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Posted on August 16th, 2008. About , Black Mold, For Sale By Owner, Home Improvement.

You can find a lot of information on mold, but trying to understand it may be difficult to those who didn’t take biology and chemistry. Even after stumbling through the pronunciation of these words, not everyone can comprehend what was meant by the statement.

“Satratoxin, a low-molecular weight non-volatile organically derived agent, belongs to the macrocyclic trichothecene class of mycotoxins generated from fungal microorganisms.”

  As an aid to the homeowner, this overview is intended to explain a few bad products of mold in a less scientific manner. It will focus on those types of mold that have been considered as problematic to the “indoor mold issue” and does not address other fungal organisms which may behave differently. Analogies presented are not intended to be scientifically accurate, but rather to illustrate complex behaviors in more simple terms.

 

 

 

For mold, the root system is made up of hyphae (high-fee). As hyphae grows into a mass during the vegetative state,it becomes a mycelium (my-sill-ee-um). The spores, designed for reproduction, are similar to seeds.

Like a weed, mold needs food and water to survive (yes, both need more than that, however, we are simplifying things here). For mold, the food of preference is organic matter (things that once were living). Indoors, those things are wood, paper, organic dust and dirt, leather, skin flakes, body oils, etc.

When mold spores that are floating around in the air land on a food source, they sit there patiently waiting for water. If the item they land on should contain sufficient moisture, or water comes from another source (leaks, etc.), the spore germinates and hyphae grows. The hyphae branch out, secrete enzymes to breakdown the food, form the mycelium, and absorb nutrients to grow. As long as the food and water hold out, colonies will continue to grow. Note that individual hyphae and spores are very, very small and few can see them without a microscope. When you see visible mold, you are generally seeing that mass of mycelium.

Hyphae can intertwine into the fibers of the substrate, penetrating the pores. As it consumes the substrate, it can also create it’s own route by dissolving pathways into the material. This is one of the reasons it is so difficult to kill and/or clean up mold on organic substrates. If you remove the surface growth, those bits of hyphae within the substrate are ready for re-growth upon the return of moisture.

As the organism matures, it develops spores intended for reproduction. Spores vary in size, shape, weight and methods of distribution. Some are light and buoyant so they float easily through the air. Others are wet and sticky and may cling to insects, rodents, etc. as a mode of travel.

Volatile Organic Compounds

As mold “consumes” it’s food, the chemical reactions of enzymes, substrates and mold growth produce carbon dioxide, water, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Because these items are a result of actions essential to the growth of the organism, they are classified as primary metabolites.

For mold, many types of VOC’s are produced and typically include aldehydes, alcohols, keytones, and hydrocarbons. They have complex structures and names like “2-methyl-1-propanol”, so if you are going to dig deeper into VOC’s, get ready for chemistry class.

They are called volatile in that they evaporate easily at room temperature and pressure. Fortunately, this volatility aids in dilution with fresh air to minimize concentrated build-up of these chemicals. Testing for VOC’s is often accomplished by using vacuum cylinders to obtain samples of the air with laboratory analysis obtained from sophisticated test instruments (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer).

When you smell a “musty-moldy” odor, it’s generally the VOC’s you are noticing. VOC’s are often considered irritants to mucus membranes, however, are also capable of both short-term and long-term adverse health effects. If you do smell these odors, it’s a sure sign the mold is consuming and growing and you need to take action. (Note that VOC’s may also be derived from non-mold sources including natural materials used in cleaning agents.)

Toxins

Many molds are capable of producing compounds called mycotoxins which are toxic to other organisms, including people. Mycologists believe these toxins are produced as protection against competing organisms and therefore, humans are simply caught in the cross-fire of this fight for survival.

Since these toxins are not essential for growth, they are classified as secondary metabolites. Toxic secondary metabolites require extra work on the part of the organism so production does not occur at all times, or, with all types of mold.

Scientists have identified over 400 mycotoxins and unlike VOC’s, these compounds are usually non-volatile (don’t evaporate easily at room temperature and pressure). One strain of mold may produce multiple toxins and one type of toxin may be produced by multiple strains of mold. Research has indicated that the type of substrate (nutrients), the growing conditions, together with the species of mold, will impact which toxins are created.

Some of these toxic substances are considered extremely hazardous to people, unfortunately, quantified human dose-response data is limited. Lab and field studies have shown these compounds to produce severe toxic effects in both animals and humans and therefore, the general recommendation is to minimize exposure to potentially toxigenic mold. Symptoms from toxic exposure range from flu-like symptoms, skin rashes and lesions, bleeding, fatigue, difficulty breathing, depression, etc. to longer-term nerve and organ problems, altered immunity, and cancer.

