FUNGI vs. MOLD

FUNGI vs. MOLD

Mold is one type of fungus. It can measure from two to 10 microns in diameter, making it virtually invisible to the naked eye. When multiple mold spores grow close together they become visible as they spread rapidly across a surface. Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. A connected network of these tubular branching hyphae has the same DNA and is considered a single organism, referred to as a colony or in more technical terms a mycelium. Molds do not form a specific taxonomic or phylogenetic grouping, but can be found in the divisions Zygomycota, Deuteromycota and Ascomycota. Although some molds cause disease or food spoilage, others are useful for their role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.

The fungi are heterotrophic organisms characterized by a chitinous cell wall, and in the majority of species, filamentous growth as multicellular hyphae forming a mycelium; some fungal species also grow as single cells. Sexual and asexual reproduction is via spores, often produced on specialized structures or in fruiting bodies. There are many types of fungi that are not molds. For example, mushrooms are a fungus but they are not a type of mold. There are many different forms of Fungi, including, but not limited to: mushrooms, molds, yeast, lichen, rusts, and truffles. Slime molds and water molds are not fungi. The discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology. Fungi (singular fungus) are a microscopic substance that exists in the air around us all the time. It is neither plant nor a type of bacteria—it’s a separate type of living organism that occupies its own kingdom of eukaryotic organism’s classification.

 

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Hidden mold spores

Mold is a growing concern. EPA studies indicate that air levels of indoor pollutants may be two to three times higher than outdoor levels. Mold, the most dangerous offender of all, often goes undetected because of its invisibility. Many people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors and are not aware of the health hazards created by this pollutant. National media attention has alerted the public to the destructive and potentially toxic dangers of hidden mold spores that can affect a family’s health.

 

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Sunlight and Warmth to Prevent Mold

Sunlight to Prevent Mold
Allowing sunlight in will reduce the chances of mold growing so open the curtains in rooms during the day to let natural light in. Mold loves dark spaces indoors to grow in.
Warmth & Preventing Mold
Air conditioners to regulate the temperature of your house can help prevent mold growth. Most molds need temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) or more to grow. Mold generally does not grow in cold environments. Warm, humid conditions are ideal for mold growth. 

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Black Mold Remediation

Picture of Black MoldBlack Mold Remediation
You can find a lot of kinds of mold all over. Some are dangerous and some aren’t. Most of them you will never discover in anyway. The signals of mold will often be huge black spots on the walls, floors and ceilings, and it scents awful. A great aspect for the mold growth is connected mostly to the humidity level around. Probably the most unsafe class of mold is the black mold. Black mold, if not resolved on-time, might lead to significant health problems that in many scenarios cause fatality. Nowadays, the key reason for children’ death is the black mold.
Black mold triggers a sincere lung dysfunction, painful breathing difficulties and symptoms of asthma. The actual physical damage may be spotted as skin allergy, and eyes irritation. Yet, it’s possible to maintain away from the danger in lots of ways; one of the tactics is cleanup your area. 

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Minimizing Mold Spores to Prevent Mold


Minimizing Mold Spores to Prevent MoldPicture of aspergillus-flavus
Mold spores are everywhere in the air outside. They float through buildings all the time and there is no practical way to remove all mold spores indoors. However if the concentration of mold spores inside is significantly higher than outside then it can start to cause health issues. A higher amount of mold spores also increases the potential for mold problems to start. Mold spores enter homes through windows, doors, air ducts, etc.
They can also be transported inside attached to skin, clothing, hair, pets, etc. Although you cannot eliminate all mold spores inside your home or prevent all mold spores from entering, minimizing the amount of spores will prevent you from suffering mold related health problems and lessen the chance of mold beginning to grow in your home. To minimize mold spores clean and dust often. Also vacuum your home regularly, preferably with a HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove mold spores. HEPA air filters in your home also help remove mold spores from the air. 

