Myths about mold are very common due to a conglomeration of false information pervading the web, as well as the media maelstrom around mold in recent years. The following list expands on five of the most common myths about mold:
1. All mold is bad: this is false. Mold is what gave us penicillin, which was a massive breakthrough in medicine and a life saving antibiotic. Mold exists naturally in our outdoor environment, but only a portion of mold is considered 'bad' mold. Mold is also part of our natural cycle, breaking down material (biodegradable materials in our natural environment).
2. Buildings should be completely free of mold: this is false. As stated previously, there is a plethora of mold that occurs naturally in our outdoor environment. Therefore, it is impossible to have a completely mold-free home. An air sample determines the type of mold in the air, as well as the count, which is what discerns whether or not there is a real issue within the property (good mold vs. bad mold, quantity of spores, whether a surface mold has spread etc.).
3. A mold issue will naturally go away on its own: this is false. If anything, the issue will just get worse. The mold can potentially be disturbed and will naturally reproduce via sporulation-spreading its spores and creating cross-contamination throughout the property, which can then develop into mold with adequate moisture and continue the cycle; eventually compromising the structural integrity of the property, air quality and potentially the residents health.
4. Newer buildings are less prone to having mold issues: this is false. If anything, newer buildings are just as susceptible, if not more so, than older homes-in some cases. This is due to newer homes being built in a fashion that is more energy efficient, which makes the homes 'tighter' and lessens the ability to 'breathe'-i.e. ventilation and the buildup of humidity in the house. Also, newer homes are regularly built using oriented strand boards, which are very porous (which is conducive to mold growth).
That's not to say that homeowner's should freak out, but that the awareness should be present to mitigate against the potential for mold growth and not take your safety for granted.
5. Bleaching mold will definitely kill it and resolve any mold related issue: this is false. Bleach has not be proven to kill all types of mold and can be ineffective on very porous surfaces and materials. This method also poses health risks to the person administering the bleach to the area, which is advised against by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and OSHA. The corrosive nature of bleach can also damage the surfaces and areas that it is applied to.
Always be meticulous when researching about mold and general household issues. Be aware of the sources you are reading, and always consult with an industry expert if possible.
The author of our microbial blog is Fareed Nazaryfar. He holds a Master's degree in Environmental and Petroleum Geochemistry from Newcastle University (United Kingdom). He is also a Certified Mold Inspector, as well as an Environmental Manager-holding an ISO 14001 certification in Environmental Management.
MOLD HEALTH EFFECTS BLOG AND RESEARCH