By Jesse Scheckner
The presence of mold in your home or workplace is never good, but for pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems or immune deficiencies, it should be especially alarming.
Microscopic organisms belonging to the fungi family, mold reproduces through airborne spores and can propagate on almost any surface. It most commonly thrives in damp environments and is “very common” in buildings and homes, according to the Florida Department of Health.
“Southeast Florida is the only locale in the U.S. with a tropical climate,” said Dr. Gary Rosen, Florida-licensed building contractor and accredited mold remediation instructor. “The climate is ideal for mold growth.”
Common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium, alternaria, penicillium and stachybotrys (also known as “toxic black mold” and “the silent killer”). An array of symptoms and health risks are associated with mold, including respiratory difficulties, fatigue, immune suppression, chronic nasal congestion, sinusitis, eye irritation, rashes, eczema, fever and, in rare instances, death.
If you have an immunodeficiency such as HIV, SCID or CVID, you face disproportionately greater danger. A 2002 study published by The New England Journal of Medicine found that opportunistic mold, such as aspergillus fumigatus, can spread to and grow inside the lungs—an ailment known as invasive aspergillosis that is significantly more deadly for anyone with a weakened immune system.
“There is absolutely a direct causational link between mold presence in the home and workplace and a compromised immune system,” said Avigayel Klein, Florida certified mold inspector, remediator and hygienic technologist. “People with already compromised immune systems, therefore, need to act faster than others.”
Expectant mothers should remain hypervigilant as well. A massive, 8-year study conducted by the University of Southern California followed close to 2,000 schoolchildren from fourth grade to graduation. Its findings: Exposure to polluted air, including airborne mold spores, stunts the development of children’s lungs and may lead to reduced respiratory capacity.
Another study, concluded in 2012 by the University of Cincinnati, found that mold exposure during infancy drastically increased the chance of children developing asthma by age 7. And risk may actually begin before birth; a 2011 study published by the Journal of Molecular Sciences found that mold toxins disrupt fetal development and increase fetal death in mice.
“New studies show that not only can indoor mold cause permanent damage to children’s respiratory systems, but mold toxin exposure during childhood increases the chance of developing ADHD,” Rosen said.
Affordable, effective solutions are available. If you suspect your home may be harming you due to mold and other airborne contaminants, contact a company with state-licensed mold remediation technicians immediately.
For more information, call 305-763-8070 or visit www.MiamiMoldSpecialists.com.