We live in a moldy world. Like it or not, mold is all around us, both outside and inside. Mold spores exist in practically every indoor environment, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), eliminating them from indoors completely is impossible.
Like many other fungi and plants, mold spreads by producing spores that travel on the air. Everyone encounters mold spores, and the vast majority of time, they don’t trigger adverse health effects. However, it depends on the type of mold spore.
Researchers have long established that Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly called black mold, is capable of harming human health. However, the specific effects of breathing black mold spores depend on several factors, including what those spores carry. If you’re concerned about how breathing black mold might affect you, keep reading.
From chemicals and viruses to allergens and molds, a wide variety of contaminants harm indoor air quality. Luckily, you can address all of them by running a high-quality air purifier from Air Oasis. Visit us online to find the perfect air purifier for you.
Black Mold Spores
All molds, including black mold, release microscopic particles called spores. These tiny reproductive units can be anywhere from two microns to 100 microns in size and provide stress-resistant vehicles for mold to spread. As mold grows, its spores detach and become aerosolized, capable of traveling great distances on just a breeze.
How Black Mold Spores Spread
Stachybotrys chartarum spores don’t easily disseminate in the air because their clusters are generally covered with a layer of slime. However, when the clusters dry and are disturbed, spores can become aerosolized, as well as latch on to dust particles. Although black mold grows and spreads more slowly than other molds, research indicates that its aerosolized spores are present in as many as 13% of dwellings.
Black Mold Spores and Mycotoxins
Spores don’t just act as a vehicle for reproduction; they transport hazardous black mold byproducts as well. Mold spores and mold fragments can carry mycotoxins — potentially dangerous chemicals associated with neurotoxic effects. However, only some black mold colonies produce harmful mycotoxins.
Effects of Breathing Black Mold Spores
Inhaling black mold spores can have no effect on some people and dramatic effects on others. The effects of breathing black mold spores depend on several factors, including the following:
- Overall health. People who have mold allergies, asthma or other immune conditions are at higher risk for adverse reactions to mold exposure.
- Age. Infants, young children and the elderly are more likely to experience negative health consequences after inhaling mold spores.
- Mycotoxins and mVOCs. Although mold spores can cause sickness on their own, they are more dangerous to health when they carry mycotoxins and mVOCs.
- Exposure. People who live or work in buildings with black mold are at a higher risk for developing mold-related illness than people who are only briefly exposed.
- Genetics. Research indicates that certain genetic predispositions can make someone more susceptible to black mold toxins.
Even if the spores are from the same mold colony, they can trigger drastically different reactions in people. In general, people with asthma, autoimmune diseases and chronic respiratory conditions are more vulnerable to the effects of breathing black mold spores than others.
One of the most common health effects of black mold is allergies. Inhaling black mold spores can trigger an allergic reaction, the symptoms of which are similar to hay fever. When people with allergies inhale mold spores, they can experience sneezing, runny nose, red and itchy eyes, headaches, skin rashes, throat and lung irritation, difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma attacks and more.
Although black mold’s culpability in causing chronic illness is widely debated, there is significant evidence correlating long-term black mold exposure and severe, sustained sickness. The following are just some of the many conditions associated with chronic exposure to black mold:
- Chronic sinusitis
- Chronic fatigue
- Ongoing memory problems
- Chronic flu-like symptoms
- Breast cancer
Black Mold Poisoning
This is one of the most concerning effects of breathing black mold spores. Research suggests that when certain mycotoxins are present, acute exposure to black mold can cause neurotoxic, neurological and neuropsychiatric effects. These symptoms are sometimes called “black mold poisoning” and can include cognitive impairment, brain fog, vision changes, confusion, loss of balance and more.
Can Air Purifiers Reduce Mold Spores?
To really protect yourself from the effects of breathing black mold spores, you have to address it in the air. The best way to reduce and eliminate black mold spores from your indoor air is by running a high-quality air purifier for mold. Not sure where to look? We’ve got you covered.
At Air Oasis, we create superior air purifiers by utilizing the top purification technologies: activated carbon filtration, HEPA filtration, UV light and two types of ionization. In a 2018 study, our iAdaptAir® (which uses all five technologies) was able to reduce the airborne fungus Aspergillus niger by 99.9% after 10 minutes.
When you’re ready to get serious about mold elimination, let our top-of-the-line air purifiers do the heavy lifting. By reducing and eliminating mold spores in the air, our air purifiers can prevent mold from recolonizing and help you to breathe safer. If you have questions about our air purifiers, reach out to us online or give us a call at (806) 373-7788.