Piedmont Association of Home Inspectors

Mold, Allergens, & Indoor Air Quality

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Mold is a microscopic organism found virtually everywhere indoors and outdoors.  Mold can be found on food, plants, and other organic material.  Mold can also be found on cardboard, paper, ceiling tile, sheetrock, carpet, carpet padding, wood, plaster, and air conditioning ducts.


The following are some sources of indoor moisture that may cause mold problems in your home or workplace:

  • Flooding
  • Leaky Roofs
  • Humidifiers
  • Damp Basements or Crawl Spaces
  • Plumbing Leaks
  • House Plants
  • Steam from showers, baths, and cooking
  • Clothes dryers vented indoors


Mold spores are easily detached and made airborne.  When moldy materials become damaged or disturbed, spores (reproductive bodies similar to plant seeds) can be released into the air. 


People at high risk for adverse reactions to mold exposure are:

  • Infants
  • Children
  • Elderly
  • Immune Compromised Individuals
  • Pregnant Women
  • Individuals with Existing Respiratory Conditions


Mold can cause a wide range of health problems including:

  • Wheezing
  • Nasal & Sinus Congestion
  • Watery & Red Eyes
  • Nose & throat Irritation
  • Skin Irritation
  • Aches & Pains
  • Fevers
  • Asthma
  • Emphysema


Black Mold or Stachybotrys Chartarum (atra) aka: Toxic Mold


Stachybotrys Chartarum (atra) is a greenish-black toxic mold that colonizes particularly well in high cellulose material such as straw, hay, wet leaves, dry wall, carpet, wallpaper, fiber-board, ceiling tiles, thermal insulation, etc.  It does not grow on plastic, vinyl, concrete, or ceramic tiles.  It is not the green mold on bread or the black mold on the shower tiles.

There are about 15 species of Stachybotrys or Black Mold known throughout the world.  This toxic mold grows in areas where the relative humidity is above 55%.  Before drying Black Mold (aka: Stachybotrys) is wet and slimy to the touch.


Stachybotrys or Black Mold produces a mycotoxin that causes human mycotoxicosis.  This type of mold is though to be a possible cause of the “Sick Building Syndrome”.


The following is a list of symptoms associated with exposure to Stachybotrys or Black Mold spores:


  • Pulmonary hemosiderosis (bleeding in the lungs)
  • Respiratory problems
  • Nasal & sinus congestion
  • Eye Problems
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Skin Irritations
  • Central Nervous Systems Problems (constant headaches, memory problems, mood changes)
  • Aches & pains
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Immune suppression

how to interpret laboratory results for airborne fungal (mold) samples

EPA-Mold Resources Web Site

PAHI Members: 

2004 Piedmont Association of Home Inspectors / PAHI 
The PAHI website was built as a refrence tool, free information source, and to be one central web site where homebuyers, home sellers, and realtors can obtain answers to almost all questions they may have regarding home inspections.  In order to accomplish this task most of this information is gathered from other web sites and sources including, but not limited to: EPA, CPSC, HUD, NRSB, ALA, IAQA, Code Check, Mike Holt, Inspect-NY (Daniel Frediman), ASHI, etc.  The Piedmont Association of Home Inspectors and its members have not authored any of the opinions on this web site.  Users of this web site agree to hold The Piedmont Association of Home Inspectors and its members harmless and realase all liability for any inforamtion contained on www.pahi.org or any site that www.pahi.org links to including but not limited to: www.inspectorpaul.com www.sherlockcarolinas.com www.arrowhomeinspectionservice.com www.carolina-homepro.com www.schomeinspections.com www.a-prohome.com www.aohomeinspection.com/ www.betterhomeinspection.net www.downunderinspections.com