Mold spores are extremely small and can already pose a health hazard, even if the actual mold infestation has left little or no visible trace. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that people in damp and moldy rooms are at increased risk for allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases. In addition, there is a different potential danger from the various types of mold: some fungi can colonize the lungs when the spores enter. The human body provides the right balance of moisture and heat necessary for growth. Although this danger exists primarily in people whose immune systems are severely compromised – in this case, however, mold can be exceedingly threatening.
To what extent is mold a threat to health?
There are several types of mold that are more or less harmful. However, some can produce mycotoxins – which are mold toxins that can cause serious poisoning. People with existing health problems, such as allergies, autoimmune diseases and cancer, as well as children and older adults, are especially at risk. Mycotoxins can accumulate in the body and become a further burden to the organism. Mold spores are always found in the air. Only when they encounter a suitable nutrient medium do the spores develop into a new fungus, which, however, initially grows just as invisibly as the spores. The concentration of mold spores in the air shapes the environment: the fungi can settle on food and be absorbed by the body through it as well as through the air we breathe.
There is a lack of unified standards
It is well known that mold exposure to spores and their metabolites can pose a risk in many locations. However, there is no unified assessment of when a certain concentration of mold spores poses a health risk. Therefore, it is recommended to apply the precautionary principle in order to avoid adverse health effects even before illness occurs. Therefore, it makes sense to seek professional assistance as soon as more than half a square meter of the room has become infested with mold.