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Bureau of Epidemiology

Environmental Epidemiology Program

Mold

What is Mold?
Molds, including mushrooms and yeasts, are fungi. Molds can exist virtually everywhere in our environment - indoors and outdoors. There are thousands of species of mold and they can be any color.  Molds need several things to grow and reproduce: they need a food source, the right environment, and moisture. The food source can be any organic material such as leaves, wood, paper, or dirt. Moisture sources can come from flooding, leaking pipes, leaking roofs and foundations, and condensation. Molds will grow whenever conditions are right—but the key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth is controlling excess moisture. 

What Symptoms might I see?
Allergy symptoms are the most common health problems caused by indoor mold.  People exposed to mold commonly report problems such as: breathing difficulties, nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation (burning, watery, or reddened eyes), cough, nose or throat irritation, skin rashes or irritation. 

How Can I tell if I have Mold in my House?
Mold growth on surfaces can often be seen as discolored patches, frequently green, gray, brown, or black but also white and other colors, or cottony or speckled growth on walls or furniture. Sometimes mold grows in areas that are not easily seen by the homeowner – such as hidden inside wall spaces. Signs of water stains or the smell of earthy or musty odors may indicate there may be mold. 

Should I test my home for Mold?
Testing is not recommended as a first step if you have a mold problem. Reliable air sampling for mold can be expensive. Homeowners and people living in apartments generally will need to pay a consultant or contractor to carry out such sampling, because insurance companies and public health agencies usually do not provide this service. Your resources are better used to clean up the mold contamination.  

How Can I Prevent Indoor Mold Problems in my Home?
Inspect your home regularly for the indications and sources of indoor moisture and mold. Take steps to eliminate sources of water as quickly as possible. If a leak or flooding occurs, it is essential to act quickly.

Tips to reduce moisture
Tips to reduce moisture- Spanish
Utah Mold Resources
Utah Mold Resources- Spanish

Mold and Asthma
Mold and Asthma- Spanish

-Utah Asthma Program

 

Where Can I Find Additional Information?

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

Mold Resources- An introduction to molds, basic mold cleanup, ten things you should know about mold, asthma and mold, floods/flooding and mold, homes and mold, indoor air regulations and mold, large buildings and mold, schools and mold and indoor air quality

Mold remediation in schools and commercial buildings- This document presents guidelines for the remediation/cleanup of mold and moisture problems in schools and commercial building; these guidelines include measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and remediators.

A brief guide to mold, moisture and your home - This guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control)

Mold questions and answers - Stachybotrys chartarum and other molds

Mold- General information, clean up and remediation

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

Safety and health topics for mold and fungi - Poor indoor air quality is one of the most important health issues we face today. Molds and fungi are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round.