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Mold in the bathroom can cause tuberculosis and even cancer.

Take a closer look at the walls of the bathroom, basement, bath. Black dots on them are at first glance common mold (a type of black fungus). However, it is she who can cause the appearance of pathologies in the body.

The problem of mold and the search for ways to deal with this scourge have occupied scientists for a long time. It is not surprising that there was enough material about the achievements of science in this area and the dangers of mold to humans for a whole documentary, which will be released on Russian screens in November on the First Channel. The filmmakers, already famous for their sensational projects in the BBC format "Water" and "Beware of Food", tried to tell not only about the achievements of microbiologists in this area, but also about previously unknown facts about the influence of mold on humans.

What kind of beast?

Mold is a fungus that, unlike animals and plants, is still very poorly understood. She is omnivorous, omnipresent and usually invisible. In a clean room, each cubic meter of air contains up to 500 fungal spores that we inhale. Their concentration is especially high along the roads. Larger spores can cause allergies, while smaller spores can cause lung disease. As soon as the immune system weakens (and this can happen even when we are just nervous), the fungus living inside a person activates, multiplies and can cause fatal forms of disease.

One of the most dangerous mushrooms is Aspergilus Fumigatus. It usually grows in compost heaps. But when the opportunity arises, it moves to a person with a weakened immune system. Very soon, a person becomes literally stuffed with fungi. In 2004, in Paris alone, twice as many people died from them than from bird flu worldwide. Over the past 10 years, fungal diseases have killed 20-30% of hospital patients.

Omnipresent blackness.

Getting rid of mold is not an easy task. Think of how many times you have rubbed the walls of your bathroom with bleach and cleaning products. But time passes - and the blackness grows again. She is able to survive in the most incredible conditions. Imagine: a huge amount of mold was removed from under the sarcophagus of the 4th power unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It was found even in the ice of Antarctica. What's more, mold can survive even in space. As part of the Biorisk experiment, scientists sent three capsules with spores of molds of various types into open space, attaching them to the orbital station's skin. After a year and a half, the disputes survived, and moreover, the space mold mutated, became much more aggressive, more stable. The researchers then placed the fungus Aspergilus Fumigatus in a test tube containing a powerful anti-fungal drug. And some of the cells of the fungus withstood the blow. But he had the same chances of surviving as a person immersed in concentrated sulfuric acid. Fungi can grow on both live and dead material. Scientists have even found them on rocket fuel. And all because mold is the only one of the simplest organisms that can reproduce sexually. The mold colony is divided into different-sex individuals - thus it survives and evolves in any conditions. Scientists are confident that even if a global catastrophe occurs, mold fungi will not die.

More positivity, cheese and wine

In our body, the primary defense system against fungus is formed by the balance of the molds Aspergilus niger and Mukor Rasemosus, which are in our body in the initial stage of development. As long as the balance of these microfungi is maintained, we are healthy. But as soon as it is violated, the person gets sick. For example, tuberculosis, osteoporosis, bone diseases, dementia are the result of the pathological growth of Aspergilus. And all diseases associated with blood stagnation and leading to cancer are the activity of the growing fungus Mukor. Fungi are especially often activated when we experience negative emotions - we are angry, hate, afraid. When a person is in a panic, the body produces cortisol, called the "death hormone" - our protective functions are weakened. When happy, endorphins and serotonin are released, which support the immune system. It is impossible to get rid of mold, but you can defend yourself. So - more positive emotions.

And one more thing: don't take mold too lightly. Many people cut off a portion of the bread crust affected by mold, remove the film from the jam and eat, not even suspecting that it is dangerous. A moldy object should not be stirred up. It is better to cover it with something and throw it away, while the main thing is not to breathe in mold spores. Even if part of the fruit is affected by a fungus, it means that there are spores in the whole fruit, so you cannot eat moldy foods, getting rid of the visible part of the mold. By the way, do not confuse common mold with "noble" mold - for example, the one used in the production of expensive cheeses and wine. The difference between the two is the same as between the porcini mushroom and the pale toadstool. "

The site "Arguments and Facts" reports in the article Author: Julia Garmatina Published on November 10 08

What is mold?
What is it like?
Conditions for the appearance and development of mold
Why is mold dangerous?
Facts from history and foreign countries


Mold (molds) - a special kingdom of wildlife.

Representatives of this kingdom have similarities and differences with both bacteria, plants and animals.

