Toxic Mold

mold in wallpaper

Is Your Wallpaper Making You Sick?

A recent study was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology that wallpaper may contribute to “Sick Building Syndrome”.  An estimated 40 percent of American buildings, including at least 25 percent or more of all homes, are believed to be affected by toxic mold.  The study discovered three types of fungi living in household wallpaper that produce mycotoxins that are quite toxic when released into the air; Penicillium brevicompactum, Aspergillus versicolor and Stachybotrys chartarum.

NBC News reported (June 23, 2017) that these fungi are common in food contaminants, but when they grow in wallpaper (or elsewhere), their mycotoxins can easily enter your lungs when they become airborne.  As NBC News reported:

“Mold growing in buildings can make people sick, especially people who are allergic to various fungi. It’s also known that various molds and fungi produce mycotoxins — chemicals that can sicken and even kill people and animals. What’s not been entirely clear is how mold growing in and on walls or elsewhere in buildings might make people sick.

Jean-Denis Bailly of the University of Toulouse in France and colleagues tested three common types of fungi that can grow inside buildings and found that their mycotoxins could and did disperse into the air [under] normal conditions. ‘These toxins can subsequently be aerosolized, at least partly, from moldy material,’ they wrote … ‘This transfer to air requires air velocities that can be encountered in ‘real life conditions’ in buildings.'”

mold in wallpaperOne of the problems with wallpaper is that it can easily hide any and all toxic molds that may be growing where we can’t see.  Most wallpaper acts as a vapor barrier, trapping moisture behind it and in combination with the organic wallpaper paste, provides the perfect conditions for prolific toxic mold growth.

How do you know if you have a mold problem?

How do you know if your home is part of the 25 percent that does have a mold problem?   The first step is to conduct a visual inspection.  In addition, a musty, mildew odor also indicates there is a problem either visible or hidden.  If you don’t see any visible mold, then an air test would be your next step.  An InstaScope test is the most scientific and accurate test that can be attained and if there is mold behind your wallpaper, it will find it.

If you suspect you have mold in your home and want to know for sure, having your home inspected by a professional is by far the best thing to do.  If they have the ability to test with InstaScope, even better.  Knowledge trumps guessing or ignorance any day and can save the health and life of you and your family members. ServiceMaster NCR

For professional mold removal services in Alexandria VA and Washington DC area, call the mold remediation experts of ServiceMaster NCR at (855) 957-6627!