Indoor mold contamination can cause serious health problems. Indoor water leaks from broken pipes, damaged roofs, poorly sealed windows, basement flooding, etc. create optimal conditions for mold to grow. Indoor mold thrives in cool, moist, dark places.
Research has shown that mycotoxins can be present in the air even when mold spores are absent.
Hurricanes Sandy, Irene, Rita, and Katrina dumped thousands of gallons of water inland, causing severe water damage to thousands of buildings. Although black mold, specifically Stachybotrys, has gotten a lot of publicity over the years, other molds that are lighter in color, yellow, or brown can cause health problems too.
Indoor mold contamination can damage human health by several mechanisms:
- Molds give off spores which can serve as airway irritants causing a runny nose, irritated eyes, a scratchy throat, and even asthma-like symptoms of shortness of breath and wheezing
- Molds give off many toxic (meaning poisonous) chemicals in their emissions. Some of these mold toxins (called mycotoxins), such as trichothecenes, aflatoxins, and ochratoxins are unique to molds.
- Other gases emitted by molds include hexane, benzene, acetone, zearlenones, and other organic solvents.
- Each of these emission chemicals has its own actions of damage.
- When more than one mold toxin is present, the combination of their adverse health effects can be synergistic.
Research has shown that mycotoxins can be present in the air even when mold spores are absent. Because mycotoxins are gases,