WHAT IS MOULD TOXICITY? Could mould be making you sick?
Mould exposure has been linked to health conditions such as upper respiratory issues, cough, and aggravation of asthma in asthma sufferers more than a two decades ago. Since that time, studies have continued to attempt to define the link between exposure to mould and health conditions in adults and children.
Recently, the discussion has shifted to a concern that long term exposure to mould can result in mould toxicity. But what is mould toxicity and what does this mean for your health?
What is Mould Toxicity?
The theory that mould spores and their mycotoxins can accumulate within the body and result in short and long term health conditions is known as Mould Toxicity or Mould Illness. Essentially the belief, and purpose of a number of ongoing studies, is that the effects of mould exposure may go well beyond the allergic reactions some people experience and that have been previously defined by scientific study.
Research is ongoing to determine the effect mould and their mycotoxins may have on your health. In fact, new methodologies for testing and research continue to be developed or determined necessary to hone in on and assess these potential health concerns. To date, while we know that some moulds do produce mycotoxins, we cannot say that some moulds do not. The fact of the matter is that we simply may not yet be able to test for or recognize the mycotoxins produced by most moulds.
How does Mould Toxicity affect your health?
Mould Toxicity is believed to have the potential to cause a number of short and long term medical issues from severe headaches, rashes, muscle pain, new or increased response to allergens, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, to more severe conditions such as hair loss, anxiety or depression, insomnia, fatigue, recurring infections, and autoimmune issues.
Among developing children, it is believed that long term mould exposure and potential mould toxicity can increase the likelihood that they develop lifelong conditions such as asthma and concentration issues.
The relationship between mould and bacteria
To further complicate the study of the effect of mould on your health, bacteria often thrive in similar environments. So, where mould may begin to flourish in a wall cavity as a result of a small leak, bacteria too will begin to develop and multiply. While news reports often centre on the effects of indoor mould growth and your health, bacteria’s impact on human health cannot be underestimated. As a result, while you may experience health effects caused by mould exposure, your symptoms may be exacerbated or confused by those caused by exposure to bacterial growth and their toxins.
Should you see your doctor?
If you experience health issues and feel that they may be the result of mould exposure, we recommend seeing your doctor immediately. Mould affects each person differently, so what may have no effect on me, may cause any number of issues specific to you.
This can make mould toxicity difficult to quantify, as it may not affect two people the same way. As a result, we can only recommend caution when you feel that you may be experiencing health issues that are a result of mould exposure.
Many doctors now also do consider mould exposure in cases of chronic respiratory conditions and this trend is likely to continue and expand to other symptoms as well. As our science improves and our studies narrow down the cause of these health issues, we are seeing a trend towards connecting mould exposure to occupant health.
How do I know if I have a mould issue?
While you can sometimes see mould growth on structural surfaces or content items, often you cannot clearly see mould growth or its extent. This is particularly true in cases where mould growth may be in a wall or ceiling cavity. As a result, we recommend air testing be performed by a qualified individual to determine the extent of mould contamination in the space.
Due to the conflict of interest it represents, we always recommend hiring a mould tester (An Industrial Hygienist) that does not perform mould remediation services. In this way, you can ensure that the test results are honest, accurate, and have not been manipulated in any way.
Further, testing should detail spore counts and mould types so that you can clearly see the extent of contamination and the mould strains that are present. This is particularly important when you are concerned about the cause of health issues that you may be experiencing.
While research is ongoing into the effects of mould toxicity in individuals, we wanted to take a moment to address this increasingly common concern. With some doctors now diagnosing individuals with mould toxicity, this is no doubt going to become an incredibly common question we receive.
Independent Property Inspections offers a Mould Inspection service that can identify the cause and recommend the solution to rid your home of Mould.
Please Call Leon Cupit on 0418 120 828