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Mold In U.S. Homes Worsens Allergies and Asthma

Despite routine household cleaning, a new study found mold is thriving in many U.S. homes — often at levels high enough to trigger allergy and asthma attacks.

160 homes in seven U.S. cities were surveyed by Kelly A. Reynolds of the University of Arizona, in Tucson. 100% of the homes tested positive for mold on some inside surface; on average, four sites per house tested positive for mold.

Exact levels of molds were not measured; a “presence-absence” test was performed in order to get a positive or negative result for evidence of mold.

Results of the survey showed mold was present on 88% of window sills, on 83% of refrigerator seals, under 83% of kitchen sinks, and 82% of homes had mold in air vents. Bathrooms were another problem area for mold to breed: particularly in the grouting areas and on the walls above the shower.

Mold releases microscopic fungal spores that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms in sensitive people, as well as worsens sinus infections, and induce coughing and sniffling.

While 96% of homeowners participating in the study were aware mold could be a problem, only 17% felt their home would be among those to test positive.

SOURCE: USA Today, www.usatoday.com, March 10, 2003.