According to IICRC S520 “Molds are microorganisms that utilize organic substrates as nutrient sources in the presence of moisture.” Fungi (molds) can find a food source in a variety of common materials in our indoor environment, such as wood, wallpaper, upholstery, and even dust.
Mold is ubiquitous, meaning it is present everywhere all the time. When mold has access to moisture and nutrients, it can grow in large quantities and pose a significant health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions, severe respiratory problems, brain damage, and even death. Children, in particular, are highly susceptible to mold-related health problems.
Symptoms of mold exposure include but are not limited to:
- Itching skin
- Watery eyes
- Breathing problems
- Skin rashes
The primary factor that limits the growth of mold indoors is lack of moisture. Substantial indoor mold growth is generally caused by the presence of moisture inside the building envelope. Moisture can come from rainwater leaking through faulty gutters or a roof in disrepair, from a foundation leak, or even from condensationon windows or pipes. Wateralso can come from leaks in the plumbing or sewage system inside the structure.
Due to the serious health hazard that mold poses, it is essential after water damage situations that the building structure and contents be dried out as soon as possible Studies of mold growth on building materials, such as plywood, have found that mold grows on materials that remain wet for 48-72hours.