Statistics from 2007 studies conducted at Berkeley reveal that about 21.8 million individuals have asthma in the United States. The pathogenesis of 4.6 million of these cases has been attributed to exposure to indoor dampness and mold. Overall, approximately 30 to 50% of asthma-related health problems are linked to building dampness and mold. The cost for treatment of indoor mold-related asthmatic problems was estimated to be $3.5 billion. The World Health Organization claims that about 1.5 million deaths worldwide each year are linked to indoor air pollution of some sort.

The main element of indoor air pollution is microbial pollution caused by a myriad species of both bacteria and filamentous fungi also known as mold which grows in moist and damp places. Mold was discovered by William Yobe in 1827. The Institute of Medicine has linked exposure to mold to upper respiratory tract problems. Certain types of toxic mold such as aspergillus, fumigatus and histoplasma can cause severe infections in vulnerable individuals with compromised immune systems. A product of mold is mycotoxins. People are often exposed to mycotoxins by ingesting contaminated food, by skin contact or by inhaling these toxins. If exposure to mycotoxins is protracted and unmitigated, the results can be serious adverse health outcomes. Clinical effects resulting from exposure to mycotoxin fumonisins include pulmonary edema, esophageal cancer and many others. Mycotoxin ochratoxins can cause kidney and liver damage over a long period of time. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an immune-mediated health condition can also be exacerbated by exposure to mold.

What is astonishing is that millennia before Yobe’s time the Bible already had cautionary counsel against exposure to mold and fungi. Although the process for remediation of mold infestation has improved in modern times due to technological advancement the approach remains largely the same as the biblical one. Buildings with serious mold infestation often need to be vacated. Recently, in 2002, a South Atlanta apartment complex showed “a serious mold problem” in at least 37 of its 119 units. This necessitated evacuation of dozens of families from the apartments and the property manager and complex owners ended up with numerous compensatory claims from residents exposed to the mold. In Leviticus 14:34-39 the Bible says “When you enter the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your possession, and [there is] a spreading mildew in a house in that land, the owner of the house must go and tell the priest, ‘I have seen something that looks like mildew in my house.’ The priest is to order the house to be emptied before he goes in to examine the mildew, so that nothing in the house will be pronounced unclean.” The Bible is an amazing repository of health guidelines. Learn More at: http://youtu.be/9TOcHIb8N5k

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