EPA Mold Information

EPA Mold Information

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors

Mold Resources

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.

Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

  1. 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.
  2. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  3. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  4. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  5. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  6. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  7. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  8. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  9. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

EPA's publication, Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals, assists health professionals (especially the primary care physician) in diagnosis of patient symptoms that could be related to an indoor air pollution problem. It addresses the health problems that may be caused by contaminants encountered daily in the home and office. Organized according to pollutant or pollutant groups such as environmental tobacco smoke, VOCs, biological pollutants, and sick building syndrome, this booklet lists key signs and symptoms from exposure to these pollutants, provides a diagnostic checklist and quick reference summary, and includes suggestions for remedial action. Also includes references for information contained in each section. This booklet was developed by the American Lung Association, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the EPA. EPA Document Reference Number 402-R-94-007, 1994.

Allergic Reactions - excerpted from Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals section on: Animal Dander, Molds, Dust Mites, Other Biologicals.

"A major concern associated with exposure to biological pollutants is allergic reactions, which range from rhinitis, nasal congestion, conjunctival inflammation, and urticaria to asthma. Notable triggers for these diseases are allergens derived from house dust mites; other arthropods, including cockroaches; pets (cats, dogs, birds, rodents); molds; and protein-containing furnishings, including feathers, kapok, etc. In occupational settings, more unusual allergens (e.g., bacterial enzymes, algae) have caused asthma epidemics. Probably most proteins of non-human origin can cause asthma in a subset of any appropriately exposed population."

Damp Buildings and Health

For information on damp buildings and health effects, see the 2004 Institute of Medicine Report, Damp Indoor Spaces and Health, published by The National Academies Press in Washington, DC. You can read a description of the report and purchase a copy at http://fermat.nap.edu/catalog/11011.html exiting EPA

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC's) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) has a toll-free telephone number for information and FAXs, including a list of publications: NCEH Health Line 1-888-232-6789.
Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? - excerpt on duct cleaning and mold follows, please review the entire document for additional information on duct cleaning and mold.

You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if:

There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

  • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
  • You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
  • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced.
  • If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.

Additional Resource

Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.

our service area

We serve the following areas

  • Ahoskie
  • Aulander
  • Belvidere
  • Bullock
  • Camden
  • Cofield
  • Como
  • Conway
  • Corapeake
  • Currituck
  • Elizabeth City
  • Enfield
  • Eure
  • Garysburg
  • Gaston
  • Gates
  • Gatesville
  • Halifax
  • Harrellsville
  • Henderson
  • Henrico
  • Hobbsville
  • Hollister
  • Jackson
  • Kelford
  • Knotts Island
  • Littleton
  • Macon
  • Manson
  • Maple
  • Margarettsville
  • Moyock
  • Murfreesboro
  • Norlina
  • Oxford
  • Pendleton
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Rich Square
  • Roanoke Rapids
  • Roxboro
  • Roxobel
  • Seaboard
  • Semora
  • South Mills
  • Sunbury
  • Tyner
  • Warrenton
  • Weldon
  • Winton
  • Woodland
Our Locations:

Regional Foundation Solutions
721 E Gannon Ave.
Mail: PO Box 917
Zebulon, NC 27597
1-336-698-4742