Exposure To Mold (fungi), Allergy, Asthma, And Sinus Problems

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Common indoor and outdoor molds produce hundreds of known toxins (mycotoxins) and allergens. Exposure to such fungi can cause a wide range of allergy related problems. Most indoor mold problems are due to water or moisture problems in buildings.     


Sachin Baxi et al. Exposure and health effects of fungi in humans. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Practice. 2016 In Press.

Some fungi which produce significant amount of allergens and toxins such as Stachybotrys and Chaetomium generally grow indoors only under conditions of flooding and/or presence of water-logged materials like drywall, carpets, and furniture.

Controlling water damage is critical to prevent growth of molds and bacteria indoors. A review of 16 published studies reported that exposure to water damaged buildings (33% increased risk, 95% Confidence interval or CI of 1.12-1.56), visible mold (29% increased risk, 95 CI 1.04-1.70), and mold odor (73% increased risk, 95 CI 1.19-2.50) were significantly correlated with higher asthma rates. Other studies have linked indoor moisture or mold exposure with significantly increased risk of cough, wheeze and skin/eye irritation.

Some studies have linked higher rates of asthma with higher indoor dustborne or airborne levels of certain genera of common fungi such as Penicillium, Aspergillus, Alternaria or Cladosporium. Higher asthma rates have also been linked with indoor exposure to Stachybotrys- a water-loving mold which produces several powerful toxins including trichothecenes (which are toxic to the nervous and immune systems) and stachylysin (a toxin which causes bleeding and hemorrhage).

A number of studies have reported that remediation of water/ moisture damage indoors is associated with significant declines in asthma symptoms, wheezing, cough and other respiratory problems. Indoor mold exposure has also been linked to significantly higher levels of nasal problems like rhinitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

 

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