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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.

Toxic MoldHere are a few prevalent health problems caused by toxic mold:

• Asthma
• Nasal congestion
• Sinus headache
• Dizziness
• Skin rash
• Hives
• Fatigue
• Chronic coughing
• Sore throat
• Flu-like symptoms

Click 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 of mold.

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 tips:

  • 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 a dehumidifier.
  • 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 77F temperature.
  • 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 Unit website.


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