Q. What is mold?
Mold is a generic term for fungi that grow almost everywhere. Fungi are present both indoors and outdoors and are impossible to completely eliminated, nor would we want to- they are beneficial and necessary to break down organic matter so that other organisms can use it for energy. When fungi grow within our domiciles, we tend to call this “mold”.
Q. How can I recognize mold?
Aside from visual ques such as black, green, blue or white fuzzy growth in patches, mold often presents a musty odor the is caused by the fungi breaking down organic matter and off-gassing byproducts into the air- this is what you are smelling when you enter a dank, dark basement with moldy odors.
Q. Are mold testing kits recommended?
The short answer is no. These home testing kits can be notoriously inaccurate and are not recommended by the CDC. The best way to test for mold is to hire a professional company to come out and test for spore counts and mold types with tried and true laboratory procedures.
Q. What are symptoms of mold exposure?
There are a plethora of symptoms that may present themselves when individuals come into contact with mold. Some molds are more poisonous than others, but in general it is the constant, unbroken exposure to breathing in fungal particulates that can most commonly cause breathing problems and mimic allergic reactions or flu-like symptoms.
Q. Is it possible to completely eliminate mold from my space?
Absolutely not. Mold is ubiquitous to the environment and exists on almost every surface that can support microorganism growth (things that are not metal basically). Fungal spores proliferate the air and can even lie dormant in areas that temporarily won’t support their growth. It is when conditions become ripe for mold growth that fungi begin to multiply and colonize surfaces, which means it is imperative to make sure our environments are dry and clean.
Q. I can smell mold but can’t see any visual ques.
This is a common indicator of “hidden mold”, or mold that is growing in between floor boards, carpeting, dry wall or objects that have become water damaged by burst pipes or storm leakage. If you have moved around everything and still can’t find the source, the best course of action is to hire professionals to come out and do a complete mold test to see what exactly is going on.
Q. How much mold is bad for me to breathe in?
Unfortunately there is no government consensus on what is a tolerable amount of mold exposure, but we can say from experience that some people are more affected than others and this has to do mostly with immune response caused by breathing in the spores. Some people are able to tolerate large amounts of mold count while others suffer quickly from the smallest amount of exposure. The vast array of different molds also complicates the issue even more.