M O L D  P R O  O F  I D A H O


Water is the single most long-term destructive substance to an indoor environment. Water will weaken building materials, resulting in deterioration. Water also supports the growth of fungi. Microbial growth can occur in porous substrates, such as drywall, which remain wet for more than 48 hours. Repeated cycles of wetting and drying of building materials will also facilitate microbial growth. The microbial consequences of intermittent wetting and drying are typically not immediately apparent but become worse over time. In contrast, the disastrous effects of a significant water intrusion are usually apparent within weeks or months. Visual water damage, surface growth, and elevated airborne levels of fungi provide evidence of fungal colonization. When pathogenic and toxigenic organisms are found in samples it indicates bioaerosol exposures are a potential concern for the occupants of a building and reinforce the necessity of remediation efforts.

Restoring homes or buildings to a healthy indoor environment requires source removal of all contaminated building materials. The elimination of the moisture source alone will not lessen the exposure risk to mold spores. Additional invasive investigation may be necessary to fully evaluate the extent of water damage. Fungi within wall, ceiling, and floor cavities can create potential health concerns long after surfaces have dried. If water damaged building materials are not removed, dried fungi and spores can be easily aerosolized. Pressure differentials can drive aerosolized fungi throughout a building.

Dormant mold maintains the same disease causing properties as active growing mold. The shear size of the mold spores (2 to 20 microns in diameter) allows for ease of transport, and no geographical barriers. In addition, dormant spores can re-germinate during periods of elevated relative humidity. HVAC systems may also be affected. It is highly recommended that professional duct cleaning be performed to all HVAC systems to minimize transportation of airborne spores


Inhalation of fungal spores, fragments (parts), or metabolites (e.g., mycotoxins and volatile organic compounds) from a wide variety of fungi may lead to or exacerbate immunologic (allergic) reactions, cause toxic effects, or cause infections.

Illness can result from both high level, short-term exposures and low level, long-term exposures. The most common symptoms reported from exposures in indoor environments are runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, aggravation of asthma, headache, and fatigue.

In order for humans to be exposed indoors, fungal spores, fragments, or metabolites must be released into the air and inhaled, physically contacted (dermal exposure), or ingested. Whether symptoms develop in people exposed to fungi depends on the nature of the fungal material (e.g., allergenic, toxic of infectious), the amount of exposure, and the susceptibility of exposed persons. Susceptibility varies with genetic predisposition (e.g., allergic reactions do not always occur in all individuals), age, state of health, and concurrent exposures. For these reasons, and because measurements of exposure are not standardized and biological markers of exposure to fungi are largely unknown, it is not possible to determine "safe" or "unsafe" levels of exposure for people in general. Occupants should consult with their physicians regarding interpretation of the results as they relate to health.

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