Truth About Mold



The research is clear.  Mold and indoor contaminants can cause serious health problems.

The following information provides some of the statistics.

From a March 25, 2014 press release by the World Health Organization (WHO)

7 Million Deaths Annually Linked to Air Pollution (Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution)

In new estimates released (on March 25, 2014), WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

From a 2009 World Health Organization report

WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality : Dampness and Mould

“Indoor air pollution – such as from dampness and mould, chemicals and other biological agents – is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. About 1.5 million deaths each year are associated with the indoor combustion of solid fuels, the majority of which occur among women and children in low-income countries.”

“The prevalence of indoor dampness varies widely within and among countries, continents and climate zones. It is estimated to affect 10–50% of indoor environments in Europe, North America, Australia, India and Japan. In certain settings, such as river valleys and coastal areas, the conditions of dampness are substantially more severe than the national averages for such conditions.”

From a 1989 report by The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Special Legislative Commission in Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor Air Pollution in Massachusetts

"Indoor air pollution is a growing problem in the United States and accounts for up to 50% of all illnesses."

"The indoor air we breathe often contains pollutants which may have health effects ranging from annoying to

"Biological contamination of indoor environments ranks third in NIOSH's list of indoor air health threats after poor ventilation and building fabric contaminants."

From a 2010 World Health Organization report

WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Selected Pollutants

"The 2005 global update of the air quality guidelines drew attention to the large impact on health of indoor air pollution in developing countries. The high concentration of particulates and gases found indoors in houses using solid fuel, including biomass, were noted and it was estimated that exposure might be responsible for nearly 1.6 million excess deaths annually and about 3% of the global Introduction burden of disease. This is a huge impact on health; indeed, far larger than that imposed by exposure to outdoor air pollutants."

From a 2011 World Health Organization report

Environmental Burden of Disease Associated with Inadequate Housing

"About 12% of new childhood asthma in Europe can be attributed to indoor mould exposure, which represents approximately 55 842 potentially avoidable DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years) and 83 potentially avoidable deaths per year."

"About 15% of new childhood asthma in Europe can be attributed to indoor dampness, which represents
approximately 69 462 potentially avoidable DALYs and 103 potentially avoidable deaths per year."

"Some 4.8 million (22%) of England’s 22 million dwellings were identified as having a Category 1 HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System) hazard and thus by our definition deemed to be ‘unhealthy housing’."

"The total cost of dealing with HHSRS Category 1 hazards in the English housing stock is some £17.6 billion."

"Another paper from the United States shows that remediation of lead paint hazards in housing yields a net benefit of $67 billion (Nevin et al., 2008)."

From a 2011 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. EPA

Benefits and Costs of Improved IEQ in U.S. Offices

"The estimated benefits of the scenarios analyzed are substantial in magnitude, including increased work performance, reduced Sick Building Syndrome symptoms, reduced absence, and improved thermal comfort for millions of office workers.  The combined potential annual economic benefit of a set of overlapping scenarios is approximately $20 billion."

From the Mold Resources page on the U.S. EPA website:

One third to one half of all structures have damp conditions that may encourage development of pollutants such as molds and bacteria, which can cause allergic reactions — including asthma — and spread infectious diseases.
Truth About Mold -- Statistics
From a report by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Biological Pollutants in Your Home

Most information about sources and health effects of biological pollutants is based on studies of large office buildings and two surveys of homes in northern U.S. and Canada. These surveys show that 30% to 50% of all structures have damp conditions which may encourage the growth and buildup of biological pollutants. This percentage is likely to be higher in warm, moist climates.

From a 1994 report on PROPOSED rules by OSHA (standards addressing indoor air quality in indoor work environments). On December 17, 2011, OSHA withdrew this proposal. 

Based on the information submitted to the docket, OSHA assumed that 30 percent of the buildings have indoor air quality problems.

Based on OSHA's percentage of problem buildings (30 percent), OSHA assumed that 30 percent of employees working indoors are exposed to poor indoor air quality. Therefore, the number of employees potentially affected is 21 million.

From a 2007 joint study conducted by the EPA and Berkeley National Laboratory

Berkeley Lab, EPA Studies Confirm Large Public Health and Economic Impact of Dampness and Mold

“Building dampness and mold raised the risk of a variety of respiratory and asthma-related health outcomes by 30 to 50 percent.”

“Of the 21.8 million people reported to have asthma in the U.S., approximately 4.6 million cases are estimated to be attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home.”

“The national annual cost of asthma that is attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home is $3.5 billion.”

From a 1999 study by the Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic Study Implicates Fungus as Cause of Chronis Sinusitis

“An estimated 37 million people in the United States suffer from chronic sinusitis, an inflammation of the membranes of the nose and sinus cavity.”

“Mayo Clinic researchers say they have found the cause of most chronic sinus infections -- an immune system response to fungus. They say this discovery opens the door to the first effective treatment for this problem, the most common chronic disease in the United States.”

From a 2007 study conducted in Finland

Finnish Study Links Child Asthma with Structural Dampness in Buildings

“At least one in ten, and possibly as many as one in five, cases of asthma among children are linked with water damage in the building.”

“It has been estimated that between 84 to 95 per cent of fungus spores and 27 to 46 per cent of fragments can end up in the lungs, and it is believed that the fragments can get into the lower respiratory tracts of small children more easily than that of others.”

From a January 27, 2010 article posted on Wire Service Canada

B.C. Company Fights Back Against Sick Building Syndrome

"In a survey of 100 U.S. office buildings, 23 percent of office workers experienced frequent symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) such as respiratory ailments, allergies and asthma. The impact has been usually hidden in sick days, lower productivity and medical cost, but the economic impact is enormous, with an estimated decrease in productivity around 2 percent nationwide, resulting in an annual cost to the United States of approximately $60 billion."

"William Fisk from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California established a baseline for quantifying benefits from improved IAQ and demonstrated the economic impacts of increased productivity. Findings are showing that improvement in IAQ can: Reduce SBS symptoms by 20 to 50 percent, with estimated savings of $10 to $100 billion; Reduce asthma by 8 to 25 percent, with estimated savings of $1 to $4 billion; Reduce other respiratory illnesses by 23 to 76 percent, with estimated savings of $6 to $14 billion; Improve office worker productivity by 0.5 to 5 percent, with estimated savings of $20 to $200 billion."

From a May 2011 study by Leonardo Trasande of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Yinghua Liu of National Children’s Study New York-Northern New Jersey Center

Environmental Illness in Children Costs $76.6 Billion Annually

Trasande and Liu focused on the cost of lead poisoning, childhood cancer and chronic conditions, including asthma, intellectual disability, autism and attention deficit disorders — conditions that are linked to environmental toxins and pollutants in the air, food, water, and soil, as well as in homes and neighborhoods. “Left unchecked, these preventable environmental factors will continue to harm the health of our children and push up health care costs,” Trasande said. “By updating environmental regulations and laws aimed at protecting the public’s health, we can reduce the toll taken by such factors on children’s health and the economy.”

From a November 2012 alert from NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health)

Preventing Occupational Respiratory Disease from Exposures Caused by Dampness in Office Buildings, Schools, and Other Nonindustrial Buildings

"NIOSH has estimated that 29% to 33% of new-onset adult asthma is attributable to work-related exposures and 23% of existing adult asthma is exacerbated by work. If occupants develop asthma or asthma exacerbation while working in damp buildings, medical treatment may not be effective if the occupant continues to be exposed. An occupant in damp buildings with allergic asthma may experience symptoms after exposure to very low levels of a sensitizing agent that may still be present after remediation; in such cases, an occupant may require relocation to another area."

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