What is Mold?

According to the USEPA it is estimated that most people spend about 90% of their time indoors, thus the issue of exposure to airborne contaminates is of particular concern. In recent decades, exposure to indoor air pollutants has increased due to a variety of factors, including the construction of tightly sealed buildings, the reduction of ventilation and the increase of home and office based employment.

Buildings are dynamic environments affected by geographic location, season, weather conditions, HVAC system design and operation, moisture intrusion, pest colonization, and human activities. These and other factors continually change the development of mold growth.

Molds, a subset of fungi, are ubiquitous on our planet. Fungi are found in every ecological niche, and are necessary for the recycling of organic building blocks that allow plants and animals to live. Molds multiple by producing spores, similar to the seeds produced by plants.

Mold Spores are always present in the air and on objects. When the temperature and moisture activity within the environment is suitable for colonization, the mold spore bursts and grows into a thread-like filament called a hyphae. Using the object it is growing on as a food source, the hyphae form a mass, called a mycelium, and within a short time begin to produce spores. At maturity, the spore sacs burst and release microscopic spores, which eventually land on other materials and begin the reproductive cycle again.

Molds can grow on cloth, carpet, leather, wood, wallboard, household dust, and on anything that is made of organic material. Sustained mold growth requires moisture, organic material (a food source), and a suitable temperature generally in the range of 40° to 100°F. When one or more of  these three conditions are unsatisfactory, the mold colony will become dormant. When favorable conditions are restored, the dormant colony will resume its metabolic activity.

Occupants of affected structures may become exposed to molds and their bi-products, either by ingestion, direct contact and/or inhalation.

According  to the EPA “Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints”

According to the American Lung Association “Exposure to these microorganisms and toxins may increase the risk of developing lung disease.”

In buildings where mold growth has occurred, the mold must be remediated and the sources of moisture eliminated.