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What is Mould?

  • Moulds are a type of fungus found in many environments, both outdoor and indoor.
  • Many species of mould can grow indoors when given the appropriate conditions (moisture, substrate and temperature).
  • Moulds release spores as part of their reproductive cycle.
  • Mould spores are able to spread through the air and land on surfaces within a home, commercial workplace, or construction environment and given sufficient moisture is present, the spores may germinate and form mould colonies.
  • Some mould species commonly found growing indoors include
    • Penicillium
    • Stachybotrys (also known as black mould)
    • Alternaria
    • Cladosporium.
  • Mould is a living organism often growing indoors and may have significant negative effects on your health.
  • Mould may be black, white or almost any colour.
  • Mould resembles a stain or smudge and may often smell musty.
  • A mould and water assessment are recommended when
    • Planning to purchase property.
    • Planning renovations, and demolitions
    • water damage is present or suspected
    • flooding has occurred
    • health concerns with symptoms consistent with Mould growth are present

What causes Mould? And What does Mould do?

  • Mould can spread through direct contact or via airborne “mould spores”. The longer the time in the right conditions, the higher the chances for health risks.
  • Spores released into the air, are small enough to be inhaled, which may infiltrate the body and there they can significantly impact your health.
  • Mould grows as a result of excess stagnant moisture or humidity.
  • Mould growth is highly affected by extreme temperatures.
  • Mould is able to grow on any organic surfaces.
  • Mould is most prevalent when relative humidity exceeds 60%.
  • Excess moisture is the primary factor for mould growth in indoor environments.
  • Common sources of moisture include:
    • pipe or roof leaks
    • excess moisture/steam from showers and baths;
    • condensation from poor insulation
    • cracked foundations
    • flooding.
  • Some of the different materials mould may thrive on include:
    • drywall,
    • wood (window sills, attics, framings, sheathing, support beams, subfloors)
    • insulation,
    • paper or cardboard,
    • carpeting,
    • furniture.
  • Mould spores may originate from air through natural drafts, fans, or the HVAC systems.
  • Negative effects on your home or business range from cosmetic effects such as staining, smudging, and visible mould growth; to serious structural effects from the decomposition of wooden structural components of the building.
  • A mould assessment can help identify areas of your home or business with active mould growth that may be having a negative health, cosmetic or structural effects.

Health effects

  • Health symptoms of mould:
    • Mould is very dangerous and can be extremely harmful to your health.
  • People respond to mould in different ways, depending upon the amount of exposure and the person’s overall health.
  • Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of mould than others.
  • This includes children, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system or other medical condition(s), such as asthma, severe allergies or other respiratory conditions.
  • Inhalation of mould spores may cause:
    • Eye irritation
    • nose and throat irritation
    • respiratory system compromise
    • coughing,
    • phlegm production,
    • wheezing
    • shortness of breath;
    • exacerbating pre-existing asthma
    • allergic reactions
  • Some mould species release potentially harmful compounds known as mycotoxins


  • When you book a mould test with GEP, our representative will work with you to identify areas of concern and the potential extent of the problem.
  • GEP will complete a comprehensive visual examination of your business, commercial property, or home to identify any visible active mould growth, as well as areas of moisture intrusion that may facilitate mould growth.
  • GEP will take air samples using industry leading equipment to assess the air for the presence of mould spores and any mycotoxins; assess relative humidity and if necessary collect bulk samples for further analysis which will be analyzed by third-party, accredited laboratories that specialize in environmental testing, to provide an ethical and truth worthy service.
  • GEP will provide documentation that outlines in detail the work performed, as well as a laboratory report with interpretations of the results of the air and/or bulk samples along with any further solutions/steps necessary to follow up on.
  • GEP has a standard “Mould Assessment” procedure, however because every situation is unique, GEP will tailor every inspection to best address your needs.
  • Contact GEP to schedule a free consultation to determine what type of contaminants are of concern and what is the most effective type of testing you need to achieve your goals.

Is it safe to eat food that has gone mouldy?

Hard cheeses yes. Bread, yogurt, and soft cheeses no. Hard cheese has low moisture content and is very dense which prevents the mould from growing through and into parts you cannot see.

Moulds can survive freezing (in the fridge), salty, sugary, and acidic environments.

Some general guidelines from the US Food Safety and Inspection Service on responding to mould on food are as follows:

Throw away all of these foods if mouldy:

  • Luncheon meat, bacon, and hot dogs (Green bin)
  • Yogurt, sour cream and soft cheese (Green bin)
  • Soft fruits and vegetables (Composter)
  • Bread (Green bin)
  • Baked goods (Green bin)
  • Peanut butter and legumes (Composter)
  • Nuts (Green bin)
  • Jams and jellies (Green bin).

These foods can be saved if a little mouldy:

  • Hard salami – scrub mould from the surface.
  • Hard cheese – cut off at least an inch around and below the mould. Don't let the knife touch the mould and recover the cheese with fresh wrap.
  • Firm fruit and vegetables – small mould spots can be cut off.

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