Photograph of a mold culture dish with several genera/species collected in a home. Mold Related Illness: Index of Symptoms & Complaints
My House is Making Me Sick?

  • MOLD RELATED ILLNESS SYMPTOMS - CONTENTS: List of mold related illnesses, symptoms & complaints associated with exposure to mold in buildings. Types of mold reactions & list of Health complaints in moldy homes. Home health complaints related to moisture or dampness. Allergens & allergy illnesses in the home, types, causes, prevention. Health complaints by people sending mold samples to our laboratory. Photos of several Different-Appearing Mold-related Skin Rashes on People Not Suffering from Tinea
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about possible symptoms of mold related illness & health complaints

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

This Mold Related Illness Guide provides a broad index of reports of health complaints or symptoms, of Illnesses that are either caused, or aggravated by indoor mold exposure or alternatively, that were believed or suspected by individuals to have a role in their physical or mental health complaints.

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Broad classes of reactions to allergenic, pathogenic, or toxic mold, allergens, and other indoor gases or particles

Mold skin rash found on exposure to high levels of Stachybotrys chartarum (C) D FriedmanFour Categories of Mold-Related Illnesses, Symptoms, or Complaints

In understanding how exposure to mold might cause or contribute to illnesses it is useful to distinguish among the meanings of the words allergenic, pathogenic, and toxic effects that exposure to something might explain.

  • Allergenic - causing allergic Reactions - rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, skin problems, other. Quite a few of our clients reported non-Tinea (ringworm) skin rashes on exposure to high levels of mechanically disturbed molds, almost always during an amateur mold clean-up job, often apparently associated with Stachybotrys chartarum, and most immediately contacted on exposed (sometimes sweaty or moist) skin areas (neck, face, head, hands, arms) that were not protected during their mold cleanup project. More examples of skin rashes that correlated in time of occurrence with significant indoor mold exposure are shown in this article at Dermatitis, Skin Rashes, and FAQs.
  • Pathogenic - Produces Infections, caused by pathogens such as bacteria or viruses
  • Mold Smell Illnesses - headaches, vomiting, nausea, blocked noses, and asthmatic [MVOC's--DF]
  • Toxic Illnesses - where mold is involved, may be produced by mycotoxins that are produced by some, not all, mold species. Note that even for a "toxic" mold species, the actual level of toxicity can vary significantlty depending on growing conditions such as the growth substrate (what the mold is feeding-on), humidity, moisture, and other factors.
    • Respiratory Illnesses -
    • Digestive Tract Illnesses - liver diseases: fibrosis and necrosis; vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal bleeding
    • Reproductive Illnesses - infertility, variations in reproductive and hormonal cycle
    • Highly Serious Illnesses - Cancer, Tuberculosi, Lupus, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Chronic Fatigue Disorder (CFS), Fibromyalgi, Epstein-Barr, aspergillosis

This list of mold related illness symptoms and complaints is arranged alphabetically and begins just below. This list is a combination specific, diagnosed medical illnesses and other anecdotally reported complaints associated with mold in buildings. Research to establish a firm chain of causation between mold and other indoor particles (or other substances) and these complaints in many cases has not been completed.

We capitalize names of known medical conditions. While the following list may be of assistance to some readers researching this topic, it should by no means be considered as scientifically authoritative nor complete.

Some complaints are listed here without any solid medical evidence regarding causation, if the complaints have been expressed to us by people investigating mold-related illness or building mold contamination. Such data should be considered for research purposes and not medically authoritative.

Readers should see MOLD DOCTORS - ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE. Also see MOLD RELATED ILLNESS and Mold spores in the Home - a Photo ID Library for detection and identification of mold allergens on indoor building surfaces and for an atlas of building molds and for more microphotographs of building mold samples observed in our laboratory, see MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX. Readers may also see MOLD EXPOSURE STANDARDS.

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Alphabetic List of Mold Related Illnesses and Health Complaints, both Medical and Anecdotal - alphabetical

severe mold contamination indoors (C) Daniel FriedmanWe are interested in adding to this list as well as providing succinct symptom lists associated with medically-diagnosed mold related illnesses. Suggestions and criticism are invited.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - QR - S - T - U - V - WXYZ

Warning: this MOLD RELATED ILLNESS SYMPTOMS list is a complaint list, not a medical document. It has not been peer-reviewed by the medical profession, and this list is not in any medical sense authoritative, nor can it be complete.

This mold-illness-symptoms & complaints list does, however, collect both substantiated mold-related-illness complaints and a wide sampling of the nature and range of other complaints from people who believe or fear that mold or similar exposure has been a factor in their physical or mental health, a general reference for individuals or physicians interested in reading the nature and range of these complaints that may or may not actually be building or environment-related.

Directories of 6 atlases or indices of building mold

Can Mold Make You Sick? We live in a sea of mold, and other stuff in the air we breathe, on cushions we sit on, clothes we wear, pools we swim-in, and so on. Most mold is not hurting anyone, and some of it makes us well when we're sick(Penicillium notatum, for example). Fear of mold (mycophobia) is unjustified and in our opinion, more a result of media hype, enviro-scare, and gouging consumers.

A healthy person walking through a room of moldy air is not likely to die. On the other hand, there is a wealth of less rigorous empirical data matching occupant complaints with indoor mold and allergens. Finally, for certain people, mold can be a serious problem if it's at high levels indoors. It's probably an overstatement by those authorities who assert that "... there are no proven links between mold and illness." we refer readers to some of our lab's references for descriptions of illness-related molds, some of which are found in buildings:

Alphabetic Index to Common Mold-related Illness Symptoms & Complaints


  • Abdominal pain
  • abnormal pap smears
  • acid reflux
  • acne
  • Allergy symptoms (wide variety of), mild to severe and from transitory to chronic - Ref: Middleton and assoc.
  • Allergic bronchiopulmonary Aspergillosis - worsening of underlying asthma or cystic fibrosis,
    coughing up blood, weight loss - uncommon
  • Allergic Rhinitis and asthma are associated with responses mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE)
    • "Damp house linked to kids' risk of nasal allergies", New York Times, 1 Aug 2010
  • Altered immunity
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Apnea, sleep
  • Aspergilloma (fungal growth in lung), cough, coughing up blood, weight loss. Uncommon.
  • Asthma and asthmatic signs
  • asthma, adult onset
  • asthma, sudden onset, any age
  • asthma, increased symptoms or renewal of previously diminished symptoms
  • Asthma due to fungal allergens: chest tightness, wheezing, cough, dyspnea. Worsens w/ exposure. Cx typically occur within 1 hr of exposure


