Mold heath issues should be a concern to all of us, but especially to those that suffer from mold allergy or asthma. here is an excellent article about mold and how big of a health problem it can be.
By James McIntosh
Walls, clothes, books, toys and even CDs – nothing is sacred when it comes to mold growth. Its seemingly insidious growth can turn prized possessions into musty, moist sadness that only look fit for the garbage.
But for all its corrupting menace, to what extent should we be worried about mold when it invades our homes? If these are the effects that it can have on our possessions, what effects can it have on our bodies?
In this spotlight feature, we take a look at precisely what mold is, what causes it to grow, whether it is bad for our health and, if so, what can be done to stop it.
What is mold?
Molds are a form of fungus. There are many different molds and they can be found both indoors and outdoors. Molds spread through the production of spores, which are present in all indoor environments and cannot be removed from them – spores are capable of surviving in harsh conditions that otherwise prevent the normal mold growth.
Molds grow best in moist, warm and humid environments – easily created in the home during the winter. When mold spores land on a damp spot they can begin to grow, digesting the material they are growing on as they do so. Molds are capable of growing on a variety of different surfaces, including fabric, paper and wood.
Common indoor molds include:
- Alternaria – found in damp places indoors, such as showers or under leaky sinks
- Aspergillus – often found indoors growing on dust, powdery food items and building materials, such as drywall
- Cladosporium – capable of growing in cool areas as well as warm ones. It is typically found on fabrics and wood surfaces
- Penicillium – typically found on materials that have been damaged by water and often has a blue or green appearance.
Molds take a variety of forms and textures, appearing as white, black, yellow, blue or green and often looking like a discoloration or stain to a surface. They can also have a velvety, fuzzy or rough appearance, depending on the type of mold and where it is growing.
Potential mold health issues
“Mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors,” state the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “However some people are sensitive to molds.”
Meanwhile, the WHO say that a moldy environment is associated with and could worsen indoor air pollution – a risk factor for certain respiratory conditions:
“Excess moisture on almost all indoor materials leads to growth of microbes, such as mold, fungi and bacteria, which subsequently emit spores, cells, fragments and volatile organic compounds into indoor air. Moreover, dampness initiates chemical or biological degradation of materials, which also pollutes indoor air.”
Molds can produce a number of substances that can be harmful. Allergens, irritants and mycotoxins – potentially toxic substances – can affect individuals who are particularly sensitive to them.
In particular, the EPA state that exposure to molds can irritate the eyes, lungs, nose, skin and throats of individuals, even if they do not have a mold allergy.
Mold allergies produce similar symptoms to other allergies to airborne substances affecting the upper respiratory tract, such as pollinosis. These include:
- Blocked/runny nose
- Itchy nose
- Itchy throat
- Watery eyes.
In addition, people with a mold allergy that also have asthma are at an increased risk of having their asthma symptoms triggered by a moldy environment, according to the CDC.
Read more on mold health issues at medicalnewstoday.com