Mold – The New Asbestos?
IN CANADA, MANY PEOPLE HAVE BECOME SICK FROM EXPOSURE TO MOLD BUT DON’T THINK THAT MOLD IS THE ROOT CAUSE. WHY?
HAS MOLD BECOME THE NEW “ASBESTOS” OF OUR DECADE?
Education is one of the primary goals of Maple Leaf Mold. We believe that reaching out to inform consumers in Toronto and Southern Ontario about mold and the hazards of mold exposure is very important, particularly since it not well understood. There remain many reasons for why this is however, through medical research and further testing, one day we believe mold contamination will be known to be as dangerous as asbestos.
Since 2004 our company has helped many people diagnose and remove mold from homes and businesses.
We have helped countless homeowners informed and have removed mold across Southern Ontario and Toronto. We have helped renters inspect apartments they are considering renting, we have helped Property Management companies proactively keep their apartments mold-free, (keeping claims against them down as well), We have helped businesses discreetly address potential liability issues created by mold contamination.
We are often asked:
“How dangerous is mold really? Can mold make me sick?”
Yes, mold can make you ill, very ill but it really depends on a number of things. 24% of the population will be affected adversely by exposure to mold contamination. Doesn’t matter whether the mold spores are alive or dead, some people are just more susceptible to becoming ill when exposed to mold. Scientists believe that genetics play a large role in whether or not you are part of this 24% and if you will become affected by exposure to mold. Other factors include age, (the very young and very old seem to be at risk more than the general population as well as those with depressed immune systems and those with upper respiratory diseases).
Regardless of the above, we are constantly surrounded by both live and dead mold spores…it is part of the natural environment. When concentrations of mold spores become elevated is when we should become concerned and when we start to see the negative impacts of mold on people.
Elevated levels of mold are typically what we see inside a home or a business when we are called in by someone with symptoms of mold exposure. They are classic symptoms It is when we start to see people exhibit what we typically define as classic mold exposure;
Signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by mold allergy can include:
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Cough and postnasal drip.
- Itchy eyes, nose and throat.
- Watery eyes.
- Dry, scaly skin.
These symptoms are commonly associated with elevated levels of live / dead mold spores in a home or business. It indicates that mold spores are increasing in density in the air to the point where human health is being affected negatively. It is at this point that you should be concerned.
We have seen so many of these types of symptoms that we believe we are at the initial stages of a “mold epidemic” so to speak. And there are reasons for this claim;
- Doctors today are not trained to the level that is required to identify, diagnose and treat mold contamination related illnesses. The OMA (Ontario Medical Association), and the CMA, (Canadian Medical Association), are essentially silent on this matter. As a result of this deficiency in knowledge means, in most cases, you could receive a diagnosis that fails to establish mold as the primary source of illness. Here is an excellent report on the Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities published by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The report covers a number of health impacts caused by airborne contaminants including mold spore densities. It can be found at: http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/sites/default/files/envsensitivity_en.pdf
- In about 90% of the homes and businesses we evaluate we find that mold is a hidden issue. There’s no way for a homeowner or business owner to tell that there is, in fact, mold growing and spreading spores throughout the interior environment of their home or business, (quick tip: usually a small patch is indicative of a larger problem. Mold spores float in the air until they find a suitable area to grow. This usually indicates that mold, in elevated airborne levels, already exists in the home).
- While most older homes that we inspect have mold issues we are finding that most newer homes are affected as well. While older homes may be cold and drafty due to air gaps / leaky windows it is these very issues that allow more ventilation and air movement in an older home that decreases the likelihood of mold growth. Newer homes these days are, “tighter”, with energy efficiency demanding less air movement, heat and moisture loss.
DUE TO A GAP IN THE ABILITY OF BOTH THE OMA AND CMA WE FIND IT NECESSARY TO EXPLAIN THE TOP 4 REASONS WHY INDIVIDUALS ARE BECOING ILL FROM MOLD EXPOSURE AND DON’T REALISE IT.
- The diagnosis and treatment of mold related illnesses is not being taught in Provincial and National Universities to the level that is required.
Right at this moment it may be that every medical practitioner in Canada is treating a mold exposure related illness and may not realize it.
Here are the five (5) items;
- The medical associations conducting oversight in Canada have not placed a significant level of focus on the adverse health impacts of mold exposure.
- Due to the generalized characteristics of the symptoms expressed by patients who have been exposed to mold, many medical practitioners here in Canada simply misdiagnose mold related illnesses as other illnesses that may have a similar set of symptoms.
- An individual who suffers mold-exposure and may have become sensitized will seek out multiple practitioners in an effort to address their symptoms. Sadly, this usually does not end in a successful diagnosis and treatment level.
