What is green, black, orange, white, yellow and blue and not good for you in any color variant? The unpleasant answer: Mold, which unfortunately is found in one form or another in many homes throughout the world.
So What Exactly is Mold?
It refers to certain types of fungi which grow into the form of thread-like multicellular structures called Hyphae.
Single-cell fungi are called yeasts. While certain types of yeasts and molds can lead to food poisoning, others play a key role in producing antibiotics, enzymes and some foods.
However, the molds we are about to discuss are the type often found in damp spaces in homes and buildings. They're usually first noticed in the form of stains - and, yes, they’re multicolored.
Some commonly found molds include Aspergillus (this tends to grow on certain food items and dust); Cladosporium (found on wood surfaces and fabrics); Alternaria (typically found in damp spaces such as cupboards under sinks and in the shower area); and Penicillium (these often have a green or blue appearance and are typically found on materials damaged by water).
You really don’t want any of this stuff to be in your home, whether easily visible or hidden in plain sight.
Multiple peer reviewed studies show clear links between the presence of mold indoors and health complications. The World Health Organization (WHO) having recently issued similar warnings and directives on the subject.
So, why should you be worried about mold? Lets take a look at 10 adverse effects of mold in your home:
1) Skin Rash
Mold slowly but surely degrades furniture, wood and clothing. It seeps into the fibers before proceeding to live and grow both on top and below the surface of the fabric. When bare skin comes into contact with this surface mold, many of us can experience a very nasty looking red rash that doctors are usually able to attribute to mold exposure.
2) Respiratory Trouble
Molds release minuscule spores into the air. When in a contained environment like the home, these spores have no where to go, and therefore usually found in higher concentration than outside. Because of their tiny size, these spores can be inhaled deep inside the lungs, and may lead to a host of respiratory complications.
If you’re prone to asthma or are already asthmatic, mold and mildew in your home can exacerbate the problem. Asthma, depending on its severity, can be life-threatening. Patients need to take several precautions to keep it at bay and should have a quick to-do list in case of an asthma attack.
If someone in your home is experiencing frequent nosebleeds for no apparent reason, you may want to examine the possibility of mold lurking indoors. Mold is known to produce organic chemical reactions, and nosebleeds are the result of one such reaction.
5) Cold and Flu
While not as dangerous as some of the other health complications that can be caused by molds, increasing instances of flu and cold in your family can take a toll on productivity and your finances. If you find you and your family frequently suffering from cold and flu symptoms, don’t discount the presence of mold at home.
Remember, the stuff can grow on all kinds of material and is not always easily detectable. Old newspapers, damp walls, ceilings, windowsills, shoes and wall-paper are just some of the materials susceptible to mold attacks.
6) Toxic Molds
Certain varieties of molds produce mycotoxins and are particularly dangerous because they make your home’s breathing environment toxic. Mycotoxins inhaled in large amounts can have deadly consequences for the human body and be potentially fatal. Stachybotrys, a very toxic mold type, has been linked to death in humans. Using an air purifier for mold can help mitigate some of these dangers.
7) Eye Irritation
Microscopic particles and spores are capable of traveling through air and vents and surrounding you and your family. In ways similar to skin irritation, such molds can cause irritation in the eye.
8) Joint Pain
Toxic molds can cause serious complications such as Arthralgia, which is joint pain minus prominent swelling. Arthralgia is believed to be caused by toxic black mold, which can be indistinguishable from the less threatening black mold. Toxic black mold often has a greenish-black hue and tends to be slimy, but over time it can also become powdery in appearance.
9) Depression and Similar Illnesses
While more long-term studies are needed to establish a strong link between depression and the presence of mold in homes, toxic mold in particular has been associated with insomnia, confusion, poor concentration, anxiety, and depression in several recent studies.
10) Beyond Health
Reports indicate that the presence of mold in your home could decrease its value in the property market. Mold can change the appearance of your home’s interiors, leaving stains and marks on floors, walls, and ceilings. The valuation of your home could be adversely affected by these blemishes.
One final note to be made about Mold. It’s worth stressing that those with weak immune systems are far more susceptible to toxic mold and should take every possible measure to eradicate any trace of fungi found in the home.