Report Finds Mold Poses Only Modest Health Risks

(June 2, 2004) -- A long-awaited report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded that exposure to mold will result in only modest negative health effects. In 2002, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directed the NAS to conduct a comprehensive scientific literature review of the health effects of mold, identify research gaps, and make recommendations to address future public health policy in this area.

The NAS, in a report titled "Damp Indoor Spaces and Health," concluded that the current scientific literature on the health effects of mold exposure found sufficient evidence of an association between exposure to damp indoor environments (where mold is likely to grow) and respiratory health distress symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, and increased incidence of asthma in sensitized persons. Limited evidence was found for an association between damp indoor environments and more serious respiratory illness. Insufficient evidence was found to support a relationship between damp indoor environments and severe health outcomes, such as cancer, pulmonary disease, or death.

The report concluded that excessive indoor dampness, and subsequent exposure to mold, is a public health problem. However, additional research should be conducted in several areas, including mold exposure and serious health outcomes; the interaction of the wide variety of exposure factors in the indoor environment on human health; and the effectiveness of various remediation methods.


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