It is expounded by OSHA guidelines that mold contamination in various types of building infrastrature contribute and compound poor indoor air quality; this includes contributing towards the notion of ‘building-related illness’. The main concerns surrounding microbial contamination, include irritation, pulmonary issues, cardiovascular concerns, nervous system concerns and various carcinogenic effects.
According to OSHA, various irritation effects, especially due to VOCs released by mold via mold sporulation (reproduction) have been displayed and documented in various case studies conducted on workers. Furthermore, sodden materials caused by water leaks are known to harbor and proliferate microorganisms which can compromise the air quality. This is noted by the musty odor often describe by those experiencing mold contamination in a property, which is the result of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) being produced during microbial growth.
According to OSHA, cancer is another concern due to the toxigenic fungi present, and mycotoxins produced by mold during metabolism. In reference to these concerns, it was noted by the American Conference of Governmental and Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) that,
"[t]he toxigenic fungi are common contaminants of stored grain and other food products and have caused well-described outbreaks of acute systemic toxicosis as well as specific organ carcinogenesis when such food is consumed. It appears clear that massive contamination with a highly toxigenic fungus strain of a site in which aerial dispersion of metabolic products occurred would be necessary to induce acute symptoms. However, considering the carcinogenicity of many fungal toxins, an examination of the risks of chronic inhalation exposure appears justified".
Disclaimer: Mold Mitigation Professionals do not represent OSHA, or ACGIH, or have any affiliation with either body.
The author of our microbial blog is Fareed Nazaryfar. He holds a Master's degree in Environmental and Petroleum Geochemistry from Newcastle University (United Kingdom). He is also a Certified Mold Inspector, as well as an Environmental Manager-holding an ISO 14001 certification in Environmental Management.
MOLD HEALTH EFFECTS BLOG AND RESEARCH