property, which can facilitate mold growth. Have a mold inspector assess the property if no source can be found.
5. Your sink or toilet has flooded: Moisture travels fast, and is wicked up by the baseboards very quickly, Mold only needs 24-48 hours to grow, so it is advised having the area assessed for moisture and mold to determine if any of the surrounding materials need to be restored after a flood in the property.
In a scientifically reference article by Dr. Harriet Burge titled "Fungal Allergens", featured on EMLab P&K's website, the author discusses the nature of fungal allergens and the effect they can have on the sufferer. Here are 5 facts derived from the publication:
1. Once sensitization has been accomplished, such as with mold exposure, then re-exposure can cause the same symptoms; the re-exposure tends to create almost immediate symptoms.
2. For surface growth of allergens, the spore(s) that are present may not need to be living to cause sensitization in the sufferer.
3. It is not 100% conclusively known whether all fungal spores can create allergens. However, some of the more prosaic ones documented during air quality testing have been shown to cause sensitization and create symptoms. The symptom causing mold genus types were documented as: "Cladosporium, Alternaria, Bipolaris, Curvularia, Pithomyces and Stachybotrys".
The three noted genus types which did not create symptoms included: "Epicoccum, Fusarium, and Spegazzinia".
4. In reference to one case study, Dust mites can potentially cause allergens twice as bad as Stachybotrys Chartarum.
5. "Given that some spores must be alive to release allergens, it is possible that spores produced in an indoor environment would be "fresher" and more likely to be alive than those outdoors. If this were true, then indoor exposures to some fungi may be more important than outdoor exposure." This reinforces why people exposed to fresh indoor mold growth may be experiencing stronger symptoms.
The information provided here is not meant to act as medical advice and Dr. Harriet Burge has no affiliation with Mold Mitigation Professionals. To review the article referenced in the this blog in full, please visit the following link:
When reviewing details about Stachybotrys Chartarum, which is, in layman's terms, referred to as 'black mold', it is integral to cite information from reputable sources; such as academic journals and peer reviewed writings. Here three interesting points about Stachybotrys Chartarum from the Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents:
Beasley, V., & Haschek, W. (2009) Trichothecene Mycotoxins (on-line) Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents.
The following two points are derived from Clinical Microbiology Reviews:
Ghannoum, M., Kuhn, D. (2003) Indoor Mold, Toxigenic Fungi, and Stachybotrys chartarum: Infectious Disease Perspective. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 16(1): 144–172.
Disclaimer: Content on this website should not be considered medical advice, and is not being published by a medical professional.
Once Mold Remediation has been completed by a licensed remediation company, how can one be sure that they performed the work sufficiently and that the mold has been eradicated to a relevant standard?
The answer is to have a post clearance mold inspection and testing performed in the area(s) of concern. A certified mold inspector will have the knowledge and training to look for, and identify, quality assurance indicators for satisfactory remediation. The certified inspector will also perform air quality testing in the contained areas where the mold was previously an issue; the air quality testing will further reinforce the sufficiency of the remediation work performed, and also reassure the client that the air quality has been replenished to a satisfactory standard in the property via accredited lab data.
The quality assurance indicators observed and documented by the inspector will be photographed and noted, which will then be transcribed into a clearance report with the relevant lab data to affirm the clearance of the area from active mold growth, as well as the previously active moisture source.
To summarize, the following points should be concluded in the clearance report by the certified mold inspector:
The clearance inspection and testing hold the remediation firm accountable for the work performed, as well as reassuring the occupant of the building that there is no longer a mold concern. If the clearance inspection and testing fail, then the remediation company will have to readdress the area until it has been satisfactorily passed.
If you are need of a clearance mold inspection and testing, Mold Mitigation Professionals can handle your concerns with appropriate certifications, infrared thermal imaging to assure the client that the moisture source has been eradicated, fast turn around times and air testing via the fully accredited EMLab P&K.
The standards outlined here were based off the government standards from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2008) Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments. November, 2008. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/epi/epi-mold-guidelines.pdf
When homeowners discover mold in their home, or moisture (both active moisture or moisture retention from a previous leak), there is often a question of whether or not there are insects associated with the mold growth i.e. does the visible mold attract insects, which, in turn, feed off the mold? In short, the answer is yes; mold growth and moisture can attract certain particular insects, which can create a fleeting insect infestation in your property.
One reason is that certain types of insects, such as the ‘foreign grain beetle’ or ‘Ahasverus advena”, feed predominantly on microbial fungi (mold/mildew). Furthermore, these types of insects require similar environments as mold to thrive, such as high humidity; generally, mold can begin to grow when the relative humidity levels are greater than 55-60% in a property, which is why homeowners often see mold growth in attics. The Foreign Grain Beetle can often be found in older homes where bathrooms have higher humidity levels which permit mold growth and ideal habitats for the insect.
Another insect, known as ‘booklice’, are miniscule insects which also found in high humidity areas with mold growth. They are commonly found in structures with higher moisture levels, as well as poorly ventilated structures. These types of insects are most discovered in household items, such as books and rugs. Indicators: One indicator of insect infestation or presence in a property is the fecal pellets left behind in a damp area i.e. such as on a damp drywall in a basement. Homeowners can occasionally mistaken the fecal pellets for mold, but the two are correlated, so it isn’t completely unreasonable to make the association. What can then occur for homeowners is not only being subjected to the potential mycotoxins from mold growth, but also mite allergens.
Finally, spiders can also be a potential indicator for mold growth since spiders are predators on other live insects. Therefore, if there are several spiders congregating in one area of the home, there may be other live insects in that area, as well as fungi growth at the very bottom of that food chain. In conclusion, mold does attract insects, but it varies dependent on the conditions in the property and is not a foregone conclusion.
MOLD HEALTH EFFECTS BLOG AND RESEARCH