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Toxic Mold Removal

There is more than just one variety of mold spores at any given time, and mold spores are present everywhere. These are so lightweight they are airborne most of the time, but mold spores will also alight and settle on just about any surface – walls, floors, furniture, clothing, food, etc. They stay dormant until they come in contact with sufficient moisture and enough time to sustain growth. Mold will only grow in the presence of moisture.

There are thousands of mold varieties but only a small percentage is toxic, poisonous, or harmful. Nevertheless, sufficient quantities of mold spores of non toxic varieties can cause irritation, triggering reactions like itchiness, sneezing, or watery eyes – the body’s attempt to free itself from the irritant.

Remember, though, that expert mold removal is strongly advised for remediating non-toxic or toxic mold.

How mold grows

Moist, damp or wet areas are favorite mold habitats. When a microscopic mold spore, an encapsulated seed, comes in contact with moisture, the shell absorbs the moisture and awakens the dormant seed inside. The mold seed sends out hyphae, microscopic threadlike tubes and absorbs the nutrients from whatever food source is available, becomes bigger and grows more hyphae, and releases more mold spores. The invisible mold spore can grow to become a visible mold colony in less than 24 hours.

Anything organic or substances rich in carbon is a food source to molds. Premium food sources for molds are lumber and wood products, paper, natural fiber textiles like clothing, draperies and bed linens, hair, fur and feathers, fruits and vegetables, dirt and organic debris collected in corners, under rugs and carpets, or in cracks and crevices of seemingly impervious materials like marble, sheetrock, concrete, glass, ceramics, etc.

Porous materials are especially susceptible. They hold moisture and organic debris inside them without visible signs of wetness or dirt on the surface, and molds could grow on the surface or inside them.

Molds are among the simplest organisms. They don’t have stomachs to store food to be digested inside their body. To obtain nutrients, they secrete digestive enzymes through the hyphae and digest their food outside the body before absorbing the nutrients. The enzymes breaks down complex carbon compounds into simple elements, and in the process consuming or scarring their source of nutrients. This makes all molds so destructive.

Mold toxins

Toxins are poisonous substances; those produced by molds are called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are released by molds during digestion. These are mold secretions, meaning manufactured by the mold organism and transported outside the body for specific purposes. Molds that are toxic by nature are those that secrete mycotoxins primarily as digestive enzymes. Some toxic molds also produce mycotoxins as a kind of defense mechanism to eliminate the competition for food, such as bacteria or other mold species. (The antibiotic penicillin is produced by the Penicillium mold.)

Toxic mold species

Well known toxic mold species are Aspergillus, Stachybotris, Cladosporium, Fusarium, and Penicillium.

Aspergillus is commonly found in soil, compost heaps and house dust. These downy or powdery colonies can be pale yellow, olive, purple or orange colored.

Stachybotris has affinity for cellulose and usually grow on wood and plant based materials. Colonies are cottony white at the early stages but rapidly mature into slimy greenish black blobs.

Cladosporium colonies appear velvety or powdery and colored olive to black. Slow growing colonies grow inside HVAC systems on fiberglass duct liners.

Brightly colored Fusarium colonies grow on dead or dying plants. These wooly or cottony colonies can be cream, cinnamon, pink, purple, red, salmon, tan, violet, white, or yellow.

Penicillium mold colonies usually grow on spoiled or decaying food. Colonies are flat and white at the beginning and become velvety, woolly or cottony, colored blue green, olive gray, gray green, pink or yellow.

Even non-toxic molds can produce poisonous substances. Again, these are products of digestion but the toxins come from the food source itself, like arsenic in paint, which the mold excretes or ejects out of its body. Thus, mold removal is

Eradicating molds

It is easy enough to kill molds. Detergents and household cleansers will do it. But dead molds are just as hazardous as live ones. In the process of dying, molds switch to survival mode and release thousands of spores. This can sometimes be observed as cloud puffs which actually are microscopic spores becoming visible by sheer number.

Toxic or non-toxic, visible mold spores are health hazards, thus it is best to leave mold removal to experts.

If you suspect mold contamination in your home, identify the visible symptoms of mold growth and call us for professional mold removal and mold prevention.

 

 

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