Mold

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    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.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    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.

Quick GuideTips for a Healthy and Safe Home

Tips for a Healthy and Safe Home

Where can mold be found in homes?

Although bathrooms (particularly shower stalls) and basements are typical moist areas prone to mold growth, any moist area in the home can be moldy. Drywall, ceiling tiles, carpets, furniture, ductwork, roofing, paneling, wallpaper, under sinks, and the areas around plumbing pipes are examples of areas in the home that can become infested by mold if the ideal growing conditions are present.

Mold spores from the outdoor air can enter the home through open doors, windows, and vents. It may also become attached to clothing, shoes, and pets and therefore be carried indoors.

Mold can have many different colors (including brown, green, and black) and sometimes appears as spots. Additionally, a musty odor may be present. Mold growth may also be hidden underneath carpeting, on the back side of wallpaper, and behind drywall or wall paneling. Saunas, greenhouses, and construction areas are places where mold is commonly found.

What kind of mold grows on food?

Many different types of molds can grow on food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the types of mold that can be found in foods include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Botrytis, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Monilia, Manoscus, Mortierella, Mucor, Neurospora, Oidium, Oosproa, Penicillium, Rhizopus, and Thamnidium. Certain kinds of cheeses are made with mold, like brie, gorgonzola, stilton, roquefort, and camembert. The mold that is part of the food manufacturing process is considered to be safe and does not pose health risks. It is also normal for dry-cured country ham and hard salami to have surface mold. The USDA has a helpful online resource that can show you which molds in food are safe and how to handle moldy foods.

Reviewed on 5/30/2017
References
REFERENCES:

"Adverse Human Health Effects Associated With Molds in the Indoor Environment." American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Feb. 24, 2011. <http://www.acoem.org/AdverseHumanHealthEffects_Molds.aspx#sthash.h7g5iNu7.dpuf>.

Switzerland. World Health Organization. "WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould." 2009. <http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Mold: Basic Facts." May 22, 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm>.

United States. Environmental Protection Association (EPA). "Mold." Feb. 21, 2017. <http://www.epa.gov/mold/>.

United States. United States Department of Agriculture. "Molds On Food: Are They Dangerous?" Aug. 22, 2013. <https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/molds-on-food-are-they-dangerous_/>. IMAGES:

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