Various Molds

Mold FAQs

Mold is a microscopic fungus that feeds on organic matter and moisture to live & reproduce. When it reproduces enough it will become visible like a cottony or fluffy spot. It may be various colors such as gray, green, orange and black.
Mold is all around us, both inside buildings and outside in the natural environment. Mold can be beneficial as well as potentially harmful.
Yes. Given adequate moisture, temperature and organic substance to grow on, mold can reproduce to the point of visual growth and give that musty odor. Similar to mold on a piece of bread.
When the mold grows to the point that you can see and smell it, then there are various issues to be concerned about, no matter if its green, gray, orange or black mold.
  • Musty odors
  • Staining on walls, ceilings, etc.
  • *Health effects, such irritation, headaches as well as respiratory or breathing issues
*Keep in mind that mold is listed under the category of ‘Indoor Air Quality’ and sometimes there may be other indoor air quality issues (such as carbon monoxide, lead based paint, various chemical exposures) that may cause potential health concerns.

Yes, try to find the source of excess moisture and eliminate it (i.e. leaky plumbing, roof or foundation) and additionally keep moisture low (i.e. use a dehumidifier).

You should also disinfect the visual growth with a biocide/ disinfectant solution (i.e. 1 cup household bleach added to 10 cups of water) Bleach biocide is not recommended when you may be sensitive to bleach or surfaces are subject to lightening or discoloration (such as carpets, woodwork, etc.) You can also purchase a disinfectant at a local hardware, lumber or grocery store.

Use of protective equipment like vinyl/ latex gloves, a proper mask, and even goggles to manage contaminated areas and reduce exposure is recommended. Even opening windows, using clean furnace filters and getting outside the building will help prevent any ill effects.
It is always wise and the Health Department recommends you to see your health care provider (doctor) for symptoms and to protect your health. Molds can cause irritation, respiratory problems and even headaches. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others and the health care provider can assist you with those medical needs.
As mentioned, there are different sensitivities and reactions by different people when they are exposed to mold. That being said and knowing mold exists around us inside and outside buildings, there are no set risk or health standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a brief guide which is entitled "Mold, Moisture and Your Home". This can be accessed at the following site:

The Sioux Falls Health Department can also send you this booklet and offer advice on general mold matters. 605-367-8760.