Chapter

Mold

Dorr G. Dearborn

in Textbook of Children's Environmental Health

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780199929573
Published online May 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199351657 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199929573.003.0038
Mold

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Paediatrics

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Mold is important in the outdoor, natural world, but indoor exposure to mold is not healthy. Indoor mold is ubiquitous. It becomes a hazard for children’s health when it is amplified by water intrusion or chronic dampness. Infants and children can develop fungal infections caused by mold. Immune-compromised children and children with chronic lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis are at especially high risk for fungal infections. Children are also susceptible to irritant and toxic reactions caused by fungal mycotoxins, toxic metabolites that are released into indoor air by many molds especially in damp or wet environments. Airborne mycotoxins can sensitize allergic children and trigger immune reactions, allergic rhinitis, and acute asthmatic attacks. Mycotoxins can also cause toxic inflammation of the airways in nonallergic children through direct irritation of the airways not mediated by the immune system. Evaluation and remediation of indoor mold require expert assistance and oversight.

Chapter.  5492 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Paediatrics

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