Environment

What Mould Needs to Grow

Understanding the below definitions we can see that in our built environment mould can develop when a spore finds the ideal conditions to grow. Spores are ever present in our indoor spaces. They only start to grow into mould when the conditions suit them.

Some definitions will be helpful:-

Fungi – The kingdom of organisms, both single celled and multicellular which includes yeasts, moulds and mushrooms.
Mould – The growth from minute Fungi that grows in filaments and reproduces by forming spores. Typically found in moist, warm conditions.
Spore – A minute infant cell produced by Fungi which are invisible to the naked eye. They are extremely hardy, surviving in even dry and cold environments and can travel through the air until they land on a surface with moisture and then begin to grow in to an adult (Mould).
Biotoxin – A poisonous substance produced by a living organism.
Mycotoxin – Any toxic substance produced by a mould.

Mould needs these conditions to grow:-

  • Mould spores
  • Moisture (from sustained humidity over 50% OR water intrusion)
  • Time (24-48 hrs undisturbed and undetected)
  • Warmth
  • Food (dust, plasterboard, insulation material, lint, paper)

Once colonised the spores continue to proliferate and produce a toxic ‘minestrone’. There have been found to be 5 common moulds that can be found indoors:-

  • Cladosporium
  • Penicillium
  • Alternaria
  • Aspergillus
  • Stachy

What we now understand through years of research from Dr Shoemaker, is that even in healthy people, Fungi can be a pathogen that can cause severe ill health. Previously it was thought that only immunocompromised,  the elderly and infants were susceptible to sickness from these organisms.

The scientific evidence supports the immune perturbation in certain individuals with HLA positivity who cannot mount an effective antigen presentation when they have been exposed to Water Damaged Buildings. These people experience a chaotic and cycling response to these organisms and experience a cascade of increasingly serious health symptoms which can render a once healthy, productive member of society into a permanent invalid.

The WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality (Dampness and Mould) 

Mold Mycotoxins & More – Dr Ritchie Shoemaker