There could be something lurking in your home that is actually making you ill - and you wouldn't even know about it. It can lurk anywhere - including: Bathrooms and kitchens, especially under sinks - particularly leaky ones. Behind or under appliances that hide slow plumbing leaks (refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.) Roof leaks, around windows where condensation collects, high humidity areas of your home, and even fabrics and carpets - through leaks or through bad/cheap cleaning, caused by over wetting.
We are of course talking about mould, and in this article we are going to focus on bad cleaning. You may have experienced this before? Had someone round, you found their website and saw their cheap prices - or you perhaps responded to a cheap leaflet through your door? It can happen to all of us.
But lets first find out what this mould can do to you, it's not just harmless black spots that's for sure. It can cause:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Headache, anxiety, depression, memory loss, and visual disturbances
- Immune system disturbances and fatigue
- GI problems
- Shortness of breath
Fungi grow by releasing reproductive cells (spores) into the air, just as plants reproduce by spreading seeds. The airborne spores are invisible to the naked eye, which is a major reason mold is such a problem. It is not uncommon to find hundreds or even thousands of mold spores per cubic foot of indoor air. Spores are extremely small (1-100 microns) - 20 million spores would fit on a postage stamp.
Spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dryness, that do not support normal mould growth. In fact, many spores can lie dormant for decades until favorable conditions allow them to spring back to life.
Mould is a type of fungus, as are mushrooms and yeast. There are between 100,000 and 400,000 types of fungi (estimates vary), and of these, scientists have identified more than 1,000 types of mold growing inside houses across America for instance. Moulds are classified into three groups according to human responses:
Allergenic Moulds: These don't usually produce life-threatening effects and are most problematic if you are allergic or asthmatic. The challenge is in figuring out what you are sensitive to. Children are particularly susceptible to mould allergies.
Pathogenic Moulds: These produce some sort of infection, which is of particular concern if your immune system is suppressed. They can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia. An example is Aspergillus fumigatus, which can grow in the lungs of immune-compromised individuals.
Toxigenic Moulds (aka "toxic moulds"): These dangerous moulds produce mycotoxins, which can have serious health effects on almost anyone. Possible reactions include immunosuppression and cancer. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mould spore, which you then unwittingly inhale, ingest, or touch. An example of this is aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxin grows on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.
Some mould compounds are volatile and released directly into the air, known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs). Fragments of the cell walls of moulds (glucans) can also be inhaled and cause inflammatory respiratory reactions, including a flu-like illness called Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS).
According to mycotoxin expert Dr. Harriet Ammann, exposure to indoor moulds can damage the systems of your body in the following ways:
So having damp in your home really is not good for you. If you have had a bad experience with a cleaner - using cheap, weak equipment, thus leaving your carpets too wet - often for days on end, then next time make sure that they really do have the most powerful cleaning system available (regardless of them saying so on their websites - it's just sales talk). This way you should never get a serious mould problem - possibly giving you health issues again. If the equipment is NOT the most powerful, then it simply cannot extract as much moisture possible, a simple fact.
For a breakdown on what equipment that you should know about i.e. what machine types are bad and what are good - check this quick guide out.
Author: Kevin Loomes