Absorb nutrients across their entire surface

The presence of cell walls

Use ready-made organic substances

Heterotrophic type of exchange

Can synthesize organic molecules from carbon dioxide and minerals

Know how to use solar energy and feed on carbon dioxide from the air

Just like plants, fungi absorb nutrients from their entire surface, rather than swallowing them like animals. However, unlike plants, fungi cannot use solar energy, feed on carbon dioxide from the air and synthesize organic molecules from carbon dioxide, but they also use ready-made organic substances in the form of various plants and animal remains, just like animals. Like bacteria, fungi have a cellular structure. However, if we do not find a nucleus in a bacterial cell, then a fungal cell can have one or more nuclei. Fungi are characterized by plant signs - immobility, apical growth, the presence of cell walls, etc., as well as signs of animals - the type of metabolism, the presence of chitin, the formation of urea, etc. Unlike plants that produce organic matter from carbon dioxide and minerals, mold together with bacteria and some protozoa destroys it, while releasing carbon dioxide, volatile substances, essential oils and minerals into the atmosphere.

Molds belong to the class of oomycetes, marsupials and imperfect fungi.

Mold is a common name for a fungus, which, in turn, is moldy (grows on stone, concrete, paint), blue fungus (grows in the fiber of a tree), rotting fungus (bacterial, white, brown rot growing on wood), yeast (on food). Molds are common almost everywhere. They are found both in a person's home and in the external environment.

Mold and its spores, together with other microorganisms (viruses, bacteria), are found in the air of any room, both separately, in the form of small particles (mold spores are usually 2 - 8 microns, bacteria are usually 0.5 - 1.5 microns), and in the form of aggregates of various sizes and also in the form of microinclusions in other dust particles. Both outdoors and indoors, there are seasonal variations in the amount of spores or other mold particles. Some mushrooms spore all year round, such as Penicillium, others parasitizing plants - in spring, summer and autumn - Cladosporium, Alternaria


Blue discoloration, greening of surfaces, peeling walls, terry or growing "beard", black dots on the ceiling indicate the presence of mold. Sometimes mold takes the form of films, crusts, loose or powdery plaque on spoiled food, rotten leaves, on rotten wood.

Colonies of molds have different colors, for example, in Alternaria and Aspergillus - black or brown, in Penicillium - blue or green... Mold may be gray, yellow and red colors.

In the Caucasus, there is a well-known conglomerate cave - Fanagoriskaya (1470 m in length). Fluorescent mold was found there. Moreover, the fluorescence was so strong that facial features could be discerned at a distance of 0.5 m.

It is not difficult to notice fungal damage to wood: dark spots, grayish bloom, damp wood. The characteristic signs of a fungus are warping and shrinking of the tree.

As for the color of rot, then it happens red, white, gray, yellow, green.

Red rot affects conifers, white and yellow - oak and birch, green - oak barrels, beams and cellar ceilings.

Dry rot on the tree is gray in color and forms a fluffy, cotton-like mass, sometimes this fungus resembles even gray leaves with patches of lemon and lilac. Water droplets are often observed on the surface of the sheets. Each dry rot spore is about 0.01 mm in size (it takes about 20 billion of these formations to cover an area of ​​1 square meter). The affected tree turns brown and cracks along and across the grain.

Wet rot resembles thin ropes or dark streaks. In some places (for example, behind skirting boards), it looks like grayish sheets. In some cases, the rot looks like yellowish or dark brown skin. The affected tree darkens and cracks appear.


Mold spreads through the air in the form of microscopic spores. When it gets on a damp surface, it grows in the finest filaments (mycelium).

It is believed that the ideal conditions for the appearance and spread of mold are temperatures plus 20 ° C and relative humidity above 95%. Poor air exchange supports the growth of fungi. In addition, mold adores dirt. The dirtier the dwelling, the more bacteria, and the more bacteria, the more fungi.

Mold grows actively at room temperature in conditions of high humidity and ineffective ventilation on many materials and coatings used indoors, including concrete, plaster, wood, plastics, rubber, linoleum fabric backing, painted surfaces, carpets, books, etc.

A favorable environment for mold growth is formed in flower pots. Microspores (the size of mold spores is from 2 to 8 microns) can rise along the ventilation from damp basements.

Mold is most severe in autumn, as it is associated with the decomposition of vegetation.

