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Mold Remediation for the 21st Century

General Information

Mold is part of the natural environment, and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. 25% of the earth's biomass is made up of different kinds of mold and mold spores.

Mold is not usually a problem, unless it begins growing indoors. The spores are very small and float in the air.  They are carried on clothing and they can enter the structure by simply coming in on a breeze. They may be present on clothing, furnishings, plants or even food that has formed mold colonies, such as those seen on out-dated bread or fruit.

There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture within the structure including excess humidity.

If mold is present, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

Common Questions & Answers


What are the most common causes of mold?

Aside from a water intrusion event such as flooding, roof leak or burst pipes, the most common cause of mold is the level of humidity inside.  To keep mold at bay, your space should ideally be kept at 30-50%.


What makes mold grow in my home?

Mold enters your home as tiny spores.  The spores need moisture to begin growing, digesting and destroying.  They can grow on almost any surface.  


When is mold a problem?

You know you have a mold problem when you smell a musty odor or you see small black or white specks on walls, furniture or other surfaces.  If you notice mold or know of water damage, it is time to take action and control the present mold as well as future growth. 


Should I test for mold?

In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary.  If you have mold, you need to remove it despite the type.

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Are there Federal Regulations or standards regarding mold testing?

Standards or Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants.


How can I be exposed to mold?

When molds are disturbed, they release spores into the air.  You can be exposed by breathing this air.  You can also be exposed through touching moldy items, eating moldy foods or accidental hand to mouth contact.


How do molds affect people?

Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants.  People sensitive to this allergen will have typical allergic responses like, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. The above does not describe all potential health effets related to mold exposure.


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Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.