What are molds?
Molds are tiny microscopic organisms that digest organic matter and reproduce by releasing spores. Molds are a type of fungi and there are over 100,000 species. In nature, mold helps decompose or break-down leaves, wood and other plant debris. Molds become a problem when they go where they are not wanted and digest materials such as our homes. Moisture control is the key to mold control. Molds need both food and water to survive; since molds can digest most things, water is the factor that limits mold growth. Molds will often grow in damp or wet areas indoors. Common sites for indoor mold growth include bathroom tile, basement walls, areas around windows where moisture condenses, and near leaky water fountains or sinks. Common sources or causes of water or moisture problems include roof leaks, deferred maintenance, condensation associated with high humidity or cold spots in the building, localized flooding due to plumbing failures or heavy rains, slow leaks in plumbing fixtures, and malfunction or poor design of humidification systems.
What are Mycotoxins?
Molds can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. Some mycotoxins cling to the surface of mold spores; others may be found within spores. More than 200 mycotoxins have been identified from common molds, and many more remain to be identified. Some of the molds that are known to produce mycotoxins are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings. Exposure pathways for mycotoxins can include inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. Although some mycotoxins are well known to affect humans and have been shown to be responsible for human health effects, for many mycotoxins, little information is available. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals.
Symptoms due to mycotoxins containing airborne spores (particularly those of Stachybotrys chartarum) include dermatitis, recurring cold and flu-like symptoms, burning sore throat, headaches and excessive fatigue, diarrhea, and impaired or altered immune function.
What are MVOC’s?
If you smell a musty-earthy odor, but don’t see it, chances are you are breathing a high dose of varying molds (aka microbial volatile organic compounds MVOC’s). Some compounds produced by molds are volatile and are released directly into the air, thus are known as microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs). Because these compounds often have strong and/or unpleasant odors, they can be the source of odors associated with molds. Exposure to MVOCs from molds has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. MVOC’s are composed of low molecular weight alcohols, aldehydes, amines, ketones, terpenes, aromatic and chlorinated hydrocarbons, and sulfur-based compounds, all of which are variations of carbon-based molecules. MVOC’s oftentimes have strong odors and are responsible for the offensive odors such as cat urine, old cheese, dirty socks or locker room smell are associated with mold and bacterial growth.
How to test my office or home for Molds, Mycotoxins and MVOCs?
DIY IAQ testing at your home or workplace is easy at IndoorAirTest. Tests for Mycotoxins, Molds, Allergens, Volatile Organic Compounds, Formaldehyde and many other pollutants and contaminants can be purchased directly from the manufacturer or one of the many fine distributors e.g. Grainger, Ferguson Supply, Johnstone Supply, Hunter Fans, etc… , visit us on line at www.indoorairtest.com or call us at 800-422-7873 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting ext 804 or 404. For an online catalog visit: IndoorAirTest (click link).
If you are not the DIY type and want a professional assessment of you building or home you can call the expert industrial hygienists/building scientists at Pure Air Control Services 1-800-422-7873 ext 802.
About Building Health Check, LLC
Building Health Check sets the industry standard for IAQ DIY kits, testing equipment, and laboratory analysis. Building Health Check has affiliations with EDLab and Accustar Labs.
Building Health Checks, LLC’s expanding client roster includes: WW Grainger, Hunter Fans, Progressive Insurance, USACE, Southern California Schools JPA, VA Medical Center, Broward General Healthcare, General Services Administration (GSA); Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; and, CB Richard Ellis and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Building Health Check, LLC the reliable industry leader in DIY IAQ testing.
For more information on Building Health Check, LLC contact us at (800) 422-7873 ext. 404 or 804 or visit http://www.indoorairtest.com.
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