Indoor Air Quality - Mold - 2004
This section is written to provide information to assist
firefighters with any questions they may have related to indoor air
quality and mold.
The following is a list of facts concerning mold and the indoor
- Mold is a common
term used to describe multi-cellular fungi that grow in many
- Mold spores
travel, via normal air circulation, throughout the indoor and
outdoor environments at a constant rate.
- When mold spores
are introduced into the indoor environment, they begin to grow
and digest various surfaces, including wood, paper, carpet, etc.
- Mold grows
particularly well in wet environments.
- Basically, the
only way to control indoor mold is to control moisture levels in
the indoor environment.
- The potential
health effects of indoor mold consist of the following: allergic
reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
- To reduce the risk
of developing or exacerbating adverse health effects, mold
should not be allowed to grow in the indoor environment.
- Some mold, for
example, Stachybotrys chartarum may produce mycotoxins that can
adversely affect living cells and organisms. Although, years of
research have failed to establish exposure to Stachybotrys
chartarum, in the indoor environment, as a cause of adverse
human health effects. Furthermore, "toxic doses" of mycotoxins
delivered by the inhalation route, in the indoor environment, is
Stachybotrys chartarum Mold Help, website address:
- Some of the ways
to control mold growth include: (1) control of moisture in the
indoor environment, (2) repair of any water leaks, (3) reduction
of indoor humidity (to 30-60%), (4) clean-up and drying of any
damp materials within 24-48 hours of becoming moist, and (5)
prevention of condensation on cold surfaces via the addition of
- Currently, there
are no standards or threshold limit values for airborne
concentrations of mold, or mold spores. In addition, there is no
Environmental Protection Agency regulation or standard available
for airborne mold contaminants. However, some states have
adopted "Occupational Safety and Health Administration-Approved
State Plans" and have developed individual, state-standards and
- When mold is
identified in the indoor environment, it should be remediated
after the source of the moisture is eliminated.
- Mold growth in the
indoor environment should not be tolerated, as mold destroys the
building materials on which it grows. In addition, mold growth
is unsightly and may produce offensive odors, as well as
sensitize and cause adverse reactions in individuals with
- Remediation of
mold should be performed by a qualified mold remediation
company, as there is proper personal protective equipment that
should be utilized and appropriate physical containment
protocols that must be followed.
- Finally, it is
advisable to follow-up remediation with a comprehensive indoor
air quality survey and microbial testing of surfaces prior to
occupancy of the indoor environment.
- For more
information and links to various websites regarding mold and the
indoor environment, please refer to the following website: