By Gregory L. Drenik, CIE (Certified Indoor Environmentalist)
Mold can emit a fungal gas! When particular molds colonize and they progress through their life cycle, they emit a gas (musty smell). As the reservoir of fungus grows to several billion spores in the colony, our noses detect the smell of these fungal gases.
When a closed indoor environment continues to fill with the mycotoxic gases, they can become a health risk. The affect it has on the human body is dependent on three variables. Our individual immune systems, the type of spore, and the volume of fungal gas determines the impact on our bodies. Additionally, the longer the exposure to these gases, the greater the likelihood we will develop a sensitivity. Much like other environmental allergens we are exposed to, the longer the exposure, the greater the chance our bodies will have an adverse reaction.
Some health effects include headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever, and digestive problems. More severe reactions are hypersensitivity and asthma symptoms. Although rare, certain Aspergillus species release aflatoxins that are carcinogenic.
There are many things in life we cannot control, but exposure to fungal gases is not one of them. With a little effort, we can reduce or eliminate this health hazard by using a disinfectant or removing the affected material. In some instances, it may be necessary to seek a professional opinion or get professional help.
Mr. Drenik is the president of MicroArmor, Inc. He has performed thousands of mold tests over the last 20 years and completed over 3,000 mold remediation products. Call 440.946.5578.