Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it is generally not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence and the CDC does not recommend routine testing for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. Furthermore, reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established. (Please note that the Edgar County Public Health Department does not conduct mold testing).
If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, it should be removed. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends locating the source of the moisture that is causing mold and repairing it. Then the materials that have been affected by mold should be cleaned or replaced. For areas over 30 square feet (about the size of a sheet of drywall), there are additional remediation steps that should be taken, and they may require the services of a professional mold remediator. See the links below for more information about mold. Renters should contact landlords about mold problems. If you have questions about mold and your health, please contact your physician or other healthcare provider.
Photo Courtesy of Indoor Environmental Quality – Ideal Environmental Engineering, Inc.
Basic Facts about Mold – CDC
Mold and Your Health – IDPH