Should I Be Concerned About My Health?
Dampness alone in a home can be harmful to the occupants health, even if mold is not yet present. According to a 2007 study, there was an increase in health problems in homes that had dampness problems, mold, or mold odor:
- 52% increase in upper respiratory tract symptoms
- 50% increase in cough
- 44% increase in wheeze
- 50% increase in active asthma problems
- 33% increase in asthma problems in those with history
- 30% increase in new development of asthma
The study included participants in many geographic regions and included infants, children and adults. Smokers also had a higher risk of health problems as a result of exposure to dampness and mold. Obviously, having dampness or signs of mold in the home is a reason for concern about health risks.
How Potentially Serious is a Dampness or Mold Problem?
Some molds are relatively harmless, and some can be deadly. But, the average property owner won’t be experienced enough to tell the difference 100% of the time.
If you see what you suspect is mold, or smell a musty odor, you need to take action right away. Even if the specific mold you are seeing or smelling isn’t particularly harmful or toxic, it’s an indication of an existing moisture problem in your property. And, that can lead to structural and property damage, as well as the potential growth of more dangerous mold varieties.
Undisturbed indoor molds are a concern, but it is those that are disturbed by air movement, humans, and pets that pose the most danger. Indoor molds most commonly release airborne spores and become a health concern when they are disturbed by any means. Visible molds are easily disturbed and likely to release spores into the human living space. Invisible molds are less likely to release spores unless disturbed by construction or air flow.
As far as whether mold is a health concern, the level of concern depends on the type of mold that exists in your environment. So, the best measure is to treat all mold as if it is hazardous until you learn from a professional otherwise.