What is Mold?While molds are common fungi found in our environment, there are forms of mold that can be toxic. Once mold begins growing in damp, dark, closed in spaces in our vehicles, homes or offices, it poses a serious threat to our health.
While all molds are not toxic, many species can develop poisonous toxins at levels above the normal environment surrounding it. While some of these toxins are detectable through smell, they often go unnoticed. Signs of toxic mold development include a musty smell, stains on ceilings, walls, or floors, and unexplained and persistent allergies or medical issues. If you wait until you can see or smell mold growth in your vehicle or home to get tested, you may suffer from irreversible health effects for years to come. Healthy children below the age of 18 and adults above the age of 60 are at higher risk due to the development or aging of their immune systems.
Stachybotrys chartarum, sometimes called black mold, is one of the most harmful forms of mold. It develops as a result of water damage from flooding or water leaks and thrives in high humidity and/or constant moisture. When present in the air, even at low levels, it is considered a major concern due to the nature of its growth rate, toxicity, and limited airborne exposure. Small amounts found in air samples can indicate larger areas of invisible growth and may produce toxic gases at various periods of time depending on temperature and humidity levels.
Aspergillius /Penicillium is very common in our environment. With over 190 species known, over 18 have been reported as causative agents of opportunistic infections in humans. Aspergillus niger and Aspergillius flavus are the more common pathogens with Aspergillus versicolor, Aspergillus terreus, and Aspergillus ustus found as less common pathogens. Test results indicating Aspergillius /Penicillium in air samples at an elevated rate against a qualified control sample taken outside the area of contamination should be taken seriously due to the limited known health effects to many individuals at this time. Very low levels detected in air samples that are listed below the air sample levels of the outdoor control is considered normal in most cases. This also depends on the individuals occupying the vehicle or other space tested as many people can have adverse health effects to even low levels of these and other mold types.
It is important to keep in mind that removing the water damage itself or drying out carpets does not eliminate the risk for, or existence of, mold. Mold issues cannot be fully remediated and repaired until the real source feeding the issue has been identified and corrected. Many mold growth issues are a result of a one-time moisture occurrence in an area that was temporarily corrected but not properly dried, treated, or replaced, allowing the active growth to flourish in humid conditions.
How Mold Gets into Your VehicleBecause your vehicle is exposed to the elements on a daily basis, common outdoor molds are constantly entering it. Mold spores enter your vehicle through open doors or windows, and are then cycled through your AC and vent system. This continuous cycle, paired with high humidity or water leakages, manifests a prime environment for toxic mold. Each time your vehicle is exposed to any type of moisture or elevated humidity, the chances of mold spore growth increase.
Mold's Effects on Your HealthIf undetected, toxic levels of mold will continue to grow and put you, your family, and friends at serious health risks. It can leave you immune compromised and cause constant headaches, fatigue, breathing problems, chronic sinus infections, joint and muscle pains.
Mold illnesses have been linked to lung damage, brain damage, cancer, and even death. Take a look at our Symptom Checker to see if you are a victim of toxic mold exposure and get tested today!