To help you better understand the mold process BCS provides this Glossary as a public service.
Aerobic: An organism that is living, active or occurring only in the presence of oxygen (e.g., most fungi are aerobic).
Aerosol: A suspended liquid or solid particle in a gas (e.g., air). A fine airborne suspension of particles sufficiently small in size to give some degree of stability from remains; i.e., fog or smoke, air freshener products.
Allergen: A substance that brings on an allergic reaction in humans, such as pollen, fungus spores (mold, mildew), etc.
Allergic Reaction: An abnormal physiological response to a chemical, food, pollen, dust, mold etc.
Asbestos: A naturally occurring mineral fiber that is highly flame resistant and can cause cancer. Asbestos is sometimes found in common construction materials including: siding, paints, caulking, insulation materials, ceiling tiles, vinyl asbestos tile floor coverings, etc. At one time asbestos fiber was used in theater curtains, ironing board covers, potholders and other fabrics where flame-proofing and heat resistance were required.
Asbestos Abatement: Procedures to control fiber release from ACM (See Asbestos Containing Material below) in a building, or to remove it entirely. These may involve removal, repair, enclosure, encasement, and operations and maintenance programs.
ACM: Asbestos Containing Material. Any material containing one or more percent of asbestos.
Aspergillosis: An infection or disease caused by breathing high concentrations of Aspergillus fungi over a prolonged period.
Aspergillus: From Latin aspergillius, meaning sprinkle. Any type of fungi, including many common molds, some of which are capable of causing disease. Generally, aspergillus fungi grows and increases in warm moist environments suitable for human habitation. Some aspergillus species are commonly found in water damaged environments, and can produce toxins. They should be dealt with using extreme caution. Also a potentially fatal disease of birds and fowl, caused by any one of several molds.
Asthma: A condition marked by recurring attacks of difficult or labored breathing and wheezing resulting from irregular contraction, from exposure to allergens such as drugs, foods or environmental pollutants or other factors.
Bacteria: Very tiny and simple plants, so small they can usually only be seen through a microscope. Certain bacteria can cause diseases such as pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) and typhoid fever (highly infectious disease characterized by high fever, headache, coughing, intestinal bleeding, and rose-colored spots on the skin). Others do useful things, such as turning cider into vinegar. Bacteria consist of single cells that are rod-shaped, spiral or spherical. Most bacteria multiply by splitting apart, some by forming spores (See Spore in this glossary)
Biocide: Bio means living thing; cide means to kill. Any poison that kills living organisms, both pathogenic (capable of causing death) and nonpathogenic.
Black Mold: A mold or fungus having black spores suspended as dust particles in the air.
Cladosporium: From clados, meaning sprout, branch. A fungus that can be found anywhere indoors, including textiles, bathroom tiles, wood, moist windowsills, and any wet areas in a home. Some species of Cladosporium grow at temperatures near or below 0°C / 32°F and can often be found on refrigerated foodstuffs and even frozen meat.
Condensation: A deposit of moisture droplets from humid air on surfaces that are cooler than that air. Condensation will form when warm, moist air contacts a cooler surface causing the air to be reduced to the dew point temperature.
Containment: A precaution used to minimize cross contamination from affected to unaffected areas by traffic or material handling. Containment normally consists of 6-mil plastic sheeting, often in combination with negative air pressure, to prevent cross contamination.
Cross Contamination: The spread of contaminants from an affected area or person to an unaffected area or person.
Dehumidification: The process of reducing the moisture content to a regulated work area.
Decontamination area: An enclosed area adjacent to and connected to a regulated work area. It consists of various rooms, which are used for the decontamination or workers, equipment and materials.
Disinfectant: Any chemical or physical process used on objects that destroys more than 99% of unwanted microorganisms. Disinfectants may not kill all spores, on non-living surfaces. Description of products of this type generally include the suffix “-cide,” meaning to “kill”; e.g., bactericide, fungicide, virucide.
Dry Rot: The slow, progressive deteriorating effect of fungi over time under minimum-moisture conditions on organic materials.
Fungi: Plural of fungus.
Fungicide: Biocide that are used to prevent, control, or kill fungi, or retards the growth of spores.
Fungus: A plant that has no leaves, flowers, or green color: mildews, molds and mushrooms are forms of fungus. Fungus get their nourishment from dead or living organic matter. They reproduce spores. Rust, mildew and yeasts are fungi.
Germicide: A compound that kills disease causing microorganisms, when used according to label directions.
