Q: Are all species of mold fungi?

A: Yes.

Q: Are all species of fungi mold?

A: No. A major subdivision of fungi is mold. Molds grows in long, tangled strands of cells that give rise to visible colonies.

Q: What is mold and where is it found?

A: Mold (fungi) is present everywhere - indoors and outdoors. There are more than 100,000 species of mold. At least 1,000 species of mold are common in the U.S.

Q: What species of mold are commonly found in structures in the United States?

A: Some of the most commonly found species of mold are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. Mold is most likely to grow where there is water or dampness - such as in bathrooms and the interior of walls.

Q: How can mold affect your health?

A: Most types of mold that are routinely encountered are not hazardous to healthy individuals. However, too much exposure to mold may cause or worsen conditions such as asthma, hay fever, or other allergies.

Q: What are the common symptoms of mold exposure?

A: The most common symptoms of exposure are cough, congestion, runny nose, eye irritation, and aggravation of asthma. Depending on the amount of exposure and a person’s individual vulnerability, more serious health effects - such as fevers and breathing problems - can occur.

Q: How can you be exposed to mold?

A: When moldy material becomes damaged or disturbed, spores (reproductive bodies similar to seeds) can be released into the air.  Human exposure can occur if people inhale the spores, directly handle moldy materials, or accidentally ingest it.

Q: What are Mycotoxins?

A: Some species of mold produce chemicals called Mycotoxins.  Mycotoxins may cause illness in people who are sensitive to them, or if they are exposed to large amounts in the air.

Q: How does mold grow?

A: All molds need water and a food source to grow. Mold can grow almost anywhere there is water intrusion. Most often molds are found in areas near the sources of water. Removing the source(s) of moisture, such as through proper remediation is critical to eliminating mold growth.

Q: What is the food source for molds?

A: Unable to produce their own food, molds feed instead on natural substances that are contained in organic materials like leather, cloth, rattan, paper, and drywall.

Q: What is Stachybotrys Chartarum?

A: Stachybotrys Chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra) is a type of mold that has been associated with adverse health effects in humans. Stachybotrys is a greenish-black mold that can grow on materials with a high cellulose content, such as drywall, ceiling tiles, and carpeting/padding that become chronically moist, or water-damaged, due to water leaks, or flooding.

Q: How can you tell if Stachybotrys Chartarum is present in your home?

A: Many molds are black in appearance, but are not Stachybotrys.  Stachybotrys can be positively identified only by specially trained professionals who prepare mold samples and send the samples to a laboratory for a  microscopic exam, or culture.

Q: How can Stachybotrys Chartarum affect your health?

A: Health problems include allergic rhinitis (cold-like symptoms), dermatitis (rashes), sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and aggravation of asthma. Some related symptoms are more general, such as inability to concentrate and fatigue.

Q: What should you do if mold is present in your home or apartment?

A: Visible mold can be sampled by an environmental consultant and/or analyzed by a laboratory specializing in microbiology. However, there may be mold spores that are not visible. These spores can best be samples by air sampling and laboratory analysis of the media used to trap the mold spores during the sampling. 

Q: How should mold be cleaned?

A: The New York City Health Department Guidelines that were published in 1993 recommend procedures for remediating mold