MOLD – A Biological Contaminanadmin
Mold is a fungus. We breathe mold spores every day. Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds play an important part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. However, indoor mold growth should be avoided. Mold is a growing organism. It produces a “tree-like” structure. At the top of the structure is a “pod”. This pod produces the spores which settle out and grow to continue the cycle. When molds produce spores; the millions of tiny spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors, when mold spores land on nutrient surfaces that are damp or wet. There are over four thousand types of mold and none of them will grow without water, moisture or elevated levels of humidity.
Spores may or may not germinate immediately, since they are built for survival. The spores may lie dormant, waiting for the right conditions for growth. Those conditions include a nutrient source (food), ideal temperature and a source of moisture. Favourable conditions for mold to grow:
Nutrient source – Molds feed on organic materials in a structure, such as wood, paper, drywall, insulation and natural fibers.
Ideal Temperature – Molds generally grow best in common building temperatures between 68 and 86 F. (Some molds, however, grow in cold temperatures, even down to 32 F, while others thrive in temperatures over 100 F.)
Moisture Source – Most molds can survive in relative humidity levels as low as 65%. To prevent most mold growth, indoor relative humidity should be maintained between 30% and 50%, and source of moisture such as plumbing or structural leaks should be resolved immediately.
Molds can germinate where these conditions are present. How fast growth occurs depends on the combination of conditions. Spores can germinate after only 12 hours in some conditions and some grow in 24 to 48 hours. Houses offer an ample food supply such as, drywall, carpet and padding, wood, insulation and paper. When these materials become damp or wet, settled mold spores can begin colonizing and growing.