Mold and Insurance

Mold and Insurance

Robert P. Hartwig, CPCU and Claire Wilkinson
August 1, 2003

August 2003

Molds – a type of microscopic fungus – are found in virtually every ecosystem in every climate on earth. They have existed in the natural environment for hundreds of millions of years and humans have co-existed in the presence of mold and other fungi throughout the entirety of their evolution. Molds and other fungi are used in the production of everything from foods to medicines.

There are more than 100,000 species of fungi of which at least 1,000 are common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold can be found almost everywhere, and will grow indoors where there is moisture. Some of the most commonly found species are Stachybotrys, Cladosporium, Penicillium and Aspergillus.

While some mold species can damage property if unchecked and some can affect people with allergies and immune deficiencies, exposure to mold only rarely results in health problems. Common health concerns arising from exposure to mold include hay-fever-like allergic symptoms, according to the CDC. Certain individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing when exposed to some molds, and people with immune suppression disorders or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections.

 

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