The Health Risks of Fungi, Moulds and Mycotoxins in Homes

mould - roof cavity mould growth

Introduction

The Facts of Mould, Fungi and Mycotoxins

Mould is a type of fungus that thrives in moist and humid environments. When mould grows, it produces toxins called mycotoxins. Mould also releases spores which can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems in some people.

The most common type of mould is Penicillium and Aspergillus. These moulds grow on organic materials like food, paper, carpeting and wood floors. The conditions that help mould grow are moisture, warmth and poor ventilation. Mould causes health problems when it grows in the home because it can produce mycotoxins that are toxic to humans or animals.

Mould usually starts to overgrow when the humidity level in the house reaches around 70%. Moulds release spores which float through the air until they land on a moist surface where they can start to grow

 

Importance of Controlling Spores from Fungal Growth in Homes

 

In Australia, the air quality inside homes is worse than outside. This is because indoor air has been found to have more pollution and microorganisms. The main source of these substances are from microbial spores that are released into the air from various sources such as furniture, carpets, and tap water.

The fact is that these spores can cause a lot of health problems in people such as asthma, allergies, breathing problems, and even cancer. People who have a weaker immune system or a chronic condition can suffer more from these spores.

 

Human Infection Risk Factors of Mould Toxicity

Certain species of mould can produce mycotoxins, which are harmful to human health. Exposure to mould can cause the person to become sick, and even lead to death.

Mould exposure is a major problem at home and in the workplace. It is estimated that over 1 billion people worldwide are exposed to damp indoor environments that promote mould growth. The most common health effects of exposure to mould are allergic reactions or irritations of the skin, nose, throat, eye or ear.

Some people may be at increased risk for developing health effects from exposure, such as those with asthma or allergies; those with chronic lung disease such as bronchitis, which is often accompanied by frequent infections; those who have had a lung transplant; those who have a weakened immune system.

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Conclusion

Preventing Infections & Illness by Reducing Mould Exposure

Mould can grow in a variety of locations and thrive in damp, dark, cool places. It is important to physically remove mould spores and hypha fragments. Fogging does not remove it. Mycotoxins can still be present on mould spores. Professional mould remediation by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC S520) professional is recommended.

In conclusion, we can reduce mould exposure by using an air purifier with a HEPA filter and a solid activated carbon filter as a short-term solution. Dehumidifiers will also manage the moisture and humidity in the air. The long-term solution is to remediate the moisture or humidity problem and remove the mould.

 

The Mould Guide, All About Mould and What to Do About It

What Exactly is Mould and How does it Occur?

Mould is a type of fungus that can grow nearly anywhere. It can be found in moist, dark, and damp environments like kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and even on food.

Mould spores are all around us- they float through the air from plant to plant and from animal to animal. Mould grows when it finds a food source such as wood or a wet carpet- essentially any surface with water on it for an extended period of time.

Mould can be very dangerous because some types produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which cause problems for the lungs and immune system. Others may trigger asthma.

Mould Prevention

Mould is a living organism that can grow quickly in moist places. In most cases, it is found in areas with high humidity and low ventilation. Mould thrives on dampness and it cannot be eliminated from a home or business.

In order to prevent mould from growing, these steps should be taken:

1) Keep all areas dry and well-ventilated

2) Inspect wet areas every day for leaks

3) Do not use a humidifier

4) Keep dust levels low

5) Regularly clean your home with microfibre cloths and HEPA vacuuming.

 

Factors Contributing to Mould Growth

Moulds can be found everywhere in the environment around us. The most common mould species is Cladosporium and it prefers humid dusty environments.

One of the main factors that contribute to mould growth is high relative humidity and dampness. High humidity and dampness may come from external sources, such as the presence of a leaky roof or condensation on walls inside a building.

Mould starts to grow when there is plenty of food available, such as wood, paper, fiberboard, carpeting or insulation materials like polyester and foam rubber.

