Can Mold Make You Sick?

Updated: Jan 19

SERVPRO of Denver West specializes in mold remediation, whether it’s caused by flooding, neglect, or simply the passage of time.

Their team is trained to identify molds of all varieties, whether the mold is just taking hold or it’s been lurking in the crawl spaces for years.

At its best, mold is a nuisance that can be fairly quickly dealt with using the right tools and solvents. At its worst, mold can overtake entire indoor areas, requiring extensive demolishing and replacement of structural support.

For home and business owners who are concerned with mold, the question can arise, “Can mold make you sick?”. This is a reasonable question to ask, because a small amount of common mold may not hold an especially significant health risk. However, other mold strains—regardless how much there is—can be potentially toxic for some people.

In this blog post, we’re going to tackle the topic of mold toxicity, and we’re going to give you some things to think about if you’re concerned with protecting your health from the damaging effects of mold.

Not All Molds Are Created Equal

First of all, we want to draw the distinction between the two kinds of molds that exist in the world: those that occur naturally, outside of man-made structures, and those molds that often propagate indoors and are unwelcome visitors.

Outdoor molds actually play an important role in the health of our environment. Without them, many natural processes would slow or stop altogether, and trillions of biologically useful organisms would die as a result.

Many strains of indoor molds that can be potentially toxic to humans include:

Fusarium. Fusarium mold is very common in places that are cold and damp, much like most of Colorado can be during the fall, winter, and spring months. Fusarium mold can cause allergic reactions and, in some cases, inflammation of the respiratory system.

Stachybotrys Chartarum. This is the commonly termed ‘black mold’ that grows in wet areas that aren’t properly disinfected. This mold is potentially toxic due to its secretions of something called ‘mycotoxins’—microscopic substances that are released into the air. Inhaling the mycotoxins released by Stachybotrys Chartarum can result in systemic health conditions including depression, infections, and asthma attacks.

Aureobasidium. Aureobasidium mold loves to grow on industrial adhesives. This means you’re likely to find this mold growing behind old wallpaper, in areas of heavy caulking, and on wooden surfaces fused together with putty or wood glue. Old, wooden furniture that hasn’t been professionally cleaned in years can exhibit signs of Aureobasidium mold infestation, which can be identified as pink and black blotches.

Trichoderma. Trichoderma species of mold, often called ‘trich’ or ‘trick’, is common, green mold. This is the mold strain that is most likely to form on old bread. Trichoderma is not highly toxic, and most humans can ingest small amounts of it and be fine. However, for those with compromised immune systems, this kind of mold can be especially harmful.

This is just a brief list, and there are even more mold strains and species that could very well find their way into your Colorado home or business.

What to Do about Mold

The best way to prevent mold is to keep indoor areas dry and clean.

However, even the most ardent cleaning efforts may sometimes come up short in the fight against mold.

When you locate mold, it’s best to conduct a thorough cleaning of the entire area. This involves:

1. Sealing off the affected area so mold spores don’t travel to other areas of the building.

2. Using warm water mixed with a household cleaning detergent that is antifungal and antibacterial.

3. Treating exposed surfaces to diluted bleach.

4. Repeating steps two and three enough times to ensure that the mold is completely eliminated.

In some cases, prolonged neglect and/or certain weather events can cause mold to grow into a problem that simple house cleaning cannot remedy. When this happens, it’s time to call SERVPRO of Denver West.

Their team of mold remediation experts will conduct a thorough appraisal of your mold problem and determine what the best next steps are to return the area to normal. Often, just one or two visits are needed to adequately treat a serious mold problem. In other cases, they can work with you to develop a treatment schedule that will minimize disruption to your home or business.

If you have a mold problem, we recommend addressing it sooner than later. If left untreated, mold can exponentially develop into a potentially toxic disaster.

To learn more, call SERVPRO of Denver West 303-576-6868

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