Gypsum Board: A widely available chalk-like mineral. It is used in plaster and in making plasterboard (drywall, sheetrock, gyprock, etc.)
Hazardous Material: A product or material that has not been recycled or reclaimed, has a use to a user or facility. However, it contains a chemical in sufficient quantity or concentration to cause a threat to health or property; or could cause injury due to its nature, or its properties.
HEPA: High Efficiency Particulate (small, separate particles) Air. A filter or vacuum that is recommended for final cleanup of mold remediation areas after materials have been thoroughly dried and the contaminated materials have been removed from the premises.
HVAC: Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning. The heating and cooling system of a house or building. (Often pronounced: “H-Vac”)
IAQ: Indoor Air Quality. A term used to describe the “purity” or quality of the air breathed by occupants of an indoor or enclosed environment.
Industrial Hygienist: A professional qualified by education, training and experience to anticipate, recognize, evaluate and develop controls for occupational health hazards.
Metabolite: Any substance produced in or by biological processes. Meta means chemical compound, metabole means change.
Mil: A measure of thickness usually describing vinyl wear layers, plastic film, trash bags, or liners. One mil equals on one-thousandth (1/1000) of an inch.
Mildew: A kind of fungus that appears on plants or on paper, clothes or leather during damp weather. Mildew is a minute, parasitic (living off another) fungus that produces a whitish coating or discoloration.
Mold: 1. Wooly or furry growth, often greenish or white in color, that appears on food and other vegetable substances when they are left too long in a warm, moist place or when they are decaying; 2. Any fungus that forms mycelium covering the surface of its structure. Mold growth can degrade materials and present potential health risks to humans.
Mycelium: Any part of a fungus, consisting of one or more white, interwoven fibers. It derives from the Latin word for mushroom, fungus. Myce comes from a Greek word meaning fungus and etos, meaning mushroom, fungus.
Mycotoxins: A potentially harmful metabolite produced by some fungi, especially molds. Myco comes from a Greek word meaning fungus and toxins (poisons).
Nonporous: A material that does not absorb, nor is it easily penetrated by liquids, especially water. Generally, nonporous materials have a permeance factor of less than one.
Penicillium: The word derives from the Latin word penicillus meaning small brush. A fungus that is common in house dust, growing on wallpaper, wallpaper glue, decaying fabrics, wall board, moist chipboards, and behind paint. It has also been isolated from blue rot in apples, cheeses, fresh herbs, spices, dry cereals, nuts, onion and oranges. Generally, Penicillium requires less moisture (water activity) and cooler temperature for optimum growth.
Plaster: A powder mixed with sand and water and applied over a plaster base to form a hard finish surface on walls and ceilings; also, the surface itself.
Pulmonary: Relating to, or associated with, the lungs.
Remediation: The act or process of correcting a fault or deficiency; remedying something.
Spore: An inactive, usually uni-cellular, reproductive propagule (a bud or offshoot that reproduces itself; multiplies: said of plants and animals) from which fungi or bacteria evolve when appropriate growth conditions are present. Spores are bodies that permit survival of a microorganism during unfavorable growth conditions (food source, temperature, moisture). Inhalation of spores can cause allergic reactions or health problems in sensitive persons.
Sporicide: An agent that has the ability to control or destroy the spores that germinate into bacteria or fungi, when used according to label directions. See “disinfectant”
Stachybotrys Chartarum: A black or greenish-black slimy mold associated with prolonged water damage, especially in sewage-damage situations, involving such materials as wallpaper, wallboard, and ceiling tiles. Stachybotrys mold produces mycotoxins (myco- means fungus) and toxins (poisons).
Toxicity: The sum adverse effects resulting from exposure to a material, generally through the mouth, skin or respiratory tract.
Toxin: A poisonous substance produced by microorganism cells, particularly bacteria and fungi. The symptoms of a disease caused by bacteria are also due to toxins.
Vapor: The gaseous form of a solid or liquid substance formed as it evaporates at atmospheric temperature and pressure.
Virus: Any one of a group of substances that cause certain infectious diseases. Minute organisms that are smaller than ordinary bacteria and cannot be seen through a microscope. Most viruses and some bacteria and fungi are pathogenic – able to cause disease in humans. There are over 120 viruses in human feces and urine. Sewage viruses include: rotavirus, causing severe diarrhea (life threatening for children); hepatitis A, causing gastroenteritis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines) and liver inflammation; adenoviruses, causing respiratory and eye infection; and Norwalk virus, causing gastroenteritis.