Is Mold Secretly Making Your Family Sick?

Although you keep your home spotless, and follow a cleaning schedule to make sure no room or surface goes too long without being scrubbed, the air inside your home remains a risk to your children.

The uncomfortable truth: indoor air quality can be worse for you than the air outside.¹ ²

Think about how many hours you and your family spend at home – North American adults spend 87% of their time in buildings.³ Also consider how modern homes are sealed up tightly to conserve energy and heat, but are often lacking proper ventilation – allowing your children to breathe in chemicals, dust mites, and mold spores.⁴ ⁵ Perhaps your child is already showing signs of this very modern disease.

Does your child:

  • Suffer from what seems to be a permanent cold – runny nose and eyes, stuffy nose, cough, sinus congestion?
  • Struggle with his or her concentration?
  • Get frequent headaches?
  • Feel frequently tired?
  • Struggle with asthma or allergies?
  • Seem to perk up during a day trip to the park, only for his or her symptoms to come back when you return home?

...if you answer yes to several of these questions, your child and family could be affected by symptoms of mold sickness, caused by indoor mold exposure.⁸

Mold illness is a tricky beast, hard to pin down, but a possible diagnosis you can’t afford to ignore when it comes to your family. Unfortunately, you can’t protect children exposed to mold purely by wiping away the mold.

Of course, that’s if you can even see it – there’s lots of attention paid to black mold which is very obvious to the human eye, but there are hundreds of different species that could potentially affect your children’s health.

H​ow Can Mold Affect My Children's Health?

Mold is a type of fungus that thrives and grows in damp, warm conditions. The fungus consumes organic matter, particularly cellulose, which is found in paper, wood, natural fibers, and cellulose insulation.¹⁰ ¹¹ Many molds are not visible to the naked eye until they grow into a large colony. Mold at home is a normal, natural occurrence, but when it overgrows, it can affect our health.

Mold reproduces by releasing spores into the air, which are toxic for humans when inhaled.¹² ¹³ Usually, your child’s immune system is able to neutralize the threat easily, but a mixture of prolonged exposure and mold allergy can tip their immune system out of balance.¹⁴ ¹⁵

Mold also emits volatile organic chemicals (VOCs).¹⁶ VOCs are largely a modern health concern, as they are also produced by modern furnishings and impact the air quality in your home.¹⁷ Man-made VOCs can provoke allergic and respiratory issues in children, but further study into the impact of mold VOCs needs to be made.¹⁸

A child’s exposure to indoor mold from an early age can impair his or her cognitive function.¹⁹

Mold allergy can easily tip over into Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) if your child has the relevant gene mutation.²⁰ CIRS occurs when the receptors that identify the threat are unable to shake free of the toxin. The toxin stays stuck to the immune system receptor, so the receptor continues to send out the message that the body is under attack – and that the immune system should keep sending reinforcements. The continued high-alert ensures your child’s immune system is stretched almost to breaking point, weakening his or her defense against other pathogens, inciting inflammation, and causing a hormone imbalance.

Why Is Bleach Bad for Mold?

Chlorine bleach is conventionally recommended to use on mold, as it is a sterilizer. But because it also whitens surfaces, it’s easy to be overconfident in the abilities of bleach. After all, if it leaves sinks and floors sparkling clean, and neutralizes bacteria, it must work well on mold, right?

Unfortunately, chlorine bleach and similar products:

  • Only kills mold fully on non-porous surfaces like counter tops, glass, and sinks. When treating porous surfaces like drywall and wood, the bleach can’t penetrate fully, and the mold is able to hide out underneath the surface.
  • Leave mold byproducts (mycotoxins) and spores behind.²¹ Because bleach isn’t capable of neutralizing toxins, sticky mold spores stay attached to walls, furniture and belongings, meaning the mold life cycle and any related illness in your family continues.
  • Don’t sanitize the area fully when mixed with organic matter. Organic matter such as the cellulose mold feeds on (see above) renders bleach inactive.²²
  • Can often damage and discolor soft furnishings, which require a gentler approach in the presence of mold.

What’s more, bleach is ineffective at targeting the root cause of mold, and instead creates a sterile environment, removing the friendly bacteria that normally keep mold in check before it can become a problem.

Yes, bleach can actually make your mold situation worse!

How Can I Get Rid of Mold in My House?

If mold has become an issue in your family home, don’t despair.

There are a number of actions you can take to reduce the impact on your air quality, and restore your children’s health. With that said, bear in mind that mold is a natural, living thing, and that it is impossible to eradicate it 100%, but the following steps should be enough to reduce the negative impact on health and living conditions.

1. Tackle any leaks, water damage, or moisture issues in your home.²³ Mold can’t thrive and grow without access to water, so perform maintenance on:

   a. Building leaks and holes in roof.
   b. Broken gutters.
   c. Dripping or leaky plumbing.
   d. Air conditioning units.

2. Reduce humidity levels, again tackling the mold’s access to water by:

   a. Using a dehumidifier to control the humidity in your environment.
   b. Ensuring clothes dryers, stoves ,and other vented appliances are maintained and are venting moist air fully outside.
   c. Installing and/or properly using ventilation fans in the bathroom and kitchen.

3. Use undiluted hydrogen peroxide directly on surface mold – make sure you wear gloves and avoid contact with skin. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic and an antifungal – but because it is made of only water and oxygen, it is much safer than chlorine bleach.

4. Invest in a good quality air purifier, which can remove decontaminants like mold spores and VOCs, improving air quality in your home.

5. Restore a protective micobiome to your home with Homebiotic! By re-establishing the good bacteria that blocks mold growth, Homebiotic beats mold & mildew naturally – and safely.

protect your home today with homebiotic!

References:

1. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality
2. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10915818909018049
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2443227/
4. https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Home/The-Inside-Story-A-Guide-to-Indoor-Air-Quality
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17661923
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758954/
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4898283/
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27986496
9. https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2901/2901-7019/2901-7019.html
10. https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm
11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16499151
12. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookID=2268#176081300
13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4898283/
14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30080527
15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4397360/
16. https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2901/2901-7019/2901-7019.html
17. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality
18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17661923
19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758954/
20. https://www.hoffmancentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Chronic_Inflammatory_Response_Syndrome.pdf
21. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/moldguide12.pdf
22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK214356/
23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1568111

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