  • balance, loss of
  • bladder and kidney pain
  • bleeding lungs
  • blood pressure irregularities
  • body aches and muscle pains
  • boils on skin, especially neck, especially following disturbance of moldy materials (S. chartarum) (photos on file)
    breathing difficulties
  • Bronchopulmonary aspergillosis / allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis: inflammatory disease caused by immunologic response Aspergillus sp., usually A. fumigatus, growing in bronchi of asthmatics reported in immunocompromised patients and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has been linked to building-related illness (BRI)
  • bruising easily
  • burning mouth
  • burning eyes
  • burning throat
  • burning lungs


  • Cancer
  • Candida, systemic
  • Chronic Candidiasis FAQ - see Dr. Fungus:
  • central nervous system disorders (CNS)
  • chest pain associated with excessive coughing
  • chills
  • choking
  • cholesterol or triglycerides unusual variations
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • chronic sinus infections
  • coated tongue
  • coccidioidomycosis
  • colds, recurrent
  • constipation
  • Cough, dry hacking
  • coughing up blood
  • Cryptococcosis


Skin rash on mold exposure (C) D Friedman
  • dandruff resistant to usual treatments
  • dark urine
  • death in extreme cases (humans, other animals)
  • Depression

  • Dermatitis: red, itchy skin, skin rashes. The mold-related skin rashes shown at the top of this page, at left, and below in at Skin Rashes and our FAQs section illustrate patterns of skin rash suffered by some of our clients that appeared to be mold-related, usually following extensive mold-exposure or exposure of someone who was highly allergic to molds.

  • diarrhea
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • dirt-like taste in mouth
  • Disorientation: several clients have reported disorientation, memory loss, language difficulties, and mood disorders that appeared to correlate with exposure to certain molds or MVOCs in their indoor environment.
  • Dizziness


  • endometriosis
  • Eye infections, (beware of undiagnosed fungal eye infections), loss of vision
  • eye irritation


  • face flushing intermittent
  • facial movements, unexplained twitching
  • farmers' lung disease
  • fevers
  • fibrous discharge from the nose, nasal fibers, mucosa - (See Morgellon's syndrome or Morgellon's disease below)
  • Fibromyalgia - numerous websites and articles discuss possible connections between mold exposure and
    Fibromyalgia - including these:
    jessica.pdf#search=%22Fibromyalgia%20mold%20%22 - Swarthmore study - free clinical search
    we have also corresponded with people who report suffering from Fibromyalgia and significant mold exposures, though the identification of genera/species and level of exposure were lacking.
  • Flu-like symptoms:
    : flu-like symptoms can be a sign of potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning! Immediate help may be required.
  • Food allergies
  • frequent bloody noses
  • frequent infections
  • Fungal infections, systemic such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, and cryptococcosis, responding to contaminated bird droppings or construction dusts


  • Glucan sensitivity: Glucans are glucose polymers that are components of most fungal cell walls, and exposure
    to airborne 13-beta-D-glucan has been known to cause irritation symptoms due to airway
    inflammation (7). However, these irritant effects are transient and self-limiting


  • hair loss
  • headaches
  • heart attack
  • Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis - (Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis) - tightness of chest,
    difficulty breathing, cough, fever, muscle aches, reactions occur 6-8 hrs after exposure. - Uncommon.
  • hemorrhagic pneumonitis
  • Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis - (Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis) -
  • heartburn
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Hives
  • hypersensitivity to airborne allergens or house dust
  • hypersensitivity to mold
  • hypersensitivity pneumonitis, associated with T-cell responses and responses mediated by
    immunoglobulin G (IgG). hypersensitivity pneumonitis is characterized by recurrent symptoms of
    fever, cough, and chest tightness and the presence of pulmonary infiltrates on a chest radiograph.
    Chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis features progressive dyspnea, fatigue, interstitial pneumonitis, and
    pulmonary fibrosis (Farmer's lung)


  • Immune system deterioration, decreased resistance
  • indigestion
  • infertility
  • Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis - pneumonia, fever, bone pain, chills - occurs in immunocompromised patients - uncommon
  • irritation: aggravated existing allergic rhinitis or asthma
  • irritability
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • itching skin, eye, nose, mouth
    For skin-related itch and fiber complaints see your doctor. In addition to consulting your doctor who may in turn decide to refer you to a dermatologist, you might also benefit from reviewing the ITCHING & SCRATCHING RESEARCH found in our article concerning MORGELLONS SYNDROME. Also see itching related to FIBERGLASS HAZARDS.


  • judgment, loss of ability to think clearly and make decisions


  • kidney pain and failure


  • learning difficulties
  • leaky gut syndrome
  • liver pain
  • long lasting flu-like symptoms


  • Memory loss
  • Menopause, unanticipated onset
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Migraine headaches
  • Mood swings, sudden

  • Morgellon's syndrome or Morgellon's disease: symptoms including fibers in
    nasal secretions
    fibers in skin and scalp particles or scrapings -
    skin lesions.
    According to the Mayo Clinic Staff,
    Morgellons disease is a mysterious skin disorder characterized by disfiguring sores and crawling sensations on and under the skin. Although Morgellons disease isn't widely recognized as a medical diagnosis, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating reports of the condition, which they refer to as unexplained dermopathy. ... Morgellons disease shares characteristics with various recognized conditions, including Lyme disease, liver or kidney disease, schizophrenia, drug or alcohol abuse, and a mental illness involving false beliefs about infestation by parasites (delusional parasitosis -
    Mayo Clinic

    Please see our separate article: MORGELLONS SYNDROME
    Note: OPINION-DF: various indoor environmental contaminants may in some cases be associated with skin irritation complaints, including exposure of insulation workers to high levels of contact with fiberglass insulation. In our experience skin irritation from fiberglass insulation generally diminishes rapidly and stops within 24-48 hours of bathing and thorough washing of dusty clothing. (FIBERGLASS HAZARDS)


