What Is Mold
Mold (fungi) is present everywhere – indoors and outdoors. There are more than 100,000 species of mold.
Mold frequently grows in hidden places – behind wall linings, in floors or behind installations – and is often not visible from the outside. When moisture builds up from leaky pipes or roofs, high humidity, or flooding, conditions are ideal for mold growth. Molds are easily disturbed and their spores can become airborne, getting into noses, mouths and lungs.
Additional Information on mold
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Indoor Air Quality – Home page
- A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
- Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
- Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals
- Asthma Triggers – Mold
- IAQ Tools for Schools – Mold and Moisture
- The Inside Story – A Guide to Indoor Air Quality
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health
- State of the Science on Molds and Human Health, July 2002
- Questions about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds
- Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Information from selected States
California Department of Health Services
- Mold in my Home: What do I do?
- Molds in Indoor Workplaces
- Mold in my School
- Fungi and Indoor Air Quality Report
- Links to additional resources
New York City
- Minnesota Department of Health – Mold in Homes
- Indoor Mold: Health Hazard Identification and Control
- Investigating Mold in Minnesota public schools
- Kansas – Articles on mold and asthma
- Colorado – Publication on mold and mildew
- Montana – Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes program
- North Carolina – Bioaerosols in the Human Environment
From the U.S. EPA Website
- Moisture control is the key to mold control, so when water leaks or spills occur indoors – ACT QUICKLY. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
- Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
- Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
- If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
Actions that will help to reduce humidity
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
- Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
- Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.
Actions that will help prevent condensation
- Reduce the humidity (see above).
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.
- Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
- Increase air temperature.
- Mold in Schools Resource List. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) – Annotated list of links, books, and journal articles about identifying, assessing, and removing mold-contaminated materials from school facilities and preventing mold growth.
- John Hopkins – Mold Control in the Home. A useful interactive map of a home with tips on controlling moisture and humidity.
- Mold In Our Homes. A video resource for information about what mold is, what to look for, how to prevent it, and what options are available if you suspect mold in your home.
- Mortgage Savings Program. A bi-weekly mortgage and debt reduction company.
- I-love-dogs.com. Directory of Dog Websites & Tons of FREE Dog Stuff!
- National Association of Mold Professionals (NAMP). A non-profit organization that was established with the goal of developing and promoting the Mold Inspection and Remediation industry.
- American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
- American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)
- Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA)
- The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
- National Association of Mold Professionals (NAMP)
Asthma and Allergic Diseases
- Pew Environmental Health Commission
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
- American Lung Association (ALA)
- Asthma and Allergy Network / Mothers of Asthmatics, Inc. (AAAN*MA)
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
- National Jewish Medical and Research Center
- American Academy of Pediatrics – Does toxic mold affect our kids?
- Institute of Medicine (IOM) – Clearing the Air 2000 Report
- Institute of Medicine (IOM) – Indoor Allergens, 1993 Report
- Mayo Clinic, 1999 Study