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What is mold?

Molds are fungi: simple, microscopic organisms, present virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. They can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet and foods. Molds are needed to break down dead material and recycle nutrients in the environment. Mold growth on surfaces can often be seen in the form of discoloration, frequently green, gray, brown, or black, but also white and other colors. Molds release countless tiny, lightweight spores, which travel through the air.


The vast majority of people are exposed to small amounts of mold or their spores on a daily basis without evident harm. However, mold growth inside a room is an unsanitary condition that may present potential health risks to any occupants. Therefore, it is always best to identify and correct high moisture conditions quickly before mold grows and possible health problems develop.

How am I exposed to indoor mold?

It is common to find mold spores in the air inside buildings and on most indoor surfaces including clothes, walls, and furniture. Most of the time mold spores found indoors come from outdoor sources. Frequent cleaning of your room/unit and furnishings helps keep these levels low. Cleaning small areas of visible mold, such as mold that may occur around your shower, is necessary to prevent unsanitary conditions.

Where does mold grow?

Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. For molds to grow and reproduce, they need only a food source (any organic material, such as leaves, wood, paper, or dirt) and moisture. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.

Can mold become a problem in my room?

Yes, indoor mold contamination can be extensive and can cause high and persistent airborne spore exposures. Persons exposed to high levels can become sensitized and develop allergies to the mold or other health problems. Mold growth can damage your furnishings, carpets, and cabinets. Clothes and shoes in damp closets can become soiled.

How can I tell if I have mold in my room?

You may suspect that you have mold if you see discolored patches, cottony or speckled growth on walls or furniture, or if you smell an earthy or musty odor. Evidence of past or on-going water damage should also trigger a more thorough inspection. You may find mold growth underneath water-damaged surfaces or on walls, floors, or ceilings. Mold can often be confused with dirt and dust build up. If any type of mold is suspected, please alert the appropriate Facilities Management Office and their trained staff will conduct an evaluation.


For more detail on the preventative measure for dealing with mold please review the Housing and Residential Life mold protocol.

Mold Protocol for Residents

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