Airborne mold spores are everywhere both indoors and outdoors. They are part of the natural background of the environment. Many building occupants may be at a serious health risk if there exists elevated concentrations of mold spores indoors, as compared to outdoors. Especially if indoor ventilation is poor.
The most dangerous indoor molds, in high concentrations, are the genuses Apergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium and Stachybotrys. Ambient sampling and laboratory analysis are required to identify the presence and the genus/species of the specific molds.
Mold spores can cause serious health problems even if the spores are dead or dormant. Remember that dormant spores are still alive but in a productive state of existence. Dead spores cannot cause infections but can cause severe allergic reactions. Even the odors associated with dead or dormant spores can cause some ‘mold-sensitive’ people to become acutely ill.
It is impossible, under normal living conditions, to remove all mold spores from an indoor environment. Some levels of mold spores will always be present in residential dust and be airborne.
Mold spores will not reproduce and grow if there does not exist sufficient moisture on a surface suitable for mold growth. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented and controlled by controlling indoor moisture levels. If organic materials become moist enough, mold can usually begin growing within 24 hours.
Molds reproduce and grow by digesting and ingesting organic building materials and other cellulose-based materials such as carpeting, upholstery and clothing. In the growing process, the molds destroy the materials that are supporting their growth. The longer the molds grow the more damage to the materials.
Cellulose is the main ingredient substance in the cell walls of plants (and thus wood), and it is the manufacturing of many organic building materials such as drywall, sheetrock, plasterboard, plywood, plywood substances and many types of ceiling tiles.
Molds can and usually grow, initially, in hidden and visibly undetected areas inside walls and ceiling cavities; beneath wallpaper, paneling and carpeting; and inside heating and cooling equipment and ducts, attics, crawl spaces and basements.
Mold growth is often the result of a structural or construction defect, or of a maintenance neglect, which allows moisture to enter the building undetected or a leak that is unresolved.
The owner of the building or the business owner must first repair the water problem (i.e. roof leak, plumbing leak, high indoor humidity) that enables the mold to affect surfaces thus allowing growth to occur.