How do molds affect people?
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.
Damp Buildings and Health
For information on damp buildings and health effects, see the 2004 Institute of Medicine Report, Damp Indoor Spaces and Health, published by The National Academies Press in Washington, DC. You can read a description of the report and download a free copy.
For more information on mold:
- Read the publication "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings"
- Read the publication, "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home"
- Visit the Mold Website.