Build a healthy environment for your baby with practical and easy tips from national nonprofit Healthy Child Healthy World.

Mama Bears Don’t Like Mold

Photo: iStockphoto/ssstep

by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Executive Director/CEO, Healthy Child Healthy World

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I never thought much about mold, until my first child was born. We came home from the hospital and discovered greenish black mold covered the wall behind the family bed. With a three-day-old baby in my arms, I wasn’t wasting time with testing. My husband and I called the landlord, told him he could keep the security deposit, and we moved in with my father that night.

Of course, a brush with mold doesn’t always trigger such rash action. Once I came out of my post-partum, mama bear phase, I felt a little sheepish about giving up our beautiful little cottage—and our security deposit.

But recent news justified that decision we made, 12 years ago. New data from the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that exposure to household mold in infancy greatly increases a child’s risk of developing asthma. Researchers found that children who lived in homes with mold during infancy were three times more likely to develop asthma by age seven than those who weren’t exposed, according to a story in U.S. News and World Report.

In related news, last week’s high mold warning for the Midwest, as reported by UPI, shouldn’t be taken lightly by new and expectant parents, or for parents with children in schools that have been affected by mold. In areas such as Chicago, the mold count is at toxic levels, due to rain and flooding over the summer.

In general, Healthy Child Healthy World’s 5 Easy Steps can be a helpful guide in promoting healthier air quality in your home. You can also purchase a hygrometer, which measures indoor humidity that can lead to mold, at a hardware store.

If you suspect you have mold, both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control provide helpful information. The Better Business Bureau recommends controlling mold by fixing plumbing leaks as soon as they appear, venting damp areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, contacting a qualified contractor and wearing gloves—I’ve also read a ventilator mask—when handling it.

Finally, I’m not recommending a full-on move, but if you’re in mama bear mode, you might want to take the opportunity for a short vacation during clean up.

About Healthy Child Healthy World

Healthy Child Healthy World is a national non-profit inspiring the movement to protect our children from harmful chemicals. Healthy Child translates scientific findings and empowers parents to create healthy environments where families can flourish. Visit for more information.

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