In 2001, Melinda Ballard of Dripping Springs, Texas, sued her insurance company in a dispute over the settlement amount in a mold mitigation case. The case gained national attention, inspiring thousands of homeowners to panic about the possible dangers associated with mold in their homes.
Seventeen years later, the national mold panic is subsiding. That said, some homeowners still worry about the health effects of mold in their homes. This article will address common mold worries.
Mold is a common term for certain species of fungus. When mold appears on fabric, many people call it mildew. (For all intents and purposes, “mold” and “mildew” are synonyms.) Since mold species are fungi, they are distinct from algae or bacteria.
It’s important to understand that mold is everywhere — indoors and out. Human beings evolved in a mold-filled world. Most people don’t get sick when they encounter mold.
With every breath you take, you are inhaling mold spores. In addition to mold spores, most homes have at least some visible mold. I started looking in my house, and I noticed small amounts of black mold near the bottoms of the window sash in a cold bedroom. Most of the firewood in my woodbox has mold stains on it. (When firewood is freshly cut, the cut ends are usually white. Over the next few days and weeks, the cut ends of the firewood may turn gray or black, especially if it gets rained on. That’s mold.)
And of course, my kitchen has lots of mold in it. Mold runs through every piece of blue cheese I buy, which is why it tastes so good. Even in a refrigerator, the mold in blue cheese continues to grow. Fuzzy cheese tastes delicious.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Molds are found in…