Effects of Mold on Children’s Health
Did you know that mold can affect your children’s health? Mold is very common, and can live in almost any indoor environment including: homes, schools, gymnasiums, office buildings, and more.
Mold causes serious indoor air quality problems and can make you and your children very sick. Health problems that can develop from mold contamination include: asthma, allergies, and even harmful effects on cognitive development.
How do you know if you have mold? Can your children be exposed to mold at school? How do you get rid of mold if it is a problem? Come learn more about the effects mold has on children’s health, and what you can do about it!
Did you know that mold plays a role in the development of childhood allergies? Allergies are known to develop over time.8 People cannot be allergic to something they have never encountered. Your body only recognizes substances (such as mold spores, dust, etc.) as a threat after encountering them many times.8 The process of becoming sensitive to and then allergic to a substance is called allergy sensitization.8
In a 2002 study, the risk of allergy sensitization in children was measured by measuring indoor mold exposure in the children’s homes.3 The study concluded that higher concentrations of mold in the home increased the risk of sensitization to both mold and other allergens including dust mites.3 Mold in your home can even contribute to the development of allergies to other allergy causing substances such as dust mite feces.
Remember that mold doesn’t just grow in homes, it can grow in schools as well. Two public schools in Connecticut were tested for mold and students evaluated for allergic rhinitis using a questionnaire.4 Both schools had high mold spores counts, and many of the students and teachers reported allergic symptoms.4 One of the schools was demolished.4 Two years later, the teachers and students from the demolished school still had higher levels of symptoms than they reported before attending the school.4 The authors of the study went on to suggest that all schools should be routinely tested for fungal contamination.4
Last August, WSB-TV Atlanta filed an open records request with Atlanta Public Schools for emails mentioning mold for the last 5 years.5 From that request, they learned that more than 30 schools in Atlanta had been having mold problems and been receiving complaints about poor indoor air quality.5 They quoted Dr. Lauren Middlebrooks of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as saying, “Naturally, children don’t have as strong of immune systems as adults, so they are more prone to get certain symptoms. People in general who have been exposed to mold over a long period of time can actually develop neurologic symptoms, such as anxiety, decrease in concentration, and also anxiety and mood instabilities.”5
Here in Athens Georgia, a study was published just last fall in the Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association describing how improving housing quality can reduce asthma rates.1 The results of the study show “mold in the home, more so than other factors, is strongly associated with asthma prevalence in Athens-Clarke County.”1 So if you and your children live in a home with mold, you are more likely to have or develop asthma.
In 2006, a group of doctors and scientists studied the effects of home remediation in homes that had children suffering with asthma.2 For the study, homes of patients with asthma were evaluated for water damage and mold.2 The homes of some patients were repaired by removing mold and moisture damage.2 Control homes were not repaired.2 In the homes that had moisture damage repaired and mold removed, parents reported significantly less daily asthma symptoms, and had fewer trips to urgent care facilities due to asthma.2 There was a significant change in these patient’s lives because the mold was removed from their homes!2
Effects of Mold on Cognitive Development in Children
There have been few scientific studies on the effects of mold on cognitive development in children. However, there have been many studies on adults. In adults, mold exposure has been associated with disordered brain function, changes in balance, slower blink reflexes, slower reaction times, color discrimination problems, and depression.7
A group from Poland studied the effects of mold on children’s IQ development from birth to six years old.6 IQ scores were used to determine intelligence level at 6 years old.6 Study participants were compared to children who lived in homes without mold.6 They found that children who lived in homes with mold, especially those who were exposed to mold for longer periods of time, had triple the risk of low IQ scoring.6 Even accounting for differences in maternal education level, students who had lived in homes with mold for longer periods of time had a much higher risk of lower IQ scores.6
As you can see, living in a home or working in a school with mold growth is detrimental for the health of both adults and children. Studies have shown that once buildings are repaired the health of the people begins to be restored. Without remediation, it is difficult to improve your health if you live or work in a building with mold.
Here at Branch Environmental, we believe that nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick! We want you and your children to live your best life in your best health!
So, what do you do about mold growth?
To learn more about cleaning or removing mold, see our posts titled: Branch’s Non-Toxic Spring Cleaning Guide, Disinfecting, Sterilizing, and Sanitizing is there a Difference?, and A Simple Guide To Cleaning Mold.
When To Clean. When To Call.
Indoor mold growth can be prevented by controlling moisture and controlling humidity indoors.
You may be able to clean surface mold on the walls, ceilings or floors of your home that are less than ten square feet by using gentle detergents, vinegar, and water. For more information about cleaning mold yourself go to: A Simple Guide to Cleaning Mold.
If you see areas larger than ten square feet, or there is a musty smell you can’t identify, it may be time to call a professional.
We’re Here When You Need Us.
Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal, but at determining and remediating the underlying causes. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants, we can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good. So you can get back to living your best life!
Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.
For more information go to:
Understanding Sensitization and True Allergy – Very Well Health, By Daniel More, MD
Mold’s Top 5 Hiding Places – Branch Environmental
How to Prevent Bathroom Mold– Branch Environmental
Asthma and Allergen Reduction through Mold Remediation – Branch Environmental
Branch’s Non-Toxic Spring Cleaning Guide – Branch Environmental
Disinfecting, Sterilizing, and Sanitizing is there a Difference? – Branch Environmental
- Harris, S. et. al. (2019). Improving Housing Quality to Reduce Asthma Rates and Healthcare Costs in Athens-Clarke County, GA. Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association: Vol. 7 : No. 2 , Article 1. https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/jgpha/vol7/iss2/1
- Kercsmar, CM, et al. (2006). Reduction in asthma morbidity in children as a result of home remediation aimed at moisture sources. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114:1574–1580. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17035145
- Jacob, B. et.al. (2002). Indoor Exposure to Molds and Allergic Sensitization. Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume 110, No.7, p647-653. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/pdf/10.1289/ehp.02110647
- Santilli, J. and Rockwell, W. (2003). Fungal contamination of elementary schools: a new environmental hazard. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Volume 90, Issue 2, Pages 203-208. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1081120610621424
- “Investigation reveals years of mold issues at 30+ Atlanta Public Schools.” Channel 2 Action News. WSBTV-Atlanta. August 9, 2019 – 9:23 AM. Television. By: Dave Huddleston.
- Jedrychowski, W., Maugeri, U., Perera, F., Stigter, L., Jankowski, J., Butscher, M., Mroz, E., Flak, E., Skarupa, A., & Sowa, A. (2011). Cognitive function of 6-year old children exposed to mold-contaminated homes in early postnatal period. Prospective birth cohort study in Poland. Physiology & behavior, 104(5), 989–995. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.06.019 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758954/
- Ratnaseelan, A. M. et. al. 2018. Effects of Mycotoxins on Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Immune Processes. Clinical Therapeutics V40, number 6, p903-917. https://www.clinicaltherapeutics.com/article/S0149-2918(18)30229-7/pdf
- Understanding Sensitization and True Allergy – Very Well Health, By Daniel More, MD
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