The Dangers of Mold & Mildew in your Home or Office

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on June 17, 2013

Mold Spores

No matter who you are, or where you live, everyone needs to reduce the amount of mold and mildew in the air they are breathing in. If you smell a musty odor in your home or workplace, there is a good chance that it is probably mold or mildew.

Of course, if you actually see mold in your home or office, then you know you have a problem. The bad news is, most of the toxic mold floating around in our air is actually invisible to the naked eye, but still may be seriously affecting your health.

Ancient oriental medicine tells us that clean, fresh air, is one of the most important components of not only physical, but also mental health. Simply put, without clean air, the body cannot function properly. When the body is not functioning properly, the mind cannot function with ease and clarity.

The word disease literally means, “dis-ease,” or being in a place where the body is not at ease. Without oxygen, we cannot live. With unclean air, we may be able to sustain ourselves, but we will not be at ease, or free of disease.

This is one of the reasons why the presence of mold and mildew in our indoor air has been clinically associated with more than just allergic reactions. Some studies show a link between airborne mold spores and depression, and even death! [1]

Many similar studies have shown that the average human being breathes in an incredibly high amount of toxins from environmental air. In fact, with each breath, we take in more toxic substances and less of the vital oxygen that we need, than ever before.

Mold & Mildew: Where Does it Lurk?

Most molds are microscopic fungi that grow on a host surface, like a loaf of bread or a musty, kitchen cabinet. The green mold you see on an old loaf of bread is not one mold, but is actually clusters of hundreds of connected networks of mold.

Moldy Bread

Each mold spore clusters together using tiny, tubular arms to create a singular organism, commonly referred to as a cluster. This clustered type of mold is visible.

But oftentimes, high amounts of “un-clustered” microscopic individual mold spores are moving through our airspace. These spores are completely invisible to the human eye. For this reason, mold and mildew can be hard to spot, and therefore even harder to get rid of.

Although a small amount of mold and mildew won’t hurt most of us, it begins to become a big problem when the mold spores get out of hand. When quantity does get out of hand, or when individuals who are highly sensitive to toxic mold, breathe it in, it can present a serious health hazard. Mold and mildew are known to cause respiratory problems, common allergic reaction symptoms, nervous-system disorders and depression.

In particular, there are certain types of molds that produce what are called mycotoxins [2]. These molds are particularly dangerous and create a toxic breathing environment for you, your children and your pets. Studies have shown that breathing in large amounts of these mycotoxins can impair the entire human system, and can even lead to death.

Eye Opening Statistics About Mold:

  • A groundbreaking report from 2007 stated that scientists found a direct correlation between a high presence of mold in households and depression.
  • Even more shockingly, studies have shown that the air inside our homes can be worse than the air outside. The average American spends around 90% of our time in enclosed buildings, and over 60% of our time in our houses. [3]
  • Scientists have identified over 1,000 types of mold and mildew inside houses in the United States. [4]
  • More than 100,000 types of mold exist!
  • “Stachybotrys” is a highly-toxic type of mold that has been related to human death.

Toxic Mold: How It Survives

Toxic Mold

Mold lives off of any organic matter, and loves a warm, humid environment. This includes your leather jacket, a peach, old newspapers, bathroom walls, windowsills, ceilings and wall-paper. Most often, mildew, which is a form of mold or fungus, infests our living or workspaces when there is a high level of moisture, like a musty basement or a shower wall. It comes in through our walls, windows, doors, carpets, or under the refrigerator.

Mold spores can also be carried in on our clothing, shoes, pets and our bodies. Doctors warn against breathing in mold over long periods of time. Often times, our homes and offices are infested with toxic mold and mildew. And, because it can hide in cracks in our walls, as well as other invisible places, most of us are unaware that we are being exposed to the extremely harmful effects.

Today, mold growth in homes and places of work is more of a health issue than we may think. So it’s important that you recognize the symtoms of mold in your home, and take steps to protect yourself and your family.

For further information, please read this blog post about how to get rid of mold.


  1. Brown University. Household Mold Linked To Depression. ScienceDaily. 2007 August 30
  2. Bennett JW, Klich M. Mycotoxins. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jul;16(3):497-516. Review.
  3. Collin Dunn. Indoor air quality: cause of, testing, and monitoring indoor air pollution. Tree Hugger. 2007 October 11.
  4. Advanced Mold Inspections. Mold Types and Mold Glossary.

  • Tyler

    nice article about the dangers of mold. What are your tips for removing mold?

  • bob merow

    I only read the first sentence to question your smarts – you write “everyone needs to reduce the amount of mold and mildew in the air their breathing in.” Your misuse of the word ‘their’ is funny. You should have written either ‘they are’ or ‘they’re’ !

  • Selah

    You’d be surprised, or not, at how many newsletters, web articles and posts I read that have misspelled words, incorrect grammar or poor sentence structure. Many articles are in well known professional publications! Do they even teach that in schools any more??

  • mold and mildew removal

    This means that you will need to learn some good cleaning techniques that will help you remove mold and mildew and permanently keep it out of your home. The most important point to remember is that you should always avoid creating the conditions that make it convenient for mold and mildew to develop.

  • Natalie

    It’s a strange world we live in. At work we have a mouldy wall and carpet, our supervisors seem to think we are making a fuss over nothing. We want it removed, we are having a few respitory problems amongst staff, and I personally have developed. dizziness and nausea along with a few other upper ENT issues. Where do I work you ask?
    In a hospital …..good grief!

  • Top Rated Dehumidifiers

    Thanks for the wonderful information about molds and their health risks. I think one of the best and efficient way to avoid mold problems at home is to get one of the top rated dehumidifiers in the market. I got my dehumidifier for years and I can say that it is truly one of the best to control the humidity level at home.

  • Julio

    I was living in a studio apt. for about 4 years, when I first got there I didnt realize the mold or mildew. After awhile I started to notice a musty smell and alot of moisture with weather change from winter,fall,spring,and summer. I have moved from my studio to another place and still have a problem,and thats my cloths and my leather jacket. Well my question is how can I get rid of the musty smell from my leather jackets. Any suggestions are appreciated thank you, julio

  • William Soukup

    Respiratory threat along with aerated mold and bacteria from
    jetted bathtubs

    Jetted tubs, often called Jacuzzi’s, have about 15-20 feet of plumbing lines that run underneath the tubs. These lines are full of warm stagnant water that is full of biofilm, mold, fungus and bacteria. If the tub isn’t cleaned properly, with a cleaner designed to clean jetted tubs, you run the risk of bathing in very, very high levels of bacteria and breathing in aerated mold and bacteria.

    Use a jetted tub cleaner like Oh Yuk Jetted Tub Cleaner,
    that was designed to clean jetted bathtubs for the lodging industry. This
    will ensure that you are bathing in clean bathwater, and breathing clean air.

  • John

    You wrote* dumbass

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  • Yurtle Myrtle Turtle

    this is the cause of mental illness

  • Yurtle Myrtle Turtle

    harmful chemicals that they use as medicine to supposedly treat it just make it even worse

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