Mold and mildew love moisture. Unfortunately, all the materials around us contain moisture to one degree or another. In facades made of stone and concrete, moisture is formed as a result of condensation, that is, it settles on the surfaces of the walls in the form of small droplets. Condensation can occur during the cold season due to insufficient wall thickness. In bathrooms (not to mention baths and saunas), condensation is a common occurrence - the result of the temperature difference between the surface and the air adjacent to it. Rain has a beneficial effect on mold growth. Moisture penetrates through pores, holes, cracks or leaking seams in buildings. Groundwater and sediment water have a bad property to be absorbed into the basement of the building or into the walls. The appearance of mold on unprotected materials is inevitable in this case. Constructive moisture is initially present in new structures and can accumulate even at the stage of production of building materials, as well as during the construction itself. The accumulation of moisture is possible due to unbalanced air exchange in the room. Another reason for the appearance of moisture is leaks from neighbors from above (from the old roof) or from old heating, water supply and sewerage systems. The number of mushrooms is influenced by various variations in the indoor environment. Excessive humidity or water leaks from taps provide an environment for the growth of various molds.

Mold feels very good at low temperatures. She, like trees in winter, does not "live an active life" (does not form spores, although there are exceptions), but it does not die either. As the temperature rises, mold begins to spore again. High temperatures can kill mold, however, for the destruction of some species, it is necessary to be exposed to temperatures plus 100 0 С for 1-2 hours.

An unfavorable condition for wood decay is dry wood with a moisture content of no more than 20% (with a wood moisture content below 15%, rot does not develop at all). Sawn timber can achieve this moisture content with natural drying from January to July in the conditions of central Russia. But moisture can be contained not only in the original wood. The main sources of wood moisture in the structures of various buildings and structures include ground (underground) and surface (storm and seasonal) waters. They are especially dangerous for wooden elements in the ground (poles, piles, etc.). Atmospheric moisture in the form of rain and snow threatens the aboveground part of open structures, as well as the external wooden elements of buildings. It is also a threat to wood and operational moisture that occurs inside living quarters during cooking, washing, drying clothes, washing floors, etc. This moisture condensing on the surface or in the thickness of structures is dangerous primarily because it is detected, as a rule, even when irreversible changes have occurred in the enclosing wooden structure or its element, for example, internal decay.

For too long, we have believed that mold is completely harmless.

Residents of cities spend in their apartments 50-70% of the time, and in total in closed rooms, including workplaces, up to 80-90% of the time. During this time, the air in the room is filtered through the respiratory tract and if it contains a large number of microorganisms, they settle on the lungs (and mold cells are able to penetrate deeply into the lung tissue), causing various painful conditions. Such conditions in the foreign literature are called the term "Sick building syndrome" ("Painful effect of a closed room" or "Sick building syndrome").

Some types of fungi can cause diathesis in children, allergies that turn into asthma and even oncological diseases.

Mold growth is not always accompanied by its visible growth, but in any case, the affected material becomes a source of mold spores, so the first sign of mold contamination is the appearance of mold spores in the air. As radiation or heavy metals invisibly affect the body, so mold affects a person, his health and housing.

Here is a short list of diseases associated with mold: migraine, runny nose, otitis media, bronchitis, rhinitis, bronchial asthma, cardiovascular disorders, mycotoxicosis... Sometimes people with reduced immunity may develop mold internal organ damage... All of these diseases are chronic in nature and cause difficulties in treatment.

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, affects over 36 million people.In most cases, the root cause of this disease is allergenic mold. Among the huge number of mushrooms, allergenic properties have been found in about 300 species. The number of people who are allergic to mold is increasing every year and mainly people with bronchial asthma. At least 15% of children with bronchial asthma have hypersensitivity to mold allergens. The disease is characterized by a gradual onset and protracted course.

In a hospital setting, weakened people can even cause fatal infections... In patients with severe chemotherapy or bone marrow transplants, AIDS, leukemia (immunocompromised people), mold spores can cause a dangerous infection called pulmonary aspergillosis. It manifests itself as a dry cough, fever, chest pains, shortness of breath and hemoptysis.

In the course of a special scientific study conducted with the participation of employees of the Department of Microbiology of St. Mechnikov, a high degree of contamination with penicilli, aspergillus, cladosporiums and other molds was established in the air of the premises in which patients with bronchial asthma, allergic diseases, and bronchitis lived.

When mold spores enter the gastrointestinal tract, food allergies develop.

The most poisonous is the yellow mold, which produces the strongest aflatoxin. Yellow mold affects food (most susceptible to infection are liver, fish, milk, rice, peanuts).

When opening a jar of grandma's strawberry jam, we often see a small layer of mold on top. Something about penicillin and something else, no less useful, immediately pops up in my head. In fact, this "harmless" mold is a real poison that can accumulate in the body and lead to liver cancer.

