Show Details

Household Mold

July 16, 2008

A listener asks: is household mold really a health threat?


The dirt on mold….I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

This storm season has resulted in a lot of moldy basements. So listener Peggy of Mobile, Alabama wrote to ask if household mold really poses a health risk. We turned to Mike McGinnis, a medical mycologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. He says some types of mold do produce toxins and allergic reactions, like rashes and runny noses. But he stresses that illnesses due to mold primarily affect people with compromised immune systems.

MIKE MCGINNIS (University of Texas Medical Branch):
In most instances there is probably no real problem. When there are symptoms which are thought to be associated with mold, it’s probably very wise to go ahead and leave the house for a period of time and see whether the symptoms disappear or not.

I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.