What Is Mold?
Molds are one of the five Kingdoms of life on earth. The other four Kingdoms of life are: Plants, Animals, Monera (single cell organisms with no nucleus such as bacteria), and Protists (micro-organisms whose cells contain a nucleus such as algae).
Molds exist in every indoor and outdoor environment. The concerns to focus upon are the type of mold present, the quantity of mold present, and an individual’s own sensitivity. Some people have higher sensitivities than others to various molds. Therefore, and with good reason, there are no formally established or adopted limits for the type or levels of mold that are considered “acceptable”.
Mold is a microscopic organism which plays and important function by breaking down plant and animal matter. Molds outdoors can be found in shady and damp areas, or places where leaves and other vegetation is decomposing. Molds located indoor may grow on almost any surface as long as moisture, oxygen, and organic materials are present. The disturbance of mold causes the release of tiny cells called spores into the surrounding air. When spore settle on a new surface, the once again have the opportunity to grow and produce more spores.
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.
When mold spores land on a damp spot, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Since molds gradually destroy the things they grow on, you can prevent damage to building materials and furnishings and save money by eliminating mold growth.
Moisture control is the key to mold control. Molds need both food and water to survive; since molds can digest most things, water is the factor that limits mold growth. Molds will often grow in damp or wet areas indoors. Common sites for indoor mold growth include bathroom tile, basement walls, areas around windows where moisture condenses, and near leaky water fountains or sinks. Common sources or causes of water or moisture problems include roof leaks, deferred maintenance, condensation associated with high humidity or cold spots in the building, localized flooding due to plumbing failures or heavy rains, slow leaks in plumbing fixtures, and malfunction or poor design of humidification systems. Uncontrolled humidity can also be a source of moisture leading to mold growth, particularly in hot, humid climates.
- Molds and problems
- How we test for mold
- How mold samples are analyzed
- Various mold types
- Additional resources about mold