What is Mold?

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Photo by Brian Negus

How Are You Being Affected by Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus. Molds are microbial life-forms that are eukaryotic microorganisms.  This means that they are decomposers of dead organic material. The reason mold is found indoors is that our homes and offices contain lots of dead organic material such as drywall, wood, mdf, carpet, drapes, furniture, etc. Mold spores and bodies of individual mold colonies are too small for the human eye to see without a microscope. Only when large quantities of mold colonies are growing on a surface, does mold become visible to the human eye. For a mold infestation to be visible to the human eye, it takes 15-21 days.

Molds are the most common forms of fungi found on Earth. They can grow on almost any material, as long as moisture and oxygen are available. Most molds reproduce through the formation of spores, tiny microscopic cells that are resistant to drying and are released into the air. Airborne spores are found both indoors and outdoors. Mold let off a “musty” or “moldy” smell via mitotoxins. When spores land on a suitable moist surface, they begin to grow and release chemicals that digest and can eventually eat the surface and underlying materials destroying it. Molds can also cause adverse health effects.

See also Symptoms of Mold Exposure
References: OSHA Fact Sheet, RIA, IICRC

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