Frequently Asked Questions

Beam with mold

Can mold affect my health?

Most healthy people are not harmed by the majority of molds. However, people who suffer from allergies or asthma may be more sensitive to molds. Symptoms may include skin rash, runny nose, eye irritation, cough, nasal congestion, aggravation of asthma or difficulty breathing. Additionally, people with an immune suppression or lung disease may be at increased risk of infection from molds.  

Some molds produce toxins called mycotoxins, which can be toxic when exposed at high levels. Effects can include fatigue, nausea, headaches and lung and eye irritation.

When do you know that mold is a problem?

Typically you can smell a musty odor or see small black specks along damp areas like bathrooms or basement walls. Some mold hides and grows behind wall coverings, sheet rock, and ceiling tiles, and is more difficult to identify. Mold can often be found in areas with high water usage and humidity, areas of water damage, and areas along walls where warm moist air condenses on cooler wall surfaces. If you see or smell mold or know of water damaged areas in your home, it's time to call Paragon Solutions, Inc.

How might I be exposed to asbestos?

Asbestos fibers can be released into the air when it becomes damaged, disturbed or removed. If a friable, or material that can be crumbled by hand pressure, asbestos-containing material (ACM) is disturbed and becomes airborne, an inhalation hazard can result. Asbestos fibers in non-friable ACM, such as floor tiles, sidings, lab desktops, etc., are tightly bound in the material that they are in, and do not easily release fibers. But if the material is abraded, sanded or sawed, it can easily be rendered friable.

How do asbestos fibers enter the body?

Asbestos can enter the body in three ways:

Inhalation - Breathing air which has asbestos-containing fibers in it. This is the main way people are exposed. Some of the asbestos fibers reaching the lungs are eliminated in exhaled air and others are coughed from the lungs with mucous. The fibers reaching the deepest air passages of the lungs can produce the greatest damage. 

Ingestion - The digestive system can be exposed to asbestos fibers from drinking water and mucous cleared from the lungs. A small number of fibers may penetrate the cells that line the digestive system, but only a few will reach the bloodstream. These fibers will be released in the urine. 

Through the skin - Asbestos fibers contacting the skin rarely pass through the skin into the body.

How can asbestos affect my health?

Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos develops an asbestos-related disease. However, there is a lot of information available on the health effects of asbestos exposure. Much of this information comes from long-term studies of people exposed to large quantities of asbestos in the workplace. 

Three illnesses that can develop from asbestos exposure are:

  • Asbestosis
  • Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma
  • Pleural Plaques

How can PCBs affect my health?

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are a group of more than 200 different chemicals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency classify PCBs as a probable human carcinogen, and the National Toxicology Program has concluded that PCBs are reasonably likely to cause cancer in humans. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has determined that PCBs are a potential occupational carcinogen.

Studies of PCBs in humans have found increased rates of melanomas, liver cancer, gall bladder cancer, biliary tract cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, and brain cancer, and may be linked to breast cancer. PCBs are known to cause a variety of types of cancer in rats, mice, and other study animals. 

PCBs are believed to cause:

  • Acute toxic effects when exposed directly to high levels via the skin, consumption or in the air
  • Developmental effects to women exposed before or during pregnancy
  • Disruption in hormone functions
  • Immune system and thyroid effects

Once PCBs enter a person’s body, they tend to be absorbed into fat tissue and remain there. Unlike water-soluble chemicals, they are not excreted, so the body accumulates PCBs over the years.