Molds are naturally-occurring organisms that can be found everywhere, both indoors and out. Humans do not live in a mold-free environment, nor would we want to. Molds are a necessary part of our natural environment. Problems occur, however, when conditions indoors allow for excessive mold growth. The primary culprit for this excessive growth is excess moisture. Maintaining your home or building to prevent excess moisture and properly fixing moisture problems when they do occur are the keys to preventing both building damage as well as health problems associated with mold. In old and/or poorly insulated buildings, it’s not uncommon to have mold form on cold surfaces such as exterior walls. When warm, moist indoor air contacts a surface that’s cooler than it, condensation can occur, creating moisture that enables mold to grow. Things that can exacerbate moisture problems are unvented clothes dryers, broken or nonexistent bathroom fans, and building/plumbing leaks. Mold affects different people differently. An amount of mold that has no ill health effects on one person can make another person sick. Due to these variables, there are no quantifiable standards for how much mold is too much.
If a mold problem exists in a building, resolving it should begin with a conversation between the tenant and the landlord / building owner; if there is no satisfactory resolution to the matter between the building owner and tenant(s) the tenant can contact the Orono Code Office at 207-889-6010 for further investigation. Below are some resources for people dealing with these sorts of issues.
Pine Tree Legal Assistance
A free legal assistance program for low income Maine residents.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection Division of Environmental and Community Health
Put “mold” in the search browser and there will be several choices with information on mold.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Links to a PDF fact sheet on mold issues.
The Federal Center for Disease Control
The site has lots of good information on mold.