Is mold harmful to my health?
Every once in a while a news article appears talking about the health hazards of toxic black mold. And some people, when they see black mold it is assumed that it is Stachybotrys – “the bad mold” and the stigma associated with it – “toxic black mold is a health hazard” – while there are slivers of truth you shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on the colour of a wall. Just because it’s black doesn’t mean Stachybotrys … it could be dirt! Other people say, mold is everywhere and has been around since the dawn of time, it’s natural and therefore not a health problem – which in part, is true, but not entirely.
In terms of health matters and mold there are few important things you should know.
- Molds themselves are not toxic, and there is no such thing as “toxic mold” – the phrase “toxic mold” is technically inaccurate
- There are however some species of mold that produce toxins – more accurately mycotoxins and these molds are considered to be toxigenic (Stachybotrys Chartarum produces mycotoxins)
- Some of the most common molds founds in homes are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Alternaria, but not all of these molds or mold families produce mycotoxins (Aspergillus is a genus consisting of several hundred species of mold – some species used for medicinal purposes, some produce mycotoxins)
- The truth is, significant concentrations of any type of mold over extended periods of time, regardless if they produce mycotoxins or not, may be harmful to your health and this applies to everyone – regardless if you have a sensitivity to mold
- Most people are not sensitive to mold, and everyone is exposed to mold every day with no adverse affects on your health
- People with compromised immune systems or sensitivities to mold are the most likely candidates to experience health issues if exposed to significant amounts of mold for extended periods of time
If you are concerned that you are “allergic” or experiencing health issues as a result of mold you should see your physician.
It is important to note that regardless of the type of mold, all molds should be treated with the same level of respect in terms of potential health risks and remediation (removal) and it is fair to say that significant concentrations of mold is not healthy for you or your home.