The Health Effects of Mold
Everyone is exposed to some amount of mold every day. Not everyone is mold sensitive. However, if there are active mold spores in the home, workplace or outdoors. Over time these conditions can cause or worsen health effects.
Health Symptoms of Mold Exposure
According to a 2004 Institutes of Medicine Report, Damp Indoor Spaces and Health, the only health outcomes with sufficient evidence of an association with mold include upper respiratory (nose and throat) symptoms, cough, wheeze, and asthma symptoms among sensitized individuals.
Molds produce allergens, irritants, and sometimes toxins that may cause adverse health reactions. The types and severity of symptoms depend on the types of mold present, extent of the mold exposure and an individual’s existing allergies to mold.
What should I do if someone in my household is sensitive to mold?
Consult a health care provider. They can tell you if the symptoms may be mold allergy-related.
Keep anyone who is known to be sensitive to mold away from the exposure. You may need to find temporary living arrangements for them if the mold problem is large enough.
For more details go to the EPA Mold Website
What is toxic mold?
Some molds can produce toxins under certain circumstances, but this does not occur everywhere there is mold growth. Research on the presence, detection and effects of mold toxins is ongoing. One mold in particular, Stachybotrys atra (chartarum) Stachybotrys atra (chartarum) has received a lot of attention. The initial reports on the health affects of this mold have been revised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fear of mold has been sensationalized in the news media and on many websites, and citizens need to be cautious when considering expensive testing and be informed about the kind of information that the testing will yield. As a rule, mold testing in private homes when visible mold growth is present is not recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention nor the US Environmental Protection Agency.
It is stressed, however, that all mold, no matter the type, must be properly cleaned-up and moisture in the home must be controlled.
- The key to mold control is moisture control.
- If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.
- It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth