Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae that spread to form a network or colony called mycelium. There are thousands of known species of molds, although a much smaller number of mold species are commonly found in indoor environments.
Water intrusion and moisture are key elements that cause mold growth. Often these conditions originate from leaky pipes behind walls or under floors, roof leaks, improperly installed windows or excessive humidity. In many cases, these conditions are non-observable - we just don't know they exist.
Whether mold is visible or not, i.e., “hidden mold,” certain chemicals called mold volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) are produced as the mold digests its food. Prolonged exposure to these VOCs can have serious health effects especially in infants, small children, the elderly and anyone with chemical sensitivities or chronic respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies. Because mold VOCs are produced as the mold grows, they can be used as an indicator of active mold.
There are a number of analysis options available that include mold VOCs, see the table below for a listing.
|IAQ Home Survey Inspect or Predict||TVOC, TMVOC, Home Contamination Index, Significant VOCs, Air Toxics|
|IAQ Home Survey Reveal||TVOC,TMVOC, Home Contamination Index, full chemical listing, Air Toxics|
|IAQ Commercial Survey Inspect or Predict||TVOC, TMVOC, CommercialContamination Index, Significant VOCs, Air Toxics|
|IAQ Commercial Survey Reveal||TVOC,TMVOC, Commercial Contamination Index, full chemical listing, Air Toxics|
|IAQ Basic and IAQ Check||TVOC, TMVOC, Significant VOCs|
|MoldScan||TVOC, individual MVOCs, TMVOC|
|Comp-Air||TVOC, TMVOC, Top 5 VOCs, TO17 compounds, Semiquantitative compounds, Odorants, Air Toxics|
There are many possible places for mold to grow, some are less obvious than others. The list below provides a few places to look.