Residential Mold and Moisture Health Effects

Mold and moisture in your home or business pose hazards to your health. Molds and mildew are omnipresent in the biosphere, and their spores are common components of household dust. Excessive exposure to molds and their spores can cause harmful health effects in susceptible people.

Molds and their spores pose especially hazardous health threat to humans when they are present in extremely high quantities. The most common health issues caused by molds and their spores are allergic attacks, intoxication by mycotoxins, or fungal infection.

Health Effects

People who already suffer from respiratory diseases, allergies, or immune system problems and live or work in damp and moldy buildings are at high risk of their health deterioration due to possible inflammatory or toxic response to mold and mildew spores. Residential moisture allows mold to grow and also produces bacteria and other volatile organic compounds.

Allergic reactions are the most common health problem caused by molds and their spores. Respiratory infections and diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis, alveolitis, and fungal sinusitis are other health issues caused by exposure to mold and mildew. Wheezing, rhinitis, cough, eczema are among the most common symptoms of diseases or allergic reactions to residential moisture and mold spores. Prolonged exposure on a daily basis in home or business can be particularly harmful to humans’ health, especially for children and people with chronic respiratory diseases.

The most common symptoms of mold and their spores’ exposure are as follows:

  • Nasal congestion and runny nose
  • Respiratory issues like wheezing or chest tightness
  • Throat irritation, persistent cough, and sneezing
  • Asthma attacks

The impact of mold exposures to human health often depends on the person as long as some people are more sensitive to molds and their spores than others. People with chronic respiratory illnesses are at higher risk for moisture and mold allergies and have more severe health problems when exposed to mold spores. Damp and moldy indoor environments are associated with upper respiratory tract irritations and inflammations like asthma attacks, sinus congestion, irritated throat, and other respiratory problems. Mold spores can cause asthma, they can also cause severe deterioration of existing conditions. When inhaled mold spores might begin to grow on living tissues, thus causing further problems. This is particularly hazardous for people with compromised immune system.

Another problem correlated to mold contamination is toxicity caused by mycotoxins produced by their spores. These mycotoxins lead to several fungal infections. The most common fungal infections affect sinuses, lungs, digestive tract, and skin. They are particularly dangerous for immunocompromised people, especially those with AIDS because they may cause severe illnesses or even death.

Prolonged exposure to fungus Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium и Penicillium SPP is among the most common contributors to respiratory allergies. Once established fungial infection can induce hypersensitivity. Allergic responces can be immediate as well as delayed. They include fever-type symptoms like runny nose, irritated eyes and throat, dry cough, skin rash, or sneezing.
Mycotoxin toxicity is another health hazard associated with mold spores exposure. Mycotoxins are toxic compounds excreted by molds. Certain mycotoxins are detrimental or even lethal to humans in cases of high exposure. They can cause neurological problems especially in residences with high levels of mold presence. Headaches, memory problems, and mood swings are among the most often neurological problems associated with abnormal mycotoxins exposure.

Health issues correlated with mold and mildew are often associated with sick building syndrome in which building residents experience negative health effects linked to their stay in the building. These situations are usually correlated with harmful mycotoxins produced by mold. Some mycotoxins like Aflatoxin are cancer-causing poisons.

Exposure to molds and their spores is health hazardous for everyone but some groups of people are more volatile than others. These groups include:

  • Children and especially infants
  • People with compromised immune systems, such as cancer chemotherapy patients or those with HIV infection
  • Elderly people
  • Individuals with allergies or chronic respiratory diseases

Mold Exposure Sources

The major sources of mold and mildew exposure are associated with the indoor air in damp buildings with substantial mold establishment and growth. Humid air, flooding, hurricanes, or water damage can also create favorable conditions for mold and mildew establishment and growth.

Damp spaces with poor ventilation also contribute to the occurrence of mold and mildew problems. Another factors of mold contamination are roof or plumbing leaks, permeable foundations, leaking air-conditioning duct joints, waterproof vinyl wall coverings, lack of floor drain in damp spaces, poor ventilation of damp spaces, improperly installed windows, etc.

Detection of Mold

The most common indicators of mold and mildew presence in homes and businesses are:

  • Discolored patches on walls or furniture
  • Condensation (more than 5 cm) on the inner surface of the window glass
  • Earthy odor
  • Exacerbation of allergic and respiratory problems during a stay in the building

Prevention of Mold Problems in Homes and Businesses

The most important steps to eliminate sources of dampness inside building are as follows:

  • Regular inspection for the indication of abnormal moisture and mold presence in homes and businesses is of critical importance for the prevention of mold problems
  • Regular roof inspection
  • Removal of wall coverings that trap moisture
  • Keeping clean humidifiers reservoirs
  • Immediate removal of moisture
  • Proper ventilation in damp and confined areas
  • Proper installation of windows so that to allow good ventilation.

Check regularly for signs of mold contamination and take immediate steps to eliminate the source of moisture. Call us, in order to safe your health and property.