Several consumers who purchased front-loader washing machines eventually experienced the same unpleasant flaw with their equipment – mold.

Mold is a fungus. Mold can encompass a large and taxonomically diverse number of fungal species. Over time, mold persistently grows on anything organic when moisture is present, which can be caused by a variety of factors. If not treated properly and in a timely manner, it could lead to health problems.

Molds are ubiquitous in nature as the spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. Some molds cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. And a few molds, in the right conditions, produce “mycotoxins,” poisonous substances that can make people sick. However, when mold spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard. And prolonged exposure may be particularly harmful.

According to the EPA, mild symptoms caused by mold allergies are watery, itchy eyes, a chronic cough, headaches or migraines, difficulty breathing, rashes, fatigue, sinus problems, nasal congestion, and frequent sneezing.

In regards to the front-loader washing machines cited in the complaint, the mold is detectable by a pungent and unpleasant odor emanating from the unit; or seen, again, accumulating on the door seal. This same stench can transfer to washed clothing.

However, instead of recalling or fixing the problem immediately, companies produced tablets and powders marketed as washing machine cleaners. The catch, not only did the customer purchase the machine – which on average ran $1,000 – but they too had to buy the cleaner to remedy the moldy-flaw.

Now consumers want a refund for the pricey, faulty washing machines they purchased. Many were forced to buy new models when the mold became too much.

In response to the reports complaining about the issue with the washing machines, Whirlpool stated, “This is lawyer-driven litigation in which the attorneys are seeking fees and damages for more than 97 percent of all washer purchasers who have never had the problem alleged in the lawsuit, and are completely satisfied with their washing machines.”