In-home mold growth is something, that by now, especially if you have been following our blog, you should be aware of and is very common. Our homes are basically built out of materials that will act as a feeding ground for microbial growth and unfortunately, in many cases, this growth is inevitable. Of course, there are prevention methods as well as ways to make sure that your home does not get over infested with mold growth, but you may be thinking, that because mold is such a big part of our lives, that it is mostly harmless, especially in small quantities. Well, unfortunately for many people, this is not the case and a little mold growth can really take its toll on your health.
Based on the research of Michael Pinto, an environmental expert who has been published many times on the topic of mold growth and environmental issues, there have been many cases in which a little mold growth has really affected people negatively. When starting his research, he wanted to find out and put to rest a great debate among mold remediation contractors regarding the health affects of mold.
Many contractors that you speak to will tell you that mold is deadly and that you need to have it removed right away. There is a lot of research that backs this up as well, and for a few years, there was a huge craze centered on black mold, which we are sure that you have heard at least something about. And while a lot of the chatter around black mold is true, mold being sensationalized by contractors is a real problem.
But on the other hand, there are some contractors that will tell you that while mold is unsightly and smells unpleasant, that it will have little to no affect on your health. While this is partially true, in that the majority of people who get violently ill from the affects of mold growth are those who already suffer from illnesses or who are immune deficient, there are many cases where those who do not fall into these categories are getting ill as well.
So essentially, Pinto tried to end the age-old debate in the mold remediation industry of whether or not mold growth can make you sick. This is information that is crucial for mold contractors to know. Not only does this provide them with the correct information to do their jobs and tell their customers the right information about the things that their homes are suffering from, but it also helps them create policies and procedures around mold removal that are more universal so that people are getting the right service the first time. If a scientific study validates the claims of illness, even small symptoms, are caused by mold growth, especially limited amounts of water damage and actual growth, than this will force mold remediation contractors to work harder to remove the mold in people’s homes.
Much of the debate surrounding this issue deals with the simple fact that mold illness studies are generally done in a controlled environment. Most exposure to mold during these studies is presented by itself, meaning that naturally occurring; real-life factors that will also be a part of daily life are not present. There is a lot to be said for the possible affect that lifestyle and natural elements play in the addition of mold growth into your life. It is possible that certain types of pollen or chemicals that we ingest make our reactions to mold growth worse. This is something that we do not know yet, and so tests in labs are not 100% accurate, as most do not include this information.
And the other part of the debate comes from the fact that a lot of our evidence on mold growth causing health issues comes from case studies. Case studies generally result from volunteers who know they are having health problems and come forward attributing it to mold on their own, which does not always make for a fair evidence pool.
Essentially, in embarking on his own research, Pinto found that the evidence pointing towards mold growth causing illness is very high. He tells the story of an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) investigation he did on a family home housing five people. The family was the only one to ever live in the home, and at the time of the inspection, they had been there for ten years. In this particular case, the family could not see or smell any mold, but they all suffered from a variety of illnesses throughout the years. When asked to compile a list of all of the doctors visits that the family had made over the past year, it came to 51, which is almost one a week for the entire year.
When Pinto and his team started their investigation, they found a substantial amount of mold in the attic spanning several species, including Stachybotrys, or black mold. Pinto recommended that the family have their house remediated for mold.
During the remediation, the family moved out of the home. Within one week of this, the family reported that they were no longer suffering from some of the respiratory issues that they were plagued with, and within a month of moving out, all members reported that they were feeling completely symptom free from all ailments.
Cases like this one happen all the time in the mold remediation industry. There are tons of stories that we hear that line up with Pinto’s that help us determine that mold growth, even in small amounts, can affect your health, which is why mold remediation is so important.
Are you suffering from chronic illness? Do you think that it may be caused by some mold growth in your home? Tell us about what you are experiencing in the comments. We want to hear your story and provide any help that we can to get you and your family healthy again.