Mold and Health
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) and irritants. 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.
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.
The above does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional, your state or local health department, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mold website.
Asthma and Mold
The following links are to non-federal government sites
Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People with asthma should avoid contact with or exposure to molds. Read more about asthma triggers on EPA's Asthma Website
Additional Asthma Resources:
- Allergy & Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AAN/MA)
- (800) 878-4403
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)
- For information Contact AAAAI
- American Lung Association
- (800) LUNG-USA (586-4872)
- See also their Healthy Air Site
- Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America
- (800) 7ASTHMA (727-8462)
- Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation "Fighting Mold - The Homeowner's Guide"
- U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
- (866) 284-4107/(301) 496-5717
- National Jewish Medical and Research Center
- (800) 222-LUNG (5864)
Learn more about mold and health effects in "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home"
The entire booklet:
- The key to mold control is moisture control.
- It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture.
- Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water.
- Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.