At its very essence, mold is a type of fungus that exists in the form of multicellular filaments. These filaments technically are known as hyphae. This contrasts with other types of fungi known as yeasts. With this basic explanation of mold noted, there is a great deal more you need to consider in order to fully obtain an answer to the query of “what is mold?”
Mold: Not a Plant … Not an Animal
Mold is in its own kingdom. In other words, mold is not classified as an animal or a plant. Rather, mold is part of the fungi kingdom. The best-known members of the fungi kingdom are:
Most Common Types of Mold
There are specific types of mold that are found in and around North America. Across the United States, including in the state of California, the most common types of molds found include:
Mold and Biodegradation
One of the important features of mold is that it causes what is known as biodegradation. Biodegradation means that mold causes the destruction of natural materials. This feature is both positive and negative.
On the positive side, the biodegradation ability of mold is responsible for the creation of certain cheeses. On the negative side, the biodegradation capabilities of mold can cause property damage.
Mold Spores Are Everywhere
Mold spores truly are ubiquitous. They literally are everywhere. With that said, in order for mold spores to activate and become a mold growth, there must be a moisture source. Mold spores are incapable of developing into a mold in the absence of water.
Mold and Your Health
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considered the premiere agency dedicated to ascertaining what are and are not items or situations that threaten the health of humans. When it comes to mold and your health, restating what the CDC has specifically stated is important. According to the CDC, exposure to mold “may cause a variety of health effects or none at all.”
The reality is that there is a tremendous amount of misinformation associated with exposure to mold. Thus, a recitation of the position of the CDC when it comes to health risks that are – or are not – associated with mold is necessary.
The CDC has noted that some people are more sensitive to mold than are others. For individuals that do have a mold sensitivity, they may experience a number of issues is exposed to this fungi. People with a mold sensitivity can experience:
- Nasal congestion
- Throat irritation
- Eye irritation
- Skin irritation
Some individuals are not just sensitive to mold but are allergic to it. When exposed to mold, these individuals may suffer the responses set forth a moment ago, but in a more severe form.
Individuals with some type of chronic lung illness are advised by the CDC to avoid any exposure to mold. This includes people diagnosed with obstructive lung disease. When exposed to mold, a person with a chronic lung illness can end up with a serious lung infection. In order to avoid exposure to mold, these individuals are told to avoid compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
Mold in Your Home
As noted previously, mold spores are everywhere. They easily can enter your residence. Mold spores enter your home in a number of ways:
- Open doorways
- Open windows
- HVAC systems
- Attached to clothing
- Attached to pets
Mold Growth Mediums
As was also noted previously, mold requires a considerable amount of moisture to grow. There are also certain types of mediums on which mold can grow more vigorously. These include:
- Paper items
- Ceiling Tiles
The destructive nature of mold bears repeating. When mold grows on these items, it can damage or even destroy them over time.
Safe Mold Removal or Mold Remediation
Unless you don appropriate protective gear, you should not attempt to remove or eliminate more than a tiny spot of mold. Safe mold removal necessitates proper personal protective equipment that includes:
- Mask or respirator
- Smock or apron
In addition to wearing this personal protective equipment when undertaking mold cleanup, you should restrict access to an area contaminated with mold. There simply is no need to risk unnecessary exposure to mold.
Identifying Mold in Your Home
In conclusion, you also need to bear in mind that you might not be able to readily identify mold growth in your home. The reality is that you could have significant mold growth in spaces in your residence like between the walls.
The best way to identify the presence of mold in your home is to engage the services of a professional to test for it. If mold is identified in places in your home that are not easily accessible, you almost certainly are best served to engage the professional services of a mold remediation expert.