Exposure to moldy and damp environments is likely to cause serious health effects especially when you get exposed for a long period of time. It is associated with a variety of health problems such as allergies, asthma, and depression. Chronic sinus infections are usually mistaken for common cold but the ugly truth is that most of them are caused by mold exposure. Allergic reactions to mold can happen throughout the year and are not seasonal.
Mold is often invisible and can grow inside schools, homes or workplaces. Although mold is associated with most types of allergies and infections, can it really cause cancer? CDC Reports show that mold can cause different diseases and illnesses such as cancer. This article takes a deeper look into the effects of mold and its link to cancer.
Types of Mold and Their Relation to Cancer
Some molds are known to be toxic and scientific research has discovered the negative health effects associated with these molds. Two popular types are the Aspergillus and the Stachybotrys.
Molds that fall in this category make aflatoxins, deadly components that can make you feel very sick and extreme exposure may lead to liver cancer. This type of mold gets into your body through ingestion rather than inhaling. Aspergillus grows on different types of food such as peanut, corn, and even coffee beans. Countries that test their foods for aflatoxins do not suffer from the effects of aspergillus, as it will be safe for the consumers. This type of mold may not be an issue at lower levels but becomes serious with long periods of exposure.
There is no adequate research establishing a definite link between this type of mold and serious illness. Most people tend to put a lot of blame on black mold without real proof but that does not mean it is not a concern. Stachybotrys requires a lot of moisture to grow and researchers are still trying to get a deeper understanding of its effects and link to cancer.
How are Molds Related to Cancer?
Long exposures to environments with mold or fungal spores can cause certain lung disorders because you will have inhaled the particles for an extended period. It can also cause pneumonitis, an inflammation caused by the body’s immune system attacking the lung cells. Once mold particles settle in your lungs, they release toxins that affect the nervous system, skin, and lungs with every second that goes without treatment.
Continuous human exposure could lead to more severe symptoms such as pulmonary injury, neurotoxicity, renal toxicities, immunologic disorders, and cardiac or gastrointestinal conditions. It is important to keep in mind that the clinical relevance of mycotoxins has not been established under realistic airborne levels of exposure. Furthermore, much of the supporting evidence is based on case studies rather than controlled studies. This means that the used research relies on symptoms that are subjective and have not yet been reproduced.
Should I Get My House Tested for Mold?
Mold is everywhere and no guidelines provide information about the safe levels for this toxic substance. If you happen to have mold, the best way is to get rid of it as it can make you sick over time. The best way to do this is to fix the problem that creates dampness in your surroundings. Seeking the help of a professional may be a wise choice if the affected area is bigger than 10 square feet.
This sometimes includes throwing out anything that can soak up water such as ceiling tiles or old carpets. Use general-purpose detergent and hot water to scrub off hard surfaces with a cleaning pad or a stiff brush. The main objective is to reduce the effects of mold as much as possible and as a result, you will have minimized the impact it can cause to your health.
Mold can cause a number of allergies such as asthma, sneezing, or coughing because your body reacts to the toxins released into your lungs. Extreme exposure may lead to lung cancer because more toxins will be deposited inside the lungs the more you stay in a moldy environment. As we mentioned before, research that has established a link between mold and cancer is only based on case studies. Therefore, it require performing several controlled studies to confirm the levels at which molds cause cancer. It is important to stay safe by taking precautions to prevent the health effects caused by mold.