It is that time of month here in Arizona. You guessed it…. MOLD! The summer monsoons have come to an end. The heat steadily rises once again into the triple digits. The humidity in the air mixes with the heat to produce our peak mold season.
What is mold you ask? According to OSHA, mold is classified as a type of fungi that is naturally found in the environment year-round. It produces millions of spores, which are invisible to the naked eye. Research shows that there are thousands of different species types of mold. Depending on the type, the appearance is either slimy or fuzzy. It can come in a variety of colors including black, white, green, brown, and orange.
Mold is known to play a major role in our outdoor environment. Because mold lacks chlorophyll, unlike plants, in order to survive it must digest and break down organic materials such as leaves, wood, and other plant debris. This reduces the amount of dead plant matter within our environment. Each species of mold requires moisture to grow and reproduce tiny spores.
Mold is attracted to wet or damp areas indoors. Humidity is an added bonus. Once a surface becomes wet or damp, mold will grow within 24-48 hours. Mold is known to remain dormant for months and even years within a large range of temperatures prior to dying when conditions are right.
Mold and Your Health
A common concern with mold is how it affects a person’s health. According to the EPA, mold in schools and commercial buildings has the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, toxins that may cause reactions in humans. The types and severity of symptoms depend on the types of mold present. It also depends on how you are exposed to it. In addition, your age and existing sensitivities.
According to studies, there are some mold species that cause spores to produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. These mycotoxins have more than 200 variations. There are many more needing to be identified still. Molds containing mycotoxins are more commonly found in moisture damage commercial buildings and in certain environmental conditions.
The EPA has indicated “many symptoms and human health effects attributed to the inhalation of mycotoxins including mucous membrane irritation, skin rash, nausea, immune system suppression, acute or chronic liver damage, acute or chronic central nervous system damage, endocrine effects, and cancer. More studies are needed to get a clear picture of the health effects related to most mycotoxins. However, it is clear you should avoid exposure to molds and mycotoxins. If you have any of these symptoms, it may be from mold in your house. These symptoms are irritated eyes, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, sneezing, and irritated throat.
If you suspect they have a mold problem, do not hesitate to give Commercial Cleaning & Restoration a call at 520-297-4736.
Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/mold/append_b.html
Mold. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/molds/