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The Effects of Mold Exposure on Human Health

Mold is a term that is used to describe an assortment of fungi. Molds are all around us and they thrive in moist and warm environments. When it grows outdoors, it usually isn’t a problem; in fact, it is beneficial as it aids in decomposition. When mold begins to grow indoors, that’s when it becomes a problem.

Mold spores are airborne. They can enter your home through open windows, doors, cracks in the foundation or siding, and even on shoes and clothing. If the conditions are right inside your home (warm and moist), those spores will colonize on the surfaces they land on. Not only does mold damage the structures it grows on, but it can also cause health problems.

How Mold Affects Your Health

Colonized mold continues to spread spores through the air, and those spores can be inhaled.

Inhaling mold spores has been proven to cause a variety of health problems. Symptoms of mold exposure vary, but can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Coughing
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes
  • Respiratory infections
  • Organ damage

Those who suffer from mold allergies have compromised immune systems, or who have underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma or COPD, are most at-risk for developing problems that are associated with mold exposure; however, anyone can experience mold-related health issues.

Research Findings

Several research studies have been conducted to determine the effects mold exposure has on health. These studies have, indeed, confirmed that mold can cause adverse health effects.

A 2004 report issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM)did not find enough evidence to support the effects that mold exposure has on health were indefinitely caused by spending time in damp indoor locations. However, it was found that spending time in damp indoor locations did seem to lead to respiratory illnesses, including nose and throat symptoms, coughing, wheezing, and asthma. It was also found that there was limited evidence to support that these types of environments can be linked to shortness of breath, newly developed asthma, and lower respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing. However, the IOM did find that there was enough evidence to support the claims that mold exposure does impact health, overall.

Reports issues in 2007, 2010, and 2011 that summarized the findings of mold effects on health confirmed that there is enough evidence to support a link between spending time in damp locations, indoor mold, and respiratory illnesses. In other words, exposure to indoor mold can have a negative impact on health.

Other research studies have definitively confirmed that mold exposure is capable of causing illness. A study conducted by Bush, et al, found that mold caused harmful immune responses in humans; allergies or hypersensitivity pneumonitis, infections, and irritations. Other authors state that toxicity is also a response to mold exposure.

Mold Inspection & Testing Hartford is a reputable mold testing company that has performed countless indoor inspections in properties throughout the area. Given the negative effects that mold can have on health, we strongly recommend property owners schedule routine mold testing to ensure safety. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 860.348.5188.