What is mold?
“Mold” refers to more than a million species of microscopic fungi. Mold spores are seeds; spores continually travel through indoor and outdoor air, germinating when they land on surfaces with excess moisture and an organic food source. Building materials such as wood, carpe, sheetrock and particle board are likely places for mold growth. Spore germination can happen within 24 to 48 hours, and some spores may remain viable for many years.
What are indoor mold types?
Cladosporium is most commonly identified as an outdoor fungus, with high spore count in the summer months. Indoors, it’s usually found on in the fiberglass liner inside air ducts. Its indoor food sources include food, paint and textiles.
Penicillium is most commonly found in carpet, wallpaper and interior fiberglass duct insulation. It’s a relatively wide mold classification. Some species can produce toxins.
Aspergillus is considered to be wholly allergenic and may be parasitic. Depending on the fungus’ food source, some species may produce toxins that may or may not be considered potential human carcinogens.
Strachybotrys chartarum (commonly known as “black mold”), the most deadly form of mold, is relatively rare. Chiefly an indoor fungus, it’s dark-colored (usually greenish-black) and slow-growing, but can be poisonous when inhaled. Even non viable spores are allergenic and toxic.
What causes mold?
Mold grows where excess moisture is present. A variety of conditions can cause moisture problems, including roof, window and plumbing leaks; condensation; flooding; and excess humidity (generally above 60% – 70%). Tightly sealed buildings, such as those constructed during the energy crisis 20-30 years ago, may be a fertile environment for mold because they do not allow moisture to escape easily. There is also documented evidence indicating a high level of mold problems in newly constructed buildings, due to poor construction practices or using modern, water-permeable building materials such as gypsum board, plywood and paper-type insulation.
What about mold clean up?
Mold should be treated like hazardous waste. To prevent further and more serious contamination, mold must be properly located, removed, and disposed of. A remediation company removes mold only after a qualified indoor air quality consultant has completed his inspection, reviewed sampling test results and recommended remediation.
After the remediation, the qualified indoor air quality consultant should come back to inspect and provide post remediation verification. If the cleaning and removal has been successful, indoor mold levels will be equal or lower than outside levels.