Mold, Toxic Mold, Exposure and Health Effects
Most Common Effects
Being exposed to mold can occur in multiple ways, such as direct contact with skin, breathing or inhalation, and through ingestion from foods or in the case of children on toys etc.. The most common exposure is by inhaling the microscopic spores that active molds release and/or the particulates in the air.
The potential health effects of mold in an indoor environment are numerous and can vary depending on the sensitivity of exposed persons to the type of spores present, the severity of the mold spore circulation, etc. These are all factors that confirm that if there is mold present or there is illness, the home should be diagnosed and tested by a professional.
Mold exposure can cause:
◦ Asthma attacks
◦ Dry cough
◦ Skin rashes
◦ Upset stomach, headaches, disorientation
◦ Bloody nose
◦ Chronic fatigue
In a few cases some non-toxic mold has been suspected to relate to cases of miscarriage, birth defects, and serious health problems for expectant mothers. After birth, infants and small children can develop serious respiratory and general health problems if exposed to high levels of mold spores in the home.
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◦ Dangerous Molds and Mycotoxins
Exposure to toxic mold can cause very serious health conditions depending on how susceptible the individuals is. Children, aging adults and inhabitants with certain medical conditions have been known to be affected the most.
Mycotoxins are the chemicals that give toxic molds their toxicity. They enter the body through the nose, mouth, and skin. Mycotoxins find their way to the digestive system, respiratory system (lungs), and the brain and can severely affect the health of anyone exposed to them.
Some signs that you may have been exposed to toxic mold and mycotoxins can include:
◦ Memory loss
◦ Sudden difficulties in learning or logical thinking
◦ Severe disorientation
◦ Frequent severe headaches
◦ Frequent bloody nose
◦ Frequent sneezing fits (usually more than three sneezes in a row)
Currently there are no standard TLV’s (Threshold Limit Values) related to mold exposure, because every person reacts differently to any one of the millions of known mold varieties, mold exposure is difficult to categorize in terms of severity.
If you believe the presence of mold in your home (either visible or non-visible) is causing health or problems, you should take appropriate measures to see a doctor immediately. It is also important to have your home inspected by an Indoor Environmentalist. It is unfortunate that doctors rarely make the suggestion to test your home when most illness can be directly related to the indoor environment.
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