Without fungi, the earth would be full of dead things such as dead leaves, trees, insects and animals. The same enzymes that help fungi to break down wastes and dead organisms also degrade wood, fiber and food. Molds cause great damage to stored goods and building materials each year. These same molds cause problems in housing and affect the health of the residents.
Mold growth can often be seen in the form of a discoloration or stain. Many colors are possible: White, orange, pink, blue, green, black or brown. When molds are present and growing in large quantities they become a health concern. Molds can generally be divided into 3 groups based on their heath effects: Allergenic, Pathogenic and Toxic.
Allergenic molds can cause allergic or asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing or runny nose and rarely produce life-threatening effects. Pathogenic molds can cause serious health effects in persons with decreased immune function-such as with chemotherapy or AHIZV/AIDS. A normal, healthy individual can usually resist such infections. Toxins are poisonous substances produced by living things. Those produced from mold can cause serious health effects in almost anybody. These effects can include irritation, immune system problems and even cancer.
Molds tend to affect young children, older adults, and individuals with decreased immune functions. The symptoms may include nasal and sinus congestion, difficulty breathing, burning, watery-reddened eyes or blurry vision, sore throat, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath and skin irritation. Other, less common effects are nervous system problems (headaches, memory loss, and moodiness), aches and pains, and fever. If residents of a home have any of these symptoms, and the symptoms are reduced or completely gone when the person leaves the home, chances are they have been exposed to some sort of allergen or toxin, possibly from mold.
Keeping water out of your environment is essential to mold prevention. Routine preventative maintenance is the key to keeping your living and work space clean and clear of potential problem conditions. If you’d like more information about mold or other allergens, please visit the EPA’s web site at www.epa.gov/mold or call (800) 438-4318.
For more information, contact Scott at www.scottsauer.com.