Mold is a fungi in nature and has an important job of breaking down dead organic matter such as plants and animal matter in the environment. Feeding on this organic matter allows the mold to help decompose the matter and recycle the nutrients. Mold can grow almost anywhere, but there has to be a food source fueling that growth. A combination of moisture and organic material feed the fungi so that it will grow and spread on foods, soil, plants, wood, drywall, etc. Active mold reproduces by releasing spores into the air and water. Once released they can be spread in an assortment of ways. Outdoor growth of mold is normal, but mold growth that occurs indoors is abnormal.
For mold to grow indoors it must have the proper temperature, a food source, and the right amount of moisture. Indoor mold growth is normally an indicator of moisture intrusion. The obvious moisture intrusion that is providing a food source for mold growth could have been caused by a flood, construction or design defect, roof leaks, plumbing leaks, etc. The less obvious fuel for mold growth is temperature differences, in locations where very warm and moist air comes in contact with cool surfaces causing condensation just as you would see on a glass of ice water on a warm, humid day. The ideal temperature for mold growth is between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, which as humans we find the perfect temperature.
Excellent food sources for fueling indoor mold growth can be materials such as wallpaper glue, certain paints, greases, paper, textiles, wood products, drywall, and dust. Yes, we said dust! Dust may contain fibers, dead skin cells, and other organic matter that could feed mold when moisture is present.
It is said that there are over 100,000 types of mold, all having different effects on humans when they are exposed. Not only can humans react to the mold spores that are released, but the mycotoxins which is a toxic secondary metabolite naturally released by certain types of mold can cause life threatening diseases and possible death.1 These molds are often referred to as Toxic Mold. There is no practical or affordable way to test for mycotoxins in the air or on surfaces. However, knowing which molds release the mycotoxins will help determine if you have been exposed to these deadly metabolites. Some of the most dangerous mycotoxins are known as Aflatoxin, Ochratoxin, and Trichothecenes, and in a more recent study a mycotoxin released from the Chaetomium Fungus known as Chaetoglogosin is just as dangerous, or possibly more so, as the above listed mycotoxins. You can learn more about this mold on our Chaetomium page.
There is no possible way we could go into an exhaustive study of the different types and effects of mold here. However, we will cover a few of the most commonly found molds. The main goal is to educate our clients on mold and to debunk the myths that only Stachybotrys is a dangerous black mold. If you want to learn more about the symptoms of mold exposure simply click on a mold to the right side bar, where you will find documentation to support the possible symptoms caused by spore and mycotoxin exposure as documented by the medical field. This information provided on this site is intended to provide general information about commonly occurring molds but it should not be considered a complete source of knowledge. It is important that if you have mold in your home that you seek certified, licensed, professional remediators to handle the mold removal and mold remediation of your home.