Signs of Mold
September 23, 2016

What Is Mold?

Molds are microscopic organisms found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Most people think
that mold is slimy, blackish-green discolorations that gradually increases in size, but found only in dirty,
unkempt homes or apartments. The truth is, mold and spores can flourish in sparkling clean
environments as well.

Molds are microscopic organisms (miniscule life forms) found virtually everywhere outdoors. No one
really knows how many species of mold exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to hundreds
of thousands. Spore production is characteristic of molds in general to reproduce. A spore is a small
reproductive body that is capable of growing into a new organism, producing bacteria, fungi, and algae.
Most spores are filamentous (thread-like) organisms so small that 250,000 of them can fit on the head
of a pin. They stay airborne indefinitely, drifting from one room to the next, landing on food, clothing,
appliances, table tops, carpeting and furniture, walls and woodwork. Any wet, damp or humid surface
becomes a breeding ground for mold colonies and more spores.

Where mold is found.

We’ve all seen mold; ugly stains of white, orange, green, brown and black spreading on walls, floors and
other surfaces. But the most dangerous mold is the mold we don’t see. Mold and mildew is inside your
sink and dishwasher cabinets and probably in your bathrooms and laundry areas. There is an 86%
chance of mold growing somewhere in or on your refrigerator. Its nestled into the microscopic crevices
of clothing, furniture fabric and in your carpeting. There is little doubt that mold spores exist in your
heating and air conditioner system ductwork from where mold is continually dispersed throughout a
home or building looking for a place to “plant” its self and grow. It can be found in your window sills,
basement, crawl space and attic, office desk, indoor plants, kitchen counter space, on the TV, in your
fireplace and countless other places.

Mold exposure risks vary.

The above incidences could be every day, ordinary “low-risk” and “acceptable level” occurrences of
mold—or not. Each person has their own level of tolerance to the mycotoxins (poisons) emitted by
mold. And those with higher levels of tolerance to mycotoxins can eventually become sensitized to
these poisons from prolonged exposures.

Signs of increased health risks to mold exposure.

“Higher risk” mold conditions are more easily recognized by the sudden visual appearance of emerging
mold. Another and unmistaken evidence of this kind of mold problem is the presence of a pungent
mildew or musty odor, even when mold is not visually evident. The faintest whiff of this odor should
immediately prompt one’s concern about mold exposure and to take quick action to identify and
correct its cause and clean up the mold and mildew damage! Our mold consultants are prepared to
assist you in necessary planning and cost-effective corrective actions to take.

Some molds have been more closely associated with specific health problems. One example is
Stachybotrys atra, a greenish–black mold often referred to as “toxic mold.” It grows on material with
high cellulose content (e.g. drywall, wood, paper, dust). Stachybotrys becomes a problem when it emits
mycotoxins capable of producing toxic effects in humans and animals. Many Aspergillus species of
molds also produce mycotoxins.

Should you be concerned about mold in your home or office?

Absolutely! Eventually, mold destroys whatever it grows on. It can ruin furnishings, destroy cabinets
and cause serious damage to the structural elements in your property. Mold is extremely durable and
adaptable. It can survive in the harshest conditions and is resistant to even the strongest disinfectants
and bleaches. Eliminating leaks and moisture can slow the spread of mold, but testing to determine the
type of mold is the first responsible step in creating an effective action plan.

Answers to your mold problems.

Do you have a concern about indoor mold exposure or are in question about a possible mold
colonization problem? AirAware qualified mold and mildew inspectors are equipped and available to
evaluate and assess your individual conditions. Our certified toxic mold inspectors can conduct mold
sampling and test to give you comparative baseline analysis for an accurate snapshot of what is in the
air you breathe.