Mold is a fungi. There are more than 100,000 known species of mold.
Mold can survive the cold of space and high temperatures. High spore
levels in the air can have health effects on people. Overexposure can
cause breathing problems, congestion, hay fever, and allergies just
to name a few. Water damaged building materials is a good food source
to promote mold growth in the home environment.
What is Toxic Mold?
Toxic mold can be of any species. Mold becomes toxic, when one is over
exposed to high levels and the human body has a reaction to overexposure
to these toxins in the environment.
What is Black Mold?
Mold can come in many colors. Just because mold is black does not mean
that is Stachybotrys atra. Mold can grow on many types of materials
and this in turn can affect it color.
What is a Sick House?
A home that is no longer environmentally safe for people to live in.
Mold in the home can cause people to have allergies and other symptoms
that could have an impact on their health. Sick House or (Home) in some
cases can be treated to remove the contamination to safe levels. In
an extreme case of contamination the home my have to be demolished.
What is Mold Allergy?
These are the symptoms that can cause people to have a reaction to
high concentrations of mold spores in the home or work environment.
Over a period of time the body’s immune system will break down
and the subject will experience flu like symptoms. Examples: nasal congestion,
inflammation of the sinuses, headaches, and cough just to name a few.
What is Mold Removal?
The elimination of contaminated material in a home or business that
has been tested and found to be a danger to public health. A trained
professional should do work of this nature.
What is Mold Remediation?
The safe and professional removal of mold contaminated material from
a structure, and the use of safe guards to protect the uncontaminated
areas of the structure to insure public safety.
What is Mold Mildew?
When people see mildew growth on the north side of their home or in
a shaded area most people refer to it as mildew, this is a fungi that
likes a dark damp area. This type of mold should be washed from homes
and buildings to help cut down on the likely hood of this contaminate
from infecting your home environment.
What is House Mold?
This mold is like any mold found in our every day environment. These
molds sometimes find their way into our homes and do multiply; in most
cases, because of high humidity or from water leaks that can sometimes
go undetected giving the mold spores the right condition for growth
in walls, floors, and ceiling areas.
What is a Mold Spore?
These spores are microscopic in size it has been said that 250 thousand
can fit on the head of a pin, and over 300 million spores can cover
one square foot. Mold spores can infect a large area and cannot be seen
with the human eye. They are present everywhere indoors and outdoors.
What is Mold Inspection?
A certified mold inspector should perform inspections for mold and
other toxic contamination. Using the right equipment to test indoor
air quality and visual inspection to locate the source of the infestation
and providing a treatment plan to clear the home or business of mold.
What is a Mold Inspector?
This is a person that has been trained in the art of testing air and
direct samples for mold spores and other contaminates in the environment.
What is Black Mold Symptoms?
Black mold symptoms can very from person to person. High mold spore
counts in the home environment can cause some to have an allergic reaction
and they have been known to kill infants that were continually exposed
over a long period of time.
What are Toxic Mold Symptoms?
When people are consistently exposed to high mold spore levels a host
of symptoms can develop, here a few to look for nasal congestion, irritation
of the eyes, inflammation of the sinuses, irritation of the skin, breathlessness,
headaches, runny nose, sore throat, hoarseness, fatigue, and memory
What are Toxic Mold Attorneys?
These types of attorneys in most cases are personal injury attorneys
or toxic tort attorneys. Ask about their qualifications and experience
in this field.
What is Mold Growth?
This is the process by which mold grows and multiplies. When this goes
unchecked in the home environment and the levels of mold spores become
to high, over exposure to mold can cause health problems.
What is Basement Mold?
This mold can be any number of molds in the fungi family. Basements
are cool and damp areas that can grow mold on the walls, under carpet,
and carpet padding. Mold growth in the basement can have an effect on
the health of everyone living in the home from high mold exposure.
What is Mold Insurance?
Mold insurance is a policy written to help homeowners to recover loses
from toxic mold contamination. Some insurance companies are trying to
rewrite their policies to exclude mold claims.
Are there different Types of Mold?
There are many types of mold, and in cases of high mold exposure people
can have health problems and a variety of symptoms such as asthma, nosebleed,
memory loss, fatigue, and hay fever.
What is Mold Exposure?
Being exposed to a high concentration of contamination in a home or
work environment that can pose a health risk and cause allergies and
What is a Mold Law Suite?
