Pranil Mudaliar, CMI
780.243.0121 or 1.877.820.0121
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Mold Inspections

A mold inspection is a non-invasive visual examination of a building to identify and report on conditions that have led to moisture intrusion, water damage and conditions conducive to microbial growth or the actual existence of microbial growth. If such conditions are present Top Quality Inspections Inc. will take samples and send them to a laboratory for analysis.

What is Mold?
Elements Affecting Indoor Air Quality
How People Get Sick from Mold
Who's at Greatest Risk?

What is Mold?Top

Mold is a very important organism and is part of the natural environment. Molds are part of the fungi kingdom, a diverse group of organisms within a wide range of species that include mushrooms, bracket fungi, molds and mildew.

Mold's primary function is to breakdown dead organic material and recycles nutrients back to the earth. Without mold our world would be covered in accumulated organic matter. It is estimated that molds and other fungi make up approximately 25% of the earth's biomass. It's only when mold occupies our homes and living spaces in high concentrations that the potential for problems exist. Most often mold spores land on places not suitable for growth and will eventually die. However, some spores land on surfaces containing proper nutrients and where conditions are just right for growth. Mold is a microscopic organism, which grows from spores (seeds). Mold spores are constantly in our environment, indoors and out.

In order for mold to grow it needs an organic food source, a source of moisture, and the right humidity. Since it is impossible to eliminate mold and mold spores in the air around us, the solution to controlling indoor mold problems is to control moisture. Moisture intrusion can occur from a variety of sources and can have many causes.

Common moisture problems include:

New construction techniques in recent years meant to improve our comfort and energy conservation have contributed greatly to mold problems. Construction practices such as the use of thermal insulation, re-circulated forced air heating and cooling, tighter building enclosures and the elimination of chimneys have led to poor ventilation due to a reduction in fresh air exchange. This reduction in fresh air exchange also negatively impacts a building's ability to shed excess moisture.

Mold becomes a problem when excess moisture is present. In addition, construction materials have shifted from materials too alkaline to grow mold or bacteria to materials more susceptible to mold growth. Changing from plaster-on-cedar lath coated with lime to drywall is a good example. Plastic pipes, instead of copper, are more likely to leak. Heating and air conditioning system ducts are poorly insulated thus reducing air exchange rates, etc.
As mold develops, it produces enzymes to digest organic materials, such as wallboard, wood, carpet backing, paper, and personal items, etc. Some molds are particularly fond of cellulose materials like wood, wallboard and ceiling tiles and can cause serious structural problems.

Not all types of mold are toxic, nor is the existence of mold necessarily harmful. However, certain molds can create serious health problems. It is a known fact that certain types of molds produce toxic chemicals called mycotoxins as a by-product of growth. These chemicals produce toxic effects in most people. The symptoms will vary in severity, however depending on the level of exposure. A person's immune system normally provides the needed defense mechanisms that protect us, but problems arise when it is suppressed or when exposures to mold are exceedingly high.

Elements Affecting Indoor Air QualityTop

For the last several decades much attention has been focused on indoor air pollution and its associated health risks. Most of us now spend a majority of our time indoors sleeping, eating, working and socializing. Recent research tells us that we now spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors. Only relatively recently have we begun to consider how the quality of the air we breathe indoors affects our health and well-being. Independent studies show worker productivity can be affected by as much as 50% by indoor air quality. Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particulates into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants. Other potential sources of indoor pollutants, besides mold, include:

  • Asbestos
  • Biological Pollutants Carbon Monoxide
  • Formaldehyde/Pressed Wood Products
  • Household Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Personal Care Products
  • Nitrogen Dioxide Pesticides
  • Radon
  • Second-hand Smoke / Environmental Tobacco Smoke
  • Stoves, Heaters, Fireplace, and Chimneys
  • Construction Material

How People Get Sick from MoldTop

We are all exposed to mold on a daily basis without evident harm. Health problems can arise when mold spores enter the air and then enter our bodies in large numbers. For some people a relatively small amount of mold spores can cause health problems, and yet for others it may take a considerably greater amount.

There are three ways mold spores can enter the human body:

Who's at Greatest Risk?Top

Exposure to elevated mold levels isn't necessarily healthy for anybody. However, there are certain individuals who appear to have the greatest risk for adverse health effects to mold.