Frequently Asked Questions

What is mold?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

What are common indoor molds?

1.Cladosporium
2.Penicillium
3.Alternaria
4.Aspergillus

How does mold affect people?

Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.

How can I tell if I have a mold problem?

You can usually see or smell a mold problem. Mold can appear as slightly fuzzy, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Most molds produce musty odors that are the first indication of a problem. Mold can grow anywhere there is adequate moisture or a water problem. The best way to find mold is to look for signs of mold growth, water staining, warping, or to follow your nose to the source of the odor. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to control mold growth. These are:

1.Bathrooms especially shower stalls, bathroom tiles, and shower curtains
2.Window moldings
3.The seal on the refrigerator door
4.Surfaces on and around air conditioners

What can I do to prevent mold growth?

The key to preventing mold growth is to identify and control moisture and water problems. Mold spores are everywhere, including your home, and they can grow on any surface that has sufficient moisture.

Common sources of moisture are:

1.Roof leaks
2.Indoor plumbing leaks
3.Outdoor drainage problems
4.Damp basements and crawl spaces
5.Roof leaks
6.Indoor plumbing leaks
7.Outdoor drainage problems
8.Damp basements and crawl spaces
9.Steam from the bathroom or kitchen
10.Condensation on cool surfaces
11.Humidifiers
12.Wet clothes drying inside the home
13.A clothes dryer venting indoors
14.Poor or improper ventilation of heating and cooking appliances
15.Flooding