Molds are type of fungi and a common presence in homes and buildings. Mold can grow outdoors or indoors – pretty much anywhere there is moisture. Not all molds are dangerous, but there is significant evidence showing certain types of mold can adversely affect health of occupants.
In fact, the Institute of Medicine reported there was ample evidence to show exposure to indoor mold is linked to upper respiratory infections, coughs and wheezing in people who were otherwise healthy. In those who suffered from asthma, asthmatic symptoms increased when exposed to indoor mold. And people with compromised immune systems were more likely to fall very ill after coming in contact with mold. There is even some evidence to support the assertion that children exposed to mold at an early age may be more likely to develop asthma or other dangerous conditions.
At The Attorney Injury Group, we understand mold is not easy to properly eliminate, which is concerning considering the danger it poses to peoples’ health.
Some common causes of toxic mold include:
- High humidity
- Chronic dampness
- Water intrusion resulting from poor construction
- Lack of proper maintenance
In many cases, toxic mold develops as a result of negligence on the part of building contractors, building owner, landlord or maintenance companies. If spores aren’t correctly identified and removed right away, mold can grow out-of-control, resulting in even greater injury to occupants.
While there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of different kinds of molds (no one knows exactly), the type often discussed when referring to “toxic mold” is a species known formally as Stachybotrys chartarum. It also goes by the term “black mold” or “toxic black mold.”
It’s worth noting not all mold that is black or dark in color is Stachybotrys chartarum or even dangerous. Even black mold itself isn’t dangerous, but the mycotoxins it produces are. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by small fungi and they contain neurotoxins capable of causing disease and even death.
Often, those who are exposed to black mold will describe feeling irritation and burning in their air passages, including the nasal cavity, mouth and throat. When these spores become lodged in sinuses, mucus membranes and lungs, they can result in breathing problems and even bleeding in the lungs.
Some possible symptoms of black mold illness are:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Anxiety and depression
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing or wheezing
- Dizziness or numbness
- Personality changes
- Shaking or tremors
- Itchy or runny nose
- Stuffed nasal passages
- Nose bleeds
- Sore throat
- Bleeding gums
- Aches and pains
- Chest pain
- Burning sensation in the mouth or throat
- Pulmonary edema (swelling of the lungs)
Other problems involving the circulatory system, including irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, improper blood clotting and internal bleeding, have been reported as a result of exposure to black mold.
Not everyone will experience these symptoms or may not experience them with the same severity because everyone’s genetic makeup is different. However, children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are the most likely to be susceptible to illness.
Liability for Toxic Mold
Mold has been known to grow in all types of structures, including government buildings, corporate offices, schools, private homes and rental properties.
In addition to possible health complications resulting from exposure to mold, remediation can be extremely costly. Doing it right usually requires professionals with expertise in mold remediation.That does not negate the responsibility that employers, landlords, schools, companies and governments have to provide safe environments in which to live, work and shop.
Anyone who believes they may have been negatively affected by exposure to toxic mold should seek medical attention. They should also speak with an experienced toxic mold attorney. In many cases, persons responsible for upkeep and mitigation of such issues are aware of the problem and have simply chosen not to address it because it’s expensive. This is not an excuse for failing to address a serious health concern.
Those who knew or should have known about presence of toxic mold on their property and yet failed to take action or warn people may be liable for damages for medical expenses, lost wages and other costs that result. This could include long-term care and monitoring.
Contact the Attorney Injury Group today for a free and confidential consultation.