is your Premier Health Tip for the week compliments of Dr. Shapero at
Premier Health Care.
There has been much concern in the air regarding mold. In some circles the scare is so ominous that is parallels some alien blob which is taking over YOUR house.
This weeks article is to put things into perspective. The first section will describe the situation and some related health risks and empower you with solutions, the second half, some practical methods for detecting and dealing with this burden.
Mold by definition is a type of fungi. These come in many shapes and colors. Most types of fungi mold that are commonly found in indoor environments can result in the aggravation of respiratory conditions, such as asthma, allergies, sinus infections, etc. It thrives in dark and damp conditions, regardless of how warm or cold the temperature.
There are differences between mold and mildew, but for our purposes, we can call the entire gang mold. Molds are neither plants nor animals. They're microscopic organisms containing enzymes (responsible for digesting and decomposing) and spores (in charge of reproduction). Mold dwells within the fungi kingdom: a realm includes mushrooms, yeast and other seemingly unsavory characters. But the truth is, these decay organisms aren't unsavory at all. Without them, toppled trees, dead animals and fallen vegetables wouldn't decompose. Our land would get piled higher and higher with dead stuff. We wouldn't have foods and medicines like cheese and penicillin. The problems arise when mold starts chomping away at things we don't want them to--affecting the look, smell and structural integrity of your house.
Most household molds are made of microscopic yeasts and mold species. They cause health problems (respiratory problems in particular) by releasing microscopic spores into the air, which carry toxins, which cause the spore to be allergenic (allergy-causing) and toxic. These airborne spores stay alive by consuming nutrients from organic material, which is readily found in the home. These include wood, paper, dust, food, etc.
Stachybotrys Mold (the "deadly" mold)
Stachybotrys causes bleeding in the lungs. This can be fatal for infants and pregnant women. The Stachybotrys mold spores are inhaled into the lungs, where they weaken the blood vessels, which causes the lungs to bleed. Coughing up blood and frequent nosebleeds are symptoms of stachybotrys poisoning. Stachybotrys is found in wet areas, such as places affected by leaky pipes, or within or on walls exposed to excessive moisture. Stachybotrys mold is wet, black, and slimy, and it smears when touched.
That Mold Problem
You immune system can be weakened by many stress factors such as mental stress, not eating properly, dehydration, trauma, and the system that measures stress in the body is the nervous system. If this system has interference on it you will be at risk. I recommend that everyone who is interested in having good health get the spine and nervous system checked periodically by a qualified chiropractor.
Chiropractic can keep the nerve system in top function and is the most powerful and quickest method for enhancing the immune system. Other secondary measures are getting enough sleep, proper exercise, and good nutrition.
Detecting & Solving those Household Mold Problems
1. Clean surfaces where there is mold with bleach. Usually a 10% solution will be strong enough.
2. Fix all sources of leaks. Remember, mold thrives in damp conditions.
3. Install air conditioning in your home (dries the air out, making it more difficult for mold to survive).
4. Check houseplant soil, make sure it is not always very damp. Mold loves moist soil.
5. Keep firewood outside.
6. Pay special attention to the basement, which is the part of your home mold is most likely to be a problem. Keep it as dry as possible. You may want to keep an air purifier in your basement. An air filter will not destroy mold, but an ion & ozone generator will.
7. Clean the shower floor frequently to ensure that mold does not accumulate.
8. Clean the bottom of your fridge, and underneath it.
Note: The first 8 suggestions listed above can help to prevent the growth of mold in your home. However, if a significant amount of mold already exists in your home, then it will be difficult to remove the airborne mold spores with the methods listed above. These airborne mold spores can continue to reproduce and multiply without, unless you have an air purifier capable of effectively neutralizing and removing mold spores from the air, which leads us to the ninth recommendation:
9. Place an air purifier in your home that emits negative ions and ozone.
Tips from a local handyman
Leaky air-conditioning duct joints, especially those running through a hot attic, create a moist environment for mildew.
Solution: Seal all duct joints with the special flexible mastic available heating and cooling supply stores.
In warm environments, impermeable vinyl wallcoverings can trap moisture-laden air as it moves from the warm exterior to the cooler interior. Mold degrades the drywall and adhesive behind the vinyl wallcovering.
Solution: Use paint or apply wallcoverings with permeable paper backings that don't trap moisture on exterior walls.
When washing machines in a room without a floor drain overflow or hose connections burst, water with no point of exit will soak into adjacent carpet, drywall and insulation.
Solution: Always provide a floor drain near the washing machine. Install an overflow pan directly under the machine or install a 1-in. lip at the doorway to contain overflows in main-level or second-story laundry rooms. (An overflow pan is available for about $125.00)
Water-resistant drywall used as a backer quickly degrades once subjected to moisture.
Solution: Install cement backer board, which will remain structurally sound even if repeatedly subjected to moisture.
Poorly ventilated bathrooms allow surface mold to grow.
Solution: Install a bathroom fan (or at least, open a window) to exhaust moisture. Remove surface mildew by scrubbing the area with a 1/2 percent bleach solution. When the area is dry, prime it with an alcohol-based, white pigmented shellac, such as Zinsser Bullseye, and use a paint containing mildewcide.
Poorly constructed crawlspaces promote mildew growth. Bare earth floors transmit huge amounts of moisture.
Solution: There are many regional differences and solutions. Cover bare earth with 6-mil poly sheeting. Heat, cool and humidify the area the same as the rest of the house.
Freshly cut firewood stored indoors emits huge amounts of moisture.
Solution: Store it outside.
Humidifiers (especially reservoir-type central units and portable units) provide both a growth medium and a distribution system for mold and mildew.
Solution: Clean and treat the reservoir often with an antimicrobial solution, available at most hardware stores.
The condensation pan directly under the coil of your central air conditioner can harbor mold.
Solution: Before each cooling season, clean the pan with a 1/2 percent bleach solution and make sure the continuous drain is working.
Finished concrete basements that haven't been thoroughly waterproofed from the outside are problematic. When moisture migrates through the earth and non-waterproofed concrete walls, it can get trapped behind vapor barriers, carpet, layers of insulation and drywall.
Solution: Thoroughly waterproof the exterior of concrete walls before backfilling. Install 6 in. of gravel under concrete floors during construction to prevent moisture from wicking up through concrete floors and into floor coverings.
Yards that slope toward foundations invite water to enter basements and crawlspaces.
Solution: Regrade yard surrounding house so it slopes away at a rate of 1 in. per foot.
Improperly flashed or caulked windows (and those with large amounts of surface condensation) let moisture seep the surrounding wood, drywall and insulation.
Solution: Properly flash and caulk windows during installation; minimize condensation with good ventilation and airflow.
Leaky flashings and shingles allow rain to infiltrate attics, insulation, eaves and other areas that can trap moisture and be difficult to inspect.
Solution: Perform yearly roof inspections--even if you do it from the ground with binoculars.
Besides damaging your
house, mold can cause severe health problems.
If you need assistance finding someone to handle these projects you may call our office ant we can make the appropriate referral.
Remember a clean dry environment is the safest with regards to mold. In addition an immune system functioning at its best is virtually untouched by these types of problems. Give your house a check up and then come on in and have your nerve system checked as well.
for better Health.