There are indoor mould species that are allergenic and there are mould species that can be extremely toxic. Some moulds cause allergic reactions including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitus, asthma, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, and fever. Certain moulds produce toxins (mycotoxins) as a by-product of living. These so called ‘toxigenic’ moulds can cause digestive problems, joint problems, lung damage, ocular disease, ear infections, and some species are considered carcinogenic. Mould spores that have become non-viable (dead) due to the fact that they have dried out or have been killed by bleach or a biocide retain their mycotoxins. Dead mould spores when inhaled can cause the same health issues and allergic reactions as living mould spores.
Children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible to these contaminants. Exposure to mould can occur through skin contact, inhalation or ingestion of mould spores and fragments.