Mold and Bacteria Health Dangers

Allergies and Allergens

Author: Thomas C. Weiss
Published: 2013/04/18 - Updated: 2021/05/04
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: A number of serious health issues can be attributed to mold and bacteria causing potentially toxic indoor air quality. Despite the fact that molds have been around for a very long time, humanity has not developed an increased tolerance against them. Many people assume that heavy metals or pesticides would be much more dangerous. The fact is that mold is a very significant health issue.


The mycotoxins that are at times produced by molds, from a toxicity perspective, are in reality more toxic than heavy metals in terms of concentration. Mold mycotoxins also often affect more of a person's biological systems than heavy metals or pesticides do. For example, "stachybotrys," produces mycotoxins that are referred to as, "trichothecene," which inhibit protein synthesis. They infect every organ in a person's body from their toes to their head.

Main Digest

Many people assume that heavy metals or pesticides would be much more dangerous. The fact is that mold is a very significant health issue. Despite the fact that molds have been around for a very long time, humanity has not developed an increased tolerance against them. A part of the reason why is because molds tend to mutate quickly.

Cryptococcus was once endemic in the deserts of the southwest in America. Now there is a new species - one that was accidentally released in Vancouver, Canada. It is spreading from the northwest throughout America. It is a mutated form and is highly pathogenic to people. Approximately 25-30% of those who become infected with it die. When it mutates it avoids the human immune system. The other thing it does is produce chemicals that suppress the human immune system, we may never become resistant to these organisms.

Bacteria - Health Risk Related to Mold

Growing right next to mold are what is referred to as, 'gram negative,' and, 'gram positive,' bacteria. As with mold, the bacteria need moisture and organic material to live and the synergistic action between mold and bacteria increases and worsens inflammatory health conditions. The gram positive types of bacteria are being completely overlooked. The gram positive bacteria consist of several, 'bacilli,' 'cocci,' and one group referred to as the, 'actinomycetes.' The actinomycetes contain a number of different groups of bacteria such as mycobacterium.

There are 139 additional species of mycobacterium that can grown in the environment. Eleven to twelve of those grow in indoor environments are very serious human pathogens that have the ability to cause a condition called, 'mycobacterium avium complex,' a very dangerous condition. The condition causes serious lung infection and may spread throughout a person's body. A number of the symptoms are related to those of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The condition may continue to develop into a condition similar to asthma and then into sarcoidosis - particularly of the mediastinum.

The other group are the, 'streptomyces,' which give rise to a number of antibiotics. Streptomyces are a source of many of the chemotherapeutic agents in use today as well. The organisms grow in indoor environments.

Gram negative bacteria are also very harmful. When these bacteria die they release their cell walls. The cell walls are referred to as, 'lipopolysaccharide,' or, 'endotoxins.' Endotoxins may severely exacerbate asthma and other conditions - they are highly inflammatory. The inflammation may also affect a person's brain and other organs.

Cleaning Up After Mold and Bacteria

If you have identified that you have a problem with mold, it is vital that you stop water intrusion and remediate the issue at its source. For example, if you have a wall that is infested in the middle of your house between two rooms it is recommended that you wall off the entire area from the rest of the house. What this means is you drape it with plastic and tie the plastic down with masking tape so the area will not contaminate the rest of the house. Then clean all of the organic materials such as particleboard, wood, or carpeting, as well as any affected metal objects - replace them. Make sure you hire a contractor who uses a HEPA filtration machine to trap minute particles and that the contractor is meticulous when they use it.

If you have only a small area of surface mold you most likely won't have to call in an expert. Only attempt to clean the area if it is limited to a small surface area. You cannot clean mold that is deep-rooted. Do not use bleach or ammonia to clean the mold - there is a reason why. If you use bleach or ammonia all you will do is kill the mold, but you will leave the carcass behind. The carcass will disintegrate and then release toxins into the air you breathe. After water is reintroduced to your environment, the mold will grow back to the surface you just cleaned.

On minor visible surfaces with mold such as a piece of furniture or a baseboard, use vinegar and baking soda instead. All you need is a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of water. Use vinegar right out of the bottle. Use the vinegar first and follow it with the baking soda. The vinegar will kill the mold and bacteria, although it will leave a residue. Scrub the surface to get rid of the residue.

Health Issues - Mold and Bacteria

A number of health issues may be attributed to poor and potentially toxic indoor air quality. Among these health issue are:

If you experience any of these issues, it might be worthwhile to take your indoor air quality into consideration, as well as the possibility that these health issues are related to mold. Residential dampness and mold are associated with substantial and statistically significant increases in both respiratory infections and bronchitis.

It is important to determine whether or not the health issues you experience are due to mold so you can receive appropriate treatment. The majority of doctors simply prescribe antibiotics for say, chronic sinusitis. Yet if a person's sinusitis is caused by bacteria and mold growth in their home, it is not going to simply clear up. The next step is commonly to prescribe either corticosteroids or prednisone, which could actually make a person's condition worse.

What is needed is a culture performed by a good Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor to receive a diagnosis of that is going on inside the person's sinuses. A mere two weeks of using corticosteroids or less increases a person's risk of experiencing other types of infections. Corticosteroids inhibit the oxidative burst produced by macrophages. Macrophages eat mold spores and produce an oxidative burst killing the spores and bacteria. The corticosteroids do not inhibit the extra oxidative burst produced by macrophages. The macrophages contain live spores and bacteria and go anywhere else in a person's body, increasing the person's risk of other infections - particularly fungal infections. Corticosteroids also have other, well-documented side effects such as increasing a person's risk of cataracts, osteoporosis, and the disruption of a person's hormone balance.

Author Credentials:

Thomas C. Weiss is a researcher and editor for Disabled World. Thomas attended college and university courses earning a Masters, Bachelors and two Associate degrees, as well as pursing Disability Studies. As a Nursing Assistant Thomas has assisted people from a variety of racial, religious, gender, class, and age groups by providing care for people with all forms of disabilities from Multiple Sclerosis to Parkinson's; para and quadriplegia to Spina Bifida. Explore Thomas' complete biography for comprehensive insights into his background, expertise, and accomplishments.

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Cite This Page (APA): Weiss, T. C. (2013, April 18 - Last revised: 2021, May 4). Mold and Bacteria Health Dangers. Disabled World. Retrieved July 17, 2024 from

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