Toxic mold and indoor air pollution from biological sources continue to draw media attention. This is due to several factors, most keen among them is the growing sense of awareness of how much mold, especially toxic mold, can impact your health.
Indeed, it is estimated that roughly 40% of American buildings have some form of mold or toxic mold. In this statistic, it’s believed that these dangerous mold spores are present in an alarming 25% of homes in the United States alone!
In many of these cases, the mycotoxins released by molds can potentially be more problematic than pesticides as well as heavy metals. This is likely because the concentration of mold spores can be far higher in a given sample size area. Mycotoxins also have a tendency to affect a more diverse range of biological systems than pesticides and dangerous heavy metals.
Certain types of mold such as Stachybotrys emits a type of mycotoxins called trichothecene. When it is introduced to your body in sufficient concentrations this dangerous mycotoxin has the ability to inhibit protein synthesis. This problem is not just linked to the cells and tissues of the digestive system. Trichothecene can affect every single organ of your body.
It’s also worth considering that fungi like mold also have a high rate of mutation. This means it is possible for mold to produce novel species that is capable of evading your immune system.
A case in point is a type of mold known as Cryptococcus. It used to be limited to the deserts of the Southwestern United States. However, in recent years, it has shown the ability to mutate to the point that there is a form of Cryptococcus that is highly pathogenic. It actually has a mortality rate that’s estimated as high as 30% for those who become infected.
Most indoor mold problems are related to construction defects or home maintenance issues that allow for water intrusion. However, things like localized flooding and certain lifestyle habits can also greatly introduce the chances of mold invading your home to establish a long-term presence.
Can The Wallpaper In Your Home Be Making You Sick?
Certain structural defects in a home can let in excess moisture, create a nutrient-rich environment, or otherwise produce an environment that is ideal for mold. A growing body of researcher has started to find evidence that wallpaper can be a significant source of fungi such as mold. Many of which can produce toxic indoor air pollution. Five studies found three different types of fungi living in household wallpaper. This included:
Is a weak pathogen known for affecting food as well as causing spoilage in stored apples, grapes, mushrooms, and cassava as well as potatoes.
Is a slow-growing filamentous fungus that is more likely to appear in damp indoor environments as well as on food products. It tends to smell musty and is known to be major producer of hepatotoxic and carcinogenic mycotoxin.
Is more commonly known as black mold or toxic black mold. It is a variety of microfungus that produces slimeheads. Its most often found in grains and soil and grain. However, this type of mold is also commonly detected in cellulose-rich building materials. Especially those that are damp or have suffered recent water damage, such as a roof leak, or flood.
Any time mold and other fungi grow in, around, or behind wallpaper, their mycotoxins can easily start to spread into the air the building. Once this starts to happen, they can enter your lungs.
Tests performed by the University of Toulouse, in France found that common types of fungi can grow inside buildings. It also found that the fungal mycotoxins had the ability to disperse into the air under seemingly normal conditions. In some other conditions, it is possible for the toxins to become aerosolized, from host moldy material.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that newer homes and buildings are designed to be energy efficient by reducing or even preventing air distribution between the indoor and outdoor environment. This compounds the effect by allowing the mold spores and airborne toxins to more easily concentrate, once they have established a presence.
The Relationship Between Toxic Mold And Illness
Many individuals living or working in an indoor environment infested with mold toxins suffer some degree of health problems. In some cases, it might seem mysterious. You might be eating well, sleeping well and exercising frequently, yet struggling to deal with things like inflammation issues, respiratory health problems, allergic reactions and other health problems caused by toxic overload.
For some black mold can invade the cranium, sinuses, or cerebellum as well as the central nervous system. In extreme cases, it can even cause symptoms resembling Parkinson’s disease. Yet for others, toxic mold can invade the digestive system and the intestines. In these cases, it can start to degrade the immune system which can influence other health conditions. Yet others might also experience problems with asthma, respiratory allergies, and very serious respiratory medical conditions.
Neurological research has also found that the chronic presence of mold can also affect your mental state as well as your emotions. These symptoms can be misleading in a situation where a regional flood caused a mold problem in the home. Yet the emotional disturbance the individual feels might be dismissed as a side effect of the profound stress they have just experienced. It’s an unfortunate fact that mold rarely enters the diagnostic equation.
Mold, other dangerous fungi, and bacteria can grow very quickly anytime the humidity is higher than 60%. This helps to explain why wallpaper its glue backing is such a strong candidate for causing household microbes.
Removing Affected Wallpaper
If you believe that the wallpaper in your home is promoting mold growth, you should strongly consider having it removed. If the problem is significant, you should turn to a professional mold remediation service with the right tools, training, and experience to effectively eliminate the presence of mold from the home or building.
In a less severe case, you might be able to remove the affected wallpaper yourself. There are some important steps you should take to do it safely and effectively.
Where old clothes that you plan to discard. You should also seek out a respirator mask that is rated for to screen out microbes. Protective eyewear is also a very good idea, as are latex gloves. Some types of mold can cause severe skin irritation. It’s also a good idea to remove all furniture and clothing from the room and keep the door shut.
Carefully peel away a small strip of wallpaper. Take a close look for signs of mold on the wall or the back of the paper. It might look grainy, splotchy, or discolored.
Carefully remove all the wallpaper from around the affected area. There are several different types of wallpaper stripper sold in stores. Renting a wallpaper steamer might also be worth the time and money.
Prepare a cleaning solution that is 4 parts dimethyl ammonium chloride with 1 part of water. Carefully brush the solution over the mold. This should then be followed by brushing a solution of 3 parts disodium octaborate tetrahydrate with two parts of glycol.
Using these solutions in tandem has proven to be highly effective for killing mold on wallboards combination is particularly effective on mold on wallboards. Still, it is best to do multiple applications!
Allow the treated area to thoroughly dry before cleaning it with soap and water to remove the dead mold.
Shower and clean yourself thoroughly. Make sure to bag all the clothes you wore and discard them immediately.
Professional Remediation May Be Necessary
If you start removing the affected wallpaper and you notice a severe mold problem, or you simply don’t trust yourself to eliminate 100% of the mold presence, you should consider seeking out a professional mold remediation service. In many of these cases, a mold inspection will find additional colonies somewhere else in the structure.