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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Basic Mold facts

11/17/2016 (Permalink)

Molds (also known as fungi) are part of the natural

environment. Molds live in the soil, or on plants, and on

dead or decaying matter. Molds belong to the kingdom

Fungi. Molds lack chlorophyll. Molds can be found

anywhere, inside or outside buildings, anytime during the

year. About 1,000 species of mold can be found in the

United States, with more than 100,000 known species

worldwide. Molds can grow on virtually any organic

substance. All mold needs to grow on these substances are

moisture and oxygen. There are molds that can grow on

wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. In the natural

environment molds play an important role by breaking

down organic matter such as wood, fallen leaves, plant

debris, and dead animals. Without mold we would not have

foods (like cheese) and medicines (like penicillin).

Molds reproduce by producing tiny spores (1 to over 500

microns in diameter/length) that usually cannot be seen

without magnification. Spores are aerodynamic and sticky.

This makes spores easy to distribute, making them similar to

plant seeds. Since the spores are sticky, it allows them to

cling to surfaces. Spores can only be dislodged by brushing

against them or by direct contact. When spores land on a

damp spot, they may begin growing and digesting whatever

they are growing on in order to survive. Spores (growing

into molds) finding the right conditions can start producing

thousands of spores within 24 to 48 hours Spores remain

able to grow for years after they are produced. Allergens on

dead or alive spores remain allergenic for years.

Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on. When

excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building

materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the

moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It

is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the

indoor environment. To control indoor mold growth,

control indoor moisture. Common areas for mold growth


  •  Bathroom tile
  •  Basement walls
  •  Areas around windows
  •  Near leaky water fountains or sinks.

Common causes or sources of water for indoor areas are:

  •  Roof leaks
  •  Deferred maintenance
  •  Condensation associated with high humidity or cold


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