According to the University of Tennessee, the crawl space under your home can have a large number of negative side effects. A damp or wet crawlspace can easily be the direct cause of weak walls, buckling floors; can cause structural damage, and affect mechanical and electrical systems.
A damp or wet crawlspace can quickly become a breeding ground for insects, termites and other pests. Crawlspace moisture tends to destroy insulation and can increase humidity, increasing the high energy costs and reducing the value of your home.
The most serious side effect of moisture in a crawlspace is the large number of health issues it can cause to those who live above the space. Mold that forms in a wet crawlspace can cause mild to serious respiratory problems and skin irritations in some adults and young children.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut found when mold is airborne it can greatly increase the symptoms of asthma and cause severe allergic reactions in some adults and small children. Mold can also lead to digestive problems, breathing difficulties, cognitive deficits and neurological damage.
Asthma and Allergies
Mold commonly is best known to cause allergies and asthma in some adults and children. The repeated exposure to mold spores can effect your immune system and can cause inflammation reactions. These allergic reactions can cause sneezing, nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing and a constant sore throat. Mold from damp or wet crawlspaces can severely aggravate people who are diagnosed with asthma.
Mold that develops from crawlspace moisture has been linked to various forms of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis has the tendency to affect men and women that are employed in farming, woodworking and metalworking. This occurs from inhaling foreign particles. Some symptoms include shortness of breathe, chills, chest tightness, coughing and fatigue.
When people with cystic fibrosis or asthma become infected with mold species, they can become hypersensitive to the fungus that can lead to serious respiration problems. According to the University of Connecticut, allergic fungal sinusitis occurs in some adults and children when fungal growth develops in their sinuses. Exposure to mold from crawlspace moisture tends to encourage growth until it destroys sinus tissue.
When exposure to mold affects your immune system it tends to cause skin irritation or problems. Further studies suggest mold has contributed to itchy, red, dry skin.
Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome
ODTS, or organic dust toxic syndrome, is a term used to host illnesses that are thought to be triggered by inhaling fungal toxins or bacterial endotoxins. ODTS has flu-like symptoms; fever, chills and a cough, but slightly differs from hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Mycotxins are metabolites that mold can produce. Crawlspaces exposed to moisture can produce volatile organic compounds, which are the leading causes of mold’s musty odors. These compounds are very irritating to the eyes, nose, throat, chest and skin. Mycotoxins contribute to headaches and fatigue.
Studies have shown exposure to mold or mycotoxins can cause side effects; memory loss, difficulty concentrating and personality changes in some adults and children.
Mold can grow and multiply quickly. The most effective way to protect your home and health from exposure to mold is to consult a waterproofing expert and have your basement professionally waterproofed. A good waterproofing expert will examine your basement and recommend the best and most cost efficient way to solve the problem. Most waterproofing contractors give a free estimate, discuss your options and give you plenty of time to make the best decision.