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Limiting Abnormal Mold Growth in Buildings
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Studies show that mold, a fuzzy cob-web-like growth produced primarily on organic matter, is all around us. Molds typically begin their lives as dormant, airborne spores, but when they come into contact with moisture, a food source, and the right temperature range, they grow into living organisms which collectively are called colonies. They are a basic component of the natural ecosystem. Some molds, such as penicillin and yeast, are good, while others such as ringworm and athlete's foot, are not. Unfortunately, we are learning from studies of contemporary buildings that abnormal amounts of certain molds inside our buildings can adversely affect the health of humans and animals. The same conditions that support mold growth also support fungal decay in wood, or rusting and corrosion of metals. Abnormal mold or fungal growth, then, can create major problems for building owners. Moisture is the key factor that building designers and owners can manage in order to limit mold growth. This paper introduces some of the types of molds that are found in buildings, the physical parameters of growth, what the suspected effects are on humans and animals, and ways to limit the moisture they must have to grow. The paper concludes with suggestions for designing, constructing and maintaining buildings to minimize the potential for mold growth.
Graham, C. W. (2002). Limiting Abnormal Mold Growth in Buildings. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from