Black Mold vs. Asbestos

Black mold and asbestos are two of the biggest dangers that may be present in your residence, building, or facility. If left unchecked, they may cause considerable damage to the health of those who live or work inside. However, despite the fact that both substances may be deadly, there are considerable differences between black mold and asbestos.

What is Black Mold?

Mold is a common fungus that is found in practically every structure. However, it does not present a threat until it attaches to a surface and starts growing. While most types of mold produce spores that are mildly irritating, black mold has toxic properties that can affect the brain. Exposure to black mold impairs judgment and causes symptoms similar to depression or bipolar disorder.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural substance that was once commonly used in the construction of homes, businesses, and facilities. Its fireproof qualities were so highly prized that blankets made of the material were placed in many buildings as fire protection.

It was discovered, however, that asbestos exposure led to the development of mesothelioma, a highly aggressive form of lung cancer. Thus, asbestos was banned from use in construction. By 2002, it was banned in all products across the US.

Key Differences

Arguably the main difference between black mold and asbestos is how they both impact the body and mind. Understanding how your health is affected is one way to tell the difference between the two substances.

The effects of black mold are similar to heavy metal poisoning. It affects the brain by making cognitive thought more difficult, including a lack of concentration, inability to focus, and feelings of being depressed. Without treatment and removal of black mold from the area, the symptoms will persist.

The fibers from asbestos are inhaled into the lungs where they attach themselves. Over time, the fibers break down and the damage caused creates an aggressive form of cancer, known as mesothelioma. Until the cancer develops, there may be few, if any, symptoms that the fibers are present.

Another important difference is that asbestos is placed into the structure, while mold is present nearly everywhere. It takes the right conditions for the mold to attach itself to a surface and start growing, while asbestos can affect you if the fibers are free to float in the air.

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

If you believe that your property is infested with black mold or has asbestos present, call the experienced professionals at Brickley Environmental. Once identified, Brickley Environmental has the knowledge, experience, and tools to safely remove the black mold or asbestos.

Toxic Mold Syndrome and Its Effects on the Brain

The effect of mold on residences, buildings, and facilities is well-known. When uninhibited, mold can spread quickly, consume organic materials, weaken structures, and in some cases, cause buildings to become so fragile that they are condemned.

However, a lesser known effect of mold is the health of those who live or work inside structures that have been invaded by mold. The condition known as toxic mold syndrome is relatively rare, but real. Every year, it affects thousands of people, and the results can be devastating.

Toxic Mold Syndrome

The common symptoms of toxic mold syndrome include confusion, disorganization, and becoming less involved in daily activities. In many cases, the person affected with this syndrome will suffer from anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Putting together clear, coherent thoughts becomes a challenge and the ability to function is greatly diminished.

Unfortunately, such symptoms are similar to depression or bipolar disorder and can easily be misdiagnosed. In addition, blood tests may indicate heavy metal poisoning, which also offers similar symptoms.

Black Mold

For the most part, exposure to mold spores results in symptoms that are similar to seasonal allergies, such as sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and irritation of the skin. Exposure can be even more problematic for those who suffer from respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

Black mold is usually the source of toxic mold syndrome and directly affects the brain, which leads to emotional and cognitive impairments. For those who have suffered from a previous brain injury or conditions, such as ADHD, the symptoms can be even worse as blood flow to the prefrontal cortex is reduced even further. When this syndrome is properly diagnosed, one of the first steps is to remove the mold from the residence or place of work.

At this point, you can be treated for the removal of the toxicity from your blood, which will reverse the effects of the syndrome. For most people, once the toxic elements have been removed and the home or commercial building are cleared of the mold, the brain returns to its normal function.

However, the issue with toxic mold syndrome is that the symptoms mimic those from depression or bipolar disorder, so misdiagnosis is relatively easy to make. Asking your doctor to run a toxicity test on your blood to either confirm or rule out the syndrome before moving on to another possible cause is strongly suggested.

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

If you suspect that your residence or business has been infiltrated by mold, you are showing signs of toxic mold syndrome, found mold on your property, or suspect that mold may be growing in your building, residence, or facility, then call the experts at Brickley Environmental today. We have the expertise, skill, and equipment to identify and remove mold from your home, building, or facility.

Asbestos Deaths Remain a Public Health Concern

Decades after asbestos was banned from being used in the construction of residences, commercial buildings, and facilities, people are still dying from exposure today. Mesothelioma, a cancer which is caused by long-term exposure to asbestos, is still claiming lives despite the fact that the substance has been banned from new construction and removed from thousands of buildings starting in the late 1970s.

While most people who succumb to mesothelioma were exposed decades ago, there are still younger people who are dying from this rare form of cancer. This means that the presence of asbestos is still affecting young people despite strict enforcement from federal regulators.

Sources of Asbestos

For the most part, the younger people who have contracted mesothelioma did so because of exposure due to the renovation or demolition of structures that contained asbestos. This means that asbestos is still present in many older buildings that are being renovated for new services or demolished to make way for new structures.