 

Types of Mould and their Effects on Humans

Mould is a type of fungi that grows on organic matter. It can be found in the home on a variety of surfaces, including wood, paper, and fabric. With some moulds being toxic to humans and pets alike.

There are three different types of mould that can grow in your home:

There are many harmful effects that come with having any type of mould in the house. These effects include allergic reactions, asthma, or chemical sensitivities. For those who already have asthma or allergies, this could cause their symptoms to worsen drastically.

 

Are You Susceptible to Mould?

Mould can cause health problems. If you are susceptible, you will likely experience the symptoms of mould exposure more quickly than someone who is not as susceptible.

Mould is a type of fungus that grows on damp surfaces. It thrives in dark, damp, and warm areas like your home. Some people are more susceptible to mould than others and can suffer from Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) or chronic fatigue. This may lead to an array of symptoms such as fever, headaches, aches and pains, sinusitis or chest congestion.

 

Conclusion: Preventing & Caring for your Home from Moulds

In this section, we will try to discuss the prevention and care for your home from moulds.

Mould is a fungus that grows in places where there is moisture and food. Moulds release toxic substances that affect our health when we breathe in the spores or touch it. The signs of mould growth in your home may not be visible or easy to spot so it’s important to keep an eye out for the following signs.

– Water spots on walls or ceilings, which can indicate leaks or condensation on uninsulated pipes.

– Odors of mustiness, mildew, rotting plants, musty paper, wet newspapers, rotten eggs – these are common odors associated with mould growth.

– Curling of wallpaper or peeling paint – this can happen when moisture gets trapped behind the wall covering or paint, causing it to expand and create bubbles

It is always better to hire a qualified building biologist from Balanced Building Biology to complete a mould and moisture assessment of your building. They use professional equipment and know what to look for. They can also complete a mould test for laboratory analysis.

The Top 5 Home Inspection Mistakes That Could Cost You Thousands of Dollars

Introduction: Top 5 Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid Before Buying a Home

In this article, we’ll look at the top 5 home inspection mistakes homeowners make when buying a home.

Do you know that there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you’re not wasting money on a bad investment? The process of buying a home is always going to be stressful and challenging. There’s a lot of pressure involved but it doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what to look for.

#1 – Foundation Issues

A home’s foundation is the most important part of a house. The foundation is crucial because it provides a surface on which all the other parts of the house are built.

A home’s foundation is made up of a concrete slab or footings  that are anchored in to the ground and that provide a level, flat area on which the flooring (either wooden or synthetic) will be laid, and walls can be built. The space under this level area (known as crawlspace) also needs to be considered because it provides insulation for pipes and wires, storage space, and access to plumbing for cleaning purposes.

If you want your home to function well for years without problems, it is important that you make sure your foundation meets certain requirements.

Foundation issues are usually caused by a combination of factors including ground shifting, moisture intrusion and corrosion. A variety of structural problems may result from foundation issues, such as mould growth on the walls or flooring under a wet basement slab. You may also notice surface water flow underneath your house or erosion on your property.

If you have a crawl space under your house, you need to be especially careful about leaks from plumbing fixtures and past floods because these can affect the condition of your crawl space floors and framing members. In some cases, foundation problems may not be evident until there is an earthquake or other extreme ground movement that causes the foundation to shift and cause more problems.

#2 – Mould Issues

The section covers the causes of mold / mould and how to identify the presence of either. It also covers how to remove mold from a house.

Mold is a type of fungus that is found everywhere in nature, indoors and outdoors. They grow on surfaces that have been damp for more than 24 hours, especially on organic substances such as wallpaper, timber, ceiling tiles, carpeting and insulation. In humid environments the growth of mold can be rapid, eventually causing damage to materials it has colonized as well as producing mycotoxins.

