We’ve all checked in on the bathroom for our scheduled cleaning only to find some mold and mildew growing. Sometimes it can also be found in basements, since mold loves dark and damp areas. Of course, most people regard it as simply a nuisance, but the fact is that it can also be quite dangerous.
A 2022 case concluded why Awaab Ishak died when he was just two years old, and it pointed to exposure to mold in his family’s apartment in Rochdale, Manchester, England. This tragedy raised a lot of red flags when it comes to just how dangerous mold exposure can actually be.
While this threat is certainly now new, due to changes caused by both instability in the energy markets globally and also climate change, it could become even more dangerous in the future.
Mold is the structure that allows some fungi to grow on it, which is the fuzzy appearance you know, as well as that musty smell. It thrives in moist area like leaky roofs, windows, water pipes, damp rooms, and flooded areas.
If you’ve noticed some dark splodges around the corner of a room or ceiling, then it’s highly likely that it is mold. The main issue comes from the spores that they emit. In order to reproduce and spread, mold disperses microscopic airborne spores into the surrounding area.
For most people, this might cause wheezing, itchy eyes, and stuffy noses, but nothing worse than that. However, for those with weak immune systems, certain allergies, asthma, and respiratory conditions, things could be much worse.
Also, there are some types of mold that can produce mycotoxins that can be dangerous and even lethal to humans when the exposure is high enough. Some of the most common indoor molds include Cladosporium, Aspergillus, and Penicillium, and there is usually a lot of concern around black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, since it can produce mycotoxins. However, color is not usually a great indication of how dangerous a mold can be, and it’s difficult to prove if it is present in a house.
These specific types of fungi can be found in 47% of homes in the United States, and there are some concerns that climate change will further increase this number. Weather changes have made floods, damp weather, water intrusion, and balmy temperatures much more common, and unfortunately, these are the types of environments that are ideal for mold.
To get rid of mold, it’s important to find the root cause of the issue and fix that promptly. Next, it’s important to either thoroughly clean or get rid of anything that’s been impacted by the mold, and make sure to keep the affected area dry and well ventilated.
It can be very difficult to prevent mold from growing in the home, especially for those who cannot invest in this issue due to financial strains.
Senior coroner Joanne Kearsley said during the inquest into Ishak’s death: “The tragic death of Awaab will, and should, be a defining moment for the housing sector in terms of increasing knowledge, increasing awareness, and a deepening of understanding surrounding the issue of damp and mold.”