Question 1. True or False: Mold growth color is an indicator of potential human health risk.
Answer: False

Mold can be any number of colors, many (if not all) of which can make some people sick. If you have visible indoor mold growth of any variety, find and resolve the moisture problem, then do proper clean up and repair following best practice guidance.

Question 2. True or False: “Black mold” does not refer a specific species or specific kind of mold.
Answer: True

There are numerous types of molds that are black in color. Regardless of the color of the mold, it shouldn’t be actively growing indoors. If you have visible indoor mold growth of any variety, find and resolve the moisture problem, then do proper clean up and repair following best practice guidance.

Question 3. True or False: Only a space with no mold spores present is healthy.
Answer: False

We do not live in a mold-free environment. Mold is EVERYWHERE–indoors and outdoors. Problems occur when too much indoor moisture allows mold to grow, causing building damage and making some people sick. Even though there are mold spores all around you, managing moisture is the key to a healthier indoor environment.

Question 4. True or False: Mold tests are a good first step to evaluate the healthfulness of a
Answer: False

Because mold can only grow where there is moisture, always start with a thorough walk-through inspection of the building, looking for signs of moisture: peeling paint, staining, wetness, and high humidity. Often, this inspection will provide you with plenty of information to fix the moisture problem and do proper clean-up and repair. Reserve testing for later if the cause or extent of the problem remains unresolved.

Question 5. Acceptable levels of indoor mold has been set by which organization?
Answer: No standard or regulation has been set.

Exposure to mold doesn’t make everyone sick. Only some people may get sick when exposed to mold, and symptoms and severity of reaction will vary from person to person. Because of this human variable, we don’t scientifically know how much mold exposure will cause human illness. Therefore no standard or limit has been set.

Question 6. True or False: Mold can start growing on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours.
Answer: True

In moist, wet conditions, 24-48 hours is all the time that may be needed for mold to actively grow indoors. It is therefore extremely important to treat leaks, floods, and other high-moisture events as emergency situations. Do everything possible to stop the moisture problem, then remove, clean, and repair damaged areas using best practice guidance.

Question 7. True or False: Mold remediation and cleanup does not always require an abatement professional.
Answer: True

Homeowners and building managers can do their own clean up and repair of smaller mold and moisture problems, as long as best practice guidance is closely followed. Using best practice guidance will protect workers, protect building occupants, and prevent making the mold problem worse. Mold removal and clean-up professionals are recommended for large problems. Here are some recommended guidance documents for proper mold clean-up:
Mold Remediation in Schools & Commercial Buildings (U.S. EPA) – don’t let the title fool you. This is great guidance for home use as well.
Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments (NYC Department of Health). Don’t let the big words in the title scare you. This is great, easy-to-follow guidance.

Question 8. The U.S. EPA states the purpose of mold remediation is to _____________the mold.
Answer: Remove the mold.

Killing mold (with products such as bleach) or covering up mold (encapsulation) does not solve a mold problem. Dead or alive, when moldy areas get wet again, the mold will simply regrow. The best approach is one that focuses on removal of all wetted and contaminated material following best practice guidance.

Question 9. True or False: Dead mold spores cannot cause health symptoms. This is why bleach should always be used.
Answer: False

Why not bleach? While bleach may temporarily kill mold, it can’t remove it from porous surfaces. People with sensitivities to mold may be just as allergic to dead mold structures as live ones.

More importantly, bleach is an EPA-registered pesticide and a significant lung irritant. In Maine, only licensed, pesticides applicators are allowed to use a pesticide in non-owner occupied units.

So, when it comes to bleaching away a mold problem, don’t do it.

Question 10. Which organization has a standard that describes the specific projects in which antimicrobial chemicals should be used?
Answer: No standard has been set.

There is controversy regarding the use of antimicrobial chemicals in mold remediation projects. Best practice guidance recommends a process that resolves the moisture problem, removes wetted materials, removes mold growth, repairs damaged areas, and is properly cleaned. No standard for chemical use for specific types of projects has yet been established.