What Is Mold?
Molds are fungi.
Molds grow throughout the natural and built
environment. Tiny particles of mold are present in indoor and outdoor air. In nature, molds help break down dead
materials and can be found growing on soil, foods, plant matter, and other items.
Molds produce microscopic cells called "spores" which are very
tiny and spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they
find the right conditions.
What does mold need to grow?
Mold only needs a few simple things to grow and
Suitable place to grow
Of these, controlling excess moisture is the key to preventing
and stopping indoor mold growth.
Should I be concerned about mold in my home? Mold should not be
permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, health problems can occur and building materials, goods
and furnishings may be damaged.
Can mold make me and my family sick?
Mold can affect the health of people who are exposed to it.
People are mainly exposed to mold by breathing spores or other tiny fragments. People can also be exposed through
skin contact with mold contaminants (for example, by touching moldy surfaces) and by swallowing
The type and severity of health effects that mold may produce are
usually difficult to predict. The risks can vary greatly from one location to another, over time, and from person
What symptoms might I
The most common health problems caused by indoor
mold are allergy symptoms. Although other and more serious problems can occur, people exposed to
mold commonly report problems such as:
Nasal and sinus congestion
Skin and eye irritation
Upper respiratory infections (including
Are the risks greater for some people?
There is wide variability in how different people are affected by
indoor mold. However, the long term presence of indoor mold growth may eventually become unhealthy for anyone. The
following types of people may be affected more severely and sooner than others:
* Infants and children
* Elderly people
* Individuals with respiratory conditions or sensitivities such
as allergies and asthma
* Persons having weakened immune systems (for example, people
with HIV infection, chemotherapy patients, organ transplant recipients)
Those with special health concerns should consult a medical
professional if they feel their health is affected by indoor mold.
Are some molds more hazardous than
Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds (called
mycotoxins) although they do not always do so. Molds that are able to produce toxins are common. In some
circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. However, all indoor mold growth is
potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what types of mold is present or whether it can