Toxic Mold Exposure Symptoms

Article by David Selter

Mold removal and clean up has been considered essential when high levels of mold are discovered indoors because prolonged exposure to mold and mold byproducts was suspected to be dangerous to human health. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after reviewing scientific studies, have found there is sufficient evidence to scientifically link indoor mold exposure to several health issues including respiratory illnesses. And the studies show that mold remediation and the elimination of damp conditions are the keys to preventing these deleterious effects on human health.

WHO reviewed a study where the authors, Fisk, Lei-Gomez and Mendell (2007), estimated the percentage increase in prevalence of asthma houses with dampness or mold. The study concluded that “building dampness and mold are associated with approximately 30–50% increases in a variety of respiratory and asthma-related health outcomes.”  The overall evidence showed that house dampness and the presence of mold is consistently associated with a wide range of respiratory health effects including respiratory infections and upper respiratory tract symptoms.

The EPA sites studies from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people, with asthma symptoms in people with asthma, and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis (lung inflammation) in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to the development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development.

In general there are more than a hundred thousand types of mold, and all molds have the potential to affect your health. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, toxins that may cause reactions in humans. Specific reactions to mold growth can include: allergic reactions similar to hay fever type symptoms; asthma; irritation to the eyes, nose, skin, throat, and lungs; and infections in immune compromised individuals. Other more serious health effects are suspected but research in these areas is still ongoing.

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