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Mold Food Sources how to Prevent Mold grows

Mold Food Sources & Cleaning to Prevent Mold grows and feeds on organic substances such as wood or cotton. Mold should not grow on surfaces like plastic, metal or glass unless there is a layer of grease or some other organic substance which it can feed on. Some materials mold commonly grows on in the home include wood, carpet, food, paper, insulation, wallpaper, paint, wallpaper glue, plasterboard, fabrics, cotton, books, leather, chipboard, furniture, dust, ceiling tiles, inside air conditioners and almost any other organic material.
You should clean regularly to reduce dirt and grime which mold can live on. Dust and vacuum often, ideally with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtered vacuum cleaner to remove dust and other substances that mold can grow off of. It has been found that 80% of mold grows on dust. 

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Things You Should Know About Mold

Things You Should Know About Mold

Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions.

1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. 

2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dish-washing, and cleaning.

6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.

8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. 

How do molds affect people?
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.

EPA‘s publication, Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals, assists health professionals (especially the primary care physician) in diagnosis of patient symptoms that could be related to an indoor air pollution problem. It addresses the health problems that may be caused by contaminants encountered daily in the home and office.

Organized according to pollutant or pollutant groups such as environmental tobacco smoke, VOCs, biological pollutants, and sick building syndrome, this booklet lists key signs and symptoms from exposure to these pollutants, provides a diagnostic checklist and quick reference summary, and includes suggestions for remedial action. Also includes references for information contained in each section. This booklet was developed by the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the EPA. EPA Document Reference Number 402-R-94-007, 1994.

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How do molds affect people?

Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions.

Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.
EPA’s publication, Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals, assists health professionals (especially the primary care physician) in diagnosis of patient symptoms that could be related to an indoor air pollution problem. It addresses the health problems that may be caused by contaminants encountered daily in the home and office. Organized according to pollutant or pollutant groups such as environmental tobacco smoke, VOCs, biological pollutants, and sick building syndrome, this booklet lists key signs and symptoms from exposure to these pollutants, provides a diagnostic checklist and quick reference summary, and includes suggestions for remedial action. Also includes references for information contained in each section. This booklet was developed by the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the EPA Document Reference Number 402-R-94-007, 1994.

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How is Mold Inspection/Mold testing perform

How is Mold Inspection/Mold testing perform

Mold Testing is performed in two ways: Air Quality Testing and Surface Swab Samples. When mold testing is necessitated by health issues, or for legal purposes it would be advisable to take at least one surface swab sample and two air samples. This is done because you may have mold growing on a surface that is not yet releasing enough mold spores into the air to cause a problem. In such a case, air sampling alone would provide results that did not accurately reflect the extent of Mold Growth. Visual inspections may not be enough to accurately ascertain the extent of mold.
• Discoloration or black mold on baseboards, wallboard’s, or wallpaper.
• Cracks in shower tile, lack of caulking, loose toilet seal, leaks under sink.
• Carpet and padding in direct contact with concrete slab.
• Poorly maintained or dirty air .conditioning/heating vents and filters
• Damp basement or crawl space.
• Water penetration (water marks on walls, mold spots on walls).
• Musty/ moldy odor.

How is Mold Remediation/removal Perform

The actual process of mold remediation depends on the type of mold and the extent of its contamination. Mold remediation can be dangerous and if there is toxic black mold present it should be removed by professionals using approved protection devices to prevent exposure. The contaminated materials also need to be disposed of in a prescribed manner. How to remediate mold:
• First find the source of mold
• Second remove, repair, or replace mold infected area
• Third treat area with a bactericide, virucide, fungicide and disinfectant product for mold removal and prevention.
• Fourth remove mold spores airborne or are surface deposit by using negative pressure machines (air scrubbers) spay clean or wipe/sponge clean, Heppa vacuum area and the use of a ULV fogger
• Perform a clearance mold test in affected area

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Mold Inspection and Inspectors in South Florida

Mold Inspection
Do you think mold might be growing somewhere in your home? If so then you should have a mold inspection performed.

