What is Mold?

There are over 20,000 species of mold and all are a group of organisms that belong to the kingdom of Fungi.  Mold reproduces by making spores, which grow and digest on damp spots indoors. Mold can grow on virtually any organic substance providing that moisture and oxygen are present.  It can cause damage to what it grows on, the longer it grows, the more damage will be caused.  Mold is very similar to a cancer, it starts out small and very rapidly spreads within 48 hours of the water damage event.


Where is Mold Found?

Mold spores may be found lying dormant both indoors and outdoors and grow best in warm, damp and humid conditions.  The key to identifying mold, and it’s locations, is to find where livable conditions exist, have occurred, or are likely to develop.  If mold is found indoors it generally means there are moisture problems present.  Obvious causes of moisture problems include floods, roof leaks and drainage or plumbing issues.  There are many excellent sources for mold to feed on inside buildings and homes, such as drywall, wallpaper glue, some paints, greases and wood products.

Is all Mold Visible?

No, you may have hidden mold. You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells musty, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of drywall, wallpaper or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).



Can Mold Cause Health Problems?

Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

Mold Basics

  1. The key to mold control is moisture control.
  2. If mold is a problem in your home or building you should fix the moisture problem, then clean up the mold.
It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

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