Some of the most significant threats to the safety of workers nationwide, including North Carolina, are those that they cannot see. Exposure to black mold is one such a hazard, and proving it to be work related in a workers' compensation claim can be challenging. The illness that is caused by exposure to toxic mold develops gradually over time and not overnight.
Several fungus species are included in the group of molds that release toxic spores, called mycotoxins, into the air. These dark green or black molds thrive in areas with high humidity, such as North Carolina. When the microscopic airborne spores are inhaled or ingested, they can cause several unpleasant and dangerous symptoms. Workers with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk.
Workers who are exposed to high concentrations of toxigenic mold spores can develop mold poisoning or mycotoxicosis. The symptoms of the illness resemble those of the flu, and it is typically the upper respiratory system that is affected. Workers may experience red and itchy eyes, itchy skin, stuffy nose, wheezing and coughing. Anyone who suffers from allergies or asthma will be at a higher risk of severe illness or even death.
Workers who suspect their flu-like symptoms could be caused by black mold in their workplaces would be wise to see a doctor. If the condition is diagnosed as mycotoxicosis, it might be covered by the North Carolina workers' compensation program. An attorney who has experience in dealing with occupational illnesses can assist with the navigation of benefits claims to cover medical expenses and lost wages.