Molds can produce substances that are irritating to the human body and may cause allergies in more sensitive individuals. There are some molds that can produce toxic substances that are called mycotoxins. The mold itself is not toxic or poisonous.
The conditions that some molds will produce toxins are not fully understood. In some cases, mold being present, even a mold that can produce toxins, does not imply that the toxins are being produced. Having mold in a home or a business may not cause any type of health effects. However, it can lead to symptoms in certain individuals, both children and adults, who have a sensitivity to mold.
The most common health effects of mold are allergic reactions. These reactions can happen over a period of time after exposure or they can happen immediately. Both mold spores as well as growing mold can lead to these allergies. Some of the symptoms of this type of allergy include skin irritation, red eyes, tearing, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, and rashes. A person that has asthma and is allergic to mold may have an asthma attack if exposed.
In some non-allergic people, mold may cause skin or eye irritation or irritation of the airways. Stachybotrys, which is also called black mold, as well as some of the other types of molds, can produce mycotoxins that may cause the skin and airways to become irritated in individuals who are susceptible.
Some people may have a more severe reaction to mold. Some of the more severe symptoms include difficulty breathing and fever. A person that has a compromised immune system or chronic lung disease could develop serious lung infections because of molds.
Overall, it is not possible to predict how severe the health risks of mold in the home are. Risk depends on the type of mold that is present and how severe the infestation is.