Linking Mold to Respiratory Problems

Molds are rather harmless little fungi, present in every single environment, all-year round. But when they find warm and humid conditions, they tend to turn into that matter-decomposing eye sore we all know and dread. Their aspect however is probably the least important characteristic we should worry about; molds can be the cause of many health issues, ranging from itchy eyes and a runny nose to serious respiratory infections.

While most people are rarely affected by exposure to small amounts of mold—although identifying what ‘small’ means in this context is a rather difficult task—individuals who have existing health problems may show a higher degree of sensitivity; asthma sufferers are particularly at risk, as it has been proven that inhaling mold spores can trigger asthma attacks.


Although statistics are hard to come by, the most common health effects of mold are the allergic reactions it causes. Interestingly enough, these reactions don’t fall into a particular pattern, they might happen immediately or develop in time and they usually manifest in the form of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. The American Lung Association draws attention to the fact that the presence of mold-induced symptoms such as the ones listed above might also be traced back to a prolonged exposure to mold during infancy, exposure that may have caused the development of chronic inflammation of the lung airways.

Even more alarming are studies that show that indoor mold odors may increase the rates of asthma in children up to 2.5 times. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also issued warnings about rather severe reactions that might incur to those allergic to mold or people suffering from chronic lung illnesses. People diagnosed with chronic lung illnesses—as is the case of those suffering from obstructive lung disease—may even develop mold infections in their lungs, the CDC finds. Those who have severely weakened immune systems are also at risk of developing respiratory infections in the event when live mold gets in contact with the tissues of the respiratory tract and lungs.

Some are going as far as claiming that mold is toxic; while this is not completely accurate—the CDC having deemed mold to be non-toxic—some resourceful molds sometimes defend themselves against other bacteria or molds by producing mycotoxins. These toxins can been found in homes, agricultural settings, food, office buildings and can be toxic to both humans and animals, but nearly all reported cases of mycotoxin-induced diseases were linked to consuming contaminated food. Exposure to mycotoxins can be reduced by controlling the indoor air quality and moisture and removing all visible mold problems.

As previously mentioned, not all people are sensitive to mold and there are some that will not be bothered but by its unpleasant aspect—and smell. Nevertheless, bearing in mind that mold can trigger upper respiratory tract symptoms even in the healthiest individuals and that it can be a true health hazard in the case of some already dealing with their own share of chronic illnesses, make sure to take all necessary precautions to keep mold outside of your home or workplace and reduce exposure to a minimum.

About the Author:

Following article was written by Carl Bennett who owns a mold remediation company Above & Beyond Unlimited Cleaning of New Jersey. Visit his site to learn more about mold and the ways to effectively fight it.

Carl Bennett

Carl Bennett is the owner of mold remediation company Above & Beyond Unlimited Cleaning in New Jersey. You can follow Carl on Google+ or like him on Facebook!

One thought on “Linking Mold to Respiratory Problems

  • April 5, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Why is remediation being performed with all of the contents still in the room? The consultant who wrote this protocal should be shot. If no IH was used, shame on the contractor. This is a good example of why my industry has a bad name.


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