  • Mucous accumulation on back of the throat
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)
  • Mycosis - various mycoses ascribed to mold exposure including
    • Aspergillosis
    • Blastomycosis
    • Candidiasis
    • Coccidioidomycosis
    • Cryptococcosis
    • Histoplasmosis
    • Paracoccidiomycosis
    • Sporotrichosis
    • Zygomycosis
    • also see Trichothecene poisoning (below)
  • Mycotoxicosis - Mycotoxins, which typically are cytotoxic, disrupt cell membranes and interfere with the synthesis of protein, RNA, and DNA The only well-documented human mycotoxicoses have been the result of ingestion rather than inhalation
  • also see Trichothecene poisoning (below)


  • Nasal discharge, green slime, fungus, mucous, other (See Morgellon's syndrome or Morgellon's disease above)
    neck boils or round rash spots (see online photos)
  • night sweats and hot flashes
  • nose irritation
  • nosebleeds
  • numbness in face and limb


  • odors, increased sensitivity to (See ODOR DIAGNOSIS CHECKLIST, PROCEDURE)
  • Pungent odors may initiate avoidance reactions, a generalized feeling of discomfort, breath holding, and a burning sensation on the skin
  • Open skin sores and lacerations
  • open sores on head
  • organic dust toxic syndrome


  • Peripheral nervous system effects
  • personality changes
  • pets, sudden odd behavior, aggressiveness, disorientation, running in circles,
    stumbling, falling, respiratory disorder, sudden death, incl8uding death of pets due to pulmonary hemorraging [area of ongoing research by DJF - web author] See: circling disease in sheep. See "The Toxic Effects of Mycotoxins on Humans, Sheep, & Possibly on Pets" discussed at MOLD EXPOSURE STANDARDS
  • Pets, Cryptococcosis of Cats; pet fatalities including pulmonary hemorrhaging, aberrant pet behavior similar to circling disease in sheep
  • poor appetite
  • puffy or droopy eyes

  • Pulmonary hemorrhaging:
    Comments & OPINION on certain health risks associated with Stachybotrys chartarum - a specific "black mold"
    Stachybotrys chartarum (S. atra) is a large sticky spore not easily made airborne. Stachybotrys mycotoxin was thought to cause acute pulmonary hemorrhage and death in infants, but the CDC has stated that the association has not been proved).

    About 10 ng of mycotoxins are produced for every 1 million mold spores [Probably widely variable from zero to high numbers based on environmental variables as well as species variation--DF].

    Assuming the mold exposure effect is cumulative, inhalation of 109 spores per hour would be required for toxic effects. This is a very low level and easily obtained in circumstances where occupants are exposed to moldy building materials during demolition or cleaning. We investigated a report of death of a large dog who breathed high levels of Stachybotrys-chartarum-contaminated air during a demoltion project. The dog's owner informed us that the dog's veternarian reported that the animal died of acute pulmonary hemorrhage. [4] However the most common effect of high levels of exposure to this black mold among our clients has been the onset of a skin rash. We also have fielded reports of neurological effects of exposure to mycotoxins including where this fungus was present.

    Therefore, [in the opinion of some experts--DF] it is unlikely that inhalation of fungal parts presumed to contain mycotoxins could produce significant human illness--particularly in a nonagricultural setting.


  • Rashes - see Dermatitis (above) & Skin Rashes (below) and at FAQs at the end of this article.
  • redness of eyes
  • respiratory distress
  • Rhinitis
  • Ringing in ears
  • Runny nose


Skin rash associated with mold sensitivity (C) D Friedman

  • Seizures [Obseved also in animals/pets - DF]
  • smells, increased sensitivity to
  • spleen pain
  • shortness of breath (see Asthma, COPD, respiratory disorders)
  • sinus congestion
  • Sinusitis, cronic
  • Skin rashes or irritation (example of a mold-complaint-related skin rash is shown at left) - also see Dermatitis above and our FAQs below for more photographs of skin rashes reported by clients who associated the rash onset with mold exposure.
  • skin redness
  • sleep disorders (see Sleep Apathy Q&A at POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs)
  • slurred speech or verbal dysfunction (trouble in speaking)
  • sneezing fits
  • spitting up or vomiting mucous
  • swollen glands
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • Syndromes, mold-related
    • Chromoblastomycosis
    • Eye Infections
    • Lobomycosis
    • Mycetoma
    • Nail, Hair, and Skin disease
    • Onychomycosis (Tinea unguium)
    • Piedra
    • Pityriasis versicolor
    • Tinea barbae
    • Tinea capitis
    • Tinea corporis
    • Tinea cruris
    • Tinea favosa
    • Tinea nigra
    • Tinea pedi
  • Otomycosis
  • Phaeohyphomycosis
  • Rhinosporidiosis
  • Systemic candida infection


  • Throat irritation
  • Tightness in the chest (this can be a common symptom of many complaints including mold-triggered asthma attacks)
  • Tinea: most common fungal disease is this superficial mycosis, not linked to IAQ/building-related illness
  • Tremors (shaking)
  • Trichothecene poisoning (Alternate names: Mycotoxins, T2, Yellow rain) - possibly related to mycotoxin exposure from some molds.
    The US CDC offers lab criteria for diagnosis of Trichothecend poisoning including:
    • Biologic: Selected commercial laboratories are offering immunoassays to identify trichothecenes or trichothecene-specific antibodies in human blood or urine (2, 3). However, these procedures have not been analytically validated and are not recommended.
    • Environmental: Detection of trichothecene mycotoxins in environmental samples, as determined by FDA.
    • References for poisoning by mycotoxins, T2, Yellow Rain, or Trichothecenes:
      Clinical Guide to Bioweapons and Chemical Agents, Vincent E. Friedewald, Springer, London, ISBN 978-1-84628-787-9 (online),
      Trichothecene poisoning is discussed in depth at the US CDC website where the following references are also provided:
    • Wannemacher RW Jr, Wiener SL. Trichothecene mycotoxins. In: Zajtchuk R, Bellamy RF, eds. Textbook of military medicine: medical aspects of chemical and biologic warfare. Washington, DC: Office of the Surgeon General at TMM Publications, Borden Institute, Walter Reed Army Medical Center; 1997:655-77.
    • Croft WA, Jastromski BM, Croft AL, Peters HA. Clinical confirmation of trichothecene mycotoxicosis in patient urine. J Environ Biol 2002;23:301-20.
    • Vojdani A, Thrasher HD, Madison RA, Gray MR, Heuser G, Campbell AW. Antibodies to molds and satratoxin in individuals exposed in water-damaged buildings. Arch Environ Health. 2003;58:421-32.
    • Tuomi T, Reijula K, Johnsson T, et al. Mycotoxins in crude building materials from water-damaged buildings. Appl Environ Microbiol 2000;66:1899-904.
    • US CDC: "Case Definition: Trichothecene Mycotoxin", 3/30/09 discusses the possibility of making weapons from Trichothecene mycotoxins.


