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Slinde Nelson

Mold: It’s Not Just a Musty Smell

Common throughout the natural world, mold spores generally pose little risk to people. It’s when these spores mix with water in closed environments such as basements or other indoor spaces that they begin to cause health issues or property damage.

Mold spores enter homes, businesses and other buildings in a number of ways, including through open doors and windows; by attaching to persons, pets, clothing and other objects; and through air-conditioning and ventilation systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for the most part, even those mold spores that do make their way indoors do not cause health issues for humans.

When Mold Can Cause Issues

When mold is introduced to water or moisture (a food source) it can pose a health risk. Even when mixed with water, the mold itself is not the hazard, but rather the mycotoxins produced — called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs — as a byproduct of metabolism.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, reports that people exposed to indoor mold may experience allergy symptoms similar to those of hay fever, asthmatic reactions and infections. Symptoms caused by indoor mold exposure can include:

  • Fever
  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing

However, the presence of mold may be more than a health risk; it could represent issues or defects with your home or building.

Damage Beyond Mold?

Because mold spores require water or moisture to grow and metabolize, their presence means water is somehow entering the house or building. Water can get into a home or building through a variety of ways, including leaky pipes, poor yard grading or landscaping, or a roof or wall leak. Especially in new construction these issues can point to a design defect, shoddy build job, substandard building products or other issues, possibly giving rise to a construction defect claim.

If you discover a mold problem that is causing health issues for you or a family member, speak to an attorney with experienced handling construction defect claims.