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There is no evidence linking indoor exposure to black mold or any other type of mold with cancer. Mold is associated with other health problems, though.
Mold can be found anywhere there’s moisture. Mold spores travel in the air, so spores can find their way inside homes and other buildings. Most of us breathe some in every day without any problems.
In high concentrations, or with long-term exposure, mold can aggravate allergies and asthma, and cause upper respiratory symptoms.
Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. People with certain pre-existing health conditions can have serious problems due to mold.
Continue reading for more information on black mold, other types of mold, and who’s at risk.
Stachybotrys chartarum, or Stachybotrys atra, commonly referred to as black mold, has a reputation as “toxic mold.” Black mold produces a toxic compound called satratoxin, which is a type of mycotoxin that may cause illness in some people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (
The CDC states that there have been rare reports that these molds can cause serious health conditions like memory loss or pulmonary hemorrhage. However, there’s no proven link between mold and such health problems.
Black mold is not linked to lung or other cancers.
Aspergillus fumigatus is not linked to cancer either. But it can cause serious health problems for some people.
Other common indoor molds
There are many kinds of mold that can grow indoors. Some of the other
None are associated with cancer.
Damp, moldy environments don’t affect everyone the same way. Some people aren’t affected at all, but others are more sensitive to it. There’s no evidence that mold causes cancer.
health Effects of mold Exposure
- stuffy nose
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- eye irritation
- skin irritation
If you’re allergic to mold, your symptoms may be more severe, such as lung irritation.
According to the CDC, in 2004, the Institute of Medicine found sufficient evidence linking indoor mold, and damp indoor environments in general, with:
- upper respiratory symptoms in healthy people
- asthma symptoms in people who have asthma
- hypersensitivity pneumonitis in susceptible people
Limited evidence suggests a link between exposure to mold and damp indoor environments and:
- respiratory illness in healthy children
- potential development of asthma in susceptible people
In 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) also reported a suggested link between early exposure to mold and development of asthma in children, especially those who are genetically susceptible to asthma.
A 2017 report found no scientific evidence that black mold exposure leads to:
- autoimmune disease
- inability to focus
- infant pulmonary hemorrhage
- memory loss
Aspergillus fumigatus can cause a serious reaction in some people, especially those with asthma or cystic fibrosis. This condition is called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. Symptoms may include:
- cough, possibly with blood or mucus
- worsening symptoms of asthma
If you have emphysema, tuberculosis, or advanced sarcoidosis, lung cavities can be infected with Aspergillus. This causes a condition called aspergilloma, with symptoms such as:
- a cough, sometimes with blood
- shortness of breath
- weight loss
An even more severe reaction is called invasive aspergillosis. In this condition, infection spreads from the lungs to the brain, heart, kidneys, or skin. This is more likely to occur in people with a weakened immune system and can be life-threatening.
Who’s at risk?
These conditions may increase your risk of health problems due to mold:
- a chronic lung disease
- cancer treatment
- drugs that suppress the immune system
- organ or stem cell transplant
Tests to identify mold can only show that mold spores were present at a particular moment. They can’t tell you when you may have been exposed, if you inhaled any mold spores, or what your health risks might be.
Large areas of mold are easy to see, and sometimes to smell, so testing isn’t generally necessary. Also, all mold is cleaned the same way, so it doesn’t matter what type it is.
If you do want to get your home tested for mold or need professional mold removal, there are a few places to find a certified mold inspector in the United States.
finding a professional to remove mold
- American Council for Accredited Certification: Find a Council-certified Mold Inspector
- National Association of Mold Remediators & Inspectors: Find a NAMRI Mold Professional
- National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspector: NORMI Professional Directory
Mold should be removed as quickly as possible.
To clean mold off hard surfaces, such as tile, scrub with soap and water, commercial products, or use bleach. To make a bleach solution, mix 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. When cleaning with bleach, be sure to protect your skin and eyes, and allow for plenty of ventilation.
You may not be able to save porous or absorbent materials such as drywall, ceiling tiles, and carpeting. Once they’ve become soaked or are growing mold, they generally need to be removed and replaced.
For big mold problems, consider hiring a professional cleaning company experienced in removing mold. If it’s not completely cleaned, it can start growing again. For that reason, it’s important to fix the source of the problem as well.
If your home has a lot of mold and you have health concerns, ask your doctor if you should stay away until the situation is remedied.
Mold can get into your house through doors and windows. It can enter through air-conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems. It can even hitch a ride on you, your pets, or anything you carry in from outside. Read on for tips on how to prevent mold from taking hold in your home.
- Keep the humidity level low. If you don’t have an air conditioner, you can use a dehumidifier. Shop for a dehumidifier online.
- Use mold-killing products when you clean bathrooms. Shop for mold-killing cleaners online.
- Install outside exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room.
- Don’t carpet areas of your home that might have a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. Remove carpeting or upholstery that has been soaked and can’t be quickly dried.
- Repair leaks promptly.
- Repair or replace drywall that has been wet.
Mold does not cause lung or other cancers, but it can cause a variety of health problems. Mold in your home should be removed as quickly as possible.