  • unexplained fevers
  • Upper respiratory symptoms (eg, nasal congestion, sinus headache, episodic dyspnea)
  • urinary tract infection (UTI)


  • Vaginal yeast infections - wee Women' health problems (below)
  • vertigo or dizziness
  • VOC sensitivity:
    • volatile organic chemicals may reach levels sufficient to produce central nervous system symptoms such as headache, inability to concentrate, or dizziness
  • vomiting (nausea)


  • Weakness, loss of strength
  • wheezing breath
  • women's health problems, nonspecific
    • yeast infections, vaginal, (other?) symptoms: Vaginal. Recurrent episodes of Candida vaginitis associated with the classic symptoms of pruritus, burning and abnormal discharge.
    • Gastrointestinal. Heartburn, bloating, diarrhea or constipation.
    • Respiratory allergy. Rhinitis, sneezing and/or wheezing.
    • Central nervous system. Anxiety, depression, memory deficits and/or loss of ability to
    • Menstrual abnormalities. Severe premenstrual tension and/or menstrual irregularities.
      Other Systemic Symptoms.
    • Fatigue, headache and/or irritability.


Continue reading at MOLD CLEANUP GUIDE- HOW TO GET RID OF MOLD or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about symptoms & complaints people voice after exposure to indoor mold, allergens, MVOCs, & possibly mycotoxins

Question: My house is killing me and I have many of the symptoms listed in the article above - how do we prove that we need to move out?

I don't know if anyone will read this or be able to help me, but this is a cry for help!
I am dying from many of these symptoms listed above, most of which are caused by the moldy state of our house. My young kids are very sick constantly, and one has asthma and was born very sick. I kNOW there is mold in this house- we see it all over. Our basement floods every time it rains.

Why don't we just move you may ask? Well, I have tried...
We rent this house from my husband's parents. Not only does he feel "obligated" to stay here despite the conditions, but I feel that he does not understand how serious this is. Plus, he is very financially driven, and we pay very little to stay here :(

PLEASE please please, could someone help me convince my husband that we need to move out of this moldy hell? He won't listen to me or my mom (who is a real estate person). He sees us sick every day, but he doesn't understand that we could all be better if we were out of this toxic mold.
I'm only 26 and already I have lost my health completely due to this mold.... My kids and I (and even my husband, though his immune system is a lot better and he has much milder symptoms) have so many classic symptoms of toxic mold poisoning. And, whenever we spend time (weeks) in another place, we all "magically" get better!

Thank you for ANY help you can give.
You can email my husband at ash3ra (at) yahoo (dot) com
His name is Mike.... Thank you!! - Emily 5/3/11


If your home is causing or contributing to illness among family members, you should consult your doctor, asking if s/he agrees that your complaints could be caused or aggravated by something in your environment. If the answer is yes, then see the MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ?.

A combination of a medical expert's advice and a building environment expert's findings will make clear whether or not a problem in the home needs to be addressed. In my OPINION, even if you decided to move, it would be a travesty to leave a problem that could hurt the next occupants and could catch them by surprise.

Additional reader comments about Mold Related Illness Complaints from the U.S., Norway, & other locations

You need to tell him, that you will take your kids and move, even if to your mom...i have suffered and still do because i stayed 6 months in a moldy place! its insanely dangerous to your health!!! pack your bags and move out, and leave your stupid husband to leave alone in the house.

I felt sick myself the last 3months...i feel soooo weak,so sleepy and head ache and has fatigue syntoms..i just felt my health is failing...then yesterday i desided to move the bed i was sleeping for 4months and discover black molds around the corner of our bed....Now its cleaned up.I wonder if its is the reason for us feeling heavy in our body and sick most of the time..We are breathing in toxic air....we used to close our windows becouse its very cold here in Norway where we live...Now its summer..i must air the room..hoping we will feel much better. - Pridelin 6/7/11

i feel like my house is slowly killing me and my family. In the four years weve lived here, I have seen a greater frequency in illnesses in everyone. the intensity of preexisting conditions in each of us( dust allergies, ear, nose throat stuff, etc..)has risen to the point that its grossing us all out, because we know why were sicker than before. an inspector will have no problem determining the severity of it all ..this splendid old scandinavian home we love is just one hellish discovery after another.. we rennovate.. we try. it makes me so sad. sometimes the kids will just walk outside and say.."mom i feel so much better when im breathing outside air.." and i feel the same way. SO, we play outside... a lot. (its a good idea anyway.) :) - greenpeas 7/18/11


Take a look at the article MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ? for help in deciding when it's apparently cost-justified to bring in an expert to help inspect and test a building for mold or other indoor environmental illness contributors or causes. Also be sure to get advice from your doctor on what sorts of environmental contaminants might be most likely to cause or aggravate the complaints you cite, so that focus starts with looking for those items.

I agree that even without hard science, if you feel better out of a building, something therein is suspect - environmental or on occasion stress.

Question: Does Mold Cause Cancer?

What type of cancer will you get from mold? - Karen 8/10/11



Question: Could Mold Cause Bronchial Infections? How do I get My Landlord to Respond?

