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Mold

 

Molds are types of fungi found throughout the natural environment. Molds reproduce by generating tiny, microscopic spores, just like how plants reproduce by producing  seeds.

Mold spores can be found in both indoor and outdoor air, as well as settled on indoor and outdoor surfaces. In the outdoors, molds live in the soil, on plants, and on dead or decaying organic matter. They play an important and natural role in the breakdown of leaves, wood, and other plant debris.

However, when molds grow indoors, they can damage building materials, furnishings, clothes, and other organic materials. They can also cause respiratory and other health problems for building occupants.

 

Image of mold

 

Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation.  

 

Molds need three things to grow:

  1. A wet or damp environment.
  2. A food source such as leaves, wood, paper products, wall board, insulation materials, ceiling tiles, and other organic based materials.
  3. A temperature range similar to the average residential household temperature.

     

     

 

10 Things to Remember about Mold:

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

  2. 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.

  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-50%) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

  6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

  7. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles may need to be replaced.

  8. Prevent condensation and reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

  9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e. by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

  10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

 

Image of Common areas for Mold in Homes

 

 

Essential Readings and Useful Links on Mold:

 

 
 
 
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