Understanding Mold In Indoor Spaces and Its Impact on Health and Air Quality
How can IAQ monitors help you detect conditions conducive to the hidden threat of mold growth.
How Common Is Mold In Indoor Spaces?
Mold can enter your building in various ways, including through vents, HVAC systems, windows, and doorways. Mold can also cling to shoes, pets, and clothing. Since mold does not need such a controlled and unusual environment to propagate, mold can grow practically anywhere in your building. Mold can thrive in moisture-rich environments, including surfaces like plants, pipes, walls, or roofs. Additionally, it can colonize damp cellulose-based materials such as ceiling tiles, paper products, wood, cardboard, and more. Mold can even be found on surfaces such as carpets, upholstered furniture, walls, and floors.
What Types of Mold Can Be Found Indoors?
Mold, a variety of fungi, is commonly found in damp surroundings, though it has been known to thrive in different environmental conditions. Among the top 5 dangerous molds are Stachybotrys, Penicillium, Alternia, Cladosporium, and Aspergillus. Alternia poses a significant danger to people suffering from mold allergies, as approximately 70% of them react to this kind of mold. Aspergillus is typically found in commercial buildings typically found in commercial buildings and is characterized by its yellowish-green color with a reddish-brown underside.
This noxious mold can generate mycotoxins and is associated with considerable health risks in humans and animals. Cladosporium is a resilient mold, as it can grow at almost any temperature, posing a threat to those who have asthma. Penicillium, meaning "paintbrush" in Latin, is known for producing vast amounts of spores that are green, blue, and yellow in color. It is typically considered toxic for humans, but medical professionals in antibiotics use the penicillin that it naturally produces. Lastly, Stachybotrys is known as black mold and exhibits a gradual growth rate. Still, it has the potential to outpace the development of other mold varieties that may have initially established themselves.
What Is The Health & IAQ Impact of Mold?
As mold remains within a building, it proliferates and disperses spores, potentially leading to various symptoms, including headaches, allergic responses, skin irritation, exacerbation of asthma, and respiratory difficulties. Additionally, certain molds produce microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) and VOCs, which can release pungent and unpleasant odors. These odors are commonly associated with mold infestations. Microbial VOCs produce symptoms similar to mold spores, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and nasal irritation.
How Can You Monitor Building Health & IAQ?
In order to monitor indoor air quality (IAQ) and building health, sensors are needed to collect data on the indoor environmental conditions of a building. Sanalife's E360 IAQ monitors can collect building health data by utilizing both software and hardware to provide real-time insight into building environment conditions such as; indoor temperature, humidity, PM 0.5 to PM 10 levels, total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), carbon dioxide levels (CO2), and formaldehyde (HCHO). The importance of IAQ monitoring cannot be overstated, as it can help detect and prevent the harmful effects of indoor air pollutants. Without proper tracking, individuals in environments with poor IAQ may experience symptoms such as eye, throat, and nose irritation, headache, fatigue, and even the development of respiratory diseases.
Can IAQ Monitors Detect Mold?
Although IAQ monitors cannot detect mold or mold spores directly, they can monitor air quality indicators that can indirectly reveal the presence of mold. Sanalife's E360 IAQ monitoring system provides real-time insights into the indoor air quality of a facility. This assists building managers in making informed decisions to minimize the presence or formation of mold. The indicators that are typically monitored include:
1. Humidity Levels:
Elevated humidity levels are a key contributor to mold growth. IAQ monitors continuously track and alert you to fluctuations in humidity, helping you identify conditions conducive to mold development. High humidity can lead to surface condensation, providing the moisture mold needs to thrive.
2. Particulate Matter Levels:
IAQ monitors measure the concentration of particulate matter in the air, including dust and other particles. Increased levels of particulates can be indicative of mold spores being present in the indoor environment. Mold spores are a type of particulate matter that can become airborne when disturbed.
3. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):
Some molds release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can contribute to unpleasant odors and potentially impact indoor air quality. IAQ monitors equipped with VOC sensors can detect elevated levels, alerting you to potential mold-related issues.
Understanding the Importance of IAQ Monitors in Mold Prevention
IAQ monitors like Sanalife's E360 IAQ monitoring solution are indispensable allies in maintaining a healthy indoor environment. While they may not directly detect mold spores or specific mold species, they play a crucial role in mold prevention by monitoring critical indoor air quality parameters. Sanalife's E360 indoor air quality monitoring system allows you to monitor humidity levels, particulate matter concentrations, and volatile organic compounds to detect and eliminate conditions that facilitate mold growth. With this information, you can take precautionary actions to protect your building and its occupants, ensuring a safe and comfortable indoor environment.