In the past few years, there’s been a considerable degree of public and media discussion about the potential health risks associated with mold contamination and exposure. From a medical and scientific standpoint, there remains a considerable amount of uncertainty as to specific health risks associated with mold exposure. With that said, health problems and ailments have been reported when people have been exposed to mold. In that regard, some of those health issues have been significant in some cases.
In order to better understand potential health risks associated with mold contamination you also need to have a basic insight on some of the essential facts associated with this fungus. This includes understanding the most common types of indoor molds and where mold is apt to grow and thrive.
Five Most Common Types of Indoor Molds
Mold exposure that has the potential for causing health issues arises in an indoor environment like a home or workplace. The five most common types of indoor molds to which people are exposed are:
How Mold Grows
In addition to noting the most common types of indoor molds, it is also important to understand how mold grows. The ideal course is to protect mold exposure in the first instance to prevent potential health problems that can occur as a result of this type of contact with this fungus.
There are four factors that contribute to the germination and growth of mold in an indoor setting like a home or business:
- Moisture: Mold absolutely depends on moisture to germinate and grow. With that said, not much moisture is required. A very small amount can be sufficient to permit mold to grow.
- Humidity: Mold germinates and thrives in a space where higher humidity exists. Specifically, mold flourishes in an indoor space that has a humidity level of over 50 percent.
- Biomatter: Mold needs nourishment (food) to live. Mold needs some sort of organic matter to grow. Bear in mind that wood that comprises a structure can be the biomatter mold requires.
- Warmth: Finally, mold thrives in a warm environment. If a space is cold, mold cannot flourish.
Physical Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Despite ongoing research associated with the health risks of mold exposure, there are some physical symptoms commonly indicative of mold exposure. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most commonplace of these symptoms are:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Cough and postnasal drip
- Itchy eyes, nose and throat
- Watery eyes
- Dry, scaly skin
Potential Ailments Associated With Mold Exposure
There is a growing consensus that the health risks a person might face in light of mold exposure may depend, at least to some degree, on preexisting conditions suffered by an individual. The most pervasive of these preexisting conditions that presents a higher risk of a health consequence associated with mold exposure is an allergy to mold. Medical evidence does make it clear that there are people who are allergic to mold. Such an allergy to mold appears to extend across the spectrum of various types of mold that are found in residential and business indoor environments.
There are two other categories of people who are sensitive to mold-related health issues. These are people previously diagnoses with asthma and individuals who have compromised immune systems. Researchers and medical care providers have made it clear that many people with asthma or compromised immune systems see a marked aggravation of a preexisting condition if they are exposed to mold.
Among the other types of health problems that mold is believed to cause include:
- Inflammatory ailments
- Toxic responses to mold spores
- Respiratory symptoms of different types
- Allergic alveolitis
- Chronic rhinosinusitis
- Fungal sinusitis
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- Production of mycotoxins
There is growing evidence that some molds may present a particular danger to human beings. This typically occurs if an individual is in an environment contaminated by mold for extended periods of time. For example, a person’s home may have a significant mold growth. A person may be unaware of the situation and live his or her daily life gradually becoming ill but not immediately realizing why.
When it comes to the health risks associated with mold, the most serious concerns at this juncture in time center on exposure to what are known as mycotoxins. An example of a mycotoxin associated with mold exposure includes stachybotrys chartarum.
Facing high levels of mycotoxins can occur with prolonged exposure to mold. For example, daily exposure to mold may include the prospect of a person also being exposed to high levels of mycotoxins. Such a level of exposure to mycotoxins has been demonstrated to cause neurological problems of different types. Moreover, prolonged exposure to mycotoxins has been demonstrated to be fatal in some cases.
As a result of the health risks associated with mold, if a person is concerned about mold growth at a residence or business, seeking the assistance of a professional mold inspector is advised. If a mold problem is identified, the next advisable step is seeking professional mold remediation.
Despite some level of uncertainty associated with the health risks of mold exposure, experts have concluded that prolonged exposure to mold can be dangerous. As a consequence, you must take the prospect of mold growth in your home or at your business seriously.