|Mold Inspection Information: What is mold? |
Molds are simple, microscopic organisms whose purpose in the ecosystem is to break down organic materials. They can be found wherever there are organic materials and moisture, which are the necessary ingredients for mold growth. Molds are found both indoors and outdoors, and in any area of the country. Some are visible, some are not.
Except in structures where all of the incoming air is cleaned, there is never going to be a “mold-free” condition. Therefore, when checking a house for mold, the intent is to have the indoor mold condition equal to or lesser than the outdoor condition. Mold screening of the indoor and outdoor conditions determine if an outdoor mold problem exists and what types of molds are growing indoors.
Mold spores generally enter a home on air currents, clothing, shoes and house pets. They thrive particularly well on cellulose materials such as wood, drywall, ceiling tiles and carpet. When a mold spore comes into contact with a suitable surface, it germinates and begins to grow. Each mold colony (mycelium) then produces millions of microscopic spores within a few days, and continues to grow as long as sufficient moisture is present.
A small portion of mold may be visible on the surface of a material. However, it is this part of the mold that usually releases the largest amounts of reproductive spores. These spores facilitate further germination and present the potential health threat we hear so much about today. According to the New York City Department of Health’s Facts about Mold, ( February 28, 2001 ), mold spores can be released into the air when mold material becomes damaged or disturbed. Homeowners are exposed to mold when they inhale spores, handle moldy materials or accidentally ingest mold. Molds can also produce mycotoxins, which, according to the EPA, can produce serious health effects.
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