Customers of Chicagoland Mold Doctors frequently ask us about the health risks associated with mold. Generally speaking, mold does not pose a health hazard, but is more of an irritant which may manifest itself by a runny nose, nasal congestion, puffy eyes or throat irritation.  Exceptions to this general rule include people with:

  • Respiratory conditions such as asthma
  • Allergies, especially to penicillin
  • Infants and the elderly whose respiratory systems are generally more susceptible to mold

In these cases, the health risks of mold may be more problematic and care should be taken to avoid exposure to situations where elevated mold levels may be present.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention address the health risks of mold in their article “Facts about Stachybotrys Chartarum and Other Molds”.

“While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.

A common-sense approach should be used for any mold contamination existing inside buildings and homes. The common health concerns from molds include hay fever-like allergic symptoms. Certain individuals with chronic respiratory disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma) may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression may be at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment. For the most part, one should take routine measures to prevent mold growth in the home.” CDC. (2012, September 18). Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from


In conclusion, common sense should prevail in dealing with potential health risks associated with mold.  If you fall into one of the above categories, exercise care to avoid exposure to elevated mold situations.  Be aware of the possible symptoms of exposure to mold.  If symptoms persist after you have left a situation with elevated mold levels, consult a health care professional.

Please watch for future postings about how to identify if mold is present in property and how to treat it.

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