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All of us have been exposed to mold or mold spores through the environment in which we live. Simply put, molds are parasitic, microscopic fungi that produce spores that float in the air like pollen and are common triggers for allergies. They can be found in damp areas, such as the basement or bathroom of your house, as well as in the outdoor environment in grass, leaf piles, hay, mulch or under mushrooms.
If you can smell a musty odor or see mold (although not all molds are visible to the naked eye), you have a mold problem. In fact, there are estimated to be over 50,000 different species of mold but only about 200 species may present serious health risks to human beings and animals (like the beloved family pet). These harmful species of mold are referred to as toxic producing molds and are potentially poisonous because they can produce toxins or poisons (known as mycotoxins).
The impact on your health or that of a loved one can bad news. Therefore anyone exposed to mold should consider being tested even if the symptoms have yet to be experienced. Preventive medicine can be a life-saver.
What are the sources of black mold (a generic term because most molds growing on building surfaces are black)? Documented sources of such mold (see testimonials for some examples) may be oneâ€™s home (for example, through dampness in basement areas, air conditioning vents or bathrooms), schools and hospitals (but not to the exclusion of other buildings).
Eye and/or nose irritation, wheezing, nasal stuffiness and coughing may be experienced by individuals sensitive to mold. However, more severe documented responses to black mold exposure include respiratory problems (including asthma, shortness of breath, chronic rhinosinusitis and pneumonitis) as well as problems in the central nervous system (headaches, confusion, depression, fatigue, sleep disorders and cancer). In some cases, it may prove fatal (symptoms).
In light of the above, if you believe or suspect the existence of black mold in your everyday environment (such as in your home), what should you do about it? There are two different categories of mold testing, environmental testing (coming soon) and human testing. For example, if you wanted to determine if black mold is found in your home (that is, environmental testing), you have a number of options. These include taking a culture from the open air in the home by opening the plate and letting it remain open for one hour. Then, closing the plate, taping it shut and sending it to the lab. This may include, as well, taking a swab of the mold if contaminated wall board exists, cut a piece and send it to RTL. For your convenience, kits for your use in the evaluation of the presence of mold in your environment are available from labs. In all cases, kindly telephone us first so we may provide appropriate instructions and assistance where required.
Human testing for mold in usually a non-invasive procedure. This may involve the need for a urine sample, nasal secretion, sputum or tissue biopsy which was taken previously by your doctor. Your specimen can only be evaluated if a doctor has ordered the tests. The doctor must sign RTL request form. Following analysis by RTL, the referring doctor will be informed of the results and if toxic mold or mycotoxins are found to be present, the doctor will be advised.
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