Mold (or mildew) is the common name for fungi in the indoor environment, although molds are found everywhere in both the indoor and outdoor environment. The vast majority of the time, they are found in association with decaying organic materials, such as leaves and foods. Molds help break down organic materials so they can be recycled and reused by other living things.
Mold and bacteria can be found practically anywhere on earth. Because mold is everywhere, most building materials already have mold spores on them. This is why when building materials like drywall, wood products, paper, etc. become wet and are not dried within 48 hours, they grow mold.
The best line of defense against mold is to limit the amount of time mold has to grow by drying your building materials in the case of a flood as soon as possible. The rule of thumb is if you can’t quickly dry materials like drywall, rugs, and wooden sub-floors, you should remove or dispose of them to eliminate mold growth.
For Healthy People
For the majority of healthy people, mold exposure will only cause a mild allergic response, such as cough, runny nose, and eye irritation (hay fever or allergic rhinitis).
For People with Asthma (Heightened Allergic Response) or Other Chronic Lung Disease
Mold exposure can be a significant problem causing an increase in the severity of lung symptoms for people with chronic lung disease.
For People with Impaired Immune Systems
For children younger than two years old, the very old, those taking long-term steroid drugs, those suffering from HIV, and those who have a compromised immune system, mold exposure can cause life-threatening infections. Special attention should be taken to prevent and remove mold growth around these groups of people.
The Black Mold Myth
Black mold, or Stachybotrys Chartarum, is a greenish-black mold that typically grows on high cellulose and low nitrogen materials like fiberboard, paper, dust, and lint. Black mold needs constant moisture for growth. While black mold was originally reported to cause lung and neurological problems, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now states there is no link between mold and other adverse health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants, memory loss, or lethargy. Black mold should be cleaned and the area repaired like they would for other types of molds. Please visit our Mold Cleanup and Mold Remediation pages to learn more.