Photographs to Help Identify Mold in Buildings -
What white or light colored mold looks like in a home or other buildings
These mold samples and mold spores and their photographs and examples of materials sometimes mistaken for mold have been collected
in the U.S., Spain, Mexico, France, as well as in other countries where I've studied bioaerosols.
These photos of mold on indoor building surfaces may help you recognize
mold in buildings, recognize probably-cosmetic mold, and recognize stuff that is not mold and does not need to be tested.
For photos and an explanation of white fluffy stuff or white crystalline material often found on building walls, especially on masonry surfaces, but that is not mold,
see EFFLORESCENCE SALTS & WHITE DEPOSITS
A great many white and light-colored grayish molds can be easily seen on building surfaces, especially on the exposed or inner wall-cavity side of drywall in buildings that have been exposed to wet or flooding.
Some of these white or very light gray molds include members of the Aspergillus or Penicillium genera as well as some basidiomycetes.
Our white building mold photo at above-left illustrates that other white molds in found in buildings may be the mycelia (think "root hairs") of many different genera/species of fungi that at their fruiting bodies will be seen in other colors and textures.
But most white building molds cannot be reliably identified to genera/species without analysis by a qualified aerobiologist/microscopist in a test lab.
Identification Photographs of White & Light-Colored Mold Growth in Buildings
Here are photographs of often hard-to see white or light gray mold growth on building surfaces. At left we show white mold growth on tongue and groove subflooring in an older home in the northeastern U.S.
Light colored molds, depending on the genera species, may be more of a health risk than the infamous "toxic black mold" that people look for in buildings.
Fungal groups such as Penicillium sp. and Aspergillus sp. produce species in a wide range of colors, some of which can be quite light in color and difficult to spot on building surfaces, but these molds may produce small, easily-airborne toxic or pathogenic mold spores that present a health risk to building occupants.
White stuff that is not mold: Beware: many people mistake mineral salts or efflorescence for white mold. Efflorescence is a white crystalline salt left on masonry surfaces where water or moisture have been evaporating.
See STUFF THAT IS NOT MOLD for photos of white fluffy material or white crystalline material that is often mistaken for mold.
Below we show additional photos of white and light colored molds found in buildings.
The white mold growing on this basement door was hard to spot without careful use of lighting.
The white mold growing on this basement stairwell paneling was impossible to see until we directed our flashlight across the surface.
Here is a photograph of white mold that was very easy to see (and possibly some light-green mold) on yellow pine tongue and groove roof sheathing visible in the attic of an older home in the Northeastern United States.
White mold that turns brown: Stemonitis sp.
Here is a photograph of a white fungus found growing on resilient flooring in an Australian bathroom. This fungus was very easy to see but was for a time a bit curious.
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto, have provided us with (and we recommend) Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates' Technical Reference Guide to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in Buildings - References & Products
Allergen Tests in Buildings advice about how to test, what to look for, in evaluating the level of dog, cat, or other animal allergens in a building
"IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA, What do they really tell us?" Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, Clinical Laboratory Director, Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic - ELISA testing accuracy: Here is an example of Miller's critique of ELISA
http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/282.cfm - Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
The critique included in that article raises compelling questions about IgG testing assays, which prompts our interest in actually screening for the presence of high levels of particles that could carry allergens - dog dander or cat dander in the case at hand.
http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html contains similar criticism in another venue but interestingly by the same author, Sheryl Miller. Sheryl Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, is an Immunologist and Associate Professor of Basic and Medical Sciences at Bastyr University in Bothell, Washington. She is also the Laboratory Director of the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic Laboratory.
Allergens: Testing for the level of exposure to animal allergens is discussed at http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/animalallergy/diagnosis.shtml (lab animal exposure study is interesting because it involves a higher exposure level in some cases
Allergens: WebMD discusses allergy tests for humans at webmd.com/allergies/allergy-tests
Animal Allergens: Dog, Cat, and Other Animal Dander - Cleanup & Prevention Information for Asthmatics and regarding Indoor Air Quality.
Recognizing Allergens: What various indoor allergens look like - identification photos to help identify pollen, dust mites, animal dander, toxic or allergenic mold - Common Mold and other Allergens, Irritants, Remedies & Advice
Rodent control issues, including dander, fecal, and urine contamination of Buildings and Building insulation are discussed at our
Associations: Sick House, Sick Building, SBS - Air Quality, Government, Private Associations and Information Resources
Atlas of Clinical Fungi, 2nd Ed., GS deHoog, J Guarro, J Gene, & MJ Figueras, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, 2000, ISBN 90-70351-43-9 (you can buy this book at Amazon) - The Atlas of Clinical Fungi is also available on CD ROM
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.