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Mold! What is It?

Updated: Apr 16, 2018

Molds (Mould) are fungi found in our natural environment. It is estimated that there are upwards of three hundred thousand different types of molds ranging in a wide variety of colors (CDC, 2017).

Molds act as natures recycling machine by breaking down cellulose and organic matter. Molds can release small microscopic spores that can migrate easily through the air and create new colonies where the right conditions are present. They are present indoors as well as outdoors.


It is virtually impossible to eliminate all molds from the air.

While molds may be present indoors floating on currents of air, their growth is inhibited unless there is ample source of moisture (EPA). They have the ability to digest items composed of cellulose or organic matter such as foods – fruits and vegetables, wood, paper, building materials, and insulation just to name a few. They can grow on any surface providing there is a source of food and of moisture. Some molds species are used in the processing of foods such as soy sauce, cheese, food coloring, and red wine (University of Sydney, 2004). Likewise, some species are used in the medical field to create antibiotic medication such as Penicillin which is derived from the mold Penicillium (National Institute of Health, n.d).


Mold Concerns


Mold is not usually a concern indoors unless: (1) there is a leak and items become damp or wet, (2) the Relative Humidity (RH) levels are over 60%, (3) poor or inadequate ventilation, and (4) the area has condensation issues. If excessive moisture builds up in your home and items remain damp or wet for 24 – 48 hours, mold growth most often will occur. The problem is compounded if the moisture problem remains undiscovered for long periods of time. Furthermore, if the moisture source is not repaired promptly, molds can destroy building materials such as wall studs, trussed drywall, and other items. Additionally, the potential health concerns relating to mold exposure is important and reason enough to prevent and to remediate any signs of mold growth.

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