Can mold cause health problems?

Mold can be a problem indoors when airborne mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  Many people report health problems related to molds.  Molds produce allergens and irritants, and sometimes toxic substances called mycotoxins.  Individuals sensitive to mold spores may have allergic respiratory reactions from inhalation - symptoms are similar to hay fever such as sneezing, runny nose and red eyes.  Molds can trigger asthma attacks in people with asthma who are sensitive to mold. 

Touching mold may cause similar reactions and even skin rashes or dermatitis.  Allergic reactions to mold are common and symptoms can be immediate or delayed.  Mold exposure can affect allergic and non-allergic people alike with irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.  Mold exposure may stress the immune system and thus provide an avenue for opportunistic infections.  Other symptoms unrelated to inhalation or topical exposure are uncommon and individuals suspecting other complications from mold exposure should consult a medical health professional.  Additional resources are available with your state or local health department.

The key to mold control is moisture control.

  • You should routinely inspect your house for water leaks, don't wait until the leak finds you.
  • Household water leaks should be fixed and any mold cleaned up promptly.
  • Once leaks are found, dry water-damaged items and areas within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.