Photo by Ben Brooks
Can Mold Kill You?
Exposure to particles called mycotoxins within molds has been documented to cause many adverse reactions in humans and pets. It has been well-documented that mold can cause several health issues, ranging in severity from mild to quite serious. For more on some of the symptoms of mold exposure, visit Symptoms of mold exposure here. Sometimes, exposure can put people at even greater risk of severe health issues, including death.
While much is known regarding the mild symptoms of mold exposure, there is still much to learn about possible deaths due to being exposed to mold. This is a somewhat controversial topic in the public health arena. However, according the World Health Organization (WHO), in a report released in March 2014, over 7 million deaths annually are attributed to air pollution, both indoor and outdoor. It is not specific to mold exposure, but the report states that 12% of cases were acute lower respiratory infections in children.
Another report from the WHO describes the varying degrees of indoor dampness, which is a major factor in the growth and development of molds. Links have been described to sufferers of respiratory disorders such as asthma, and in such cases mold can play a key role in the aggravation of symptoms.
Other authorities have noted the correlation between exposure to black mold and deaths among infants. For instance, in 1993 in Cleveland, 34 cases of pulmonary hemorrhage among infants resulted in the deaths of 10 of these infants. More recently, a Pittsburgh hospital has lost 3 patients to death from exposure to mold.
Given the latest environmental disturbances in South Carolina, homeowners, business owners and public health officials are preparing for the influx of mold inspections and removal. This will be necessary to prevent more avoidable deaths. The people most at risk for developing symptoms leading to death are those with compromised immune systems, especially those in economically-challenged regions.