People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease (e.g., a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma) may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
How do you keep mold out of buildings and homes?
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance, Correct conditions causing mold growth (e.g., water leaks, condensation, infiltration, or flooding) to prevent mold growth.
Inside your home, you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels;
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—between 30% and 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
Should I be concerned about a serious health risk to me and my family?
There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces.
Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically “mycotoxins”). Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds that can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.
Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.
There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.