Hazardous mold linked to asthma development finally identified by scientists
A new study conducted at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine has identified the two strands of hazardous bacteria linked to indoor molds. These bacteria are believed to have the potential to cause health problems to those exposed, in addition to damaging homes and businesses.
Certain indoor mold has long been linked to the development of serious respiratory problems like asthma, and can act as triggers to people already living with the disease. Until now, scientists hadn't determined the strands of bacteria that developed the mold, which made symptoms harder to treat.
The study, which was funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), identified the hazardous strains as Stenotrophomonas and Mycobacterium. Though both strains are linked to respiratory issues, Stenotrophomonas is particularly harmful as it has proven resistance to multiple drugs.
"If we are going to understand the role of indoor bacteria in human health, we must be able to identify and quantify the relevant bacterial species contributing to the health problems,” said the study's principal investigator, Dr. Atin Adhikari, at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in San Francisco on June 18.
Researchers performed mold testing by comparing samples taken from buildings with mold damage with findings in the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index developed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to Adhikari, this study marks a step forward in understanding how to treat mold hazards, as these two strands surprisingly had never previously been studied in household environments.
HUD funded this study as part of an initiative to help identify health risks to children in homes nationwide. There are many ways to prevent potential hazardous molds from developing by keeping moisture out of your home. Dehumidifiers and air-conditioners not only make breathing easier for people living with asthma and other allergies, it prevents the development of molds that may cause respiratory problems in the first place.