When most of us think about mold, we picture having to throw away bread, cheese, or other food items that have sat in our kitchen too long. However, for some people, mold causes much more damage than simply a bit of wasted grocery money. Those who have fallen ill due to toxic mold in Panama City know that inhaling mold spores at home or in the workplace can change a life forever.
Most forms of mold that we encounter on a regular basis are relatively harmless. There isn't much of a health threat in the mold that grows on old bread or that might grow on a shower curtain or bathroom tiles. However, other types of mold can cause very serious, long-lasting health ailments. One strain of mold that can cause illness is stachybotrys chartarum. This greenish-black mold can grow in areas that are chronically damp or wet. It is most often found in materials like drywall, paper, wood, and certain ceiling materials that have a high cellulose content. The danger lies in spores or mycotoxins that are given off by these toxic molds and that can be inhaled by people in infected environments.
Often the earliest symptoms of mold exposure resemble a common cold or seasonal allergy attack. These symptoms include sneezing, skin irritation, itchy or watery eyes, headaches, and a general tired feeling. When exposure to a toxic strain of mold continues, people may experience a multitude of symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, persistent headaches, unexpected weight loss, and fatigue. It can also lead to respiratory issues such as recurring bronchitis, sinus infections, and a cough that may bring up blood. If exposure continues, these issues can get worse, and permanent impairments can result, which include brain damage, memory deterioration, blindness, bleeding in the lungs, and cancer. Deaths have also been linked to long-term exposure to toxic mold.
Testing for mold can be complicated and expensive. Sometimes the testing phase is skipped and property owners choose to move straight to the clean-up phase. However, testing can provide important evidence if ailing individuals are considering litigation relating to mold exposure. An effective clean-up is also a complex endeavor. It often requires the complete removal of infected surfaces, especially where porous materials are involved, because it can be difficult or impossible to thoroughly clean such items. The cleaning process should also include the identification and repair of leaks that create moist environments where mold can thrive. Mold exposure is particularly high during cleaning, and those with mold-related illness should not be involved in or even present during the process.
Avoiding additional exposure and seeking skilled medical care should be the primary concerns of anyone dealing with a mold-related illness. In some cases, litigation may also be appropriate. Potential defendants in a mold lawsuit include construction companies, landlords, property owners, or employers. Please call our Panama City injury law firm to set up a free consultation.