I have repeated broncial infections and they do come and go...twice i the last three months..lasting about three weeks.. wheezing...mucus and cough..xray do not show any lung congestion but feel lousey..could mold cause this to occu? tired of the rerun..landlord said he would check it but has no homeowners insurance...can he fix it or should I get my renter insurance company involved? - Kathy U. 9/6/11


Kathy, if you search InspectAPedia for "What to Do About a Moldy Rental Apartment " or go directly to RENTERS & TENANTS GUIDE TO MOLD & INDOOR HAZARDS you'll find a series of articles in which we give advice to tenants faced with a mold problem.

I can't say if your landlord "can" fix the problem or not. If there is a large problem (more than 30 sqft. discovered perhaps during a professional inspection) then a professional mold cleanup company should be used.

Separately, our article MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE discusses how to decide if the expense of a professional inspection and testing for mold are appropriate and cost justified.

Question: Complaint Against ServPro mold remediation company

For anyone who may call ServPro to clean up mold or do any kind of work involving mold, think again....they are the reason I am dealing with a problem that should have been taken care of 4 yrs ago.

They sent out a guy, first day on the job, to clean up some water damage that had mold, at the time, I had no idea this would make me as sick as it has done...they gave me no advice to not be in the house at the time of clean up, the guy was wiping the mold all over the bathroom, smearing it, got on carpet fibers, etc....the mold basically grew back because they did not do a thorough or professional job and I was none the wiser till a storm made more damage and mold rose to the surface of the floor...the bathroom is still at question and hasn't been checked yet, but I smell it there and suspect that it is also going to need to be dealt with..

this has been no small event, as I have been dealing with strange nasal problems that was also linked with body aches and fatigue....many doctors later, I realize that it was likely the mold, as I have been tested and am allergic to 4 types...

Just remember these companies are not as qualified as they would have us believe....never leave them to do a job unless there is a test to determine how well they cleaned it up...never allow a "new guy" to learn on your house.

And in general, do your homework, just because something is insurance covered, it does not mean you have no say in who and who does not come into your home....mold is something you cannot play around with, and if you do, plan for some medical bills....

To the woman whose husband is renting from his parents and don't want to move, to this: Look in the yellow pages for a good female attorney who handles divorce or separations, call, make an appt...go in there and just talk about your options for support....tell them simply, "if I stay with my husband, I am not sure how long my family will be here and healthy" ...your conditions may heed a fast court hearing to start family support...Do it for your children..neva look back - ICyourPoint 9/25/12

Reply: the expertise of individual franchisees may vary widely

Thanks for reporting your Serv - pro result and dissatisfaction. Having inspected and tested many mold remediation jobs I add that Serv Pro is a large franchise with considerable variation in skill level among franchisees. In my experience, having inspected and tested over three thousand building mold cleanup jobs, some mold remediation companies or franchisees are quite competent. Others ... Well ... A lot depends on having an expert job manager on site all during the work.

When you are dissatisfied with a contractor of any work you should first take yoru complaint to that company, personally, and in writing, to give them an opportunity to respond. If you remain dissatisfied and the company is a franchisee, you may also make your views known to the parent franchisor.

Question: Landlord won't install a sump pump, we purchased an air purifier to kill mold spores

Emily [see Q&A earlier in this series]: we are having the same issue. my son is renting the first floor of a duplex that is above a basement that floods on occasion. He's asked his landlord to install a sump pump and he has refused. Personally, I would move in with anyone who will have you until you get the environment tested.

You can go to either a Home Depot or a Lowes and pick up a mold test kit for $10 or under. Follow the instructions and if there is visible mold growing after 48 hrs, you can send it to a lab (which can cost $40.00) to have it analyzed. Results can take up to 3 weeks. In the meantime, purchase an air purifier that has a HEPA filter and one that kills mold spores....some are quite expensive and some are more responsible. We purchased the Honeywell brand - they come recommended by doctors. Be sure to order one or more to cover the square footage of your house - or you can carry them from room to room. See if your family feels better with them running - recommended to run 24 hrs per day. If your mold test results came back dangerously high - then report the findings to the EPA and your landlord will be forced to remediate the mold. But again, personally if I had a place to go - then GO.

Your husband most likely isn't getting as sick as you because he's out to work everyday and away from the poisons you are living in. Best of luck. - Lorettas 9/27/11

I meant to say some are quite expensive and some are more reasonable in price.

Reply: Sump pumps & "mold killing" air purifiers are incomplete band-aid approaches that are completely ineffective if there is a real mold problem in a building

Loretta, unfortunately your advice is not the best. Since 90 % of molds do not grow in any culture media whatsoever, your recommend mold test kit is 90 % wrong when you open the box. More, what might grow on a culture may not be the actual problem in the building.

Wheee here is indoor mold contamination the source reservoir needs to be found and rmoved (not "killed" ) and the cause of mold growth must be fixed too.

Also there is no portable air purifier on the market that will cure a mold problem, though indeed air filtering with a HEPA filter may reduce the airborne particle level in an enclosed space that's not too large.

Question: I think my apartment is dulling my mind

I think my apartment is dulling my mind! Several weeks ago, around the time when my 1960's buildingswitched from ac to heat, I felt acute respiratory symptoms. That subsided after a week or two, but I didn't want to spend too much time in my dry 14th floor condo. I think I'm only allergic to cats somehow, maybe dust or dust mites, and since my building is supposed to be pet free, I thought I was either imagining things or had a serious dust problem. So I cleaned the hell out of the place, still no good. I'm tired when I get home and these days, instead of recharging at home, I grow more tired. Daily, after some time at home, my blood feels hot, face feels flushed, lungs feel scorched, and I generally feel apathetic, lethargic, numb. But each of these things to such a minor degree as to make me question whether I'm imagining it; In aggregate, I have to think no. But I don't know where to begin to diagnose the problem.

A friend asked about allergens here on a visit, and I just spoke with a neighbor who thought he was imagining it too!

I'll post what I find if I don't die first. I'm thinking I'd rather not get a hepa filter first, so as not to hide the symptoms. I'd really like to find the root, so if you've got suggestions I'd love to hear how best to investigate this!

