All mold are fungi, but all fungi are not mold. For example a mushroom is not mold, but is a fungi.
There are 10,000 - 300,000 species of mold. Many species of mold are not toxic to humans, but some are. The more common mold indoors are Cladosporium, Stachybotrys, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. Some mold produce spores called mycotoxins that are harmful to humans. Mycotoxins may enter the body through the eyes, skin, mouth, or lungs. Mold is natural everywhere and have a function in our ecosystems, such a rotting trees and leaves for bio-degradation. Mold needs organic matter for food, moisture, warmth, and oxygen to grow.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Symptoms of exposure to mold mycotoxins can range from allergies, infections in the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Mycotoxins can cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, cough and post nasal drip, itchy eye and skin. People with allergies or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. People with a weakened immune system are more likely to get mold infection.
If you think you are ill from exposure to mycotoxins seek medical help from a physician.
How to avoid mold growth in your home
To avoid mold growth in your home the external envelope of your home needs to be intact with a good roof, siding, trim, window, and doors. A good coat of paint with the proper caulking should be added every 5 years to avoid water penetration. Water should flow away from the foundation. The internal air should be lower than 50 percent. Humidity between 30-50 is ideal . Any wood exposed to moisture should be dried within 24 hours to prevent mold growth. Repair any plumbing leaks immediately. Any wood that contains 21 percent or more of moisture will start to decompose and cause mold to grow.
How to stop Mold Growth
To stop mold growth you must remove the excess moisture, or the water source. The humidity must be lower than 50 percent.
Professional remediation may be necessary. If the area is 10 square feet, or less you may try to do the job yourself.
Remove any decomposed or moldy material. Treat any mold affected area with an approved fungicide.
Always use the proper P.P.E.(Personal Protection Equipment) and consult a professional mold abatement guide for the proper procedures.
To determine if you have a mold problem a sample of the mold must be taken ether with a swab, or up to 3 air samples. Samples must be taken and sent to a laboratory to be tested. The laboratory will test and advise the course of action to be taken.