Important mold facts!!
Toxic Mold Fact Sheet
The National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month Planning Committee developed this Toxic Mold Fact Sheet to provide information about molds and mycotoxins. Currently, there are no Federal Government Standards for indoor air quality regarding molds and mycotoxins. This information is provided to inform the public on the preventable health and development problems that may be caused by exposure to toxic mold in their homes, schools, and communities.
Important Mold Facts:
People are routinely exposed to more than 200 species of fungi indoors and outdoors. There are sixty species that produce the 180 trichothecene mycotoxins. Mycotoxins kill other things, like bacteria and viruses, so mold can continue to grow. The American Cancer Society lists aflatoxin mycotoxins as known human carcinogens. The FDA has enforced regulatory limits on aflatoxin concentrations in foods and feeds since 1965.
Mold spores, whether dead or alive, can cause adverse health effects. Molds also produce a large number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals are responsible for the musty odors produced by growing molds.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
It is estimated that 500,000 deaths occur yearly in the United States due to exposure to indoor toxic mold.
According to an EPA study, an estimated 50% of our nation’s schools have problems linked to poor indoor air quality.
Mycotoxin exposure can lead to toxic injury that may include multiple illnesses, affecting the skin and the nervous, vascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, urinary, and immune systems; including the formation of cancers and can be life-threatening.
In the mid-1990's, a study conducted from Cleveland, Ohio, involved infants who had died suddenly from unexplained pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding of the lungs). Upon investigation, the researchers found that the infants resided in homes with high levels of Stachybotrys atra, linking Stachybotrys atra exposure to serious health effects and even death. A government study is now being conducted, with findings to be released in 2010.
A 1997 Mayo Clinic study found that 96% of recurring sinus infections are caused by fungus in the sinuses. When participants were treated with anti-fungal sinus sprays, recurrence of infection was considerably less, and in some cases, no recurring infections were noted.
Fifty percent of the 937 children tested in a large multicity asthma study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed sensitivity to mold, indicating the importance of mold as an asthma trigger among these children. Molds are thought to play a role in asthma in several ways. Molds produce many potentially allergenic compounds, and molds may play a role in asthma via release of irritants that increase potential for sensitization or release of toxins (mycotoxins) that affect immune response.