Goals of a Mold Inspection There are two goals of a mold inspection. The first is to find if and where mold is growing in your home. The second is to find the water problem which caused the mold to grow in the first place. Why You Should Have A Mold Inspection: The obvious reason to have a mold inspection is if you think you have a mold problem in your home. Even if you already know where mold is growing in your home it is a good idea to perform a mold inspection since visible mold growth often means there is more mold growing somewhere out of view.

Hiring a Professional Mold Inspector:
It’s always best to hire a professional mold inspector to do the mold inspection for you. Thanks to mold inspectors’ experience and their knowledge of spots where mold most often hides, you can be sure that if there’s any mold in your home that they will find it. Mold inspectors also use special equipment like moisture meters and fiber optics. This allows them to find hot spots where mold is most likely growing and look into hidden areas such as behind walls. This way they can find any and all hidden mold while barely disturbing your home.

Signs of Mold:

  • Some common reasons to suspect you could have a mold problem include:
  • You are suffering ALLERGIC SYMPTOMS.
  • You notice a mold smell.
  • You have had a water problem, for example: FLOODING, leaking pipes or a leaking roof.

History of Water Problems
It’s important to think of recent water problems you’ve had in your home when it comes to preparing for a mold inspection. If you hire a professional mold inspector it’s a good idea to let them know about any leaks, floods or any other moisture problems you’ve had in your home. If you are performing the mold inspection yourself then knowing about places which had water problems in the past will give you clues about where the mold is most likely growing.
There might have even been water problems in the past which you never found out about. By looking for signs of moisture like warped surfaces, water stains or peeling paint you might find recent water problems which have lead to mold growth. You should also identify areas which have the potential for water problems such as where pipes run, air conditioner leaks, possible leaking roofs or where water collects after flooding.

Finding Mold During the Inspection
If you decide to do the mold inspection yourself then you need to thoroughly search for mold in every room of your house including the attic and the BASEMENT. Special attention should be paid to areas around water sources such as near the shower or bathtub, sinks or pipes. You should check especially carefully the areas which have had any history of moisture problems in the past. During your search for mold if you do find any water leaks this can then lead you to where mold is growing. Some common places where mold often grows is on substances high in cellulose such as drywall, under carpets, in insulation or in ventilation ducts.

Hidden Mold
If you cannot see mold in a room it doesn’t mean there is none there. Mold can often grow hidden from view behind walls, above ceilings, under floors or in air conditioning ducts. If you find small spots of mold on a surface it could mean there is a much larger mold colony growing hidden away on the other side.
Besides using your eyes pay attention to any odors. The smell of a mold colony can help you to narrow down where mold is hiding. Any health issues you notice which occur when you’re in certain areas of your home can also alert you to the presence of nearby mold. Symptoms such as sneezing and sore or water eyes can be tell tale signs of mold growth nearby.

Don’t Disturb Mold
If you do find large areas of mold during the inspection be careful not to disturb it if possible as this can spread spores or even MICROTOXINS throughout your home. Large mold colonies should only be disturbed once you have set up the proper containment during remediation.

Recognizing Mold
Sometimes you might find what you think is mold but what might actually be dark soot or just dirty spots. Look closely to be sure that what you have found is mold, disturbing it minimally if you need to examine it physically. If you are unsure you can always use a mold test kit to verify. Testing can also be helpful if for some reason you want to identify the species of mold you have found in your home.

Finding Water Problems
The second stage of mold inspection after finding mold growth is to find the water problem that caused the mold in the first place. There is no point going to the trouble of finding and removing mold in your home if the water problem that caused it is not fixed and then soon causes the mold to return.
You should search your home for any water leaks or evidence of leaks. Besides stopping the leak or other water source you will need to take action to make sure it doesn’t reoccur in the future. Once you have found the cause of the mold in your home you will first need to fix it and then clean up any remaining moisture.

After Finding Mold
After you have found the mold in your home you need to determine the size and extent of the mold colony before you can begin to remove it. If the mold looks like it might be toxic you should think about having it tested to determine its species so you’ll know whether you can remove it yourself or whether you should hire a professional.
In either case you should not disturb any large mold colonies you find yet since proper containment should be set up before mold removal to prevent spores spreading throughout your home.

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