The result is that asbestos fibers float in the air and are inhaled by unsuspecting people who may have no idea they are breathing it in. This is because mesothelioma usually takes decades to develop and many will not remember when they were exposed to the asbestos. However, it should be noted that asbestos is still being used in certain products.

Asbestos Uses Today

It is true that mining creates about 350 tons of asbestos debris annually which puts those who work in such areas in danger. Because of the presence of asbestos in nature, it can be difficult to avoid exposure completely in mining operations. However, there are simple steps that are followed by those who work in such areas to prevent the fibers from entering the lungs.

It may seem strange that anyone would include asbestos in certain products knowing the dangers that it presents. Since 2002, the US has banned all use of asbestos in all products manufactured within the country. Until then, it was common to find small amounts of asbestos used in appliances to prevent heat damage to components.

However, many other countries still use asbestos in the creation of fertilizers, alkaline batteries, and even soap. Such products are imported to the US and used daily, although the risk of developing mesothelioma as a result is relatively small. This is mostly because the asbestos present is in small amounts that are locked into a protected space.

Call Brickley Environmental

If you believe that your home, office, or facility has asbestos present, call the experts at Brickley Environmental. We offer the knowledge, experience, and tools to identify the presence of asbestos and take safe measures to remove the threat.

Mold Should Be Taken Seriously; Poses Serious Health Risks

Though mold is almost always in the air around us, it is usually not in high enough concentrations to warrant a serious health risk. According to a statement released by the CDC, the time to worry about mold is when as soon as you can see colonies of it growing or smell it’s unique, musty odor.

Three years ago, huge colonies of mold were found lurking in the walls of the OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center, discovered during an inspection by Illinois’ Department of Public Health. At that time, the hospital was required to write a remediation plan, under penalty of losing Medicare payments if the mold was not removed.

Currently, there are actually no regulations dictating acceptable airborne mold levels, and most health departments do not conduct regular mold tests. Even if tests were conducted on a regular basis, because there are no standards established by the federal government against which to judge those numbers, it would be difficult to know when mold remediation is necessary.

Even so, it is widely known that high concentrations of mold spores can trigger asthma attacks, respiratory problems, and a wide range of other, more serious diseases. Women who are pregnant, children, the elderly, and anyone with a respiratory illness is especially susceptible to mold.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports that acceptable levels of mold change from industry to industry, but that all standards still fall under their creed of providing a safe and healthy working environment. That being said, mold is rarely found growing openly on the walls of a building. Most colonies thrive inside the walls or in basements and crawl spaces. Despite where it is, what type it is, or whether it is alive or dead, when colonies are found, they should be removed.

If a colony has any access to moving air, it is likely releasing spores into that air. They are then carried throughout the building, often evading whatever air filtration systems may be in place.

Most experts do not recommend investing in mold sampling. Not only is it an expensive practice (and one where a false positive is easily to fake), there are no standards to compare those test results against. It is also not able to determine how serious the health risks relating to any mold present in the building may be.

The only type of mold testing that does produce any useable results determines if an individual person has been exposed to mold, though this test, too, has its shortcomings. It is unable to tell when or where the exposure occurred. Because the shortcomings in these tests, the best rule of thumb is to remove mold if it can be seen, and if it can be smelled, to find and remove that as well, in order to mitigate further exposure.

In the case of St. Elizabeth, the bathrooms are now up to code and remediation is complete, according to the Illinois Health Department.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is…

Asbestos is a group of six naturally-occurring silicate minerals:

    • Serpentine (or chrysotile)
    • Riebeckite (crocidolite)
    • Cummingtonite-Gunerite (amosite)
    • Anthophyllite
    • Actinolite
    • Tremolite.

These minerals have been actively mined for their physical properties such as their resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, sound absorption and tensile strength; thereby making their applicability widespread throughout various industries such as manufacturing and primarily in building construction for its flame retardant and insulating properties.

A Significant Health Threat

The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses that are strongly associated with exposure to asbestos. Airborne asbestos fibers are a significant health threat because asbestos fibers are microscopic and invisible to the unaided eye.

Lung Cancer Risk

In addition, they have the physical characteristics to bypass the ability of the human lung to filter air contaminants. As a result, exposure to asbestos allow the fibers to reach deep within the lungs, and may irritate and scar lung tissues. Long-term chronic and acute exposure to asbestos fibers may cause respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Asbestos containing materials become a health hazard once they are disturbed. Intact, asbestos fibers imbedded within construction materials and components are inert and do not pose a health hazard; however, once they are disturbed, through physical contact or building renovation and demolition activities, asbestos fibers may be rendered airborne.

How to Remove Asbestos to Avoid Health Hazards

In order to properly and safely remove Asbestos it is imperative to contact an expert.

At Brickley Environmental, we have 30 years’ experience providing environmental remediation services in Southern California, and asbestos abatement has been our primary focus.

All of our managers, supervisors and technicians have been trained and certified in asbestos containment and removal at EPA- and state-approved schools. In addition, our company has one of the best safety records in the industry.

Contact an expert today by calling 1.800.530.3366

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.