Mold can cause adverse reactions in humans. There are various entry routes that may allow mold egress into the body.
The human respiratory system is comprised of your nose, mouth, lungs, trachea, and esophagus. The human nose contains cilia (tiny hairs) and mucous membranes which are designed to catch foreign objects and prevent them from entering further into the respiratory system. The trachea works in a similar manner to catch foreign objects. The lungs contain bronchioles which then lead to many small air sacks. These air sacks distribute air into your blood stream. Mold can cause sneezing, excess mucous production, stuffy sinusitis, and other unpleasant affects. Some mycotoxins (toxins produced by some molds) can cause bleeding lungs and nose. Mold can also be ingested through the mouth down the esophagus into the stomach.
The brain, spinal cord, and nerves comprise the human nervous system. Your brain interprets the feedback from the nerves via our senses and processes this information. Humans then react to this information and behavior in a particular manner. The spinal cord is the information relay center. The medulla also controls breathing and heartbeat. Some nerves communicate sensory information while others help your muscles move a certain direction. Mold can cause memory loss, tremors, numbness, and profound mood or personality changes.
The heart, blood, and blood vessels comprise the human vascular system. The heart pumps blood throughout the body via arteries, vessels, and capillaries. Arteries take blood away from the heart and veins bring the blood back to the heart. Infection caused by sufficient mold exposure can also adversely change white cells counts while a person is ill.
Skin is the largest organ in the human body and prevents the entry of germs into open tissue. The skins is comprised of 3 layers: the dermis (middle layer), epidermis (top layer), and subcutaneous fat (protective layer). Mold can cause skin rashes, swelling, welts, itching, and pain. People react differently to the same/similar exposure level and time. In addition, repeat exposure to mold can cause some people’s bodies to become even more reactive with each additional exposure.
The Health Effects of Mold Exposure can be as follows:
Stachybotyrs, Fusarium, Aspergillus, and Penicillium can cause memory loss, joint paint, headaches, fatigue, and depression. Aflavatoxin B from Aspergillus Flavus mold is one of the most potent cancer causing agents and can adversely affect pulmonary macrophage production. Mold toxins are dangerous and can cause cancer, and suppress the immune system, damage the liver, lungs, and other organs. Some toxins are mutagenic and can actually change the genetic code resulting in birth defects
Mold’s effect on human health can be worse on immuno compromised patients such as those with HIV, the elderly, terminally or seriously ill patients (cancer patients), or ther very young. Top^
Individuals react differently to mold exposure. There is no set dose/time formula or relationship. In addition, in some individuals repeat exposure can cause an increasingly adverse reaction. It is best to avoid mold exposure or to use the proper PPE (such as the proper fit tested mold rated cartridged respirator) and to get a mold problem correctly promptly. Never let water stand without without cleanup within 24-48 hours or to let high humidity levels go unchecked. Remember, the cause of the moisture intrusion must be fixed or the problem will recur.
Mold’s effect on health can also be severe if there is a single heavy exposure. This is know as Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS). Symptoms of ODTS include the quick onset of flu like symptoms and fever. This is mostly found among farm( exposure to larger amounts of moldy grains) and mold remediation workers. Top^
It is always best to minimize/Avoid Mold Exposure
In a moldy environment, a respirator with cartridges rated for mold and properly fit tested is essential. Cartridges must be regularly changes or changed when it is getting a bit harder to breather through. Sometimes people inadvertently get some mold exposure and use allergy shots or pills to mask the problem but it is always best to avoid the exposure. During a mold remediation, containment areas are set up to avoid cross contamination and sometimes building occupants are relocated until the mold remediation project is completed. If a person feels ill or has a health concern it is best to consult a physician.
Mold can have adverse health consequences and also degrade cellulose based materials and property so it is essential for remediators to follow the EPA Guidelines. Remediators assess a project risk and perform pre and post mold remediation testing to understand the levels and types of mold to be dealt with and on a comparative basis to assist in determining project closure. The EPA Guidelines set project size containment guidelines, use of proper safety gear, HEPA vacuuming, use of negative air processes, mold testing , and basic rules for the remediation. Remember it is most important to fix the source of the moisture problem and then to remediate the project following the EPA Guidelines and any applicable state regulations.
The EPA Guidelines dictate how a mold remediation project is to be conducted to ensure the safety of occupants and the mold remediation crew. The heath effects mold can have on humans are the reason mold remediators conduct a risk assessment and perform mold testing. Containment, proper safety gear, negative air machines, HEPA filtration systems, mold testing, and the actual cleaning work are methods used to ensure the environment is properly remediated. Remember, until the original source of the moisture problem is fixed mold can continue to grow.
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