Mold is present in around 40% of all American homes. Fungi have been found to irritate the upper-respiratory tract and cause coughing, wheezing and asthma symptoms in people with allergic antibodies to them.

A new study published at the American Journal of Public Health suggests that mold may be more than just costly and unsightly blight on homes. Moldy homes have been linked to a higher incidence of depression. Some scientists believe that some molds being toxins may hypoactivate parts of the brain that deal with emotions.

World Health Organization looked at 5,882 adults living in eight cities in Europe. They asked residents if they had depressive symptoms like decreased appetite, low self-esteem and sleep disturbances. Those who reported having the symptoms were more likely to live in damp and moldy homes.

While there is no definitive reason for the link between molds and depression, study authors suggest two factors are likely to be at play. One is the perceived lack of control over one’s environment that mold can create and the other is mold-related health problems such as wheezing, fatigue and colds. New studies will investigate whether molds directly cause depression.

Researchers say that housing conditions influence health and suggest homeowners to fix their houses. Mold doesn’t mean trouble for allergy sufferers alone, it also means a home is more likely to be housing cockroaches and bring down property values.

House owners are recommended to keep their bathrooms and the kitchens as dry as possible and maintain good ventilation. After all, a dry home is likely to be a healthier home.