Article by David Selter
Will mold in my house make me sick?
This is not a simple question to answer since there are more than 100,000 different kinds of mold in nature with more than 30 types commonly found indoors. The reaction to them depends on the individual and how much mold is present. The very young and old, and people with compromised immune systems, or who are very allergic to molds, are more at risk. People are exposed to small amounts of mold or mold spores on a daily basis without evident harm. However mold inside a home that is found at greater levels than it is naturally found outside may present potential health risks to the occupants and should be remediated. Mold remediation is regulated by the State of Texas and with some exceptions, mold removal from a building can only be performed by a licensed mold remediation company.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the most common effects of mold are allergic reactions – respiratory problems such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath. And symptoms reported by people living in moldy homes include: eye irritation, coughing or throat irritation, skin rashes or irritation, headaches, and fatigue.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (The CDC) says that for people who are more sensitive to molds, exposure can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds who are exposed to large amounts of mold, may have more severe reactions that 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.
What are the most common molds found in homes?
Some of the molds that tend to show up after mold testing in homes with high levels of mold are: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Alternaria, Cladosporium, and the notorious Stachybotrys. Cladosporium and Stachybotrys are commonly associated with mold growth from untreated long term moisture problems in a building. Stachybotrys is associated with producing toxins called mycotoxins that have been blamed for a number of health problems.
Can the company I call for mold testing also do the mold cleanup for me?
The Texas Department of State Health Services licenses contractors as mold assessment companies, and/or mold remediation companies. Even if a company obtains both licenses, the state forbids the same company from doing the mold testing and the mold removal on the same job. This would be a conflict of interest. Since the mold assessment company does the final inspection, testing, and clearance, they would in effect be inspecting their own work. There would be no third party to protect the property owner’s interest.
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