- Psychosomatic 10/24/11



While cleaning and even HEPA filtering (if you have a central air handler such as for warm air heat) can improve indoor air quality, given your description and complaint, I recommend that you first consult with your physician about your symptoms and concerns. Ask the doctor what role s/he thinks your environment could play in the complaints and that combined with further medical tests, if she/he agrees, can help direct your thinking about what to look for and what to fix in your home. Otherwise you risk spending time and money working on the wrong problem.

Question: My son gets sores that start as scabs, spread into circles, could mold cause these?

Mold skin rash found on exposure to high levels of Stachybotrys chartarum (C) D FriedmanMy son has been getting thes soars that start out like a litte scabs the spread into circles about the size of dimes over the years they go away

Ifound out that it coulsd be the mold that is around in the shower of my sisters house whom we stay with another times thes sores showed up was when we had to stay at friends for some months and they had mold also and these sores apperd also

But it does not effect no one else in the house but him do you think somthing could be going on with his body when he comes incontact with mold have you came across this problem before. - Latoya Clarke 11/17/11

Reply: See your doctor. Photos of Three Different-Appearing Mold-related Skin Rashes on People Not Suffering from Tinea


There are indeed some skin sores and skin rashes that can be caused by exposure to some molds, as we illustrate here, at the top of this article, and at Dermatitis and Skin Rashes in the index above. And it is common for mold sensitivity (as well as other allergies or medical conditions) to vary widely among individuals, from no reaction by some people to severe reaction experienced by others.

Our round mold rash on skin photo (above) illustrates a client who reported the onset of skin rashes that look like the one above following a do-it-yourself cleanup of a moldy home that included extensive exposure to Stachybotrys chartarum.

Some individuals who are particularly sensitive to certain airborne or direct-skin-contact molds have responded to mold exposure with this rash.

Neck rash from mold exposure (C) D FriedmanIt first appears as a small solid red spot, expands, and develops the pattern shown here and resembling (but most likely is not) a ringworm (Tinea) infection. Tinea is also a fungal infection by the way, caused by a fungus that lives on dead skin tissue, often the scalp, face, beard, body, hands, groin, nails, or feet.

Our next more widespread mold-related skin rash photo (left) shows the condition of one of our clients who, with her husband, insisted in doing their own "mold-cleanup and sorting" of very moldy contents of their home following a flood.

The client rapidly developed the rash on her head and neck (shown at left) after two days of cleanup work in an environment high in Aspergillus sp. and Stachybotrys chartarum that were disturbed during the cleaning operations.

Her husband, who had about the same exposure, suffered none of these symptoms.

Raised round skin rash following mold exposure (C) D FriedmanOur round raised sigular rash shown in the photo at left appeared on the under-arm of a woman exposed to very high airborne molds, including Aspergillus sp. and Stachybotry chartarum while occuping the upper floor of a home whose moldy basement was being demolished with no dust control measures whatsoever.

Two dogs in the home became sick and a third died, apparently from the same mold exposure conditions. [Actually the "rash" shown at left looked to us like a mole that had been scratched - but it's your doctor who should evaluate this complaint.]

But any skin ailment is difficult to diagnose and it would be a mistake to assume we understand the cause, severity or cure of a rash without consulting an expert.

I'd start by asking the doctor for a diagnosis, advice, and also whether or not the conditions in a building could cause or contribute to your son's complaint.

More mold skin rash examples are in the article above at the article introduction and at Dermatitis and Skin Rashes in the index above.

Also see the illnessess and complaints discussed in detail at MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX.

Question: I have been chronically ill for 5 years, others in my shop have left - chronic fatigue - is it a coincidence?

Hi. I have been cronicly Ill for 5 years 3 people that have worked in the same old shop as me have left because of the same symptoms ie cronic fatigue , sore joints and muscle problems , tiredness , pulsating under skin, cronic thirst, sleep problems leg movements, diguestion problems, constant burning under skin, constant burnig of the joints, night fevers, increased sence of smell, sensitive to smells and food alergys. Burning and swelling of hands and more. Would you say that this is coincidental or should we contact the owners of the store and get them to check the building out. Yours sincerely , maddy. 12/4/11

Reply: how to decide if further investigation of a building is appropriate

Maddy, even an experienced expert should be reluctant to guess at a building diagnosis by just a note or comment and without studying the building, interviewing the occupants and possibly performing some tests.

That said, in my OPINION, if one or more people suspect that conditions in a building may be contributing to or even causing health complaints, it is reasonable to open the question of whether or not a building investigation is in order.

Take a look at the article titled MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE )
for help in deciding how to decide that it is appropriate to bring in a professional.

Question: After living in a moldy apartment I stopped having periods & started having ongoing infections, colds, & low-grade fever - I tested "positive" for mycotoxins

I lived in a basement apartment for a year which had obvious, visible mold growth in the bedroom. Right after I moved out I stopped having periods, have ongoing infections and colds, and have had a constant low-grade fever. Can this be related to my mold exposure? - Sarah H. 12/7/11

I was recently tested for mycrotoxins in my body. I tested positive for Tricothcene at 0.35 pph and positive for Ochratoxin 5 ppb. How serious is this and what medical treatment do I need to get rid of these mycrotoxins. I feel extremely sick internally..also I am having a hard time finding a doctor with enough knowledge of mycrotoxins such as
these to treat me. I am concerned these are all over my body since I have numerous symptoms..Thank you for your help.. SH 12/20/11


Sarah these are questions you need to discuss first with your physician. I would be expect a doctor to do more than just offer tests for exposure to mycotoxins. Rather she or he would be more likely to conduct an examination, interview to discuss your symptoms and concerns, and discuss possible appropriate coursed of investigation and treatment.

Also see the illnessess and complaints associated with specific molds and exposure to them discussed in detail at MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX.

Question: My home of 25 years has a serious case of black mold - I moved out - could all my medical problems be due to the black mold? I was accused of substance abuse.

It was brought to my attention that the home I had lived in for 25 years has a serious case of black mold. I just recently moved out of it two months ago. What could be the possibility that all my medical problems stem from having been exposed to the black mold & can u suggest a way to throw it in the face of all the people who thought I had a substance abuse problem? - Rachelle 12/22/11


Rachelle, the answer to the question of the chances that health problems (all or some) are exacerbated by or even possibly caused by exposure to indoor mold, MVOCs, or mycotoxins is one that you need to bring first to your physician. After all, "all my medical problems" is a very broad and non-specific charge. Individual sensitivity to mold and its products in buildings varies widely.

