It is that time of month here in Arizona. You guessed it…. MOLD! After our summer monsoons have come to an end and our lovely heat steadily rises once again into the triple digits, the added moisture in the air mixes with the heat to produce our peak mold season.
What is mold you ask? According to Occupational Safety & Healthy Administration (OSHA), mold is classified as types of fungi that are naturally found in the environment year-round and produce millions of spores, which are invisible to the naked eye (“Mold”, n.d.). Research shows that there are thousands of different species types and, depending on the type of mold, 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 propagate and continue reproducing tiny spores.
Mold is attracted to wet or damp areas indoors, with humidity being an added bonus. Once a surface becomes wet or damp, mold will grow within 24-48 hours once the environment is conducive enough. 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 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings” (2012), “all molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, toxins that may cause reactions in humans. The types and severity of symptoms depend, in part, on the types of mold present, the extent of an individual’s exposure, the ages of the individuals, and their existing sensitivities or allergies (para. 5).
According to studies, there are some mold species that cause spores to produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, with more than 200 variations of mycotoxins being identified and many more needing to be identified. Molds containing mycotoxins are more commonly found in moisture damage commercial buildings and in certain environmental conditions.
The EPA’s “Mold Remediation In Schools And Commercial Buildings” (2012) 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 clearly prudent to avoid exposure to molds and mycotoxins (para. 15). More common symptoms of molds found within households, depending on existing sensitivities, are irritated eyes, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, sneezing, and irritation to the throat and skin.
If you or anyone you know suspects they have a mold problem, do not hesitate to give your mold remediation experts, 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/