Not all secondary metabolites are considered bad for people…the antibiotics such as penicillin have beneficial use. However, from the mycological standpoint, antibiotics are considered mycotoxins since they too are generated by mold to ward off microorganisms (i.e. competing bacteria).

When the organism is producing toxins, the toxins are known to be present in the cell wall of spores and hyphae. It’s relatively easy to test for spores and hyphae, however, testing these components to see if they contain toxins is significantly more complex. Whereas a single spore can be viewed under a microscope, identifying what compounds are contained in the cell wall is difficult.

In order to identify these toxic compounds, laboratories must have a sufficient quantity of toxin-containing spores and carefully process them through sophisticated and expensive equipment that is capable of isolating chemicals down to billionths of an gram (remember, mold spores are microscopic so what is contained within it’s cell wall is extremely small). This testing is made even more difficult since there are a few hundred toxins to analyze and the behavior of mold is such that a toxin-producing mold in the field doesn’t necessarily produce the same type and quantity of toxins in the lab.

Generally speaking, identifying a mold type that is known to be capable of producing toxins is sufficient information to warrant precautions and avoid exposure without submitting for toxic analysis. However, if trying to confirm specific adverse health effects, obtaining an analysis of both VOC’s and toxins can be beneficial but often expensive.

Randy Penn is an independent licensed real estate inspector (Texas #5491) who specializes in mold testing and specimen recovery. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, is a member of the Indoor Air Quality Association, has invested hundreds of hours in researching and training on fungal microorganisms, has completed IAQA’s workshop on mold remediation and has provided mold related presentations to homeowners and real estate professionals.

Toxic Black Mold Victims Can Save Their Homes With the Right Knowledge  0

Posted on August 11th, 2008. About , Black Mold, For Sale By Owner, Home Improvement.

Black Mold Clean Up can be a Do It Yourself Project for those that can’t afford to hire a Professional or are avid do it yourselfers. StartRemodeling.com, the Largest Toxic Black Mold, Remodeling and Home Improvement Website on the Internet, offers Education, Protection and Permanent Solutions to Eliminate Black Molds from Your Life.

RemodelingGuy w/ Mold in his Shower

Is it toxic black mold or mold that’s black? Stachybotrys and many other strains of toxic, health threatening molds are becoming everyday household words in America that very few understand. Now the public can find informative and educational content, free mold brochures, toxic mold inspectors and remediation/abatement companies, toxic mold/tort attorneys and much more at one great location on the Internet. www.StartRemodeling.com.

Horror stories are pouring in by the thousands everyday. Families are being forced out of their homes for months on end. Some are burning them down to rid themselves of the problem. Schools and businesses are being shut down. Mr. and Mrs. John T. America are becoming seriously ill, young children and the elderly are severely sick and/or dying from this mysterious and little understood airborne toxin attacking their respiratory system.

Why? Because this epidemic, although around for millions of years, is brand new to most and just becoming public knowledge. Very few professionals, including doctors, have taken the time to study up on and train themselves about the problem at hand, much less educate the general population about the dangers that exist in their everyday lives. The simplest thing in the world and something we should all be able to take for granted has been tainted. The air we breathe inside of our homes and workplace.

Since 1997, StartRemodeling.com has been a driving force on the Internet to educate and provide quality resources to homeowners wanting to improve their homes inside and out. In the last few years, they and their sister site at www.ToxicMoldUSA.com have made it their #1 goal to inform, educate and provide life long solutions to their visitors on how to live safely inside of their homes.

StartRemodeling.com has done the research, compiled the information and is making it readily available to everyone. They provide everything from informative articles and news releases, to government and medical findings. They provide a free national search for pre-qualified and certified toxic black mold professionals to inspect for and eliminate toxic black mold, toxic tort attorneys to assist those that may be in need of their services and simple do it yourself mold kits for under $10. They also provide a free 50+ page brochure from the site that details everything from simple identification to insurance procedures, cleaning procedures and elimination. They’ve covered it all.

“This is something that I take very personally,” states Jimmy McDonald, the man who initiated the change in direction for the site. “I am a fairly new Grandfather and my Granddaughter became violently ill when she was only a couple of months old.”

“We found the problem to be an accumulation of Stachybotrys and Penicillium molds in the house she was visiting, which ended up in her lungs. The people in that house, friends of the family, were moved out of their home for the better part of a year, lost cherished valuables and life in general was turned completely upside down for them. That opened my eyes and made me want to come up with some solutions that all of us can apply to our everyday lives.”

“Our site does that and more for people now and it feels great.”

For the health of it.

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