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Fungi are saprophytic and parasitic plants found both indoors and outdoors in moist organic materials. Fungi include mold spores and their vegetative forms, mildews, rusts, smuts, mushrooms, toadstools, yeast and slime molds.

OUTDOOR SPORE LEVELS vary throughout the day and year. Because levels are often higher near the ground, lawn mowing and grain harvesting result in marked dispersion of mold/fungal particles. Mold allergic animals may develop clinical signs following exposure to leaf litter, peat moss, mulches, soil, rotting logs, grain bins, silos, hay, ensilage and compost piles. Alternaria and Cladosporium are the principal outdoor molds. Aspergillus, Dreschleria, Fusarium, Penicillium and Stemphyllium may also be found outdoors.

INDOOR MOLD LEVELS are commonly elevated when indoor air quality is poor such as when the house is closed for heating purposes during cold weather or when air conditioning is used during the summer. Mold exposure from food residue and tracked-in yard debris within the home may be increased when the relative humidity within the home is greater than 50%.

Cool mist vaporizers, furnace humidifiers and ultrasonic units are often contaminated with fungal growth. Well recognized areas for mold growth in the home include bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, closets, stored food, refrigerator drip trays, houseplants and potting soil, air conditioners and swamp coolers, humidifiers, garbage pails, mattresses, upholstered furniture, wallpaper, foam rubber pillows, textiles, air vents, shower curtains and interior and exterior walls. The clothing of people working in bakeries, breweries, barns, dairies, greenhouses as well as loggers, mill workers, carpenters, furniture repairers and upholsterers often contains mold spores. Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium are predominate indoor molds. Alternaria, Cladosporium, Dreschleria and Stemphyllium can also be found in building interiors.

INDOOR MOLD CONTROL consists of general cleanliness, reducing excessive indoor moisture (relative humidity less than 50%), and identification and remediation of known mold sources.