There is no evidence linking indoor exposure to black mold or any other type of mold with cancer. Mold is associated with other health problems, though.
Mold can be found anywhere there’s moisture. Mold spores travel in the air, so spores can find their way inside homes and other buildings. Most of us breathe some in every day without any problems.
In high concentrations, or with long-term exposure, mold can aggravate allergies and asthma, and cause upper respiratory symptoms.
Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. People with certain pre-existing health conditions can have serious problems due to mold.
Continue reading for more information on black mold, other types of mold, and who’s at risk.
Stachybotrys chartarum, or Stachybotrys atra, commonly referred to as black mold, has a reputation as “toxic mold.” Black mold produces a toxic compound called satratoxin, which is a type of mycotoxin that may cause illness in some people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCTrusted Source), calling it “toxic mold” is not accurate. Black mold has the same potential health risks as other molds.
The CDC states that there have been rare reports that these molds can cause serious health conditions like memory loss or pulmonary hemorrhage. However, there’s no proven link between mold and such health problems.
Black mold is not linked to lung or other cancers.
Aspergillus fumigatus is not linked to cancer either. But it can cause serious health problems for some people.
Other common indoor molds
None are associated with cancer.
Damp, moldy environments don’t affect everyone the same way. Some people aren’t affected at all, but others are more sensitive to it. There’s no evidence that mold causes cancer.
HEALTH EFFECTS OF MOLD EXPOSURE
- stuffy nose
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- eye irritation
- skin irritation
If you’re allergic to mold, your symptoms may be more severe, such as lung irritation.
According to the CDCTrusted Source, in 2004, the Institute of Medicine found sufficient evidence linking indoor mold, and damp indoor environments in general, with:
- upper respiratory symptoms in healthy people
- asthma symptoms in people who have asthma
- hypersensitivity pneumonitis in susceptible people
Limited evidence suggests a link between exposure to mold and damp indoor environments and:
- respiratory illness in healthy children
- potential development of asthma in susceptible people
In 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) also reported a suggested link between early exposure to mold and development of asthma in children, especially those who are genetically susceptible to asthma.
A 2017 report found no scientific evidence that black mold exposure leads to:
- autoimmune disease
- inability to focus
- infant pulmonary hemorrhage
- memory loss
Aspergillus fumigatus can cause a serious reaction in some people, especially those with asthma or cystic fibrosis. This condition is called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. Symptoms may include:
- cough, possibly with blood or mucus
- worsening symptoms of asthma
- a cough, sometimes with blood
- shortness of breath
- weight loss
An even more severe reaction is called invasive aspergillosis. In this condition, infection spreads from the lungs to the brain, heart, kidneys, or skin. This is more likely to occur in people with a weakened immune system and can be life-threatening.
Who’s at risk?
These conditions may increase your risk of health problems due to mold:
- a chronic lung disease
- cancer treatment
- drugs that suppress the immune system
- organ or stem cell transplant