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ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
ACTIVITY of MOLD in BUILDINGS
AGE of MOLD - Old is the Mold?
AIR CLEANER PURIFIER TYPES
AIR FILTERS for HVAC SYSTEMS
AIR TEST SAMPLING CASSETTE STUDY
AIRBORNE MOLD COUNT NUMBER GUIDE
AIRBORNE PARTICLE ANALYSIS METHODS
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
BROWN HAIRY BATHROOM MOLD
BIBLIOGAPHY for ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, MOLD, IAQ
BLACK MOLD, HARMLESS COSMETIC
BLACK MOLD, TOXIC & ALLERGENIC
BLEACHING MOLD, Advice about
BOOK MOLD, Moldy Book Cleaning
BOOKSTORE - ENVIRONMENTAL
CACTUS FUNGI / MOLD
CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPET PADDING ASBESTOS, MOLD, ODORS
CARPET FUNGICIDAL SPRAY
CARPET STAIN DIAGNOSIS
CARPET & other STAIN TESTS
CARPET TEST PROCEDURE
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CHAIN OF CUSTODY - TEST SAMPLE
CLEARANCE INSPECTIONS - MOLD CLEANUP
DIRECTORY of MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS
DIRT FLOOR MOLD CONTAMINATION
DISINFECTANTS & SANITIZERS, SOURCES
DISINFECTING BUILDINGS with BLEACH
DO-IT-YOURSELF MOLD CLEANUP WARNINGS
DUST ANALYSIS for FIBERGLASS
DUST, HVAC CONTAMINATION STUDY
EFFLORESCENCE, Salts & White / Brown Deposits
FEAR of MOLD - MYCOPHOBIA
Fiberboard Insulation Sheathing Mold
FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
FIND MOLD, ESSENTIAL STEPS
MOLD in BUILDINGS
FIRE DAMAGE vs MOLD DAMAGE
FLOODS IN BUILDINGS-mold
FOXING STAINS on books & papers
FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE GUIDE
GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS & STANDARDS
GAS TEST PROCEDURES
HOUSE DUST ANALYSIS
HOUSE DUST COMPONENTS
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
LAB PROCEDURES MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES
LIGHT, GUIDE to FORENSIC USE
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MICROSCOPE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MICROSCOPE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
MILDEW ERRORS, IT's MOLD
MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOLD
MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE
MVOCs & MOLDY MUSTY ODORS
MYCOPHOBIA, STAINS MISTAKEN for MOLD
MYCOTOXIN EFFECTS of MOLD EXPOSURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
RENTERS GUIDE TO MOLD & IAQ
ROBIGUS & Wheat Rust Fungus
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
STAINS on & in BUILDINGS, CAUSES & CURES
THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
UV LIGHT BLACK LIGHT USES
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
VOCs VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
WATER ENTRY in buildings
This Mold Related Illness Guide provides a broad index of reports of health complaints or symptoms, of Illnesses that are either caused, or aggravated by indoor mold exposure or alternatively, that were believed or suspected by individuals to have a role in their physical or mental health complaints.
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Broad classes of reactions to allergenic, pathogenic, or toxic mold, allergens, and other indoor gases or particles
Readers should see MOLD DOCTORS - ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE. Also see MOLD RELATED ILLNESS and Mold spores in the Home - a Photo ID Library for detection and identification of mold allergens on indoor building surfaces and for an atlas of building molds and for more microphotographs of building mold samples observed in our laboratory, see MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX. Readers may also see MOLD EXPOSURE STANDARDS.
Four Categories of Mold-Related Illnesses, Symptoms, or Complaints
In understanding how exposure to mold might cause or contribute to illnesses it is useful to distinguish among the meanings of the words allergenic, pathogenic, and toxic effects that exposure to something might explain.
This list of mold related illness symptoms and complaints is arranged alphabetically and begins just below. This list is a combination specific, diagnosed medical illnesses and other anecdotally reported complaints associated with mold in buildings. Research to establish a firm chain of causation between mold and other indoor particles (or other substances) and these complaints in many cases has not been completed.
We capitalize names of known medical conditions. While the following list may be of assistance to some readers researching this topic, it should by no means be considered as scientifically authoritative nor complete.
Some complaints are listed here without any solid medical evidence regarding causation, if the complaints have been expressed to us by people investigating mold-related illness or building mold contamination. Such data should be considered for research purposes and not medically authoritative.
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Alphabetic List of Mold Related Illnesses and Health Complaints, both Medical and Anecdotal - alphabetical
We are interested in adding to this list as well as providing succinct symptom lists associated with medically-diagnosed mold related illnesses. Suggestions and criticism are invited.
