Mold Exposure in Babies Identified As Key Risk Factor for Asthma
Mold exposure in babies has been identified as a key risk factor in developing asthma later in life. Results of an ongoing study of mold effects on humans revealed exposure to mold as a baby more than doubles the risk of developing asthma.
While the study doesn’t prove that mold exposure causes asthma, it does link exposure to mold in babies to respiratory problems including:coughing, wheezing and inflammation of the airways in the lungs. The study is part of the ongoing Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study.
Findings of the study suggest that mold exposure in babies under 12 months of age play a key role in children developing asthma. The risk of developing asthma is even greater if either parent has asthma.
The study visited the homes of infants in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky from 2001 to 2003. At least one of the parents had allergies to common airborne allergens. In all, the homes of 176 children underwent mold inspection at ages one and seven.
Half the homes had visible signs of mold and the other half had no signs of mold growth. Mold inspection was conducted by visually inspecting the homes and smelling for the telltale musty odor of mold. In addition samples of dust were taken from rooms the infants frequented the most and sent in for lab analysis for 36 different types of mold. The study said that it is the airborne mold that you don’t see that poses the greatest risk factor.
The study concluded that the children who were exposed to mold as babies were at much higher risk for asthma by the age of seven, although this doesn’t predict if a child will get asthma.
Eliminating Mold Exposure Is Important To Protect Your Child’s Health
Mold is present everywhere and there is some in all homes. But mold needs moisture to grow and reproduce. This is why damp environments are not healthy and can have mold problems.
The study suggests that if you are expecting or already have young children you should take steps to prevent mold growth in your home and protect your children from mold exposure.
Since mold needs moisture and humidity to grow any plumbing leaks or other sources of water intrusion such as leaky roofs should be corrected. Keeping the humidity level inside your home 50% or lower is also important to prevent mold from growing.
Not surprisingly, the children who developed asthma generally lived in homes without air conditioning. In this area, as well as many other parts of the country, humidity levels are high during the warmer months and the combination of warmth and moisture can cause rapid mold growth and increased . Air conditioning can lower humidity levels inside the home but if they are improperly maintained and cleaned they can actually make a mold problem worse.
You should look for signs of mold in your home but it is not always visible. Look for tea colored water stains on ceilings or walls as they can indicate a mold problem. Mold also has a characteristic musty or earthy smell and if you can smell it there is a 90% chance you have a mold problem somewhere in your house.
If you do find mold growing you need to correct the moisture problem and remove it. There is no good type of mold if it is growing in your home so there is no need to have it tested.
If you can’t find any visible signs of mold but can detect its odor you may want to hire a certified mold inspection company to find it. If they do find mold, unless the area is less than 10 square feet, you will want a mold removal company to deal with the problem. That is because there is danger of spreading the mold and also health risks in being exposed to concentrated amounts.
If you think your child may have been exposed to mold or they show symptoms of asthma you should get them in to see an allergist who can evaluate the risks, identify mold allergies and develop a treatment plan.
Mold doesn’t only make children sick it can impact the health of everyone in the family including pets. Please visit Black Mold Removal 101 where you can get more information about finding mold, preventing mold, mold removal and eliminating mold exposure.