What is Toxic Mold?
Toxic mold is a living organism that requires edible matter in order
to stay alive and flourish. It feeds on any organic material, but is particularly
fond of paper and wood. This common form of fungus is typically found
in moist and warm environments, both indoors and outdoors.
There are hundreds of types of mold that are in fact not harmful to humans.
However, there are some molds that are toxic and can cause illness. Symptoms
associated with toxic mold exposure are numerous, and some mimic other
illnesses, such as the flu.
are a few prevalent health problems caused by toxic mold:
• Nasal congestion
• Sinus headache
• Skin rash
• Chronic coughing
• Sore throat
• Flu-like symptoms
here for a more complete list of health risks.
How Toxic Mold Grows
Toxic mold needs four elements in order to stay alive and flourish.
By eliminating certain environmental conditions, you can increase your
chances of inhibiting the mold’s growth, and avoid the potential
negative effects caused by toxic mold to your health.
1. Mold spores: They are airborne and they are everywhere!
Unfortunately, there is no reliable or cost-effective method of eradicating
them from the environment.
2. Mold food: In order to stay alive, toxic mold eats
practically any matter that contains an organic substance. Something as
ordinary as the oil or soap residue on your skin, which is left behind
when you touch a surface, will feed mold. But mold most often propagates
on the wall materials of your home, such as wood and paper.
3. Suitable temperature: Mold, like humankind, requires
a warm habitat. A cold environment is not conducive to the development
4. Significant moisture: Most types of mold need an
adequate level of moisture to grow - at least the equivalent of 70% humidity
content. The moisture level in your home is the easiest factor to control.
How to Guard against Toxic Mold
The best way to protect our homes and our health from toxic mold
is to know how to prevent mold from growing. Here are some easy, manageable
- Water stains: If your house
has ever had a water leak, there is a good
chance that mold is present in that area.
A professional in the field of toxicity can
test your home for mold growth.
- Humidity: It is a good
idea to invest in a humidity sensor which
records the humidity levels in your house.
During the summer months, when using the air
conditioner, the humidity level should be
less than 55%.
- Dehumidifier: If your basement
or other areas of the house, such as the bathroom,
are damp, it would be worthwhile to purchase
- Water problems: Any leaky
pipes, water spills, or broken gutters should
be repaired as soon as possible. Such water
problems can encourage mold to settle in.
- Outdoor area: If you use
sprinklers in your backyard, make it a point
to direct the water away from the walls of
your house and garage. Clear the gutters from
all debris, and get rid of any stagnant water
on your property.
- Air conditioning: When
using your A/C in the summer, set the temperature
at 77F. Anything lower that 77F increases
the level of humidity and subsequently leads
to condensation in the walls and floors, making
it an ideal place for mold to grow.
- Fans: Use a ceiling fan
during the summer to help circulate the air;
it will make it easier for you to keep that
- Windows: Make sure that
all windows are well sealed in order to prevent
the formation of condensation.
Written by Gary Martin
Gary Martin is a freelance writer specializing in health
and allergy research for the Mold Removal