Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Mold may live indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments.
Although shower stalls and basements are typical moist areas prone to the growth of molds, any moist area in the home may harbor mold.
Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold.
The best way to prevent mold in the home is the control of moisture.
There are no EPA or government standards that have been established for mold or mold spore levels, so it is impossible to prove that a building or room is in compliance with any regulations concerning mold exposure.
What is mold?
Molds are various types of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores. The term "mildew" is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold
in the household with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season.
The most common types of household mold that are found indoors include Cladosporium,
Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as
Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as "black mold") is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors.
Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. There are types of mold that can grow on substances as different as foods and carpet.
Molds reproduce by forming tiny spores that are not visible to the naked eye. Mold spores are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. These spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When the mold spores land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can then start to grow.
Outdoors, molds play a role in the decomposition of organic matter such as dead trees, compost, and leaves. They are most common in damp, dark areas or areas of decomposing plant life. Indoors, mold is often found in basements or shower stalls. Indoor mold has the potential to cause health problems and can destroy surfaces and objects where it grows.
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 8/20/2012
The tips and techniques presented in this section will help you clean up your mold problem. Professional cleaners or remediators may use methods not covered in this publication. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage. It may not be possible to clean an item so that its original appearance is restored.
Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.
Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely.