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An In-Depth Look At Toxic Household Mold & The Science Behind It

An In-Depth Look At Mold

Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. For those that are unaware, a filament is a slender, threadlike object which is usually found in animals or plants. This is different from yeast because yeast is a fungus that can adopt a single-celled growth habit. Molds are a huge and genetically diverse member of the fungal species. Their growth symptoms usually include some discoloration and a fuzzy look to them, which is more common on food. The system of this tube shaped branching hyphae is called a mycelium and considered to be one single organism. The hyphae are usually see through, so the mycelium appears as very vivid, fluffy white threads over the surface.

Biology of Mold

There are tens of thousands of known species of molds. All of which have very distinct lifestyles including saprotrophs, mesophiles, psychrophiles and thermophiles and very few ambitious pathogens of people. All of them require moisture or humidity for growth and some species even live in aquatic habitats. Like all fungi, molds get their energy not through photosynthesis, but rather from the organic matter on which they reside, utilizing heterotrophy. In general, molds release hydrolytic enzymes. These enzymes deteriorate intricate biopolymers such as starches, cellulose, and lignin into more basic substances which can be absorbed by the hyphae.

Molds play a major role in causing the breaking down of organic material, which in turn enables the recycling of nutrients and energy throughout ecosystems. Molds can also grow on stored food for animals and humans, making the food inedible or toxic. Due to this, molds are a major source of food losses and illness. Many methods and techniques used for food preservation are attempts to prevent or slow mold growth as well as the growth of other microbes.

How Does Mold Reproduce?

Molds procreate by creating a large number of small spores, which may have either a single nucleus or be multinucleate. Mold spores can be either asexual, which is referred to as mitosis, or sexual, which is referred to as meiosis. Many types of mold can produce both types. There are some molds which produce small, hydrophobic spores that are genetically mutated for wind scattering and can remain airborne for long periods of time. In other molds, the cell walls are darkly colored, this provides them with resistance to damage by ultraviolet radiation. Other mold spores have slimy coats and are more suitable for water scattering. Mold spores are usually spherical single cells, but can also be multicellular and have different shapes. Spores may stick to your clothing or even animal fur and there are some which are able to survive extremes of temperature and pressure.

The Texture of Mold

The dusty look of the different kinds of molds is caused by the excessive production of asexual spores called conidia. They’re formed by the ends of the tubular hyphae. The type of shape and formation of these spores is commonly used to distinguish and classify the molds. A significant amount of these spores are colored, thus making the fungus stick out a lot more to the human eye at this stage in its life.

Roles of Molds

Molds induce the biodegradation of natural materials, which can be frowned upon especially when it comes to food spoilage or property damage. Molds also play important roles in biotechnology and food science in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, and enzymes. Some diseases that animals and humans extract can be an effect of exposure to certain molds. The disease may come from allergic sensitivity to mold spores, or from the growth of pathogenic molds within the body, or from the effects of consumed or inhaled toxic compounds made by the mold.

Mold Colonies

In environments created by man, such as buildings, the humidity and temperature are often consistent enough to induce the growth and expansion of mold colonies. The colonies are commonly seen as a fuzzy or furry layer growing on food or other natural surfaces. Even though molds can grow on dead organic matter anywhere in nature, their presence is only visible to the naked eye when they form fat colonies. A mold colony does not consist of secretive organisms but instead is an interconnected network of hyphae called a mycelium.

Mold Adaptability

Very few molds can begin growing at temperatures of 39 °F or lower, so food is generally refrigerated at this temperature. When conditions do not permit their growth to take place, some molds can remain alive in a dormant, sleeping state. This is depending on the kind of species it is and can occur within a wide range of temperatures. The numerous different mold species vary tremendously in their tolerance to temperature and humidity conditions. There are certain molds that can survive harsh conditions such as the ice-covered soils of Antarctica.

Then, of course, there are the kinds of mold that can survive other conditions. Some can survive refrigeration, very acidic solvents, antibacterial soap and even petroleum products such as jet fuel. Xerophilic fungi are fungi that can thrive in environments with very low water levels. Xerophilic molds are able to grow in a relatively dry, salty, or sugary environment, where water pH levels are less than 0.85, meanwhile, other molds require more moisture.

