The health effects associated with mold spores are not negated when a spore is rendered non-viable (non-living). In fact, a dead spore, which still contains mycotoxins, may be more detrimental, because it is lighter and can become airborne more readily.
Due to their incredibly small size, mold spores are easily inhaled or ingested. Spores can also enter a human or animal body by way of the ears, eyes, and even pores. The health effects associated with mold include, but are not limited to, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, fatigue, short-term memory loss, diarrhea, asthma, aspergillosis, pnuemonitis, hair loss, and even death.
Mold spores are generally classified into three different categories when pertaining to health:
A toxic mold is one that produces a mycotoxin that has been associated
with adverse affects in almost anyone if present in elevations. Some
examples of mycotoxins include: tricothecene (produced by the highly publicized Stachybotrys genus), petulin (generally produced by some species of Aspergillus), and sterigmatocystin (also produced by some Aspergillus species).
A pathogenic mold will affect those who are already immune-compromised. Many mold types fall into this category. Immune-compromised individuals include, but are not limited to, cancer patients, elderly, pregnant women, small children with undeveloped immune systems, people with heart disease, others who suffer from illness, and some animals.
An allergenic mold is one that may affect some but not others. This effect is very similar to an animal or pollen allergy. An allergenic mold can sometimes divide a family because only one person may complain of symptoms while others do not have concern for the problem and ultimately do not address it. Some individuals may build a tolerance to an allergen, while others become more susceptible after chronic exposure.
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Mold spores, both living and dead,
have been associated with effects
onhuman health. Generally, the
three categories of mold as they
pertain to your health are: