Glossary

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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.
Alternaria

Ubiquitous in the outdoor environment. Indoors, it is often found in carpets, textiles, and on horizontal surfaces in building interiors, and on window frames. It has been associated with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, sinusitis, deratomycosis, onychomycosis, subcutaneous phaeohyphomycosis, and other invasive infections.

Ascospores
Ubiquitous in the natural environment. All ascospores belong to members of the Phylum Ascomycota, which encompasses a plethora of genera worldwide. Ascospores are associated the plants and plant materials.
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.
Biocide
Bio means living thing; cide means to kill. Any poison that kills living organisms, both pathogenic (capable of causing death) and nonpathogenic.
Bipolaris
A naturally prevalent fungus that is most frequently associated with grasses, plant material, decaying food, and soil. It is common to both indoor and outdoor environments. Various species of this fungus can produce the mycotoxins, sterigmatocystin, which has been shown to produce liver and kidney damage when ingested by laboratory animals.
Black Mold
A mold or fungus having black spores suspended as dust particles in the air.
Chaetomium
This genus of fungus producing a large amount of spore bodies. It is found on a variety of substrates containing cellulose including paper and plant compost. It can be readily found on the damp or water damaged paper in sheetrock.
Cladosporium
Often found in higher concentrations indoors, as compared to outdoor concentrations. It is a common allergen. A wide variety of plants are food sources for this fungus. It is found on dead plants, woody plants, food, straw, soil, paint and textiles. It can cause deep mycosis in immune compromised patients. Acute symptoms include edema and bronchiospasms, chronic cases may develop pulmonary emphysema.
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.

Dry Rot
The slow, progressive deteriorating effect of fungi over time under minimum-moisture conditions on organic materials.
Epicoccum

A very commonly found allergen. It is found in plants, soil, grains, textiles, and paper products. Generally in higher concentrations in outdoor environments as compared to indoor environments.

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.

Fusarium
This fungus is found on a wide range of plants. Symptoms may occur either through ingestion of contaminated grains or possibly inhalation of spores. The genera can produce hemorrhagic syndrome in humans (alimentary toxic aleukia). This is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis, and extensive internal bleeding. Reported to be allergenic. Frequently involved in eye, skin and nail infections, generally as an opportunistic infection.
Ganoderma
Specifically found in outdoor environments. Grows on conifers and hardwoods worldwide, causing white rot, root rot, and stem rot. Ganoderma species are known to cause allergies in people on a worldwide scale, when exposed in the natural environment.
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.
Humidity
 The amount of water vapor in the air.
HVAC
Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning. The heating and cooling system of a house or building.
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
Molds are forms of fungi that are found naturally in the environment. Molds are in the soil, and on dead and decaying matter. Outdoors, molds play a key role in the breakdown of leaves, wood and other plant debris. Molds come in a variety of colors, including green, black, white, brown and orange. Molds can appear fuzzy or in slimy streaks. There is often a musty or earthy odor around molds.
Mycelium
Any part of a fungus, consisting of one or more white, interwoven fibers. It derives from the Latin word for mushroom, fungus.
Mycotoxins
 A potentially harmful metabolite produced by some fungi, especially molds.
Myxomycetes
Specifically found in outdoor environments. Grows on decaying logs, dead leaves, dung, lawns, mulched flower beds and compost piles. May be allergenic to sensitive individuals.
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 wordpenicillus 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.
Pithomyces
Specifically found in outdoor environments. Grows on dead grass in pastures. Causes facial eczema in ruminant exposure.
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.
Relative Humidity
The percentage of water vapor in the air at a specific temperature, compared to the amount of water vapor the air is capable of holding at that temperature.
Rust
Rusts or blights are parasitic to many types of plants. There are at least 5000 known species of rusts belonging to at least 150 different genera. Rusts are the cause of great economic losses on many cultivated plants.
Scopulariopsis
A very unusual and potentially dangerous genus of fungi. It may produce arsine gas if growing on arsenic substrate. This can occur on wallpapers covered with ‘paris’ green. It has been found growing on a wide variety of materials including house dust. It is associated with type III allergic reactions.
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
Stachybotrys
A highly ubiquitous and dark colored fungi that grows on building materials, containing high cellulose content and a low nitrogen content. Individuals with chronic exposure to the toxin produced by this fungus reported cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, dermatitis, intermittent local hair loss, and generalized malaise. The toxins produced by this fungus will suppress the immune system affecting the lymphoid tissue and the bone marrow and can be devastating in AIDS patients.
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).

Torula
Commonly occurring outdoor fungus which grows on leaves, plant roots, plant litter, soil, wood. Some species cause stains in hardwoods and lumber.
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.
Zygomycetes
Commonly found in the outdoor environment. Will easily grow on decaying plant matter and decaying animal matter, on fruits and on vegetables. Many are extremely fast growing and can inhibit other fungi when competing for food or its’ environmental niche.

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