Is Mold Harming Your Home and Your Health?

By MNR News posted 06-16-2022 09:45 AM

Most molds are harmless. But a handful are toxic and dangerous.
It’s a moldy planet. From earth’s frigid poles to the dusty clouds of African deserts, more than 100,000 species of mold thrive in almost every environmental niche. Fortunately, most molds are harmless. In fact, many of them are sources for life-saving antibiotics and other medicines. However, some molds produce mycotoxins that can be harmful to people with allergies, asthma, and immunocompromised disorders. Typical allergic reactions to molds include:
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Runny nose and sinus conditions
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks
  • Dry, scaly skin, and rashes and hives

How dangerous is mold? The jury is still out.

Although mold has been reported to cause lethargy, memory loss, internal bleeding, and other adverse effects, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that there is no evidence proving these conditions are connected to mold exposure. That said, the Cleveland Clinic observes a range of severe reactions to mycotoxins, including issues with liver, kidneys, blood, immune and nervous system disorders, and even cancer. So, obviously, there is debate within the scientific and medical communities.

How mold attacks your body

Most allergic reactions to mold are caused by the mycotoxic spores it releases into the air. When you inhale these substances, or they enter vulnerable membranes like the eyes, your body’s immune system goes on high alert. Antibodies cascade through your blood, creating the tell-tale hay-fever-like symptoms. For vulnerable individuals, the effects can be more serious—especially if there is prolonged exposure. If you suspect that your allergic responses are caused by mold, you might want to consider getting an allergy test from your healthcare provider.

See Five Common Mold Allergens below to learn more about the types of toxic molds.

How mold attacks your home

Growing and spreading within a wall or other enclosed space, mold thrives on moisture and feeds on almost any organic matter: drywall, wooden studs, floorboards, ceiling tiles, and many other materials. When found on hard surfaces, it is easily killed using a bleach solution. However, things like drywall, insulation, carpet, and other porous materials must be entirely removed and replaced. If left unchecked, it can damage a home beyond repair.

Common Sources of Moisture

Dry Out Your Space

The best way to defeat mold is to control moisture levels in the home. After discovering and correcting the sources of leaks, floods, seeping groundwater, and other moisture intrusion, homeowners can ensure their home is less hospitable to mold by:

  • Keeping humidity levels between 30 – 50% throughout the year. Both air conditioning and dehumidifiers help reduce humidity.
  • Regularly changing furnace filters
  • Externally ventilating kitchen, bathroom, and clothes dryer exhaust
  • Removing carpets from bathrooms, basements, and other high-moisture areas
  • Keeping plant containers clean and dry
  • Tossing out damp newspapers, books, and other paper materials

Five Common Mold Allergens