Mould is part of a group of very common organisms called fungi that also include mushrooms and yeast. It is present virtually everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Mould may grow indoors in wet or moist areas lacking adequate ventilation, including walls/ wallpaper, ceilings, bathroom tiles, carpets (especially those with jute backing), insulation material and wood. If moisture accumulates in a building mould growth will often occur. Many different types of mould exist and all have the potential to cause health problems.
Underfloor Ventilation to Reduce Asthma Symptoms - Asthma sufferers should be aware that asthma attacks generally are triggered by dust mites as a result of high moisture level and poor air quality, which often are flow on effects as a result of issues in the sub floor area. In order to reproduce, mould produces tiny particles called spores.
Spores are carried in the air and may cause health problems if inhaled by people who are sensitive or allergic to them. These include a running or blocked nose, irritation of the eyes and skin and sometimes wheezing. Occasionally, people may have more severe reactions. Very rarely, people may develop a mould infection, usually in the lungs. It is important to note that most people will not experience any health problems from coming in contact with mould. For people with asthma, inhaling mould spores may cause an asthma attack. If you or your family members suffer health problems after coming into contact with mould, contact your doctor. In the case of a life threatening emergency, phone 000.."
The most common approach to sub floor ventilation is constant or timer operated electrically powered fans.
These fans are designed to remove moisture from the sub-floor area – with the aim of allowing replacement low humidity air to enter under the house via vents located around the building. The problem with constant or timer operated fans is that they are "set and uncontrolled", as in they operate when there is high humidity e.g. when it is raining – which means that they actually bring damp air into the sub floor area. Due to the normally lower temperature under the house this causes condensation and high moisture levels – which over a period can make a sub-floor area evenly wetter.
Our business is remediation of damp sub-floors - not fan sales. Repair all water leaks and plumbing problems, e.g. burst water pipes, leaking roof, blocked drains, leaking down pipes. If not obvious -ask our experts for advice.
If water enters your home, completely clean and dry water-damaged carpets and building materials. Discard material that cannot be cleaned and dried completely.
Rising damp is ground moisture rising up a brick or stone wall. Poor sub-floor ventilation or moisture in the sub-floor area will worsen the problem. This can be fixed by installing a new damp course or waterproof barrier in the wall. Ensure the weep holes and air vents at the base of your home are uncovered. If you have rising or lateral damp an experienced building consultant can check the 'damp course' and recommend ways to fix the problem.
Molds, Mycotoxins, & More
Mold, Bacteria & Mycotoxins - Many health effects are caused by exposure to the interior environment of Water Damaged Buildings (WDB). The complex mixture of contaminants present in the air and in the dust in WDB form a toxic chemical stew.
There are so many possible sources of these toxic compounds found in WDB that can lead to the variety of symptoms caused by mold illness, no single compound can be identified as the sole cause of the inflammatory responses, or the illness, seen in affected patients. Since no one thing can be deemed as solely responsible for the sickness, the sole cause becomes the WDB itself.
Below is a list of of some of these dangerous compounds and an explanation of each. Please understand this toxic chemical stew is a very complex mixture that truly wreaks havoc in the body. These explanations are simplified to make them easier to understand.
Knowledge is power and patients have the right to understand what is making them sick, so they can avoid exposure in the future.
Fungi - A single-celled or multicellular organism. Fungi can be true pathogens that cause infections in healthy persons or they can be opportunistic pathogens that cause infections in immunocompromised persons.
Bacteria - Single-celled microorganisms which can exist either as independent (free-living) organisms or as parasites (dependent upon another organism for life).
Actinomycetes - A group of gram-positive bacteria (order Actinomycetales) that produce various bioactive agents.
Mycobacteria - A large family of bacteria that have unusually waxy cell walls that are resistant to digestion.
Mold - Mold refers to multiple types of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season.
The most common types of mold that are found indoors include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as "black mold") is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors. Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint.
Molds reproduce by forming tiny spores that not visible to the naked eye. Mold spores are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. These spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When mold spores land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can start to grow.
Spore - tiny spores that are not visible to the naked eye produced by mold. Mold spores are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. These spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When mold spores land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can start to grow.
Mycotoxins - toxic chemicals that are present on spores and small fragments of mold and fungus that are released into the air.
Endotoxins - also called Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), are cell wall components of Gram negative bacteria. They are shed into the environment of WDB upon death of the bacteria. LPS cause inflammatory responses via signaling pathways in the body, releasing inflammatory cytokines. LPS aggravate existing lung disease (asthma, HP), can cause inflammation of the lungs and are synergistic with mycotoxins.
Inflammagens - an irritant that elicits both edema and the cellular response of inflammation
Beta Glucans - are polysaccharides of D-glucose monomers linked by β-glycosidic bonds. β-glucans are a diverse group of molecules that can vary with respect to molecular mass, solubility, viscosity, and three-dimensional configuration.
Hemolysins - exotoxins produced by bacteria that cause lysis of red blood cells in vitro.
Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - Microbes can release organic compounds into the air when there is adequate food supply for such “secondary metabolite” production. These volatile compounds, called mVOCs for short, can give basements their distinctive musty odor as well as activate innate immune responses in susceptible patients. While we think of fungi as the most common producers of mVOCs, bacteria and actinomycetes are indoor-producers as well.