And more confusing is the error of focusing on "black mold" - there are plenty of black or dark molds that are the least of the mold problem in a building, and plenty of light colored, often hard to see molds that are far more harmful in some cases. "Black mold" in a building should be taken as an indicator of mold contamination and an expert inspection and testing should identify the location and genera/species of molds present if/when there is a large reservoir.

However it is worth discussing with your doctor that exposure to some mycotoxins can have neurological effects that influence behaviour, mood, etc. - we have had clients report mental symptoms whose onset appeared to correlate with exposure to mycotoxins in buildings, including:

  • memory loss
  • word and language loss & difficulties
  • anger outbursts and general irritability
  • confusion and difficulty making decisions

So one could SPECULATE that such exposure and effects could be mistaken for a drug use problem.

Question: dust-like particles are coming out of our AC vent & I get a salty taste - what can this be?

I sometimes feel Dust like Particles blowing into my eyes from the AC vent. After this happens I would get a salty taste in my mouth. What can this be?


Jenny no one who is responsible would try to diagnose your complaints with so little information, but I can suggest that you

  • check with your doctor about experiencing taste sensations, as it could be an indication of something worth investigating
  • check that the HVAC filter(s) on your system are clean and in place and not leaking

I'm not sure it's worth it but you also have the option of collecting the dust you suspect and having it analyzed by sending it to an appropriate forensic lab. (Don't send us a sample - we must avoid any conflict of interest).

Reader follow-up:

Thanks Dan. This situation is happening at my workplace and they have called in a local testing company and they could not find what is causing the problem. They found other problems with the system and made recommendations for those to be corrected. I believe those issues have since been attended to. The dust like particles is not visible. Other random employees on different floors of this 5 story building have similar complaints. Some experience rashes and burning sensation on the skin. - Jenny 3/5/12

Question: Can you get acute lingual tonsillitis from exposure and breathing mold toxins.

Can you get acute lingual tonsillitis from exposure and breathing mold toxins. This was a result from a leaking ice maker/refrigerator and a leaking pipe from a pantry sink. This caused 3 floods in a work area and the adjacent wall had visible mold and the carpet had stains of mildew and smelled like sewage. Do you have any facts and/or articles/literature to send me as soon as you can. Thank you in advance. - D.T. 5/14/12

Reply: tonsillitis is a bacterial or viral infection


Your tonsillitis complaint and causation questions should be discussed with your personal physician, someone who knows the details of your personal health, health history, and also details of your actual exposure to potentially problematic indoor environment.

I agree that it is possible for flooding and mold conditions in a building can cause problematic mold growth, ranging from trivial to extensive, and I add that improper cleanup procedures can make matters worse by stirring up high levels of dust and debris that enter buidling air and later building settled dust, as well as by incomplete work or other mistakes.

That said, and emphasizing that I am not an M.D. nor do we offer medical advice, we can give some general information about your question that may be helpful.

Tonsillitis is an infection of the tonsils that is caused by a virus or bacteria. Apparently viral causes are more commen than bacterial causes. Your doctor will usually take a throat culture to rule out other illnesses or causes (such as diptheria or strep). Mold, nor mycotoxins, and mvoc's are not listed as causing tonsillitis. Ask your doctor for her opininon.

But we suspect that respiratory system irritation (including the throat) may contribute to the vulnerability to or development of a throat or tonsil infection, as might a challenge to the immune system.

The individual response to a given level of exposure to anything potentially irritating or harmful varies widely, from no response at all to severe allergy or asthma or other complaints.

Even you were exposed to airborne mold or mvocs one can not assume that all mold exposure involves exposure to mycotoxins - the term you used in your question. Not all indoor mold growths produce mycotoxins, some that do are rarely airborne, and even among molds that can potentially produce mycotoxins, those substances are not always actually produced, depending on the growth substrate and indoor environment conditions, even the species and strain within genera of mold.

Also see MYCOTOXIN EFFECTS of MOLD EXPOSURE and see the illnessess and complaints associated with specific molds and exposure to them discussed in detail at MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX.

Question: I think my daughter's Barrets' Disease & Celiac disease may be due to mould in our cottage; how can I proceed?

Is it safe to remove the contents with this condition of chaetomium and ulicladium mould spore debris? We need to demolish the cottage.

I have a daughter who has now been diagnosed with barrets disease and celiac disease and I believe this could be due to the mould in the cottage. Could this be true?

How do I know from the Lab test if I can safely proceed with removal of contents and demolition?

The cottage is surrounded by old growth trees and is very close to the neighbouring cottage on either side. The cottage is all constructed in wood with no insulation and was build in 1916.

Reply: Pathogenicity of Chaetomium & Ulocladium; other building moulds present; how to proceed

With the reclama that I am a forensic investigator not a mycologist, and that more accurate answers should come from a physician who knows your daughter's medical history and who has expertise in environmental medicine, still I can provide abasic reply to your question.

You refer to two fungal genera: Chaetomium and Ulocladium.

There are multiple species within each genera, so first, we don't know quite what fungal species are in the home. The potential medical effects of individual fungal species can also vary depending on local growth conditions such as what material the fungus is growing on.

Pathogenicity of Chaetomium sp.

My most extensive clinical reference (deHoog et als) cites

  • a pair of (thus very very rare) pathogenic fungal infections associated with Chaetomium atrobrunneum (not the Chaetomium I ususally find in buildings).
  • subcutaneous lesions associated with C. funicola
  • a variety of infections associated with C. globosum (commonly found in buildings)
  • skin and other infections in a single case in China involving C. murorum

Pathogenicity of Uloclasium sp.

Ulocladium sp. also involves multiple species, too many to enumerate here.

An example: U. chartarum (common in buildings) has been associated with skin infections.

Mold exposure relationship to Barrets disease or Celiac disease?

