Do I Have It?

mold remediation buffalo ny

If you can’t see it, does it mean that it’s not there? It’s just a musty, damp smell in my basement.  Doesn’t everybody’s basement smell like this?  Yes, everyone’s basement that has mold growth smells like that.  No, just because you cannot see the mold spores on porous materials does not mean you do not have a mold problem.  Any materials that are porous can hold moisture and allow mold spores and mycotoxins to thrive.

Molds can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. Some mycotoxins cling to the surface of mold spores; others may be found within spores. These mycotoxins are what you smell when you enter damp and poor ventilated basements. More than 200 mycotoxins have been identified from common molds, and many more remain to be identified. Some of the molds that are known to produce mycotoxins are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings. Exposure pathways for mycotoxins can include inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact.  Although some mycotoxins are well known to affect humans and have been shown to be responsible for human health effects, there are many mycotoxins that have little information available.

Aflatoxin B1 is perhaps the most well-known and studied mycotoxin. It can be produced by the molds Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus and is one of the most potent carcinogens known. Ingestion of aflatoxin B1 can cause liver cancer. There is also some evidence that inhalation of aflatoxin B1 can cause lung cancer. Aflatoxin B1 has been found on contaminated grains, peanuts, and other human and animal foodstuffs. However, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus are not commonly found on building materials or in indoor environments.

All mVOCd and mycotoxins are linked to health, mold and mildew issues. So if you ask the question do I have mold? Just remember the simplest sign’s can be the most important sign.In addition to mycotoxins, some compounds produced by molds are volatile and are released directly into the air. These are known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs). These compounds often have strong and/or unpleasant odors, they can be the source of odors associated with molds. Exposure to mVOCs from molds has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. Research on MVOCs is still in the early phase.

In many cases a simple high capacity dehumidifier will handle many moisture issues, but in some cases like Samantha Roth’s from Buffalo, we needed to address flooding issues within her basement.  Mrs. Roth would have flooding when she had heavy rain or heavy snow melts from the brutal Western New York winters; however, she did not have visible mold growth. We were able to take a few air samples to see if any spores were present in the air and indeed found heavy activity. We knew we needed to address the mold issue caused by the sporadic flooding and to stop the flooding when she had heavy rain or quick snow melting.  Through our waterproofing system we were able to stop the sporadic flooding and remediate all mold so that her air quality was acceptable.