Mold is a type of eukaryotic micro-organism or a fungus. It is officially a decomposer, so its purpose in the world is to break down dead things, including dead plants and animals, so that they can degrade and absorb into the earth more quickly and efficiently.
Mold requires three things to grow: water, oxygen, and something on which they can feed. This feeding source can consist of anything comprised of a wood material. Many types of mold can also thrive within a wide temperature range of as low as forty degrees Fahrenheit to levels of extreme heat up to one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, mold commonly grows in the walls, flooring, and other dark moist areas of residential homes and buildings where its necessary conditions for survivial are readily fulfilled and it can feed on the wood construction materials of the structure.
While mold is generally considered to be an unpleasant substance that can add a musty smell to homes and buildings and detract from their physical appearance, trust-worthy facts regarding whether or not extended exposure to mold is actually harmful is inconclusive.
What the CDC Says
Reputable medical organizations, most notably the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) generally do not broadcast mold as a severe threat to human health and safety. It does not recommend any serious procedures in case of mold growth in homes or buildings and does not suggest any specific solutions to mold growth or emphasize the importance of getting rid of mold.
It states that mold growth is more likely to negatively affect the health of children rather than adults as well as individuals of all ages who already suffer from allergies, immune system disorders, or respiratory problems such as lung disease or cancer. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reccommends that individuals, families, and companies take their own initiative regarding whether to remove mold from their home or evacuate premises that have significant mold growth. However, it does suggest that individuals who notice illness or negative health symptoms due to mold growth in their homes consult with a physician in order to receive a personalized medical evaluation and advice from a reputable medical professional.
The CDC concludes that mold does not necessarily cause health problems for individuals who are continuously exposed to it. However, it does concede that extended mold exposure can cause mild, non life-threatening symptoms which include a stuffy nose, eye irritation, rashes or other skin irritation, and congestion. Also, certain people can have harsher reactions to mold exposure, such as fever and inability to breathe, which is why the CDC reccommends that these individuals actively seek medical attention if they experience any health symptoms caused by mold exposure that persist or become more severe over time.
What the DOD Says
In contrast to the statements of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Department of Defense officially classifies mold as an active biological weapon. The standards for a bioweapon include that the substance must be living and have a concentration of toxicity that allows it to potentially kill or incapacitate large groups of people.
The category of biological weapons also includes many dangerous and life-threatening diseases or viruses that can be used as global warfare because they can spread throughout large populations of individuals and kill or severely harm them.
The classification of mold by the US Department of Defense as a biological weapon is, of course, much more serious and therefore contradictory to the CDC’s description of the fungus as a minor threat that is primarily harmless. This might seem terrifying but the classification does not mean much in reality. The DOD only classifies mold as a hazardous biological weapon because that is the only category it naturally fits.
As confirmed by the CDC, mold does have the rare potential to cause severe health issues, especially to those who already have a weak immune system or some previous disease or disorder. Therefore, it is possible for mold to incapacitate or kill individuals, but it is not going to suddenly strike you and your family dead without warning.
Before experiencing death or severe illness, individuals who are particularly susceptible to the harsher effects of mold would be warned by many other minor symptoms before suffering any serious harm.
What is the Truth?
So what should you do about mold exposure in your own home or place of business? Quite simply, if you smell, see, or otherwise notice large amounts of mold growth in your home or workplace, it is best to get rid of it, or to alert someone who can in the case of your home or workplace. Mold exterminators are generally fairly inexpensive and can quickly come to your home to simultaneously extinguish the mold there and restore your peace of mind regarding your own health and safety as well as that of your family.
However, if you notice a ring of mold around your shower drain or minor spots of it in your attic or behind your refrigerator, there’s really no need to take any drastic measures to remove it.
If you or any members of your family begin to experience any negative health symptoms as a result of mold exposure, contact your physician and get checked out as you likely would do if you suffered from any negative health symptoms regardless of their source. Other than that, mold should not exist as a prominent worry on your mind. Despite its classification as a biological weapon, it’s very unlikely to cause you or your family any serious harm.