Moldy Foods

There are specific mold groups meant for various studies. The Kōji molds are a group of Aspergillus species that have been cultured in eastern Asia for many centuries. These types of mold are used to ferment a soybean and wheat mixture to make soybean paste and soy sauce. Koji molds break down the starch in rice, barley, sweet potatoes, and more. This is a process called saccharification, which is also used in the production of sake, shōchū, and other distilled spirits.

Red rice yeast is a product of the mold Monascus purpureus grown on rice and is common in Asian diets. A study has shown that red rice yeast used as a dietary supplement, combined with fish oil and healthy lifestyle changes, may help reduce “bad” cholesterol as effectively as certain commercial statin drugs. There are even some sausages, such as salami, that integrate starter cultures of molds to help improve flavor and minimize bacterial spoilage during curing. Penicillium nalgiovense, for example, may appear as a powdery white coating on some varieties of dry-cured sausage.

Go With The Pros!

If you suspect mold anywhere in your home, call Restoration USA for a free home evaluation. Call (866) 745-6428 or visit online at http://www.restorationusa.com for 24/7 emergency response to any questions you may have!

The Dangers Of DIY Restoration – Mold Removal & Water Damage Restoration

Wrong Equipment

First of all, there are tons of supplies and equipment needed in order to properly remove the mold from your home. Just to name a few, some supplies you’ll be needing include air filtration devices. These get strategically placed inside the work area and are usually vented out through a window to create negative air pressure. This helps you make sure that no outside particles are entering the work area during the removal process.

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Restoration USA Tips: What Goes Into A Mold Inspection?

Mold coming into the home is never a pleasure to deal with. There are numerous causes that cause mold to accrue; as well as a slew of problems. With the risks that come from potential mold infestation, it is best to get it taken care as quickly as possible. It is also good to know what will be carried out when a team comes to the home.

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Back To School Mold: The Potential Dangers of Children Being Exposed To Mold

School is starting up and children are our future. We love seeing the little ones running around, learning new skills and taking on new hobbies. What we don’t want, is to jeopardize the health of the kids. Mold can be something that hinders the path of our children. The harmful effects need to be known and mold remediation is a necessity.

The Mystery

Effects of mold are more known now than ever. That doesn’t mean everyone is safe or really knows what is happening in their homes. It is pretty difficult to determine whether or not symptoms are tied to mold, especially if the possibility of it isn’t thought of.

Mold produces tiny spores that not only trigger growth but also diminish the quality of the air. When humans are exposed to these spores, they can be inhaled and cause neutral allergic reactions that the body uses as a defense mechanism against foreign objects. Reactions to mold are different from person to person, which makes it hard to gauge what the symptoms are from. Children are among the most prone to the negative effects of mold, and the severity depends on what type of mold, the amount of exposure, and proximity of the mold to their daily routines.

Here are different symptoms children may experience when mold is in your home:

Skin Irritation

Black mold poses a threat to the skin. When spores enter the body through the skin, irritation, itching, and rashes are a definite possibility. This is much more prevalent in children because they often times are more hands on. Younger kids like to touch everything and this gives mold direct access to their skin.

Eye Irritation

On average, people touch their face 3,000 times a day. 3,000! With such a large number, it is no surprise that mold can get close to, if not in, the eyes of our little angels. When mold comes in contact with eye cells, it can cause inflammation and create vision problems. Itchy, watery, bloodshot, soreness, and puffy eyes all accompany the presence of mold. Along with that, blurred vision can come into play and that is not something we want, especially for our children.

Respiratory Problems

Studies have shown that living in a mold infested home correlates to respiratory issues in children. Different problems may arise when inhaling mold spores like these:

  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itchy nose
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Other flu-like symptoms

Kids with asthma are even more at risk for problems when the mold is combating their immune system. Mold can trigger more frequent attacks and exasperate the lung disease.

Black mold, in particular, can cause burning sensations in the nasal cavity, throat, and mouth. If spores get lodges in any of the sinuses and mucus membranes, it can lead to severe breathing problems, bleeding in lungs, and even death.

