Molds are multicellular fungi that are ubiquitous in outdoor and indoor environments. For humans, they are both beneficial (for the production of antimicrobial agents, chemotherapeutic agents, and vitamins) and detrimental. Exposure to mold can occur through inhalation, ingestion, and touching moldy surfaces. Adverse health effects may occur through allergic, infectious, irritant, or toxic processes. The cause-and-effect relationship between mold exposure and allergic and infectious illnesses is well known. Exposures to toxins via the gastrointestinal tract also are well described. However, the cause-and-effect relationship between inhalational exposure to mold toxins and other untoward health effects (eg, acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants and other illnesses and health complaints) is controversial and requires additional investigation. In this report we examine evidence of fungal-related illnesses and the unique aspects of mold exposure to children. Mold-remediation procedures are also discussed.
- mold exposure
- health effects
- hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- water damage
- Copyright © 2006 by the American Academy of Pediatrics