This is when a person files a suite in a court of law to receive compensation
for loss of health and property. In most cases these types of attorneys
are personal injury trial lawyers.
What is a Mold Treatment?
Can be a chemical treatment of an area and the removal of contaminated
or water damaged material to reduce the spread of mold spores in the
home environment. The use of a chemical that can kill mold on contact
What are molds?
Molds are microscopic fungi that live on plant or animal matter. No
one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens
of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Most are filamentous
organisms and the production of spores is characteristic of fungi in
general. These spores can be air-, water-, or insect-borne.
What are some of the common indoor molds?
How do molds affect people?
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds
can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, or wheezing.
Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have
more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed
to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers
working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness
of breath. People with chronic illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease,
may develop mold infections in their lungs.
Where are molds found?
Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected,
both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by
warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp
areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors
they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements
How can people decrease mold exposure?
Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold,
such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold
growth can be slowed by keeping humidity levels below 50% and ventilating
showers and cooking areas. Mold growth can be removed with commercial
products or a weak bleach solution (1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water).
In situations where mold exposure is unavoidable, sensitive people should
wear a tight-fitting face mask.
Keep the humidity level in the house below 50%.
Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans in
kitchen and bathrooms.
Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.
What areas have high mold exposures?
I found mold growing in my home, how do I test the mold?
Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing
in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds.
Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most
often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals
can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling
and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you
are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential
health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you
should arrange for its removal. Furthermore, reliable sampling for mold
can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not
an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established.
A qualified environmental lab took samples of the mold in my home and
gave me the results. Can CDC interpret these results?
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable, or normal quantity
of mold have not been established. If you do decide to pay for environmental
sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants
who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test
results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations
they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples
taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical
inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s
characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
WHAT IS SICK HOUSE SYNDROME?
Occupants become sick or may become sick in the future from exposure
to airborne contaminants in the house. These contaminants can be chemical
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS?
Indoor air with high concentrations of chemical and/or biological contaminants
may cause symptoms in people. Some symptoms may include headaches, nausea,
sinus problems, unexplained fatigue, and even cancer.
Chemical contaminants are many and various. Here is a short list.
Dry cleaned clothes
Before the energy crisis of the 70s, the standard US home was not typically
"tight" construction. Houses had built in infiltration and
exfiltration paths. This was good for the IAQ, because outside and inside
air were accidentally exchanged. However, the cost of heating and cooling
was exorbitant due to these leaky houses. The energy crisis forced builders
to build tighter houses with little or no paths for outside air exchange.
As a result, indoor contaminants accumulated and thus began the sick
Until recently, the typical Japanese house was purposely built with
mechanisms for infiltration and exfiltration. This was done to prevent
the buildup of humidity and heat from the hot and humid summer season.
Floors under tatami mats were made of planks that allowed infiltration/exfiltration
to dry out the mats. Roofing planks were used as the base for typical
roofing tiles. Sliding doors are a great way to turn an indoor room
into a semi-outdoor room. With this planned natural ventilation, the
house would not be quite as hot in the summer as it would without ventilation.
However, recently, the modern Japanese wants more thermal comfort in
the home during winter and summer. Since this cannot be done efficiently
with natural ventilation in most of Japan, they are resorting to mechanical
means for thermal comfort. Doing this and saving energy at the same
time requires tight construction. Thus, sick house syndrome has become
a problem in Japan also.
WHAT MEASURES SHOULD YOU TAKE TO COUNTER SICK HOUSE SYNDROME?
Hardwood floors instead of composite materials.
Central air conditioning for the entire house.
Hardwood stairs instead of composite materials.
Exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms, and toilet rooms that exhaust to
WHAT ADDITIONAL MEASURES CAN YOU TAKE?
Reduce accidental infiltration/exfiltration in combination with controlled
and filtered ventilation.
Use insulation without formaldehyde binders.
Use particle board without formaldehyde binders.
Provide controlled ventilation to satisfy ASHRAE requirements.
Size HP systems to precise requirements to reduce humidity levels.
Use paints and sealers that will not contribute to poor IAQ.
Provide QUIET timer switches for spot ventilation and educate the customer
on their usage.
Provide a means for cleaning and maintaining indoor coils on the heat
pump system. Provide a humidistat in addition to the standard thermostat
for the heat pump system.
