Health Effects of Mold
What symptoms are commonly seen with mold exposure?
• Exposure to mold can produce adverse health effects through inflammation, allergy, or infection. Allergic reactions (often referred to as hay fever) are most common following mold exposure. Typical symptoms that mold-exposed persons report (alone or in combination) include: Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath Nasal and sinus congestion
• Eye irritation (burning, watery, or reddened eyes)
• Dry, hacking cough
• Nose or throat irritation
• Skin rashes or irritation Headaches, memory problems, mood swings, nosebleeds, body aches and pains, and fevers are occasionally reported in mold cases, but their cause is not understood.
How much mold can make me sick?
It depends. For some people, a relatively small number of mold spores can trigger an asthma attack or lead to other health problems. For other persons, symptoms may occur only when exposure levels are much higher. Nonetheless, indoor mold growth is unsanitary and undesirable. Basically, if you can see or smell mold inside your home, take steps to identify and eliminate the excess moisture , cleanup and remove the mold immediatly.
Are some molds more hazardous than others?
Allergic persons vary in their sensitivities to mold, both as to the amount and the types to which they react. In addition to their allergic properties, certain types of molds, such as Stachybotris chartarum, may produce compounds that have toxic properties, which are called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are not always produced, and whether a mold produces mycotoxins depends on what the mold is growing on. Conditions such as temperature, pH, humidity or other unknown factors play an important role. When mycotoxins are present, they occur in both living and dead mold spores and may be present in materials that have become contaminated with molds. While Stachybotrys is growing, a wet slime layer covers its spores, preventing them from becoming airborne. However, when the mold dies and dries up, air currents or physical handling can cause spores to become airborne. At present there is no environmental test to determine whether Stachybotrys growth found in buildings is producing toxins. There is also no blood or urine test that can establish if an individual has been exposed to Stachybotrys chartarum spores or its toxins.
Who is at greater risk when exposed to mold?
Exposure to mold is not healthy for anyone inside buildings. Therefore, it is always best to identify and correct high moisture conditions quickly before mold grows and health problems develop. Some people may have more severe symptoms or become ill more rapidly than others:
• Individuals with existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies, chemical sensitivities, or asthma.
• Persons with weakened immune systems (such as people with HIV infection, cancer chemotherapy patients, and so forth)
• Infants and young children
• The elderly Anyone with health problems they believe are due to molds should consult a medical professional.
• Stachybotrys chartarum (atra) ‹ a mold that may be found in water damage homes.
• Fungi and Indoor Air Quality
• Misinterpretation of Stachybotrys Serology