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Departments » Public Health » Environmental Health

Molds are everywhere and have existed for millions of years. Molds are fungal organisms that are essential for the breakdown of dead plant and animal matter. Molds come in a variety of colors including white, brown, green, and black. They reproduce by developing microscopic particles called spores which are not visible to the naked eye, and are easily carried through the air. When spores land in a moist environment with an adequate food source, mold begins to grow.

Tiny mold spores are all around us, both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores travel easily through the air and begin to grow indoors when moisture is present. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores from the indoors, so the best way to control mold growth is to control indoor moisture.

Health effects: People with asthma may be more sensitive to mold in the air. Other susceptible populations may include children and infants, the elderly, or people with existing respiratory conditions or a weakened immune system (for example, those undergoing chemotherapy or who have HIV/AIDS). Symptoms of mold sensitivity are non-specific and may include nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, shortness of breath, wheezing, and in rare cases, mold infections in the lung.

To date, no scientific evidence exists to positively link residential exposure to mold with specific toxic effects. The majority of human exposures to mold toxins have occurred from ingesting moldy food. Some occupations, such as farming and working in greenhouses, where high levels of mold can be encountered, present a risk for workers.

For additional mold information, see below:

Controlling Indoor Mold

Cleaning Mold in Your Home

Mold Contractors and Consultants
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