Terms & Definitions
Stachybotrys chartarum, aka “black mold” or “toxic black mold”, is a toxigenic mold that grows inside homes. A greenish-black color, it releases mycotoxins that are dangerous to human health. Black mold should be removed immediately if found.
A contaminant is essentially any substance or matter – physical, chemical, biological or radiological – in water. Flood water is frequently high in contaminants.
There are 70,000 classified types of fungi; including mold, mushrooms, yeasts, truffles, morels, rust, and more. Though fungi are similar to plants, they are not plants; nor animal. Fungi are important to our environment, decomposing organic matters and restoring nutrients in soil.
Mold that you can’t see but is showing other signs, such as odor or symptoms, is considered hidden mold. Hidden mold can be found places like under carpet and flooring, behind dry wall and wallpaper, in ceiling tiles and air ducts.
Mildew is a surface fungus. Similar to mold, mildew grows in moist areas of your home and has an unpleasant odor. Mildew is white in color and easy to clean up with store bought cleaners.
Similar to remediation and abatement, mitigation is the act of reducing a situation’s severity. Mitigating mold will relieve any symptoms or damage caused by mold growth.
The process of reducing, decreasing, or eliminating mold in your home.
Mold is one of the most common allergies across the world. Sensitivity to mold ranges, with symptoms including itchy throat, coughing, wheezing, irritated eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
Professionals can become certified in mold inspection and removal by passing the IICRC’s Mold Removal Specialist (MRS) certification exam. The certification assures your mold remover meets all state licensing requirements and can perform mold remediation to the highest standards with successful results.
You can be exposed to mold in a number of ways, the most common form of exposure is breathing in air contaminated with mold. The level of mold exposure is dependent on the mold concentration in indoor air, making it difficult to measure. If mold is on a surface in an open area like on the walls or furniture, or in your air ducts, mold exposure will be higher. If mold is in a closed off area, like behind dry wall or under flooring, mold exposure will be lower.
Mold illness is a pseudonym used to describe a subgroup of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Mold illness is not an allergy, but a biotoxin illness affecting those with weak immune systems and high exposure to air contaminated with toxic microbes like fungi and bacteria. Mold illness is frequently linked to water damaged buildings with poor ventilation, flat roofs, water leaks, and other construction defects.
A qualified mold inspector (one properly trained and certified in mold inspection and removal) look for more than just visible signs of mold. They’ll look for hidden mold in walls and crawlspaces, sources of moisture that can lead to future mold, and signs of past mold growth as well as current. Mold inspections are performed when: mold is suspected due to allergic reaction or odor, confirm a mold or water problem has been successfully remediated, and ensure there is no existing mold or moisture problem in the home you are renting or buying.
Mold prevention is the act of taking certain steps to reduce the chance of mold growth. Since mold grows in warm, damp, and moist areas, preventing mold starts with controlling humidity and moisture. Use exhaust fans in the kitchen when the dishwasher is running or stove is being used, and during and after showers until all humidity is removed. If you have any leaks or water problems, they need to be solved completely. Use your air conditioner or dehumidifiers during humid seasons to reduce moisture build up. All existing mold growth must be removed immediately.
Mold removal is a service remediating existing mold problems and preventing future mold growth. The process includes: identifying the source of mold (leak, water damage, etc.) and repairing any water or moisture problems. The contaminated area is then isolated (closed off from other rooms) and dust suppressed, keeping mold spores from traveling to other areas likely to grow mold. All affected materials will be removed and disposed of, and the areas fully cleaned of mold. Any remaining moisture will be dried and all materials disposed of replaced, restoring your building back to normal.
Mold spores are produced from mold and become airborne when disturbed. Not visible to the naked eye, exposure to mold spores through breathing cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and other respiratory issues in people sensitive to mold.
Mold testing can be used to: identify type of mold, find hidden mold, verify a mold problem, or confirm mold remediation. Tests include air sampling (analyzing the amount of spores found in a sample of air), surface sampling (using a swab or taping method to test for mold spores on common surfaces), or bulk sampling (using a piece of material to check for mold exposure).
Reversing the effect of environmental damage; including water, fire, and mold. Mold remediation includes removing all mold completely and restoring affected areas back to their original condition.
Restoration is the process of returning something, such as an area contaminated with mold or affected by fire or water damage, to its former condition. If walls, flooring, or other building materials are damaged beyond repair, they’ll be replaced.
Mold is not toxic, but some types are toxigenic, producing mycotoxins that can cause illness. Stachybotrys chartarum is the most common type of toxic mold, also known as black mold.