Need a Certified Mold Inspector to find ALL of the mold damage, mold
problems, mold infestation, dry rot, and rotten wood [caused by unseen
mold and water damage] hidden in your home or other real estate? Hire
a Certified Mold Inspector in your area by clicking on your state's
Please click on your area to find a Certified Mold Inspector ---
Are you looking for training to be a Certified Mold Inspector or Certified
It is the goal of S.E.M.I. to offer individuals lecture classes and
hands-on training in the business of mold inspection and mold remediation
so they are prepared to establish their own mold inspection and mold
remediation business or to find employment with established mold inspection
Mold Inspection & Mold Remediation
The Mold Inspection & Mold Remediation curriculum consists of the
following required classes and hours:
A Brief History of Mold in Our Environment
(This module gives an explanation of what and why mold is in our environment.)
How Does Mold Contamination Affect Our Health
(This module gives an explanation of how mold in our environment can
affect our health. How and why high levels of mold spores affect our
Equipment Used in Mold Inspection & Remediation
(This module gives an understanding of what equipment is required and
preferred in the mold inspection and remediation profession.)
Mold Inspection Technique and Protocols, Looking For Mold
in Any Structure
(This module gives an in depth study on how to find mold in structures,
where to look and what to expect.)
Collection of Mold Samples Procedures and Protocols
(This module will explain the proper procedures on how and where to
collect your samples of mold in a home or business environment.)
Lab Reports, Documents, Chain of Evidence
(This module will explain how to read lab reports, documents used in
the industry, and how to report on the evidence you found in the structure.)
Case Studies of Mold Contamination in Structures Q&A
(This module will cover cases of mold contamination from start to finish.
How, Why, What If ect…)
Mold Remediation Protocols
(This module will explain the proper protocols that you need to follow
to safely remediate a structure.)
Mold Remediation Using Chemical Solutions
(This module will explain the different types of solutions used in
the industry and the effects it may have on your health)
Furniture, Carpet and Clothing
(This module will cover how to test these materials useing EPA guidelines.)
(This module will cover how to communicate with your client’s
questions and fears of their home or business being contaminated by
Dealing with Attorneys on Mold Cases
(This module will cover some of the requirements attorneys will look
for such as evidence, reports, and being an expert witness or consultant.)
Fees, Paper work, and Your Clients Q&A
(This Module will cover the fees you should charge and what factors
to take into consideration when setting your fees. We will also cover
the paperwork needed to be completed at the end of each inspection or
Ten Things You Should Know About Mold
Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures
include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in
the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to
If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the
mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting
bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside;
using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and
using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within
24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely.
Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need
to be replaced.
Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold
surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by
In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install
carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete
floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any
substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow
on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
Asthma and Mold
Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma.
People with asthma should avoid contact with or exposure to molds.
During a flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in your home or office
may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove
contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present
serious long-term health risks. Standing water and wet materials are
a breeding ground for microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and
mold. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue
to damage materials long after the flood.
This fact sheet discusses problems caused by microbial growth, as well
as other potential effects of flooding, on long-term indoor air quality
and the steps you can take to lessen these effects. Although the information
contained here emphasizes residential flood cleanup, it is also applicable
to other types of buildings.
Remove Standing Water
Standing water is a breeding ground for microorganisms, which can become
airborne and be inhaled. Where floodwater contains sewage or decaying
animal carcasses, infectious disease is of concern. Even when flooding
is due to rain water, the growth of microorganisms can cause allergic
reactions in sensitive individuals. For these health reasons, and to
lessen structural damage, all standing water should be removed as quickly
Dry Out Your Home
Excess moisture in the home is an indoor air quality concern for three
Microorganisms brought into the home during flooding may present a
health hazard. These organisms can penetrate deep into soaked, porous
materials and later be released into air or water. Coming in contact
with air or water that contains these organisms can make you sick.
High humidity and moist materials provide ideal environments for the
excessive growth of microorganisms that are always present in the home.
This may result in additional health concerns such as allergic reactions.
Long term increases in humidity in the home can also foster the growth
of dust mites. Dust mites are a major cause of allergic reactions and
Remove Wet Materials
It can be difficult to throw away items in a home, particularly those
with sentimental value. However, keeping certain items that were soaked
by water may be unhealthy. Some materials tend to absorb and keep water
more than others. As a general rule: Materials that are wet and cannot
be thoroughly cleaned and dried should be discarded, as they can remain
a source of microbial growth.