Mold, which is used in the preparation of elite varieties of cheese and wine, is specially prepared. Mold infecting food has nothing to do with it. More than 100 toxic compounds found by scientists in mold and in products coated with it may not show their presence in the body for a very long time. But after a few decades, it is they who can cause the rapid growth of cancerous tumors. Alas, heat treatment does not affect these toxins in any way. Therefore, moldy foods (be it jam, bread, vegetables, fruits or nuts) should be thrown away immediately.

Mold is the worst enemy of wood. Wood that dries out naturally is under the threat of decay for a long time. It is also threatened by fungi and mold.

Fungal spores and bacteria can get on the wood while still in the forest or during transportation. They only need to get into favorable conditions in order to begin to develop rapidly. Imagine such a common situation - building materials were bought in the spring (which means this is a "winter forest", considered the healthiest), and its use begins only in the second half of summer. For the storage period, the wood was piled up and covered with polyethylene, wrapped as tightly as possible. Everything seems to be correct. Just one thing was not taken into account - the greenhouse effect. And this effect is just a blessing for the mold. The same wood would be intact if the pile was simply covered with something from the rain from above, but thanks to the open walls it would be ventilated.

Similar phenomena can occur in finished buildings. Mold and blue fungi mainly spoil the appearance, and also indicate temporary moisture in the wood. The real enemies of wood are myceliums, which destroy the fibers and cause the wood to soften, which causes significant damage to the supporting structures. Mold and blueness do not impair the strength of the wood, but rot destroys the wood and eventually makes it unusable (infecting adjacent boards and beams). Wooden houses do not die from old age: the tree is durable enough to serve for centuries, and in suitable conditions it is preserved for millennia. All because the tree got sick. house fungus. Blue easily penetrates the varnishes and paints that cover the wood. Blueing occurs at high air humidity and temperatures plus 10-25 0 С.

Promotes the development of blue and immobility of the surrounding air. Blue itself does not change the mechanical properties of wood, but is a precursor of decay, and its presence indicates a high moisture content of the material.

Bacterial rot destroys the wood cells from the inside and causes the cellulose to decompose. Because of this, the tree darkens and turns gray. White rot provokes the decomposition of cellulose and lignin - an organic polymer compound contained in the cell membranes of vascular plants and causing them lignification (deciduous wood contains 20-30% lignin, conifers - up to 50%).

Brown rot "splits" the cellulose, causing the wood to split. The area of ​​the tree affected by such rot turns brown. Wet rot is more typical for houses with increased dampness, dry rot appears in damp places, but then it can turn to dry wood, brick, plaster. Note that the darkening of the wood does not yet indicate its disease. Any untreated board in the open air changes color. This is a kind of natural oxidation.

The appearance of a house fungus is not difficult to notice: on the logs of the walls, on the floorboards, on the wall cladding, a white fluff or a cluster of white threads, similar to cotton wool, first forms. Then yellow, pink and lilac spots appear, which over time turn into gray films with a silvery sheen. The tree darkens, cracks and crumbles. The fungus grows catastrophically quickly, especially in buildings made of soft wood, pine and oak wood is less damaged by house fungus.

If the house fungus is not destroyed in a timely manner, then in 6-8 months it can "eat" the wood through and through. The worst enemy of the tree is the white mushroom house. It successfully disguises itself as an ordinary mold. But this is until the fungus shows character. Under certain conditions, in a month, he is able to "eat" an entire oak floor 4 centimeters thick!

Wood is a "living" material that contains moisture. The growing tree is fed with water through the roots and trunk. In lumber and wood products, the structure of the cells of a growing tree is preserved, and therefore the board absorbs water, moreover, through the transverse planes to a greater extent than through the longitudinal ones. Moisture is what fungi need.

In addition to wood, mold can destructively affect almost any material. It easily destroys paint and varnish coatings, crumbles brick, cement and concrete (a concrete slab affected by a fungus crumbles in just a couple of years).

Mold destroys books because storage conditions are often optimal for its development.

Any material that is not biocidal can be destroyed by mold.


1. The "mold" problem arose in Germany after the massive insulation of walls and the sealing of windows (this is how thrifty Germans wanted to save heat). Due to poor ventilation in the premises, from 8 to 15 liters of moisture began to accumulate daily (one of the reasons is the cleanliness of the Germans, who often use the bath and shower).

