The Hazards of MoldBy Leo Nov
Published: January 1, 2006
The existence of mold in your home or business presents both health hazards and a risk to materials and personal belongings.
Mold is dangerous due to its ease of growth. Most molds grow naturally outdoors and can be easily carried into buildings through open windows, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as on pets, clothing, or shoes.
Once indoors, molds grow easily, needing nothing but moisture and a food source such as lint, ceiling tiles, drywall, insulation, carpets, upholstery or wood.
Health Hazards of MoldMold sensitivity is non-specific and depends on the type of mold present, the amount and degree of exposure, and the health condition of the occupant.
Health effects of mold can range from being insignificant to causing allergic reactions and illness including nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, shortness of breath, wheezing, and in rare cases, mold infections in the lung.
The following populations are in a higher risk when exposed to mold:
- Infants and children
- The elderly
- Pregnant women
- People with respiratory diseases, a weakened immune system, and those who suffer from allergies
Toxic moldThe term "toxic mold" is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous.
Hazards presented by molds that produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds.
Mold Damage to Materials and Personal BelongingsMold growth can make materials stained or discolored. These materials will be ruined overtime if mold is not removed.
- Moldy paper and cardboard disintegrate over time
- Fabrics are damaged
- Continued mold growth can be indicative of moisture conditions favorable for growth of fungi that cause wood rot and structural damage