Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Mold Bad For You?



Short answer

Mold poses several health hazards ranging from mild to very severe. Unless it's safe, edible mold such as that on blue cheese, you should do your best to avoid it.



Long answer

When you see mold on your food, what you are seeing are the spores of multicellular fungi. These spores grow on stalks that are attached to roots that invade and grow off the food. There are several kinds of mold, and while most are bad for you, some, like those in certain types of cheese, are safe to consume. Ingesting mold on food can cause food poisoning or allergic reactions. Worse still are toxic molds which produce mycotoxins. Studies suggest neurological problems and even death can occur as a result of exposure to extremely high levels of mycotoxins.

Mold can also be found in buildings, especially in perpetually damp and dark places. Common reactions to mold spores in the air include a runny nose, itchy eyes, cough, headache, migraine, rash, and sinus problems. Prolonged exposure can lead to more serious respiratory and immune system complications. It is important to address mold in your home or workplace quickly. Limiting moisture is an important first step, and can help reduce the risk of mold forming again. Water damage is the most common source of mold formation, and if not handled properly, mold can linger inside walls long after other visible damage is repaired.

Mold is dangerous, and unless it's on a delicious piece of blue cheese or brie from a store you trust, you should stay away. While in most cases exposure to mold is not life-threatening, it's never a good idea to eat it or be in a building with mold.

Possible short-term side effects

  • food poisoning
  • allergic reaction
  • respiratory problems

Possible long-term side effects

  • possible death
  • prolonged respiratory and neurological problems

Ingredients to be aware of

  • mycotoxins

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Written by Leah Bolton | 01-23-2016

Written by Leah Bolton
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