2. To protect wood from mold, Alexander the Great ordered by a special decree to impregnate the most important wooden parts of bridges (piles) and the sheathing and frames of ships with olive oil.

3. During the construction of the ark, Noah tarred it outside and inside.

4. In ancient China, wood was soaked in an aqueous solution of sodium chloride.

5. In Sweden, there is a standard: a cubic meter of room air should not contain more than 174 column-forming units of active mold microcells (studies carried out by Russian microbiologists gave a result 3-6 times higher than the indicated figure).

6. For the first time, the fungus Stachybotrys atra, which attracted the attention of scientists several years ago and is associated with the death of several babies in Ohio, was seeded from the lungs of a seven-year-old boy. This mold, one of hundreds of thousands of naturally occurring fungi, can cause serious health problems if it grows in the home. Inside living quarters, it turns into a dangerous enemy of the human body, in particular it harms babies and children. The fungus Stachybotrys atra emits poisonous spores that are easily inhaled. In the open air they degrade relatively quickly, but in a humid, poorly ventilated room, on heating pipes or on cellulose coverings, mold grows quickly. In the house where the fungus was later discovered, the children suffered from migraines, coughs, watery eyes and constant fatigue, which forced them to visit a pediatrician frequently. The mother, on the other hand, fell ill with hormone-dependent asthma. None of the family members were tested for the fungus, but their Rocky Scottish Collie, who was suffering from vomiting and diarrhea, was tested. He was found to have a fungus that settled in the gastrointestinal tract. Later, scientists at Case Western Reserve University found a link between Stachybotrys atra and an unusual rate of infant mortality from pulmonary haemorrhage. The 10 babies who died from this reason lived in poor, water-damaged homes in Cleveland, with all homes concentrated in one area. Since then, there have been 160 reported cases in the United States.

7. The Historic Library in Staten Island, New York, was closed after airborne spores of a toxic fungus spread from the basement. A bank in Manitoba and several schools in Seattle were also closed.

8. The cause of death of those who opened the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs was a yellow mold that secretes aflatoxin. Aflatoxin causes severe pneumonia and liver cancer.

9. The African Bantu people deliberately store food in such a way that they become moldy for the sake of taste. This nationality suffers from liver cancer more than anyone else in the world, they die before they reach 40 years of age.

10. In India, conditions are ideal for mold to grow. Here cirrhosis of the liver is common in children who are fed yellow rice. It's all contaminated with aflatoxin.

11. In the old days, a hut, infected with a white house fungus, was immediately burned so as not to infect neighboring buildings.

12. American scientists from Cornell University of New York accidentally became interested in unexplained cases of doctors, nurses and hospital visitors with pulmonary aspergillosis. What causes mold disease is beyond doubt. But at first it was thought that its source was ventilation systems. After a long study, it was nevertheless established that she "attacks" a person out of clothes. Cotton fabric is most suitable for mold.

13. The Chinese army of two thousand years of terracotta warriors - one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century - is threatened by mold. The stone army was discovered by accident in 1976 in a field near the ancient Chinese city of Qin by peasants. After two years of excavations, archaeologists have established that there are exactly 7 thousand equestrian statues. It turned out that 1,400 of the 7,000 statues were affected by various types of mold, and urgent measures must be taken to prevent them from collapsing.

14. In 1997, the American astronaut Michael Fole, who was visiting the Mir station orbit, claimed that the inside smelled of mushrooms and dampness. And its walls in many places are covered with multi-colored mold. They say that the eyes are watery from the spores of the fungi and the skin itches. Only recently did Russian scientists from the Institute of Biomedical Problems confirm this information. It turns out that our astronauts and ground scientists knew about mold even without Fole. Moreover, they tried to fight it with a special antifungal cream. But without much success. Fungi spoiled plastic, metal and even glass - they almost gnawed through the porthole. According to Alexander Viktorov, head of the sanitary-chemical and microbiological safety department, mold became especially voracious in response to solar activity. It is not surprising that there is a version in which mold is the main culprit for most of the problems at the Mir station. Including with an on-board computer. Recently, the situation could have worsened catastrophically, and the mold has grown so much that further operation of the station in a habitable mode was ruled out. Perhaps it was the defeat in the battle against the fungi that forced Mir to sink.

15. "I have carried out many experiments. And now I am firmly convinced: beer, wine and milk spoil the creatures invisible to the eye - microbes. They also cause a destructive process that leads to spoilage of food," - said in the society of naturalists on September 3, 1857, at that time French scientist Louis Pasteur.