Where is mold found?
While molds grow best in warm, wet, and humid conditions, they can survive almost anywhere there is sufficient moisture and nutrients.2,8 Most species prefer temperatures of 15 to 30 C (59 to 86 F), but some can grow in temps of 35 to 50 C (95 to 122 F).2 Outdoors, this type of fungus can live in or on a plethora of mediums, including soil, dust, rotting logs, fallen leaves, compost, grasses, and weeds. Some species can also invade various crops, such as wheat, oats, barley, and corn, and may be found in some spices and marijuana.7,12
Indoor mold prevalence in cold climates is between 5 and 10 percent, but those figures jump to 10 to 30 percent in warm climates.8 In addition to colonizing in residential dwellings, mold can also thrive in bakeries, breweries, barns, dairies, and greenhouses.7 Within homes, the fungus can be found in damp locales such as basements and bathrooms, where it grows on myriad surfaces including shower doors, refrigerator drip trays, house plants, air conditioners, humidifiers, garbage cans, carpets, ceiling tiles, insulation, wood, paint, drywall, mattresses, upholstered furniture, and pillows.2,7 Plus, mold can colonize food, invading both the surface and its interior. That is, if a food shows heavy mold growth on the top, additional mold roots (i.e., very thin, perhaps invisible, threads) may have deeply penetrated below the surface.4