How Mold Affects Our Health...
Determining Side Effects...
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
What Current Research Suggests....
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies
The Health Consequences of Environmental Mold Exposure
A link between other adverse health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants, memory loss, or lethargy, and molds, including the mold. Stachybotrys chartarum has not been proven. Further studies are needed to find out what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects.
There is no blood test for mold. Some physicians can do allergy testing for possible allergies to mold, but no clinically proven tests can pinpoint when or where a particular mold exposure took place.
Who is most at risk for health problems associated with exposure to mold?
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease (e.g.,a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma) may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
How do you keep mold out of buildings and homes?
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance, Correct conditions causing mold growth (e.g., water leaks, condensation, infiltration, or flooding) to prevent mold growth.
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
Controlling humidity levels;
Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;
Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;
Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.