The conundrum with mold exposure and health risks associated with such exposure, is that mold itself is not harmful to humans. Like any other life form however, mold has the ability to release it's own toxins and it does this by way of small molecular arrangements that carry on much like the way mold itself. In this respect, these by-products of mold can be seen as the culprit in terms of what is actually causing health issues in a case where there is mold present in the environment.
There are many types of mold, each having it's own biological specificity and each with toxins that also carry specificity in terms of what types of problems they can cause for the human. What we've discussed so far are the Aflatoxins produced by the [quite common] household mold Aspergillis, which can lead to all sorts of problems including: liver cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, asthma, bronchitis, dermatitis and more; Cladosporidium is noted by the CDC as being one of the most deadly fungi known to man causing sinus, skin and brain infections. Cladiosporidium was traced back to an out break of fungal meningitis recently in many states too! Another common type of household mold is Stachybotrys, which produces a very deadly mycotoxin called trichothecenes. Trichothecenes induced mycotoxicity has been associated with pulmonary hemorrhage, general lethargy and [also] liver cancer. Believe it or not, Trichothecenes has been used as a biological weapon [a.k.a. Yellow Rain] whereas those effected almost immediately experienced blistering of the skin, headache, fatigue, general confusion and loss of heightened senses due to the neurological damage that particular mycotoxin causes.
Aspergillis (associated with aflatoxins) Cladosporidium and Alternaria sp. (including Stachybotrys) are all very commonly found indoors and especially in Mold Remediation jobs. All too often, homeowners don't understand the extraordinary danger in approaching a job where these species are present. It is critical that proper personal protective equipment, respiratory ventilation, air filtration and containment be used when in the presence of these types of mold. Simply utilizing an air cleaner will only make matters worse by creating airflow that could spread the mold throughout the structure (thereby affecting more people). The first thing that needs to happen with ANY structure suspect of having mold growth, is to have it tested by a qualified Industrial Hygenist so that you know what exactly you're dealing with. Then and only then, can a true plan be placed in action for remediation. If you have any questions, please call us anytime. We are always here to help! 1-877-MAC FAWN or (518) 785-6719