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All About Toxic Mold

When remodeling your bathroom, it’s not uncommon to uncover patches of mold. Although some light mildew or small growths might not seem too threatening, there are actually several types of toxic molds that are quite dangerous and which have lasting poisonous effects.

If you find any mold during your bathroom remodel, you should stop immediately, try not to breathe the air, and leave the room. Companies specialize in mold removal for a reason. If you don’t use the right equipment and safety precautions when removing certain types of mold, it can release spores into your home that could potentially result in the beginning of a health hazard.

Girl Scrubbing Mold

Can Mold Hurt Me?

Mold can absolutely hurt you. In fact, some of the toxic substances found in mold (also known as mycotoxins) have been shown to be far more harmful than heavy metals or even pesticides. A fungus has the ability to mutate quickly, meaning that it has a biological advantage over these other insidious agents because it is able to effectively sidestep and suppress your immune system. For those with weakened immune systems already, mold poses a particularly deadly risk.

Healthy or not, mold puts everyone in danger, so it’s smart to understand the most common types that are out there, as well as how you can recognize them.

Types of Toxic Mold

There are many types of toxic mold out there, but the public at large is only familiar with a few varieties. Any type of mold and mildew should be avoided at all costs, but the forms of mold listed below are by far the most dangerous and notorious offenders.

  • Stachybotrys – Also known as "black mold" to some, stachybotrys chartarum (SC) has been known to expel over 170 different mycotoxins, resulting in rashes, inflammation, suppression of the immune system, hemorrhaging of the lung, and, in some cases, even death. "Black mold" is actually more greenish-black, and tends to grow on material with a high amount of cellulose, like wood, cardboard, straw, or wicker, especially if the material is moist.
  • Aspergillus – The aspergillus species extends to a few different mold varieties, including A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. clavatus, and A. parasiticus. All four types are heavily carcinogenic, especially to the liver and kidneys. Symptoms of exposure to aspergillus can include coughing up blood, wheezing, shortness of breath, weight loss, and exhaustion. Found on decaying plant matter, aspergillus spores have been known to even survive the cooking process, so be sure to check wheat, grain, rice, and spices for any abnormalities before cooking.
  • Penicillium – Although penicillium chrysogenum is famously beneficial as an antibiotic, a number of its indoor-grown cousins are extraordinarily dangerous, since they specifically attack the liver, kidneys, and nervous system.
Stop Mold

Even though different molds carry different toxicity levels, it’s difficult to get around the fact that they mostly all look the same. The only way to ensure your own safety if you find mold during the bathroom remodeling process is to leave the area, once you find it, and call a mold removal specialist.

Sources -
1 - 1. http://www.ehagroup.com/mold-iaq-services/toxic-mold/
2 - 2. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/03/molds-making-you-ill.aspx