Warning: this MOLD RELATED ILLNESS SYMPTOMS list is a complaint list, not a medical document. It has not been peer-reviewed by the medical profession, and this list is not in any medical sense authoritative, nor can it be complete.
This mold-illness-symptoms & complaints list does, however, collect both substantiated mold-related-illness complaints and a wide sampling of the nature and range of other complaints from people who believe or fear that mold or similar exposure has been a factor in their physical or mental health, a general reference for individuals or physicians interested in reading the nature and range of these complaints that may or may not actually be building or environment-related.
Directories of 6 atlases or indices of building mold
Can Mold Make You Sick? We live in a sea of mold, and other stuff in the air we breathe, on cushions we sit on, clothes we wear, pools we swim-in, and so on. Most mold is not hurting anyone, and some of it makes us well when we're sick(Penicillium notatum, for example). Fear of mold (mycophobia) is unjustified and in our opinion, more a result of media hype, enviro-scare, and gouging consumers.
A healthy person walking through a room of moldy air is not likely to die. On the other hand, there is a wealth of less rigorous empirical data matching occupant complaints with indoor mold and allergens. Finally, for certain people, mold can be a serious problem if it's at high levels indoors. It's probably an overstatement by those authorities who assert that "... there are no proven links between mold and illness." we refer readers to some of our lab's references for descriptions of illness-related molds, some of which are found in buildings:
Alphabetic Index to Common Mold-related Illness Symptoms & Complaints
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about symptoms & complaints people voice after exposure to indoor mold, allergens, MVOCs, & possibly mycotoxins
Question: My house is killing me and I have many of the symptoms listed in the article above - how do we prove that we need to move out?
I don't know if anyone will read this or be able to help me, but this is a cry for help!
If your home is causing or contributing to illness among family members, you should consult your doctor, asking if s/he agrees that your complaints could be caused or aggravated by something in your environment. If the answer is yes, then see the MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE - article linked-to at Related Topics .
A combination of a medical expert's advice and a building environment expert's findings will make clear whether or not a problem in the home needs to be addressed. In my OPINION, even if you decided to move, it would be a travesty to leave a problem that could hurt the next occupants and could catch them by surprise.
Additional reader comments about Mold Related Illness Complaints from the U.S., Norway, & other locations
You need to tell him, that you will take your kids and move, even if to your mom...i have suffered and still do because i stayed 6 months in a moldy place! its insanely dangerous to your health!!! pack your bags and move out, and leave your stupid husband to leave alone in the house.
I felt sick myself the last 3months...i feel soooo weak,so sleepy and tired..got head ache and has fatigue syntoms..i just felt my health is failing...then yesterday i desided to move the bed i was sleeping for 4months and discover black molds around the corner of our bed....Now its cleaned up.I wonder if its is the reason for us feeling heavy in our body and sick most of the time..We are breathing in toxic air....we used to close our windows becouse its very cold here in Norway where we live...Now its summer..i must air the room..hoping we will feel much better. - Pridelin 6/7/11
i feel like my house is slowly killing me and my family. In the four years weve lived here, I have seen a greater frequency in illnesses in everyone. the intensity of preexisting conditions in each of us( dust allergies, ear, nose throat stuff, etc..)has risen to the point that its grossing us all out, because we know why were sicker than before. an inspector will have no problem determining the severity of it all ..this splendid old scandinavian home we love is just one hellish discovery after another.. we rennovate.. we try. it makes me so sad. sometimes the kids will just walk outside and say.."mom i feel so much better when im breathing outside air.." and i feel the same way. SO, we play outside... a lot. (its a good idea anyway.) :) - greenpeas 7/18/11
Take a look at the article MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE for help in deciding when it's apparently cost-justified to bring in an expert to help inspect and test a building for mold or other indoor environmental illness contributors or causes. Also be sure to get advice from your doctor on what sorts of environmental contaminants might be most likely to cause or aggravate the complaints you cite, so that focus starts with looking for those items.
Question: Does Mold Cause Cancer?
What type of cancer will you get from mold? - Karen 8/10/11
Question: Could Mold Cause Bronchial Infections? How do I get My Landlord to Respond?
I have repeated broncial infections and they do come and go...twice i the last three months..lasting about three weeks.. wheezing...mucus and cough..xray do not show any lung congestion but feel lousey..could mold cause this to occu? tired of the rerun..landlord said he would check it but has no homeowners insurance...can he fix it or should I get my renter insurance company involved? - Kathy U. 9/6/11
Kathy, if you search InspectAPedia for "What to Do About a Moldy Rental Apartment " or go directly to RENTERS & TENANTS GUIDE TO MOLD & INDOOR HAZARDS you'll find a series of articles in which we give advice to tenants faced with a mold problem.
