What is Mold

Mold is a fungi that is found everywhere - both indoors and outdoors all year round. Mold produces millions of spores small enough to be air-borne, water-borne or insect-borne. It can also produce toxic agents known as mycotoxins. Spores and mycotoxins can have negative effects on human health. 


Health Effects of Mold

Molds produce health effects through inflammation, allergy, or infection. Allergic reactions (often referred to as hay fever) are most common following mold exposure. Typical symptoms that mold-exposed persons report include: 

  • Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath
  • Nasal and sinus congestion 
  • Eye irritation (burning, watery, or reddened eyes)
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Nose or throat irritation
  • Skin rashes or irritation


Causes of Mold

Common sources of moisture that may lead to indoor mold problems include:

  • Plumbing leaks
  • Leaky roof
  • Flooding
  • Sewer backup
  • Sprinkler overspray
  • Damp basement or crawlspace
  • Overflow from sinks or sewers
  • Poor ventilation 
  • Increased humidity

Facts About Mold

For molds to grow and reproduce, they need only a food source (any organic material such as leaves, wood, paper or dirt) and moisture. Because molds grow by digesting the organic material, they gradually destroy whatever they grow on. Mold growth on surfaces can often be seen in the form of discoloration (green, gray, brown, or black, but also white and other colors). Molds release countless tiny, lightweight spores, which travel through the air. 


Mold Prevention

Molds can be found almost anywhere and can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. Ways to control mold growth include:

  • Reducing indoor humidity
  • Repairing any source of water problems or leaks
  • Reducing the potential for condensation on cold surfaces
  • Keeping any building materials and furnishings clean and dry
  • Removing carpet in areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem