General Health Effects of Mold

Research on the health effects of mold has been diverse and contended. The scientific community has made great progress in establishing a link between mycotoxins and the health problems people in contaminated buildings display.
Of course there are detractors, scientists that attempt to discredit this evidence. But these scientists simply deny the health effects of mold without providing a reasonable or scientific alternative to explain the illness.
Clearly, hard science and facts trump conjecture.

Respiratory Effects
In studies, mycotoxins have been shown to cause acute respiratory diseases after consistent exposure to mold-contaminated air. Asthma, sinusitis and rhinitis have all been documented in people subjected to airborne mycotoxins.

In the past 25 years, reported asthma cases have increased 350%. During this times, homes symptoms of mold exposurehave become more energy efficient, meaning they don’t cycle outside air indoors as much as in the past. Couple that with the fact that people spend 87% of their life indoors, there’s clear evidence that airborne mycotoxins are playing a role in the higher rates of respiratory illnesses.

Neurological Effects
Modern medicine has shown that behavioral disorders are a result of chemical imbalances in the brain; altering behavior and inhibiting emotional control. Mycotoxins attack the neurotransmitters of the brain much the same way – inhibiting control over mood, metabolism and mental focus.

A 2003 study of patients that were exposed to indoor mold showed high levels of cognitive and emotional symptoms. A majority of the patients suffered from acute stress, depression, moodiness or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Scientific studies are proving what the medical community has long denied: exposure to mycotoxins inhibits the brain from functioning properly. Three separate studies clearly show that brain and nervous system tests (BAER, EEG, BAEP) on mold-exposed patients returned abnormal results. These patients all experienced some degree of ADHD, lack of attention and diminished reaction time.

In a 2003 study, 100 participants were exposed to mold toxins. Tests showed that 100% of the subjects experienced nervous system dysfunction.
• short-term memory loss
• lack of physical coordination
• lack of executive function and judgement
• decreased mental concentration

Health Effects on Children
Because the immune systems of children are not fully developed they are more susceptible to mold-related illnesses. Mold exposure is detrimental to children’s learning ability and mental growth. Mold toxins increase brain inflammation, inhibiting the temporal lobe of the brain – the areas responsible for understanding human speech. Mycotoxins are clearly responsible for the abnormal rise in ADHD diagnoses in children.

Other than the serious neurological effects that mold has on children, we can’t overlook the damage mold contamination can have on their developing lungs. The most common sign of a mold-infested home or school is asthmatic children.

Recent EPA reporting shows that 80% of homes with mold contain asthmatic children. The same study also shows that proper remediation of mold contaminates can reduce serious asthmatic symptoms in children up to 90%.

Given the scientific evidence, long-term mold exposure poses too many serious health risks to continue living or working in a mold-contaminated building.

Denial of Mold Facts

For as many scientific studies that have been done on the effects of mold exposure and health issues, there are still people out there that think no credible link exists between mold and illnesses. We find this somewhat hard to believe, but it doesn’t make this perception among mold deniers any less real.

On mold-related news stories, you’ll often see comments and quips made by people ill-equipped to intelligently speak about the scientific nature of mold exposure. Usually, these snide remarks attempt to undermine the credibility of years of scientific research (listed above) without any references, sources or credible facts to justify their claims.

We’ve put together a list of common objections you’ll find on the internet that simply fly directly in the face of reason.

• Objection #1 – Mold isn’t harmful to your health.
Of all the ludicrous claims regarding mold made on the internet, the statement that mold isn’t harmful surely is the most asinine. Mold deniers frame this statement as if it were an established fact: “Mold isn’t toxic, so these health complaints are bogus.” Frankly, such a false statement discredits any other following claim they could make.

It seems that when people make statements like “mold isn’t toxic,” they’re trying to shift the blame onto the mold victims, insinuating that their symptoms are fake or there is something inherently wrong with them to have health issues after mold exposure.

There are numerous scientific studies that show a credible link between mold exposure and respiratory, neurological and immunological defects. To ignorantly claim that “mold isn’t harmful,” or more specifically that “black mold/stachybotrys isn’t toxic” is beyond all reason. Here’s just a few studies to illustrate this point:

“Psychological, neurophysical and electrocortical effects of mixed mold exposure.” Crago, Gray, Nelson. (2003)
“Introduction and summary: workshop on children’s health and indoor mold exposure.” Rylander, Etzel (1999)
“Toxicity, metabolism and impact of mycotoxins on humans and animals.” Hussein, Brasel. (2001)
“Improvement of attention span and reaction time with hyperbaric oxygen treatment in patients with toxic injury due to mold exposure.” Ezra, Dang, and Heuser (2011)

• Objection #2 – “Just move out”
We’ve seen this comment made frequently when a renter has a legitimate concern regarding mold in a rental property. Often the renter is not able to get out of their lease without severe financial burden and, as a result, feel trapped in a home or apartment that isn’t safe. The renter is seeking advice on how to get the landlord to remediate the mold issue after their initial requests have gone ignored, but are often met with deriding comments like “mold isn’t toxic” or “just leave if it’s that big of a deal.”

This mentality does nothing to fix problem for future renters who could possibly be families with small children. Removing mold contamination is the responsibility of the landlord. A renter should never be faced with the choice between a) subjecting their family to harmful mold or b) breaching their lease and forfeiting money. This mindset simply empowers landlords to victimize their renters.

• Objection #3 – The term “toxic mold ” isn’t accurate.
This concept gets thrown around a lot because of a statement from the CDC:
“While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins); the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous.”
If you’ve done some reading on this site, you’ll know that mycotoxins are the poisons produced by certain molds. So it stands to reason that if you’re only going to have mycotoxins if you’ve got mold, right?

This evasive and vague statement by the CDC is the equivalent of saying “carbon monoxide itself isn’t deadly, it’s the act of inhaling the fumes that is.”

• Objection #4 – Toxic mold is all media hype
While there is some truth that the media has the tendency to sensationalize health issues, it is impossible to responsibly deny the connection mold has to respiratory disorders. Even if these mold deniers choose to ignore scientific evidence, you’ll notice they never have a scientific way to explain a mold victim’s symptoms.

Hypochondria isn’t a viable explanation either, because people typically suffer the effects of mold before they ever see it growing in their home. Despite that, it’s incredibly callous to assume that people’s very real health symptoms are imaginary – a fabrication because of the media’s attention to mold contamination.

Additional Literature

mold poisoningFor those who are interested in more information regarding mold contamination and the adverse health effects, please contact us at inspectrite@usa.com or 304-222-7573.