Worldwide, more than 235 million people have asthma. According to the World Health Organization, it is the single most common childhood disease. Furthermore, most experts agree that mold is a common contaminant found in most every home in the United States. It can predispose children to developing Asthma. Approximately 4.6 million asthma cases per year can be directly attributed to household mold.
How Common is Mold
Mold is everywhere. It is outside, floating around in the air you breathe and in almost every type of dust. There are an estimated 100 distinct types of mold found in American homes. Normal, healthy adults usually don’t get sick from these molds, unless they have allergies or immune problems.
Mold spores are carried into a home on your clothing, the bottoms of your shoes, and on your pets anytime they enter your home. It also blows in through open doors an windows. Once inside, the materials your home is built with provide a great environment for spores to set up shop and thrive. The only way to know how much mold is in your home is by air quality services testing.
Black Mold Versus Common Mold
There’s a lot of hype in the media about so-called toxic black mold. In fact, no mold is toxic. The CDC points out that while some molds can and do produce toxins, they are no more dangerous that other molds that don’t. All molds are potentially hazardous to your health, but it depends on genetics, allergies, and other health problems. However, there is evidence to suggest that in young children, the presence of mold can trigger asthma in otherwise healthy children.
Does It Really Give Children Asthma
Dr. Tina Reponen, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati, conducted a study to see how common household mold correlates with asthma rates in growing children. In the study, she followed approximately 300 babies over the course of development for six years. The study began when the babies were eight months old and ended when they turned seven years old. The households were tested for 36 types of common mold and assigned a rating based on a scale developed by the EPA.
The study revealed that by the age of seven, one in four children had developed asthma. Those at greatest risk were the ones living in homes that score high on the mold scale. Interestingly, some of the highest scoring homes were the ones that showed no visible signs of mold. Further studies went on to demonstrate that high mold levels double a child’s chances of contracting asthma. A parent with asthma further elevates the risk.
The best way to protect children from household mold is to have the indoor air quality tested. Possible remedies to reduce common mold include paint and other materials that are mold resistant, using humidity monitors and dehumidifiers, ensuring no moisture is allowed to accumulate, adequately wrapping pipes to absorb condensation, frequent dusting, and good household cleaning practices.