The EPA on Mold and Mold Related Problems
Introduction to Molds
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth occurs, especially if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
Basic Mold Cleanup
The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
Health and Mold
Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Individuals with serious allergies to molds may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions include fever and shortness of breath. Individuals with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.
Asthma and Mold
Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People with asthma should avoid contact with or exposure to molds.