What are molds?

The word Mold is a general term used for fungi that produce asexual spores. Fungi include such things as mushrooms, athlete's foot, apple-scab, corn smut, wheat rust, wood rots, and so forth. The most famous mold is the genus Penicillium , from which we get the antibiotic penicillin. The name Penicillium comes from the Latin word for brush because under the microscope, the mold has a brush-like appearance. Molds are composed of long strands of cells, resembling spaghetti, which are collectively called mycelium.

How do I know what kind of mold I have?

Molds can only be positively identified with a microscope. Bluish-green to green molds are usually Penicillium or Aspergillus. Black to brown-black molds can be Aspergillus niger , Alternaria alternata, Cladosporium herbarum, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, or Stachybotrys chartarum (a highly toxic mold). Reddish or pink molds are usually species of Fusarium.

What is a Mold Remediation?

Mold Remediation is the process of isolating, removing and/or cleaning materials with fungal contamination. This may be as simple as removing a small section of moldy sheetrock or completely remodeling an entire basement. Also critical to the role of a remediation contractor is to identify and remedy the source of moisture intrusion. Sometimes this will involve subcontracting work to plumbers, roofers, foundation specialists, etc.


Can mold become a problem in my home?

Yes, if there is moisture available to allow mold to thrive and multiply. The following are sources of indoor moisture that may cause problems:

  • Flooding
  • Backed-up sewers
  • Leaky roofs
  • Humidifiers
  • Mud or ice dams
  • Damp basement or crawl spaces
  • Constant plumbing leaks
  • House plants - watering can generate large amounts of moisture
  • Steam from cooking
  • Shower/bath steam and leaks
  • Wet clothes on indoor drying lines
  • Clothes dryers vented indoors
  • Combustion appliances (e.g. stoves) not exhausted to the outdoors.

Who is at greater risk when exposed to mold?

Exposure to mold is not healthy for anyone inside buildings. It is important to quickly identify and correct any moisture sources before health problems develop. The following individuals appear to be at higher risk for adverse health effects of molds:

  • Infants and children
  • Elderly
  • Immune compromised patients (people with HIV infection, cancer chemotherapy, liver disease, etc.)
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity, and asthma.

    People with these special concerns should consult a physician if they are having health problems.

 What symptoms are common?

Allergic reactions may be the most common health problem of mold exposure. Typical symptoms reported (alone or in combination) include:

  • Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty in breathing
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Eyes-burning, watery, reddened, blurry vision, light sensitivity
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin irritation
  • Central nervous system problems (constant headaches, memory problems, and mood changes)
  • Aches and pains
  • Possible fever


  About Mold




  Fungal Glossary


  Mold Images

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