Many people are afraid of “black mold” and “toxic mold,” but these terms are misleading. The good news is that “mold” is a non-scientific term for fungi, and many so-called molds are responsible for good things, like blue cheese, yeasts and bread, beer and wine, edible mushrooms, and penicillin. The bad news is that mold in the traditional context usually refers to indoor mold – unwanted patches of fungi in homes, schools, and businesses.
Some types of mold are edible (and delicious), and others make you sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common types of indoor mold are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. Any of these molds can cause a variety of health effects that vary from person to person. Another type of mold, and the kind that people tend to fear most, is called Stachybotrys chartarum or “black mold.”
Although many people panic about black mold, this particular mold is not solely responsible for the health problems associated with mold. Any time you have indoor mold, you could experience symptoms. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be.
People with allergies, immune suppression, and chronic respiratory diseases (like asthma) are the most susceptible to fungal infections and the health problems related to mold exposure.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Fungi reproduces by spores, which travel through the air and land on surfaces. This means there is always a little mold everywhere. Some types of mold produce toxins called mycotoxins on certain surfaces and under certain environmental conditions.
Evidence suggests toxigenic molds can cause rare health conditions, such as pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding in the lungs) or memory loss. More commonly, mold exposure is associated with symptoms and health effects like:
- Chronic fatigue or headaches
- Eye irritation
- Problems with the nose, mouth , and throat
- Chronic coughing
- Nausea and vomiting
Mold also damages the material it lives on, which can impair the structural integrity of the surfaces it infects. If your home has a severe mold infestation, crucial components of your house could collapse.
As the National Capital Poison Center recommends:
“Mold growth in homes, schools, and businesses should be eliminated for the sake of human health, structural integrity, and quality of life.”
What To Do If You Find Mold In Your Home
Homeowners can clean up small amounts of mold but eliminating mold from large areas may require removal specialists. If you discover mold in a recently purchased house, you may want to contact the seller. In many states, sellers are required to disclose information about mold, so you may have some legal recourse if your real estate agent failed to warn you about a mold problem within your home.
You can also arrange mold cleanup and property damage mitigation with your homeowners’ insurance company.
If you rent your living space and find mold, contact your landlord immediately. The property owner must remove the mold and bear the initial cost of removal. If they do not, you can take legal action against them. If you get sick, know that landlords can be held responsible for allowing tenants to move into an unsuitable living space.
What If Mold Makes You Sick?
Contact your healthcare provider as soon as you have symptoms. If you find out these symptoms are related to mold exposure, you may need to have the mold tested for toxicity.
Once you have proof that your symptoms and health problems are related to mold, you may have options for recovery.
At any point during this process, you can discuss your rights and legal options with Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC.
Simply call us at (866) 675-4427 or contact us online – we are available 24/7 to take your call or respond to your message.