 Neurological Problems

The trichothecene mycotoxins in black mold do more than just affect the airways, skin, and eyes. If it wasn’t already bad enough, black mold spores can kill neurons and impair brain functions. This can cause mood swings, nervous disorders, and irritability. Common neurological problems include:

  • Slowed reflexes
  • Dizziness
  • headaches/migraines
  • Memory loss
  • Depression and anxiety
  • confusion/disorientation
  • Shortened attention span
  • Numbness
  • trembling/shaking

Problems like this can really hinder a child’s ability to develop. Learning and partaking in hobbies can stall. With even just one of these problems, there is a constant crisis on a kid’s growth in school and in their childhood.

Black Mold In The Bloodstream

When black mold finds its way into the bloodstream, vascular and circulatory problems may occur like irregular heartbeat, heart damage, inflammation in the heart, low blood pressure, too much or too little clotting,  and internal/external hemorrhaging.

Other Possible Problems

A number of other issues can affect your children due to the exposure of mold:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Weakness and general discomfort

How Does Mold Grow And What Can Be Done About It?

Mold requires little water to survive. In fact, just a little bit of moisture can cause mold to thrive and create an infestation. With tropical weather conditions, Florida is always at risk for mold. Problems skyrocket in some seasons too. School starts in the midst of hurricane season and this is when the mold is very much in power.

Small cracks and poor construction quality can let water in with ease. Within 48 hours, mold can already get a hold on life and move in. More time and more water can allow mold to spread around the home and get into areas that make matters worse. As mold spreads to air ducts, the fans will blow spores all over the house and allow it to latch onto furniture and other areas that are not confined to the walls.

How can you know when you have a mold problem? For starters, there are some easy baseline guides to discover an infestation. Musky earthy smells come from mold, so if your home has a very unpleasant smell, it can be a sign. Another routine check is to inspect the walls. Look for blotches or streaks of discoloration. Mold can cause the walls and other components to turn gray, black and even green. In this instance, your problem is already bigger than you might think.

Getting Rid Of Mold

Areas that are most commonly wet, like showers, are classified as a one man job. Some store-bought cleaners and sanitizers may be all you need to fix this. But when mold spread around to other areas of the home and is in larger quantities, cleaning it yourself may actually do more harm than good. Spraying and scrubbing these areas can cause mold to spread around as well as fling into the air.

When this occurs, it is best to leave this task to the professionals. It is good to know what your plan of action will be and making a call to a restoration company should be a part of it. Restoration USA is ready to help you tackle this job.

Making The Call

Calling is the first step of the process. This initial call is vital and lets us know what we will be coming to when we arrive on site. Other information in this call may include:

  • The full name of the property owner
  • Contact information
  • Homeowner’s  or property insurance policy information
  • The street address that the property is located at
  • More general information on the look/smell of the mold, or why you suspect mold may be in the property

Keeping these details on hand will make the call much smoother. Once a team arrives, we will take a look at the property and evaluate it. We will take into account any banned materials like asbestos insulation and lead paint. Removing these hazardous materials is a must.

When we are done with the inspection, we will gauge the cost and work directly with your insurance company so you can get back to your busy schedule.

Removing mold will be our next step. Restoration USA uses IICRC approved equipment to get this underway. We will remove affected areas of the home and dispose of them properly. Then we will implement our industrial air scrubbers to clean the air, and other areas that can’t be reached by hand – spores like to get into every nook and cranny.

After the mold is completely removed the smells will be taken care of with the further use of our air scrubbers. To combat nasty aromas even further, we will deodorize and sanitize the home and rid it of these smells completely.

 Go With The Pros!

Restoration USA knows how important your children are to you. We want to keep everyone safe and get them back to healthy living. With over 25 years of service, we know the ins and outs of mold remediation. We will work at your convenience and set up times that best fit into your schedule. Our team is ready to assist you at any time. We know that problems need to be compromised as soon as possible, so we offer 24 hour emergency service. If you notice any of these symptoms in your children, yourself, or anyone else in the home, give us a call at (866)-745-6428 or fill out the contact form on our mold removal page. Let your kids blossom and eliminate mold as quickly as possible; problems grow exponentially as time goes on so don’t wait it out!

