Molds are ubiquitous in nature, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. In nature, molds are an important part of the natural world, helping to decompose organic matter such as fallen leaves. Molds are characterized by cotton-like features that may appear in colors such as gray, white, black, or green. Molds can appear fuzzy or in circular patterns. Household mold is a very common issue for every homeowner and it has no bearing on how clean your home is. Household mold may produce toxic substances as it grows in the indoor environment. Therefore, household mold can present a serious risk to your health and wellbeing, and it is not something to simply ignore. Apart from affecting your health, household mold can also damage your home. Household mold can grow in less obvious places such as beneath outer layers of once wet porous materials.
Household mold growth is caused by water damage resulting from undetected leaks or burst wall pipes. Stachybotrys, a black mold, is a toxigenic mold species, one that releases mycotoxin particles into the air. Exposure is greatest when Stachybotrys dries and spores or bits of the mold growth are released into the air. Molds cannot grow on dry materials even if all other conditions were ideal for mold growth. Therefore, to control mold growth moisture problems must be eliminated. Different types of molds have differing water requirements. Those that can only grow under excessive moisture conditions are used as indicators of water damage.
As long as conditions for growth are suitable, molds will grow and reproduce on almost any surface. As they grow they produce spores that easily become airborne. Inhalation of mold spores by susceptible individuals can trigger asthma attacks. Molds can also cause other allergic reactions such as runny nose, watery eyes, and bronchial irritation.
Household molds may produce an identifiable smell. Therefore, presence of musty smell is an indication of active growth even if there was no visible mold. Exposure to mold can occur at home, at work or in other settings. Symptoms of mold exposure are significant when the weather is damp, and when indoor or outdoor spaces have high mold concentrations.