Question: My daughter and her room-mate have been housed in a room that has an elevated mold count. The outside mold count on the day of the test was 2,600 spores per cubic meter of air while the count in the dorm in the dorm room was 10,300. The preliminary test identified three different types of mold spores with readings elevated above outdoor readings. These spore types and readings were as follows:
- Outdoor count: 907 spores/cubic meter of air
- Dorm room count: 6,880 spores/cubic meter of air
- Outdoor count: 533 spores/cubic meter of air
- Indoor count: 3,150 spores/cubic meter of air
Both girls are experiencing some health issues. My daughter is currently in the hospital with some respiratory issues and an infection of the colon. Can you provide me with any input relative to the spore levels identified? Also, I realize that most problems associated with mold are of the respiratory nature, but I am concerned that the colon infection could also be a result of mold toxins. Is this possible? Any input would be appreciated.
Answer: Currently there are no acceptable levels of airborne mold spores. However, it’s generally agreed that mold is a health hazard and should not be allowed to grow in occupied indoor environments. The common indoor molds are unlikely to cause infection to health individuals. People with weak immune system (immunocompromised), however, could be infected by opportunistic pathogens such as some species of Aspergillus and Fusarium. As for mycotoxins, it is not known whether the indoor air concentrations of airborne mycotoxins become high enough to cause any significant health effects.