Water Damage and Mold | Part 3

Spore Exposure – Health Effects
Some byproducts are produced during the normal life cycle of the mold. One group is called mycotoxins (commonly referred to as toxic mold). A mold may produce one or more of them. They can be found inside and outside the spore.

Mycotoxins can be toxic, cancer-causing and suppress the immune system. They are not produced by all mold although mold related to water damaged structures such as stachybotrus chartarum, aspergillus versicolor and tricoderma do produce them.

Mycotoxin (toxic mold) exposure symptoms may include:

  • Runny nose
  • Asthma
  • Skin rash
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Memory loss
  • Lung bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Fragile blood vessels
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Depression

Infections may also result due to mold exposure.

MVOCs
MVOCs (microbial volatile organic compounds) produced by mold as part of its life cycle is a waste byproduct that is evident through off-gassing. It’s an indicator of past and present unacceptable indoor air quality (IAQ). Dirt crawlspaces commonly have MVOCs present.

Most MVOCs are considered to be irritants that are specific to a certain mold organism and are largely associated with water damage type molds such as penicillium, aspergillus, fusarium and alternaria.

Benefits of Mold
When we said that “mold has been around forever…it’s part of everyday life and our environment,” it’s more than just the damage and health effects that it can cause. It can also have positive benefits as well. It’s used to produce food items such as mushrooms, soy sauce, yeast bread, cheese, beer and wine.

Mold can also be made into antibiotics such as penicillin, cyclosporine A and anti-cancer drugs. Mold is instrumental in degrading waste in landfills and compost.

If you suspect that you have mold in your home or business, make sure to contact a certified mold remediation contractor. Only certified professionals should perform mold removal.