Generally people who are already at medical risk from factors such as a compromised immune system or being elderly, infant, asthmatic or allergic to mold are at higher risk than others when exposed to mold that may be allergenic, toxic, or pathogenic.
I am not familiar with Barrets Disease but WebMD says

"Barrett's esophagus is a serious complication of GERD, which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease."

NIH describes Celiac disease as

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. - NDDIC, division of NIH, retrieved 4/23/14, original source:

As a layman one might infer that these two complaints sound related. The references did not focus on fungal exposure in discussing those medical complaints

From the clinical literature I see no obvious connection between Barret's disease or Celiac disease and the molds you cite but that OPINION is of course just that.

You are at Risk of Missing the Mold Forest for the Mold Trees: water-indicator moulds

What your question is missing is a more general understanding of how mold growth occurs in buildings. In my experience, both Chaetomium sp. and Ulocladium sp. are more importantly considered as water-indicator molds. That means that where these molds occur the building has been wet and mold-friendly materials such as drywall have been wet.

In that kind of building environment, the chance that these are the only two molds that were the only fungal genera/species present is close to zero.

Furthermore, it is often the case that other molds, possibly ones that were less visually obvious, may be present and may be far more harmful, such as light-colored species of Aspergillus or Penicillium that an inexpert investigator might miss. (See LIGHT COLORED MOLD).

Too often on-site investigators collect mold samples of just the dark colored molds

  1. first because those are easy to see,
  2. second because of the misleading media accounts of "toxic black mold" as if that were the only mold of concern in buildings (dead wrong), and
  3. third because other more important mold reservoirs may be less obvious even if larger, such as mold in building cavities or in a hard-to-access crawl area.

What all of this means is that

  • You cannot conclude anything about a relationship between your daughter's illnesses and the building molds you describe
  • You should assume that other molds are present even if they have not been identified
  • You can assume that your mold test was incomplete and inaccurate as a characterization of what is in the building
    If there is more than 30 sq.ft. of contiguous mold in the building then the level of exposure to workers is potentially harmful so work on the building should proceed accordingly - that means using personal protective gear and keeping at-risk people out of and away from the building.

Mouldy Building Contents Salvage Advice

Watch out: Beware of bringing moldy contents out of a building into a new residence as you may import high-enough levels of mold to irritate building occupants even if the new location does not encourage mold growth.

Take a look at SALVAGE BUILDING CONTENTS for advice on moving things out of the moldy home you describe.

Please keep me posted on how things progress, and send along photos or additional details if you can. Such added details can help us understand what's happening and often permit some useful further comment. What we both learn may help me help someone else.

Question: can Ascomycetes cause sleep apathy?

May 17 2014
hello i have the mold ascomycete in my room can it cause sleep apathy i had stroke in 2010 i am on a lot of medicine can it interact with the medicine and cause pain on the forhead and other places on the head before my stroke my brother use the romm to grow his tomato plants their is a lot of old books and some toys in the room it is also used to store blankets the room is over 80 years old my stroke was the fault of heart center of the rockies in loveland co. thank you - E.J. C. 5/23/2014


Ascomycete is a huge group of fungi, a stage in development that occurs in other forms, and most likely indicates that other molds are present too.

We'd need to get more specific

Reader follow-up: you told me that the mold ascomycete could cause my sleepapathy what you have told me is could it interact with the medcine I take

hello you told me that the mold ascomycete could cause my sleepapathy what you have told me is could it interact with the medcine i take could it cause pain in my forehead and other parts of the could it cause sinus problems it would be easier for me to mail you a list of the medcine i take their is over 20 to 30 i had a stroke in 2010 - E.J.C. 5/28/2014


No I did not tell you any of those things, Edward, there seems to be a misunderstanding.

What I said is that Ascomycetes is a huge range of classes of fungi and even more complex is that Ascomycetes are in general a class of fungi that exist under different species/genera names when the fungi, in their natural state of evolution, pass through other states of development (often called "sexual phase" in the literature).

At MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX we describe Ascomycetes

Ascospores: or Ascomycetes are ubiquitous spore with more than 3000 genera. Allergic reaction varies depending on genus and species; they have been poorly studied. Common indoor ascomycetes include Chaetomium and Ascotricha. -- EMLAB

We (DF) find these spores individually in air samples indoors and outside, and we find them in dense profusion on occasion on decaying building surfaces.

Therefore no one who is even slightly familiar with the meaning of the term "ascomycete" would or should venture to claim that there is a specific association with a specific illness or medical complaint for that group.

Medical illnesses or even more broadly, health complaints, that some people associate with or suspect are related to exposure to fungal spores, mycotoxins, or MVOCs excreted by some fungal genera/species, are studied with respect to individual fungal genra/species.

Just taking the genera Aspergillus sp. for an example, (not an ascomycete) there are more than 100 species within that genera, with widely varying health effects, and even within individual species, the toxicity depends often on growth conditions.

The exact same mold genera/species may produce toxic substances ranging from none to severe depending on the material on which it is growing as well as depending on variations in growth conditions such as temperature and humidity.

What I intended to suggest to you is that when someone reported to you that there are "Ascomycetes" in your environment you cannot make a darn thing about that statement.
You don't know

  • What mold genera/species is present
  • What is its allergenicity, toxicity, pathogenicityh, varying by growth conditions
  • How much mold there is - how large is the mold reservoir
  • Where it is, what caused it, what cleanup is needed, how much enters your environment
  • What is your exposure level to harmful mold

The ONLY thing you can infer from "there are ascomycetes in your environment" is that if that class of fungi was detected at what appears to be a high or abnormal level for indoors, that it can be take as an indicator that "mold-friendly" conditions exist in the building. In turn that means that there are very likely to be other mold genera/species present, some of which may be far more harmful than the genera that your rather not-helpful test indicated.

It is a fundamental error to latch on to "black mold" or "ascomycetes" detected in a building and from that to conclude that that detected mold is the most-harmful mold or that it can itself be specifically assumed to be the cause of an illness or IAQ complaint.

What does make sense is to decide if further, more expert inspection and testing are in order.


And if you are discussing your health concerns with your doctor you can at this point say that you MIGHT be spending time in an environment with abnormal levels of mold but you don't yet know the level, the exposure, nor anyhing about what mold is actually present.


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