Black mold is most likely to appear in areas of the home that are particularly warm, humid and damp. Testing your house our work space can be a critical step towards improving you health. But we should ask the question is the mold or is the mold toxins we should be concerned with. Mold toxins also known as Mycotoxins is the bigger problem. If you have toxic mold in your home, you and your family are breathing Mycotoxins in every day. Mycotoxins are known to be hazardous; some are even proven to cause cancer in humans.
Basements or crawlspaces that may have leaks or other sources of moisture are often susceptible to toxic black mold growth. Black mold is readily identifiable by its color. Whereas most other molds are green or gray in color, toxic black mold is a dark black.
Black Mold and Your Health
Black mold can cause an array of allergic reactions and health problems. In most cases, depending on the length of exposure and the number of spores inhaled, symptoms can include chronic fatigue or headaches, fever, irritation to the eyes, mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat, sneezing, rashes, and chronic coughing. In cases of prolonged or severe exposure, or cases exacerbated by an allergic reaction, more extreme symptoms can present, including nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose.
One of the most feared types of mold is black mold. Also known by its scientific name, Stachybotrys chart arum is one of the most common toxic molds that frequently appear in the home and workplace. While often black in color, black mold spores can also appear blue or green.
Reasons to Test for Black Mold in the Home
Just because you can’t see mold, doesn’t mean it isn’t growing and spreading inside the home. As mold levels in the home rise, so does the risk of illness and disease to you, your loved ones, and your guests. If you suspect excessive mold in the home, testing can help you confirm it.
Beyond just confirming the presence of mold, mold testing can help identify which molds are present and the severity of each one. This can help you detect areas that are more dangerous than others, giving you a sense of direction when remediating mold and maintaining your health.
Symptoms and Signs of Mycotoxins Exposure
Symptoms and signs of mycotoxins poisoning are very different depending on many factors. How this poisoning presents itself depends on:
- Type of mycotoxin
- Amount of mycotoxin
- Duration of poisoning
- Age of individual
- Prior health status
- Other toxins present
- Dietary status
- Genetic structure
- And others
This means there can be a major difference in symptoms between individuals in the population exposed to it. To some extent it is clear that mycotoxicosis can increase susceptibility to infections, worsen the effect of other toxins present and advance other health conditions.
In some cases, your doctor might want to test the mold levels in your home, especially if you’re presenting symptoms that are common in mold-related illnesses – such as coughing, sneezing, dry skin, itchy eyes, congestion, runny nose, shortness of breath, wheezing, and much more.
Take our quiz to see if you’re experiencing symptoms from a mold-related illness
How to Test for Black Mold in House
While there are a number of different reasons why you might want to test for black mold in the home, most people have no idea how to test for black mold and therefore will avoid testing for it altogether. Luckily, the mold testing process is rather easy and there are several ways to do it.
The most accurate way to find mold in the home is with a at-home mold testing kit.
Use Your Sight & Smell to Find Mold
Using your sight and smell is an effective way to find visible mold in common areas – such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, mud rooms, basements, attics, and nearby doors or windows. Since mold tends to be black, gray, white, blue, yellow, and green, it’s easy to spot.
You’ll want to be on the lookout for plumbing leaks, damaged plumbing lines, leaking windows, warped or discolored drywall, and other visible signs that might be causing mold growth.
Not only that, but mold tends to smell musty and stale. Still, your sight and smell won’t necessarily tell you what type of mold you’re dealing with and doesn’t really account for the hidden spots where mold can grow and spread – such as behind drywall and inside an air duct.
The other way that mold exposure can affect your health is through allergy and IgE-mediated pathways. Mold can introduce multiple different types of antigens to your system. One of the main antigens involved is mold spores. Mold can lead to asthma, hypersensitivity reactions, and mold related illnesses such as pulmonary inflammatory disease.
There are many different variants that could cause a patient to have one reaction compared to another. One of these factors is the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) patterns. Another likely significant factor is the glutathione transferase genes. One study found that polymorphism in GSTP1 influenced illness and treatment after exposure to water-damaged buildings(5).
Mold Poisoning Test
Lastly, what could we do to test if we have been poisoned by mold? The best testing methods to utilize are a urine mycotoxin test and our home environment test the EMMA. Mold testing will give you a comprehensive mold and mycotoxin look into your body and home. For more information on these tests, I recommend reading about finding mold in your home and about mold growth.
Utilize an At-Home Testing Kit for Black Mold
With the technology we have today, at-home mold testing kits are becoming much more accurate and dependable for homeowners worldwide. Not all mold tests are created equal. We recommend the EMMA Test.
Order Your Personalized Environmental Mold and Mycotoxin Assessment Test Profile which includes:
- Comprehensive Environmental Mold and Mycotoxin Assessment Test.
- One on one consult with Dr. Hagmeyer to discuss Test Results
- Recommendations for a Treatment plan and cost of treatment if necessary.
We recommend this mold test for evaluating your home environment- Environmental Mold an Mycotoxin Assessment Test
EMMA Test PCR
The EMMA test uses sensitive molecular detection technology to look for the presence of 10 of the most toxigenic molds. It determines their presence and determines their relative abundance. EMMA also tests directly for 16 of the most poisonous Mycotoxins using its patented Mycotoxin detection test. Testing is simple, only requiring small amounts of dust or material from AC or heater filters. Instructions are provided with the pre-paid return kit that is sent to you upon order. Results will be sent to you within 10 business days from receipt of your sample.
How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Home
Although there is no determined amount of how much mold is harmful to your health, it’s important to act quickly. If necessary, hire professionals to clean it.
There are mold remediation contractors on these websites:
- NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors)
- The IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association)
- IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification)
- ACAC (American Council for Accredited Certification)
- RIA (Restoration Industry Association)
- The IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association)
Use a dehumidifier to keep your air moisture levels below 50%. Ventilate your rooms, and make sure to turn on the bathroom fan when you’re taking a shower.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration declared bleach as ineffective to use, and it can even increase the toxicity of mycotoxins, worsening your mold exposure symptoms.
Suppose I suspect a Patient is suffering from Biotoxins illness or Mold Toxicity Exposure. In that case, several tests can help us understand why you feel the way you do and understand how severe of an exposure we are dealing with.
- Blood Lab Testing: VEGF, Transforming Growth Factor Beta -1, VIP, HLA-DR, C4a, Alpha-MSH, cortisol, Leptin, ADH, DHEA-S, and Testosterone MMP9 blood level.
- ERMI Testing
- EMMA Testing
- VCS Test: The Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test shows if you could be suffering from mold exposure.
- Great Plains Lab Testing: The MycoTOX Profile is another invaluable tool to assess mold exposure.
- Mold Allergie Testing
- Genetic Test: The HLA-DRB1 gene provides instructions for making a critical protein and the role exposure has on the immune system.
Are You Experiencing Symptoms? Contact Dr. Hagmeyer Today!
Excessive mold exposure can compromise the body’s immune system and put you at risk of various illnesses, diseases, and conditions. If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms due to toxic mold contamination, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Hagmeyer for a 15-minute consultation.
We’ll help you get to the bottom of your symptoms, determine a treatment plan to help you recover from those symptoms, and help you make the necessary lifestyle changes to prevent those symptoms from finding their way back. Together, we’ll get your body back in working order.
Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Hagmeyer to discuss your symptoms and current health status.