How to Identify the Cause of a Mold and Mildew Problem.
Mold and mildew are commonly found on the exterior wall surfaces of
corner rooms in heating climate locations. An exposed corner room is
likely to be significantly colder than adjoining rooms, so that it has
a higher relative humidity (RH) than other rooms at the same water vapor
pressure. If mold and mildew growth are found in a corner room, then
relative humidity next to the room surfaces is above 70%. However, is
the RH above 70% at the surfaces because the room is too cold or because
there is too much moisture present (high water vapor pressure)?
The amount of moisture in the room can be estimated by measuring both
temperature and RH at the same location and at the same time. Suppose
there are two cases. In the first case, assume that the RH is 30% and
the temperature is 70oF in the middle of the room. The low RH at that
temperature indicates that the water vapor pressure (or absolute humidity)
is low. The high surface RH is probably due to room surfaces that are
"too cold." Temperature is the dominating factor, and control
strategies should involve increasing the temperature at cold room surfaces.
In the second case, assume that the RH is 50% and the temperature is
70oF in the middle of the room. The higher RH at that temperature indicates
that the water vapor pressure is high and there is a relatively large
amount of moisture in the air. The high surface RH is probably due to
air that is "too moist." Humidity is the dominating factor,
and control strategies should involve decreasing the moisture content
of the indoor air.
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance
when moisture is present. Outdoors, many molds live in the soil and
play a key role in the breakdown of leaves, wood, and other plant debris.
Without molds we would all be struggling with large amounts of dead
plant matter. Molds break down plant materials by digesting them, using
the plant material for food.
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce, just as plants produce seeds.
Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When
mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and
digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are
molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, even dynamite. When
excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often
occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or
un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold
spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth
is to control moisture.
Molds can trigger asthma episodes in individuals with an allergic reaction
Can mold cause health problems?
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on
a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause
health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause
allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic
substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may
cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses
include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes,
and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They
can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in
people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure
can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic
and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant
types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research
on mold and health effects is ongoing. This brochure provides a brief
overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related
to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional.
You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.
Suspicion of hidden mold
You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot
see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents
are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as
the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling
tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations
of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking
or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation
forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due
to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).
Investigating hidden mold problems
Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require
caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of
mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive
release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper.
If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring
an experienced professional.
Cleanup and Biocides
Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of
a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach,
for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup.
There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate
its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present).
In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area;
a background level of mold spores will remain - these spores will not
grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use
disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the
air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning
solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could
Building air quality, toxic mold, allergen or other sick house investigations,
mold lab testing services, and information on mold, mildew, moisture,
pollen, dust mite, & environmental information for home buyers,
home owners, consultants. Field investigations, 24-hr. mold laboratory
testing, and mold identification services are offered.
Toxic black mold problem can cause severe health problems & mold
illness such as birth defects, miscarriages, headaches, memory loss,
destruction of brain tissue, cancer, allergic reactions, loss of hair,
skin disease, open skin sores, skin rashes & skin lacerations, fungal
infections, chronic sinusitis, sinus problems, allergies to mold, lung
diseases [like Aspergilliosis], and other respiratory illnesses, mold
induced infections, and even death.
Mold grows well in homes, condominiums, apartments, offices, &
other work places & buildings because most property owners &
managers do NOT properly maintain building roofs; exterior siding; windows;
heating, ventilating, and air conditioning [hvac] equipment & ducts;
& plumbing fixtures, water lines, & sewer lines to prevent water
intrusion, and/ or they fail to quickly find, detect, search for, &
repair mold water plumbing problems such as water leaks, water &
sewer breaks, broken water & sewer lines, dripping water, running
water, flooding, flood damage, & other water, moisture, humidity,
sewer, mold damage problems, black mold infestation, and toxic mold
The most effective way to find, locate, detect, investigate, &
test hidden toxic black mold growth, mold problems, mold damage, black
mold contamination, toxic mold infestation, & elevated levels of
airborne mold spores in your home, condo, apartment, office, or work
place is to search for mold clues and mold signs with Mold Inspection
, Mold Investigation & Mold Testing by a Certified Mold Inspector
or a Certified Toxic Mold Investigator. Pay for your own toxic mold
inspection and mold tests to know the truth about mold problems at work
or in your home, apartment, office, or other real estate.