There are two types of mold: toxic or allergenic. Toxic molds can produce mycotoxins that cause health problems such as skin irritation or allergic reactions like shortness of breath and wheezing (allergic rhinitis). Allergic rhinitis is also known as hay fever, but can be caused by molds.

Existing mould issues can cause health problems or damage to your personal items

Mould is a type of fungus that can grow in moist, humid environments. Existing mould issues can cause health problems or damage to your personal items. It’s important to prevent mould from growing in your home so it doesn’t spread.

#3 – Drywall & Insulation Problems

Missing insulation: Missing insulation is a very common problem in home insulation. It occurs because either the owner didn’t know about its importance or lack of knowledge on how to install it. The result is a home that does not have the necessary protection from the elements and will be susceptible to outside noise, heat loss, temperature fluctuations.

Discoloured drywall: Discoloured drywall can be caused by many things but the most common cause is water getting behind your drywall. This can be because of too much humidity in your home, high levels of humidity due to the weather conditions or an old roof providing insufficient drainage for water to leave your house properly.

Missing roof sarking: Missing roof sarking means that water and moisture can get in and cause damage to the framing and other material in the attic, which may result in mold or other problems that need to be addressed.

#4 – Ventilation

Ventilation is a key component in the design of a building to ensure that the indoor air quality is at a level that ensures occupants can stay healthy and comfortable.

Ventilation needs to be addressed when designing and building any new space, but there are different types of ventilation, and each has its own pros and cons. It’s important to take into account what you want to achieve in your ventilation system before deciding how much ventilation is needed for your space.

Ventilation is crucial for good indoor air quality. Ventilation has multiple benefits such as removing dust particles from the air, lowering humidity levels, which can help with dry skin or asthma, and reducing CO2 levels within buildings.There are four major types of ventilation that are commonly used including exhaust fans, windows, aircon units, and air purifiers. All of these have different benefits. For example, exhaust fans can help remove excess heat & humidity from wet area or kitchen. Aircon systems will provide heating and cooling options for the home. Ceiling fans are another suitable option.

#5 – Electrical Issues can cause EMF issues

Electrical issues can lead to EMF issues. Electrical wiring diagram is the first way to identify if there is any issue with your electrical wiring. Dirty electricity and living near a substation are also two reasons why people experience EMF problems.

Different countries have different guidelines for how close you can be to an electrical substation. It is important that you know the guidelines of the country that you are living in. Sleeping near electricity can cause EMF problems as it emits AC magnetic fields around your bed. This will not only affect your sleep but also potentially cause health problems in the long run.

Conclusion

This guide has provided an overview of the foundation issues that can affect your homes, as well as possible causes and prevention methods. Hire a building biologist to provide another perspective on the building separate to a building inspector.

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One Way to Control Mould Growth 

There are many ways to control or prevent mould growth in a building. 

Monitoring and managing your building environment is critical to a healthy home. 

Mould or Fungi require food and a water source. If you reduce one or both, you reduce the risk of mould growth. 

So how do you manage mould growth by reducing food or water? 

This article focuses on an aspect of water. Water can be in the form of humidity. More specifically, “relative humidity” which is humidity relative to temperature. 

It’s the amount of water in the air. Controlling this will help reduce the risks of mould growth and other biological pollutants and contaminants. 

There is an optimum relative humidity (RH) level of 40% to 60%

Keeping within this optimal zone is critical. 

Sterling Bar Chart for Relative Humidity

Relative Humidity will always equalise or balance out, so if you open windows and doors, it will equalise with the outdoors. 

When going to sleep, the Relative Humidity in a bedroom will increase as we will release water vapours from our breathing, and in an enclosed room, it will increase the Relative Humidity. 

Measure the Relative Humidity in living and sleeping areas to get an idea of what the levels are during different times of the day or night. 

There are different strategies that can be taken to manage relative humidity, but first things first, measure and monitor.

Purchase a hygrometer or an indoor air quality sensor such as the uHoo to monitor 24×7.