Question: Complaint Against ServPro mold remediation company
For anyone who may call ServPro to clean up mold or do any kind of work involving mold, think again....they are the reason I am dealing with a problem that should have been taken care of 4 yrs ago.
They sent out a guy, first day on the job, to clean up some water damage that had mold, at the time, I had no idea this would make me as sick as it has done...they gave me no advice to not be in the house at the time of clean up, the guy was wiping the mold all over the bathroom, smearing it, got on carpet fibers, etc....the mold basically grew back because they did not do a thorough or professional job and I was none the wiser till a storm made more damage and mold rose to the surface of the floor...the bathroom is still at question and hasn't been checked yet, but I smell it there and suspect that it is also going to need to be dealt with..
this has been no small event, as I have been dealing with strange nasal problems that was also linked with body aches and fatigue....many doctors later, I realize that it was likely the mold, as I have been tested and am allergic to 4 types...
Just remember these companies are not as qualified as they would have us believe....never leave them to do a job unless there is a test to determine how well they cleaned it up...never allow a "new guy" to learn on your house.
And in general, do your homework, just because something is insurance covered, it does not mean you have no say in who and who does not come into your home....mold is something you cannot play around with, and if you do, plan for some medical bills....
To the woman whose husband is renting from his parents and don't want to move, to this: Look in the yellow pages for a good female attorney who handles divorce or separations, call, make an appt...go in there and just talk about your options for support....tell them simply, "if I stay with my husband, I am not sure how long my family will be here and healthy" ...your conditions may heed a fast court hearing to start family support...Do it for your children..neva look back - ICyourPoint 9/25/12
Reply: the expertise of individual franchisees may vary widely
Thanks for reporting your Serv - pro result and dissatisfaction. Having inspected and tested many mold remediation jobs I add that Serv Pro is a large franchise with considerable variation in skill level among franchisees. In my experience, having inspected and tested over three thousand building mold cleanup jobs, some mold remediation companies or franchisees are quite competent. Others ... Well ... A lot depends on having an expert job manager on site all during the work.
When you are dissatisfied with a contractor of any work you should first take yoru complaint to that company, personally, and in writing, to give them an opportunity to respond. If you remain dissatisfied and the company is a franchisee, you may also make your views known to the parent franchisor.
Question: Landlord won't install a sump pump, we purchased an air purifier to kill mold spores
Emily [see Q&A earlier in this series]: we are having the same issue. my son is renting the first floor of a duplex that is above a basement that floods on occasion. He's asked his landlord to install a sump pump and he has refused. Personally, I would move in with anyone who will have you until you get the environment tested.
You can go to either a Home Depot or a Lowes and pick up a mold test kit for $10 or under. Follow the instructions and if there is visible mold growing after 48 hrs, you can send it to a lab (which can cost $40.00) to have it analyzed. Results can take up to 3 weeks. In the meantime, purchase an air purifier that has a HEPA filter and one that kills mold spores....some are quite expensive and some are more responsible. We purchased the Honeywell brand - they come recommended by doctors. Be sure to order one or more to cover the square footage of your house - or you can carry them from room to room. See if your family feels better with them running - recommended to run 24 hrs per day. If your mold test results came back dangerously high - then report the findings to the EPA and your landlord will be forced to remediate the mold. But again, personally if I had a place to go - then GO.
Your husband most likely isn't getting as sick as you because he's out to work everyday and away from the poisons you are living in. Best of luck. - Lorettas 9/27/11
I meant to say some are quite expensive and some are more reasonable in price.
Reply: Sump pumps & "mold killing" air purifiers are incomplete band-aid approaches that are completely ineffective if there is a real mold problem in a building
Loretta, unfortunately your advice is not the best. Since 90 % of molds do not grow in any culture media whatsoever, your recommend mold test kit is 90 % wrong when you open the box. More, what might grow on a culture may not be the actual problem in the building.
