Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor
air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and
digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow
on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates
indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains
undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold
spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control
The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water damaged areas
and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home,
clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other
sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry
completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may
have to be replaced.
- Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic
reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
- There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor
environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate
sources of moisture.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms,
dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and
de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking,
dishwashing, and cleaning.
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to
prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent
materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e.,
windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
- In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by
drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent
- Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing
moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People
with asthma should avoid contact with or exposure to molds.
Asthma web site
Mold page from Asthma web site
Mold growth may be a problem after flooding. EPA's Fact Sheet: Flood Cleanup: Avoiding Indoor Air Quality
Problems - discusses steps to take when cleaning and repairing a home after flooding.
Excess moisture in the home is cause for concern about indoor air quality primarily
because it provides breeding conditions for microorganisms. This fact sheet provides
tips to avoid creating indoor air quality problems during cleanup. U.S. EPA, EPA Document
Number 402-F-93-005, August 1993.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): (800) 480-2520; www.fema.gov mitigation website: www.fema.gov/mit publications on floods, flood
University of Minnesota, Department of Environmental Health & Safety - www.dehs.umn.edu/remanagi.html.
managing water infiltration into buildings.
Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma; molds can also
trigger allergies in sensitive individuals.
EPA's publication, Indoor Air
Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals, assists health professionals
(especially the primary care physician) in diagnosis of patient symptoms that could be
related to an indoor air pollution problem. It addresses the health problems that may be
caused by contaminants encountered daily in the home and office. Organized according to
pollutant or pollutant groups such as environmental tobacco smoke, VOCs, biological
pollutants, and sick building syndrome, this booklet lists key signs and symptoms from
exposure to these pollutants, provides a diagnostic checklist and quick reference summary,
and includes suggestions for remedial action. Also includes references for
information contained in each section. This booklet was developed by the American Lung
Association, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission, and the EPA. EPA Document Reference Number 402-R-94-007, 1994.
Allergic Reactions - excerpted from Indoor Air Pollution: An
Introduction for Health Professionals section on: Animal Dander, Molds, Dust Mites, Other
A major concern associated with exposure to biological pollutants is allergic
reactions, which range from rhinitis, nasal congestion, conjunctival inflammation, and
urticaria to asthma. Notable triggers for these diseases are allergens derived from house
dust mites; other arthropods, including cockroaches; pets (cats, dogs, birds, rodents);
molds; and protein-containing furnishings, including feathers, kapok, etc. In occupational
settings, more unusual allergens (e.g., bacterial enzymes, algae) have caused asthma
epidemics. Probably most proteins of non-human origin can cause asthma in a subset of any
appropriately exposed population.
Stachybotrys or Stachybotrys
atra (chartarum) and health effects
[excerpted from: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldresources.html#Basic%20Mold%20Cleanup]