Restoration USA Tips: Mold Growth at Home & The Dangers Of DIY Mold Removal

In the tropical environment of Florida, conditions tend to be humid and damp. This is welcoming to many things – among them being mold. Mold thrives in areas with elevated moisture and this goes for your home or business. Formation of mold can have a variety of effects such as dirty aromas, ugly displays of color on walls and floors, and even worse, health hazards. Though some people are less sensitive and even not affected by mold much, others face huge threats.

People who are prone to problems from mold experience feats like stuffy noses, eye irritation, coughing or wheezing, and sometimes have itchy, dry skin reactions. These risks are elevated even greater to those who may be allergic or have some sort of compromised immune system. People who have lung diseases may come face to face with serious infections. In order to prevent these hazards, avoiding areas that are possibly manifested by mold is needed.

When mold makes its way into the home, it must be taken care of as soon as possible before it spreads. With the possibility of worsening, people who are handy may try to take matters into their own hands. Restoration USA would advise against this. Removing mold is a job best left to experienced professionals.

Mold Versus The Human Body

Mold can trigger many bodily issues. For many, especially those allergic to mold, asthma can worsen and also induce asthma attacks. Your skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs are not safe either. Mold can create a painful irritation that may feel like burning. Along with this, inhaled mold can cause illnesses to these areas that may be sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rash and lung infections or even pneumonitis. Other problems that come about from mold contact are athlete’s foot and yeast infections.

To lower your risk while being in a moldy area, it is recommended to wear gloves and avoid touching mold or moldy areas. Use protective goggles and masks that block out exposure to the face. And a great thing is to use fans, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners that you have to reduce moisture in the air.

An example of extensive mold growth in a Pompano Beach bathroom.

An example of extensive mold growth in a Pompano Beach bathroom.

Calling a Professional

The previous tips are definitely a good starter action, but these are not to be relied upon to stay safe. Mold remediation is a must have and Restoration USA is glad to provide the services.

What are the benefits of calling Restoration USA?

Health Risks: As we now know, mold can create numerous ailments to your body. Our team is trained to be safe with mold remediation and we will keep you away from contact.

Intensive Checks: Trying to clean mold may seem easy, but it is exactly doing so that can worsen your problem. When scrubbing and cleaning, you will create mold agitation. This is when particles of mold will be moved around and flung into the air without detection, which easily provides a means of spreading for mold.

Personal Private Eye: Restoration USA will be the detectives in your case. Not only will we help remove mold, but we will find the cause. It is always most effective to find out where the problem stems from to prevent the chances of another outbreak

When removing mold, it is best to call Restoration USA. With over 25 years of experience, and state of the art equipment, we will solve your mold issue in no time. Trying to remove mold yourself can do more harm than good, so give us a call at (866) 745-6428. In the case of an emergency, our lines are open 24/7. Don’t let your problems get worse — after all, your health is a priority.

Restoration USA Mold Removal Tips: Top 8 Hidden Hot-spots For Mold Growth

When mold grows indoors it can harm people, pets, and property. The potential dangers that mold brings is something that should be common knowledge for any home owner. Dark, moist areas like basements and crawl spaces are the areas that most people expect mold to show its ugly face. Unfortunately, mold has been known to show up in areas that people would never imagine. Here are some of the more uncommon areas to harbor mold:

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Mold And Mildew: What’s The Difference?

Dark, dank conditions are the perfect breeding ground for both mold and mildew. Most people know that mold is not only hazardous to your health and personal belongings, but it can also cause serious damage to the structural integrity of your house. Read more

Why And How To Get Mold Removed Professionally

Mold is something that can be dangerous to many people. In fact, 1 in 4 people are genetically disposed to mold, which means the fungi makes them experience the symptoms of an allergic reaction. A stuffy nose, scratchy throat, and irritated skin are just a few of the health problems that can come hand in hand with the growth of mold. Infants are especially susceptible to experiencing health issues from mold. A study posted by Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology links development of chronic inflammation in an infant’s lung airways to mold. This chronic inflammation can lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing. Check out this earlier post from our blog to learn more about the potential health risks accompanying mold. Read more