How do molds get in the indoor environment and how do they grow?
Molds naturally grow in the indoor environment. Mold spores may also enter your house through open doorways, windows, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Spores in the air outside also attach themselves to people and animals, making clothing, shoes, bags, and pets convenient vehicles for carrying mold indoors.
When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow.
Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds.
Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.
What is Stachybotrys chartarum (stachybotrys atra)?
Stachybotrys chartarum (also known by its synonym Stachybotrys atra) is a greenish-black mold.
It can grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth. It is not necessary, however, to determine what type of mold you may have.
All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.
Are there any circumstances where people should vacate a home or other building because of mold?
These decisions have to be made individually.
If you believe you are ill because of exposure to mold in a building, you should consult your physician to determine the appropriate action to take.