Without properly cleaning out mold, especially in. crawl space areas, home occupants can suffer

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2 Ever heard of the lingering summer cold? In many cases, it s not a stubborn virus. Instead, it s really a toxic mold infestation releasing mycotoxins that corrupt home air quality. The symptoms of this cold will never go away, regardless of how much vitamin C you pump into your immune system. Without properly cleaning out mold, especially in crawl space areas, home occupants can suffer from poor air quality indefinitely. Mold grows in damp areas where organic matter can be consumed. Generally, elevated humidity and warm temperatures are breeding grounds for a plethora of harmful mold species. Crawl spaces, attics, and air pockets between floors or walls, are perfect spots for mold to grow. As the mold metabolizes the organic matter, metabolites are released, known as mycotoxins. Read on to learn how to stamp out mold in your home!

3 Mycotoxins, the particles released by mold, are particularly dangerous to humans. Effects range from simple cold symptoms to mycotoxicosis, the scientific name for mycotoxin poisoning: Congestion Cough Eye irritation Respiratory problems Sore throat Sneezing These can all manifest themselves as a reaction to mycotoxins in the air. These pesky mycotoxins can also cause problems for asthmatics, exacerbating an already sensitive respiratory system.

4 Most indoor mycotoxins are produced by the following types of mold: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys. These molds form on various substances from wood, paint, furniture, clothing, insulation, and carpet. Especially if your home tends to be both warm and damp, be on the lookout for various types of mold in your crawl spaces and attic areas in order to keep dangerous mycotoxins at bay.

5 It s tempting to walk through life blindly hoping that you can avoid detrimental health problems. Many victims of difficult health conditions could have avoided their illness by taking simple, proactive steps to ensure their environment was clean and healthy. Unknowingly, individuals can be facing potentially harmful home environments that, if not properly cleaned and treated, could result in irreversible health problems, such as the development of severe allergies or cancer. Knowing for certain that the air you breath each and every day is harmless and clean is one of the first steps toward proactive healthy living. In the previous chapter, we discussed the danger of mycotoxins drifting through our homes. Originating from attics, crawl spaces, and air pockets between floors and walls, mold can be quite invisible until the sneezing fits, runny noses, and relentless coughs begin. In this next installment, we ll take a look at three specific types of toxic mold that commonly appear indoors.

6 Aspergillus Mold: Eats Organic Matter This type of mold inflicts upon organic materials what is commonly known as biodeterioration. Easily growing on leather and cloth, especially in humid conditions, aspergillus mold contributes to the musty odor of older couches, armchairs, clothing items, and shoes. Authorities have classified certain species of this mold to be toxigenic, toxic to humans, and pathogenic, able to cause disease. Instantaneous removal of aspergillus infested furniture, items, and materials is imperative. One particular type of mycotoxin that results from aspergillus mold is commonly known as aflatoxin. This especially dangerous mycotoxin is a potent carcinogen, capable of causing cancer in human tissue. In addition to causing cold symptoms and exacerbating asthma, aspergillus mold can infect both humans and animals and potentially grow inside them. This disease, known as Aspergillosis, is most often located in the lungs.

7 Penicillium Mold: Feeds on Damp Materials If penicillium mold exists indoors, it indicates an elevated amount of moisture. Most often, these damp places are crawl spaces or attics, which often collect moisture due to poor insulation. The mold is known to easily catch in upward drafts and circulate through the air pockets between floors and contaminate the air quality in the upper levels of the building or house. Also, this mold often grows in carpet, wallpaper, and insulation that has undergone water damage and is located in high moisture atmospheres. Penicillium molds are considered allergens, affecting skin and bronchioles. In addition to normal cold symptoms, penicillium molds are known to release mycotoxins that cause extrinsic asthma. When symptoms of penicillium mold exposure become even more acute, people can suffer from edema or bronchial spasms.

8 Stachybotrys (or Black) Mold: The Killer Wood Mold Stachybotrys mold, similar to penicillium mold, grows in wet, damp, or water damaged areas. However, it does not grow on plastic, vinyl, concrete, or ceramic products. Even though black mold only grows on wood or paper products, it is still one of the most common types of molds found in homes. Dark brown or black in color, stachybotrys mold carries with it some of the most detrimental health effects. In addition to the usual allergic reactions people feel when exposed to fungi mycotoxins, black mold affects people neurologically. The trichothecene mycotoxins released by black mold are actually neurotoxic, meaning they actually kill neurons in a person s brain, thus inhibiting the individual s mental capabilities and finally resulting in brain damage. Symptoms of exposure to this threatening mycotoxin include confusion, brain fog, dizziness and disorientation, short attention span, memory loss, depression, seizures, numbness, or even shock.

9 Black mold mycotoxins can also be absorbed through the skin or ingested into the lungs. When these toxic spores find their way into the individual s bloodstream, they can cause low blood pressure, heart damage, irregular heartbeat, or even hemorrhaging. If you see mold growth in your home that fits the description of black mold, waste no time to address the problem. The consequences of putting it off could be quite severe.

10 In our final installment in this ebook on toxic indoor mold, we will explain how to identify the existence of mold, how to get rid of it, and how to keep it from returning. Don t assume you re safe from these potential health risks. Proactive protection from the effects of indoor mold will absolutely pay off. It s easy to take an out of sight, out of mind approach to crawl spaces. However, leaving them unattended is not worth the risk. Cleaning out your crawl spaces and attics is a small price to pay to alleviate the health risks associated with toxic mold infestation. While there preventative measures that you can take to keep the mold from growing, once you do have a problem, it s recommended that you seek out professionals to clear the mold s toxic mess.

11 Clean up wet areas right away. If you re experiencing a new water leak, clean up the mess and repair the leak as soon as possible. Leaving water to leak and sit in an attic or crawl space creates a breeding ground for mold. Properly ventilate your home. Having fans blowing and dehumidifiers running will keep the air moving and stop moisture from collecting. Monitor indoor humidity. Keep an eye out for condensation on windows and walls. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, safe indoor humidity ranges between percent. Water collecting around the foundation of your home is a serious problem and can quickly lead to mold growth in the crawl space beneath your home, as well as inside the walls and foundation. Direct water away from your home by sloping the ground to direct water in the opposite direction from your house s foundation.

12 If you re having an issue with indoor mold, it s imperative that you eradicate the source of those dangerous mycotoxins by cleaning, repairing, and adequately insulating the areas of the house where it is growing. At Clean Crawls, we offer numerous services that can aid in the moisture control of your crawl spaces. For instance, we install vapor barriers to keep the dampness at bay. Also, we clean out attics and offer repairs and insulation in order to restore your attic to a safe and even usable area of your home. Dawn, living in Kent, Washington, had a great experience with our services. She said, "They came in and were completely professional. They did everything they could to keep the dust down while cleaning out the crawl space and the crawl space ended up looking way better than it had before the damage had been done."

13 Clean Crawls is a home improvement company offering crawl space cleaning, attic services, and insulation installation and repair among other things. "Our mission at Clean Crawls is to deliver superior, healthy and clean environments that provide comfort and peace of mind while creating extraordinary relationships with our clients and one another." Website: Address Highway 99 Everett WA Phone: (866) Fax: (425)

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