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The term "mold" is defined as "a simple microscopic organism found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Mold belongs to the Mushroom Kingdom. (All molds are fungi, but not all fungi are molds.) [ Managing Microbial Problems in Buildings, A Teaching Glossary by Patrick J. Moffett & Environmental Management & Engineering, Inc., 2003.] Mold is a microscopic version of a fungus. Like fungi, most molds consist of a fruiting body, a root system and very small seeds called spores. micro-fungi send in whatever material they grow on, so that they can soften and digest the material.
Mold is everywhere.It is a living being that is neither an animal nor what is usually considered a plant.It grows naturally outdoors. The spores, which mold creates to multiply, fine ns in the air. When mold moves indoors, it grows rapidly in environments that contain too much moisture.
Homeowners inadvertently create good conditions for mold growth through moisture collected from a leaking roof, broken pipe, clogged drainage system or lack of waterproofing in a shower enclosure. Any of these things can initiate the process of mold growth.
In addition to the presence of moisture, mold needs a source of nutrients to develop and spread. The essential nutrients are found in most homes and commercial structures. Nutrients consumed by mold include wallpaper, cardboard, roof tiles, wood, wood products, newspapers, carpets or any product that contains cellulose.
Many molds are benign. Some are edible, such as mushrooms and the mushrooms that convert milk into cheese. Other molds, called mycotoxins, are said to produce toxins that are harmful to human health. Mycotoxins can be absorbed into the human body through the intestinal mucosa, airways and skin. Human exposure to mold can be very dangerous.
Mycologists have estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of species of mold, each with its own preference for moisture, temperature and food source. Mold grows on all living plants, dead plants, animal material and in soil. Spores blow around by the wind and are almost always found in indoor and outdoor air. They are a normal component of house dust.
Mold spores are hardened containers, which have all the DNA instructions needed to create new mold creatures. If they encounter dry walls, they simply bounce and continue to float. However, when they do encounter wet walls, they get stuck. When the shell of a mold spore is broken, mold is created by the emergence of several tentative, arm-like structures called hyphae. These hyphae are used by molds to be nourished by sulfur grains in concrete, metals in color, or, for a particularly abundant species found in almost every house in northern temperate climates, the antibiotic produced when they land on wood. Hyphae secrete enzymes that break down complex organic materials.
Mold usually grows on organic materials that remain moist for more than 24 hours. Materials exposed to high humidity may become sufficiently moist to support mold growth. Good housekeeping therefore requires a reduction in humidity and dehydration of any moisture that may be present in organic compounds that can support mold growth. If proper maintenance is not followed, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by certain molds that are toxic and associated with Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) can grow and cause damage.
© 2021 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq ., CFE, now limits his internship to a position as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance fraud and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as a lawyer for insurance coverage and claims management and more than 54 years in the insurance industry.
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He is available at http://www.zalma.com and email@example.com. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine / ACE Legend Award. For the past 53 years, Barry Zalma has devoted his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to enable insurers and their claimants to become professionals in insurance claims.
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