The World Health Organization reports that one in four people suffer from a mental health disorder. While trauma and chemical imbalance are often the cause of these diagnoses, science is starting to uncover another culprit—mold. In fact, this insidious fungus may be a leading underlying cause of mental health troubles in our country.
Cheryl Harding, a psychologist at the City University of New York, and her colleagues found that exposure to mold spores can cause cognitive deficits, worsened depression, and anxiety. The researchers exposed mice to mold spores three times per week. Three weeks into the study, the mice exhibited no physical symptoms. However, the subjects were prone to significant memory deficits and anxiety.
“Our basic hypothesis is that mold inhalation, like bacterial infection, activates an innate immune response triggering microglial activation with resultant behavioral dysfunction,” the researchers wrote. With up to 40% of US homes facing significant mold infestation, millions of Americans are at risk for potential mental health difficulties.
Symptoms of Mold Toxicity
Psychology Today calls toxic mold-based illness “a very prevalent and under-diagnosed condition.” The publication claims that as much as 25% of the population is vulnerable to this illness, which is also known as mold toxicity. This genetic predisposition in one and four people explains how a whole family can live in a mold-infested home, yet all may not experience mold toxicity.
People who suffer from toxic-mold based illnesses may endure depression, anxiety, lack of focus, and brain fog, with some reporting insomnia. These cognitive and psychiatric symptoms may be present with or without the physical symptoms of mold exposure which can include difficulty breathing, fatigue, and headache. As toxins from mold continue to build in the body through repeat exposure, these symptoms can worsen. Furthermore, the symptoms often remain long after the mold is gone.
How This Impacts Your Business
Some experts call mold “the next asbestos.” If you think about the many businesses involved in asbestos-related lawsuits in the late 20th century, it’s not a giant leap to figure out how damaging mold infestation could be for companies today. In fact, some businesses with inappropriate materials, techniques, and construction methods have already faced lawsuits for mold sickness. And as more research uncovers the effects of mold on the brain and body, you can expect the frequency of these lawsuits to increase. It's essential for business owners to protect their companies by implementing proper procedures to prevent mold occurrence.
How to Avoid Mold Toxicity
Mold is most commonly the result of water damage, humid environments, or both. Because mold toxicity symptoms can be serious and treatment often rigorous, it's important to take steps to avoid mold exposure in the first place. Since 1955, Polygon has pioneered innovative technology for drying and climate control. Our temporary climate solutions regulate humidity levels, manage temperatures, and filter air with continuous monitoring, protecting businesses and their employees from mold’s harmful effects. Learn more today.