Question: I think my apartment is dulling my mind
I think my apartment is dulling my mind! Several weeks ago, around the time when my 1960's buildingswitched from ac to heat, I felt acute respiratory symptoms. That subsided after a week or two, but I didn't want to spend too much time in my dry 14th floor condo. I think I'm only allergic to cats somehow, maybe dust or dust mites, and since my building is supposed to be pet free, I thought I was either imagining things or had a serious dust problem. So I cleaned the hell out of the place, still no good. I'm tired when I get home and these days, instead of recharging at home, I grow more tired. Daily, after some time at home, my blood feels hot, face feels flushed, lungs feel scorched, and I generally feel apathetic, lethargic, numb. But each of these things to such a minor degree as to make me question whether I'm imagining it; In aggregate, I have to think no. But I don't know where to begin to diagnose the problem.
- Psychosomatic 10/24/11
Ifound out that it coulsd be the mold that is around in the shower of my sisters house whom we stay with another times thes sores showed up was when we had to stay at friends for some months and they had mold also and these sores apperd also
But it does not effect no one else in the house but him do you think somthing could be going on with his body when he comes incontact with mold have you came across this problem before. - Latoya Clarke 11/17/11
Reply: See your doctor. Photos of Three Different-Appearing Mold-related Skin Rashes on People Not Suffering from Tinea
Our round mold rash on skin photo (above) illustrates a client who reported the onset of skin rashes that look like the one above following a do-it-yourself cleanup of a moldy home that included extensive exposure to Stachybotrys chartarum.
Some individuals who are particularly sensitive to certain airborne or direct-skin-contact molds have responded to mold exposure with this rash. It first appears as a small solid red spot, expands, and develops the pattern shown here and resembling (but most likely is not) a ringworm (Tinea) infection. Tinea is also a fungal infection by the way, caused by a fungus that lives on dead skin tissue, often the scalp, face, beard, body, hands, groin, nails, or feet.
Our next more widespread mold-related skin rash photo (left) shows the condition of one of our clients who, with her husband, insisted in doing their own "mold-cleanup and sorting" of very moldy contents of their home following a flood.
The client rapidly developed the rash on her head and neck (shown at left) after two days of cleanup work in an environment high in Aspergillus sp. and Stachybotrys chartarum that were disturbed during the cleaning operations.
Her husband, who had about the same exposure, suffered none of these symptoms.
Our round raised sigular rash shown in the photo at left appeared on the under-arm of a woman exposed to very high airborne molds, including Aspergillus sp. and Stachybotry chartarum while occuping the upper floor of a home whose moldy basement was being demolished with no dust control measures whatsoever.
Two dogs in the home became sick and a third died, apparently from the same mold exposure conditions. [Actually the "rash" shown at left looked to us like a mole that had been scratched - but it's your doctor who should evaluate this complaint.]
But any skin ailment is difficult to diagnose and it would be a mistake to assume we understand the cause, severity or cure of a rash without consulting an expert. I'd start by asking the doctor for a diagnosis, advice, and also whether or not the conditions in a building could cause or contribute to your son's complaint.
Also see the illnessess and complaints discussed in detail at MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX.
Question: I have been chronically ill for 5 years, others in my shop have left - chronic fatigue - is it a coincidence?
Hi. I have been cronicly Ill for 5 years 3 people that have worked in the same old shop as me have left because of the same symptoms ie cronic fatigue , sore joints and muscle problems , tiredness , pulsating under skin, cronic thirst, sleep problems leg movements, diguestion problems, constant burning under skin, constant burnig of the joints, night fevers, increased sence of smell, sensitive to smells and food alergys. Burning and swelling of hands and more. Would you say that this is coincidental or should we contact the owners of the store and get them to check the building out. Yours sincerely , maddy. 12/4/11
Reply: how to decide if further investigation of a building is appropriate
Maddy, even an experienced expert should be reluctant to guess at a building diagnosis by just a note or comment and without studying the building, interviewing the occupants and possibly performing some tests.
Question: After living in a moldy apartment I stopped having periods & started having ongoing infections, colds, & low-grade fever - I tested "positive" for mycotoxins
I lived in a basement apartment for a year which had obvious, visible mold growth in the bedroom. Right after I moved out I stopped having periods, have ongoing infections and colds, and have had a constant low-grade fever. Can this be related to my mold exposure? - Sarah H. 12/7/11
I was recently tested for mycrotoxins in my body. I tested positive for Tricothcene at 0.35 pph and positive for Ochratoxin 5 ppb. How serious is this and what medical treatment do I need to get rid of these mycrotoxins. I feel extremely sick internally..also I am having a hard time finding a doctor with enough knowledge of mycrotoxins such as
Sarah these are questions you need to discuss first with your physician. I would be expect a doctor to do more than just offer tests for exposure to mycotoxins. Rather she or he would be more likely to conduct an examination, interview to discuss your symptoms and concerns, and discuss possible appropriate coursed of investigation and treatment.
