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Mold and Your Health: Does Mold Cause Tuberculosis?

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| 2011 Mar 04 |
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Mold and Your Health: Does Mold Cause Tuberculosis?

Despite recent progress and advances in medicine, tuberculosis (TB) is still not a disease of the past. In Canada alone around 1 600 new cases of tuberculosis are reported each year.

On March 24 this year, the Ontario Lung Association stated that tuberculosis remains a serious public health concern in Ontario, with one-third of all cases in 2009 occurring primarily in the Greater Toronto Area.

With that in mind, learning more about tuberculosis causes and what you can do to prevent it is the key to keep you and your loved ones safe from this disease. In fact many things we do in our daily routine can be the cause behind the weak immune system and increase risk of tuberculosis. Living with mold is definitely one of those things

How are Mold exposure and tuberculosis related?

As we mentioned earlier, there are three types of mold:

  1. Allergenic
  2. Pathogenic
  3. Toxigenic

Each of these types can have a different impact on your health, from a simple skin rash to breathing issues and even cancer. Which symptoms you will experience (if any) depends mainly on your immune system. But, even the strongest immune systems can weaken with time if it is continuously expose to mold. Especially to Pathogenic and Toxigenic types of mold.

Tuberculosis is one of the possible mold effect you can experience and we can blame the toxic type of mold for that. Toxic mold spores often produce mycotoxins that threaten your health and make you vulnerable to diseases, like the above mentioned tuberculosis.

At Mold Busters, we often get asked whether mold can cause tuberculosis, given that it has such a profound effect on the respiratory system.

The answer?

No… at least not directly.

Although mold itself cannot cause tuberculosis, it does weaken people’s immune systems, making them more vulnerable to infections. Once your immune systems stops working full-time, you shouldn’t worry about tuberculosis only, but many other infections, mold related or not.

People who spend a substantial amount of time in areas with poor air quality are at greater risk of mold exposure and are, therefore, more susceptible to allergic, bacterial and viral infections due to weakened immune systems.

Statistics show that people in isolated or minority communities (i.e. the homeless, aboriginal people and immigrants) face higher rates of infection, likely due to poor living conditions that cause prolonged exposure to mold and poor air quality.

How does Mold impact our health?

As mentioned above, some types of mold (the toxic type, to be precise) produce mycotoxins – nasty little spores that cannot be seen without a special equipment. For example, one often found toxic type of mold is the infamous black mold.

In most cases, mold spores will weaken your immune system enough that you become vulnerable to many diseases. How much of a harmful effect mold will have on your health will mainly depend on the time spend in mold presence. The longer you live inside a moldy house and breathe in mold spores, the greater the risk for you and, of course, your loved ones.

Ensuring that your home stays mold free is one of the best ways to prevent diseases and infections such as tuberculosis.

Mold prevention is the key to a healthy environment

The saying goes “better safe than sorry” for a reason. Many things, including mold, can be prevented from making a harmful impact on your health by following a few simple steps. Most of them can be done on a daily basis, without interrupting any other daily habits.

First of all, fresh air is your weapon in the fight against mold. It will lower the humidity level (one of the main mold causes) and dry wet surfaces such as walls, windows, curtains, etc. Try to keep your windows open as often as possible, especially in rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom. In case there are no windows, or if it’s too cold outside, your next best weapon are air vents, and even dehumidifiers if the humidity level is extremely high.

Secondly, you have to ensure your house is clean, because dust, spoiled food, and any similar dirt are mold’s favorite food. Of course, it doesn’t mean you should be obsessed with cleaning, but things like washing the dishes every day, cleaning the excess water after the shower and vacuuming at least once a week will do the job.

And last but not least, if mold is already present in your home, there is little you can do on your own. In that case it is best to call professionals to test and confirm the mold type after which they will give you information about the remediation process and future prevention.

If you’d like to get in touch with a professional mold inspector in the Greater Toronto Area, contact Mold Busters. We provide all-inclusive mold testing, inspection and removal services in the GTA at affordable prices.