Allan Snyder, mold expert witness and principal of AFC Forensic Consulting, answers Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Are all species of mold fungi?
Q: Are all species of fungi mold?
A: No. A major subdivision of fungi is mold. Molds grows in long, tangled strands of cells that give rise to visible colonies.
Q: What is mold and where is it found?
A: Mold (fungi) is present everywhere – indoors and outdoors. There are more than 100,000 species of mold. At least 1,000 species of mold are common in the U.S.
Q: What species of mold are commonly found in structures in the United States?
A: Some of the most commonly found species of mold are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. Mold is most likely to grow where there is water or dampness – such as in bathrooms and the interior of walls.
Q: How can mold affect your health?
A: Most types of mold that are routinely encountered are not hazardous to healthy individuals. However, too much exposure to mold may cause or worsen conditions such as asthma, hay fever, or other allergies.
Q: What are the common symptoms of mold exposure?
A: The most common symptoms of exposure are cough, congestion, runny nose, eye irritation, and aggravation of asthma. Depending on the amount of exposure and a person’s individual vulnerability, more serious health effects – such as fevers and breathing problems – can occur.
Q: How can you be exposed to mold?
A: When moldy material becomes damaged or disturbed, spores (reproductive bodies similar to seeds) can be released into the air. Human exposure can occur if people inhale the spores, directly handle moldy materials, or accidentally ingest it.