Also see the illnessess and complaints associated with specific molds and exposure to them discussed in detail at MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX.
Question: My home of 25 years has a serious case of black mold - I moved out - could all my medical problems be due to the black mold? I was accused of substance abuse.
It was brought to my attention that the home I had lived in for 25 years has a serious case of black mold. I just recently moved out of it two months ago. What could be the possibility that all my medical problems stem from having been exposed to the black mold & can u suggest a way to throw it in the face of all the people who thought I had a substance abuse problem? - Rachelle 12/22/11
Rachelle, the answer to the question of the chances that health problems (all or some) are exacerbated by or even possibly caused by exposure to indoor mold, MVOCs, or mycotoxins is one that you need to bring first to your physician. After all, "all my medical problems" is a very broad and non-specific charge. Individual sensitivity to mold and its products in buildings varies widely.
And more confusing is the error of focusing on "black mold" - there are plenty of black or dark molds that are the least of the mold problem in a building, and plenty of light colored, often hard to see molds that are far more harmful in some cases. "Black mold" in a building should be taken as an indicator of mold contamination and an expert inspection and testing should identify the location and genera/species of molds present if/when there is a large reservoir.
However it is worth discussing with your doctor that exposure to some mycotoxins can have neurological effects that influence behaviour, mood, etc. - we have had clients report mental symptoms whose onset appeared to correlate with exposure to mycotoxins in buildings, including:
So one could SPECULATE that such exposure and effects could be mistaken for a drug use problem.
Question: dust-like particles are coming out of our AC vent & I get a salty taste - what can this be?
I sometimes feel Dust like Particles blowing into my eyes from the AC vent. After this happens I would get a salty taste in my mouth. What can this be?
Jenny no one who is responsible would try to diagnose your complaints with so little information, but I can suggest that you
I'm not sure it's worth it but you also have the option of collecting the dust you suspect and having it analyzed by sending it to an appropriate forensic lab. (Don't send us a sample - we must avoid any conflict of interest).
Thanks Dan. This situation is happening at my workplace and they have called in a local testing company and they could not find what is causing the problem. They found other problems with the system and made recommendations for those to be corrected. I believe those issues have since been attended to. The dust like particles is not visible. Other random employees on different floors of this 5 story building have similar complaints. Some experience rashes and burning sensation on the skin. - Jenny 3/5/12
Question: Can you get acute lingual tonsillitis from exposure and breathing mold toxins.
Can you get acute lingual tonsillitis from exposure and breathing mold toxins. This was a result from a leaking ice maker/refrigerator and a leaking pipe from a pantry sink. This caused 3 floods in a work area and the adjacent wall had visible mold and the carpet had stains of mildew and smelled like sewage. Do you have any facts and/or articles/literature to send me as soon as you can. Thank you in advance. - D.T. 5/14/12
Reply: tonsillitis is a bacterial or viral infection
Your tonsillitis complaint and causation questions should be discussed with your personal physician, someone who knows the details of your personal health, health history, and also details of your actual exposure to potentially problematic indoor environment.
I agree that it is possible for flooding and mold conditions in a building can cause problematic mold growth, ranging from trivial to extensive, and I add that improper cleanup procedures can make matters worse by stirring up high levels of dust and debris that enter buidling air and later building settled dust, as well as by incomplete work or other mistakes.
That said, and emphasizing that I am not an M.D. nor do we offer medical advice, we can give some general information about your question that may be helpful.
Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that is caused by a virus or bacteria. Apparently viral causes are more commen than bacterial causes. Your doctor will usually take a throat culture to rule out other illnesses or causes (such as diptheria or strep). Mold, nor mycotoxins, and mvoc's are not listed as causing tonsillitis. Ask your doctor for her opininon.
But we suspect that respiratory system irritation (including the throat) may contribute to the vulnerability to or development of a throat or tonsil infection, as might a challenge to the immune system.
The individual response to a given level of exposure to anything potentially irritating or harmful varies widely, from no response at all to severe allergy or asthma or other complaints.
Even you were exposed to airborne mold or mvocs one can not assume that all mold exposure involves exposure to mycotoxins - the term you used in your question. Not all indoor mold growths produce mycotoxins, some that do are rarely airborne, and even among molds that can potentially produce mycotoxins, those substances are not always actually produced, depending on the growth substrate and indoor environment conditions, even the species and strain within genera of mold. Also see MYCOTOXIN EFFECTS of MOLD EXPOSURE and see the illnessess and complaints associated with specific molds and exposure to them discussed in detail at MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX.
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