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Mold - What is it?

Mold - What is it? Molds are but one type of fungi that exist in nearly every location across the globe. The purpose of fungi is to break down organic material and recycle them for future use by plants and animals. The family of fungi includes mildews, yeasts, large mushrooms, and mold. Fungi require organic materials in order to form and expand.

When damp conditions are present, mold is able to grow on such diverse materials as wood, carpet, insulation, cloth, and all types of food. Mold thrives in damp, moist, or wet surroundings, frequently in areas where humans exist. Molds typically reproduce through their spores that are released into the air and land on moist, organic materials. The spores then germinate and begin expanding out in elaborate networks. The factors that determine the rate of this growth include amount of moisture, type of food or organic material, temperature, and many others.

Humans often come in contact with molds in moist areas in or around their homes or when mold spores become airborne. These airborne mold spores can come into contact with humans either through the skin or when ingested.

If the mold spores are "toxic", they can adversely affect the health of humans. The effect on humans will depend on the type of mold involved, the metabolic byproduct of the mold, as well as how much contact there is and the length of exposure, as well as the level of susceptibility of the human victim. This last factor is important for children who can be affected much more easily than adults.