Many of you have heard of the black mold scare. The media has created an incredible monster related to black mold and health problems! There is a great controversy surrounding this topic that has given rise to a multitude of opinions on this topic. I have heard things as diverse as “mold causes cancer” until mold does not cause any health problems at all. Usually your insurance company lawyers say that line of nonsense and nonsense (remember how they used to claim that smoking didn’t cause lung cancer?).
So if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve experienced some kind of symptom and observed something that you think is mold and that may or may not be related. There are several ways that mold can make an exposed person sick. When I started my mold removal business, I had no idea how many sick people I would meet!
I estimate that nearly 70% of my clients have mold-related health problems that they are aware of and I’m willing to bet that a more percentage are affected but are unaware. Molds can affect the body in many ways. The best known are those of mycotoxin exposure and direct infections. Mycotoxins are literal poisons that mold produces in an attempt to kill competitors. Mycotoxins can make a person very sick, and the most powerful ones have been linked to cancer. Stachybotrys a black mold that is the mold that the media has touted when “black” produces these powerful poisons.
Unfortunately, the black mold label has led many customers with very toxic molds to have a false sense of security because the mold in their home or office is white or green or red or gray, etc., not black. Another commonly known way that mold can affect health is through direct exposure. Many molds in the right conditions can directly colonize people! This means that they can grow in or on the human body. Stupid! Some common examples are athlete’s foot, jock itch, yeast infection, and yeast infection, which is technically a yeast infection. Other molds can live inside the body. They usually attack when the body is very stressed or fighting other invaders. People with autoimmune disorders are at particular risk, as is anyone recovering from major surgery.
These two basic ways that mold can affect a person are widely and widely known. This article is about MVOC, which is not as commonly understood. MVOC stands for Microbial Volatile Organic Compound. When you enter a home with a mold problem and smell that musty odor, chances are you are smelling the MVOCs that mold produces. Removes powerful chemical gases such as benzenes, tulolenes, aldehydes, and many others. While research on the effects on humans is still being done, much research has already been completed on VOCs, their artificial cousins, which are often the result of the release of gases from manufactured petrochemicals.
You may not realize it, but you and your family can be exposed to thousands of volatile organic compounds every day. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that evaporate into potentially harmful gases at room temperature and may or may not exude an odor. VOCs include a variety of chemicals that can cause short-term and long-term health problems.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), concentrations of many VOCs are up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors, regardless of whether the home is located in a rural or highly industrialized area, when the home suffers from mold, that number is probably much higher.
VOCs can be produced by a number of common household activities or include:
– Paints, paint thinners, varnishes and other solvents
– Aerosol sprays
– Air fresheners, candles and incense
– Cleaning products and disinfectants
– Stored fuels and automotive products
– Hobby supplies
– Glues, adhesives and sealing putties
– Dry clean clothes
– New carpet
– Second hand smoke
– Pressed wood furniture
– Moth repellants
– wooden condoms
Exposure to volatile organic compounds or mold-based volatile organic compounds can cause many adverse health effects, depending on the type, level, and duration of exposure. Health problems can range from minor ailments to major long-term health complications, including:
– Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
– Nausea and vomiting
– exacerbation of asthma
– Allergic skin reaction
– Memory impairment and loss of coordination.
– Hepatic injury
– Kidney damage
– Damage to the Central Nevrous System
The EPA reports that high levels of pollutants and elevated concentrations of VOCs and MVOCs remain in the air long after an activity such as dusting has been completed. Young children, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems may be more affected by exposure to VOCs than others.]
Mold-caused MVOCs are nearly identical with the only difference being that their production is caused by microbes, usually mold and bacteria. Mold odors are also made from volatile organic compounds. The volatile organic compounds produced by mold again include chemicals similar to alcohols, aldehydes, amines, ketones, and many more. When volatile organic compounds are produced by mold or bacteria, we stop calling them volatile organic compounds and refer to them as microbial volatile organic compounds. (mVOC).
Mold or mVOC odors are often overlooked as a source of health complaints by many mold inspectors looking for spores or mycotoxins as the only sources of potential health problems. Other inspectors are often concerned about the health effects of toxins produced solely by toxic black mold, or stachybotrys. Often during mold inspections because the visible mold in copius bloom was not obvious and the lab report you receive indicates that the spore levels inside are low, the inspectors will tell you that you do not have a mold problem and many times that your health problems are not related to mold in your home! This inspector has investigated numerous instances of mold odors occurring inside air conditioning units, behind wallpaper, in driveways, or inside walls; in many cases spores were trapped or just not released by mold and yet people got sick, in fact I have been a victim of mold, and so have many of my men due to occupational exposure! !
For many years I have noticed a correlation between the appearance of mold odor and allergies and health problems similar to asthma. Recent studies conducted with VOC support these observations. Keep in mind that the health and legal implications can be powerful – even when a lack of elevated spore levels is present, building occupants can still get sick from mold.
Accredited laboratories can take indoor odor samples for quantitative and qualitative analysis using proven and advanced analysis methods. Aerotech Labs is one of the few laboratories that specializes not only in VOC analysis, but also in the analysis of microbial volatile compounds or mVOCs.
Don’t take my word for it, do your research on what academic and government mold experts are saying on this often overlooked topic. Do a health and mold-odor VOC search for yourself and you’ll find that even if spore levels are low in your home, there is no guarantee that you are free of mold problems.
There are goods! There is hope, just never rely on spore levels and lab testing alone, always hire an experienced inspector who does much more than just take samples, he or she should know something about building construction or home inspections, air systems conditioning, science, indoor air quality, and industrial hygiene, and general problems of drying and restoring water. The mold inspector must do a very detailed investigation using their knowledge and experience and should not take just a few samples, because ultimately, the best inspectors rely on a vast bank of personal data collected from thousands of investigations.
If you have a mold health problem, after it has been corrected by a professional, it is generally a good idea to seek the care of a competent naturopathic physician. Natural practitioners often have much more experience in removing remaining health problems and mycotoxins from the body after mold has been removed from the home.