Mold: The Hidden Allergy Problem

The Truth About Toxic Mold

You may have heard news reports about "toxic" molds like Stachybotrys chartarum, which has been blamed for everything from runny noses to potentially fatal pulmonary hemorrhage during the past decade. A few molds do produce chemical toxins called mycotoxins, but you'd need to swallow them to get sick. "In order for inhaled mold to pose a serious health risk from mycotoxins, you would have to be in a very, very heavily contaminated building," says Dr. Stuart Abramson.

But the CDC is still urging caution. According to its comprehensive study, any type of mold can cause symptoms if you're exposed to large quantities of it for long periods of time, even if it's not considered to be "toxic." Children and adults who suffer from mold allergies or lung diseases are the most vulnerable.

Originally published in the April 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

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