About Mold

What are molds?

Molds are simple, microscopic organisms, present virtually everywhere,
indoors and outdoors. Molds, along with mushroom and yeasts, are fungi
and are needed to breakdown dead material and recycle nutrients in the
environment.  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. Sometimes, new molds grow on
old mold colonies. Mold growth on surfaces can often be seen in the form of
discoloration, frequently green, gray, brown, or black but also white and
other colors. Molds release countless tiny, lightweight spores, which travel
through the air.

How am I exposed to indoor molds?

Everyone is exposed to some mold on a daily basis without evident harm. It
is common to find mold spores in the air inside homes, and most of the
airborne spores found indoors come from outdoor sources. Mold spores
primarily cause health problems when they are present in large numbers
and people inhale many of them. This occurs primarily when there is active
mold growth within home, office or school where people live or work.
People can also be exposed to mold by touching contaminated materials
and by eating contaminated foods.

Can mold become a problem in my home?

Molds will grow and multiply whenever conditions are right-sufficient
moisture is available and organic material is present. Be on the look out in
your home for common sources of indoor moisture that may lead to mold
problems:
•        FLOODING
•        LEAKY ROOFS
•       SPRINKLER SPRAY HITTING YOUR HOME/BUISNESS
•       PLUMBING LEAKS
•       OVER FLOW FROM SINKS OR SEWERS
•       DAMP BASEMENT OR CRAWL SPACE
•       STEAM FROM SHOWER OR COOKING
•       HUMIDIFIERS
•       WET CLOTHES DRYING INDOORS OR CLOTHES DRYERS
EXHAUSTING INDOORS

Warping floors and discoloration of walls and ceilings can be indications of
moisture problems. Condensation on windows or walls is also an important
indication, but it can sometimes be caused by an indoor combustion
problem!

Should I be concerned about mold in my home?

Yes, if indoor mold contamination is extensive, it can cause very high and
persistent airborne spore exposures. Persons exposed to high spore levels
can become sensitized and develop allergies to the mold or other health
problems. Mold growth can damage your furnishings, such as carpets,
sofas and cabinets. Clothes and shoes in damp closets can become
soiled. In time, unchecked mold growth can cause serious damage to the
structural elements in your home.

HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE MOLD IN MY HOUSE?

You may suspect you have mold if you see discolored patches or cottony or
speckled growth on walls or furniture or if you smell an earthy or musty odor.
You also may suspect mold contamination if mold allergic individuals
experience some of the symptoms listed above in the house. Evidence of
past or ongoing “water damage” (make link) should also trigger more
thorough inspection. You may find mold growth underneath water damaged
surfaces or behind walls, floors, or ceilings.