- Due to the prevalence of now readily available information from digital sources, an individual who is sensitized to mold exposure The mold sensitized individual eventually learns that mold has been the cause of their sickness.
- At this time current standard mold removal / remediation techniques will not adequately deal with a home that is heavily or cross-contaminated, mold sensitized individuals must find specific mold remediation firms that have the in depth training and knowledge in insuring a thorough mold removal or else they must relocate.
A primary point made is the fact that Doctors are not able to sufficiently identify mold-related illnesses in patients because of the gap in proper training at the Provincial and Federal levels. .
“There is such a huge gap in care when it comes to mold illness that I found it extremely frustrating. I believe every medical assessment should include the question “have you been in a water damaged building?” There were many times that I felt so alone and with so little support that I didn’t know what to do. Luckily I have met some wonderful people in the many mold support groups that I have joined. The amount of people inflicted with mold illness and co-infections is unbelievable! So many have been misdiagnosed and unable to find medical help. They have shared their experiences and their healing and really helped guide me in finding my healing journey.”
Awareness is the key. If you are consistently sick, have seen many different doctors, and are not getting better or begin to feel worse, then the cause of your illness could be hidden mold in your home.
Your best defense is to first verify that your home has mold which can be done by contacting us for a professional mold inspection or air quality test at (416) 254 7256
Once mold is verified, then seek out an environmental physician with experience dealing with mold afflicted patients.
Once you are diagnosed, you need to follow the medical treatment designed to detox your body and allow your immune system to recover and begin to regain its strength. The detox strategy will be prescribed by your physician who will likely recommend that you remove yourself from the property that has been making you sick until it is safe to occupy again.
As stated by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD,
“If you think you have a mold illness, there’s a way out….One, you have to remove it from your home and Two, you have to get it out of your body, and Three, you have to repair the damage that has been done.”
#2 THE PROBLEM WITH MOLD IS YOU CAN’T SEE IT GROWING!
#2 The Problem With Mold Is You Can’t See It Growing!The seven areas listed below are the most common areas in a home where you will find mold.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
The most common area where you will find mold is under the sinks because of leaks.
Another potential source of leaks are your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machines. Check behind and under the appliances for mold.
If you notice water stains on the ceilings, then your roof could be leaking which will cause mold if the leak is not repaired.
If you have condensation in the home, you will likely find mold on the window sills and around the windows.
If there is high humidity in your home, then check your basement and other areas of the home for mold.
Leaky pipes, high humidity, and other sources of moisture can result in hidden mold in your closets. If there are boxes in the closet, move them and check the walls and floor for mold.
Moisture in your crawl space will cause mold to grow.
At least 4.5 million buildings in Canada have unhealthy levels of mold.
- You have a 33% chance of being exposed to toxic mold when you move into a new home, apartment or office.
- Approximately 24 percent of the population have genes that make them highly susceptible to mold-related health issues.
- Despite the fact that mold is a significant health concern, like lead and asbestos, there are no federal or provincial environmental protections laws.
The most important reason mold sickness is the new asbestos epidemic: most mold is hidden!
If you are concerned that you may have hiddnen mold growing in your home or business, call Maple Leaf Mold. We are mold inspection, air testing and mold removal experts!
#3 THE QUEST FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY LEADS TO MOLD GROWTH IN NEW HOMES!
Modern day building practices promote mold growth for these reasons:
- We live in a cold climate for about 65% of the year and the desire to reduce energy bills means that many new homes are air tight and lack proper ventilation, conducive to mold growth.
- The season that the home was built is also a factor. For instance, if the home was built during a period when there was lots of rain and the foundation was not allowed to completely dry before installing the insulation and vapor barrier, then moisture could be trapped behind the walls.
- Building practices have changed. In the past, most homes were built with non-porous materials like plywood and timber which made it difficult for mold to penetrate the surface. Today, cost conscious builders use Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and particle board which are porous and susceptible to mold growth.
The core problem is homes are built with materials that mold loves to eat: wood, drywall, carpet, etc.
Moisture is the key component mold needs to grow and thrive. With this in mind, mold growth is a problem that can be prevented.
Unfortunately, at least 50 percent of homes in Canada have water damage issues caused by water line leaks, tears in moisture vapor barriers, leaky showers, condensation under eaves, and water pooling in crawl spaces. It is this water damage which causes mold to grow.
Improving building practices to prevent moisture issues is the single most effective way to prevent mold.
GOT MOLD QUESTIONS?
Maple Leaf Mold is here to help! If you suspect that mold is making you sick, call us, 416-254-7256 or us via e-mail at email@example.com for further assistance.
Maple Leaf Mold Inc. is a IICRC certified testing and removal firm operating in Toronto and the surrounding area. We are an experienced, licensed firm practised in finding and removing mold. Call 416-254-7256 to talk with us about your issue anytime. You’ll be glad you did!