Mold is part of the environment and has been essentially forever.
Most people are not seriously affected by most molds.
The recent spotlight on mold fills the void created by the public’s fading interest in radon, lead, asbestos and other important but manageable environmental subjects.
Mold has not only “come of age” because of our society’s thirst for another issue. Some people are very seriously affected by some molds. Certain molds can affect most people.
Trends in construction practice can also amplify the growth of mold in some homes. One such trend is the change toward soft wall and ceiling surfaces such as wallboard instead of real plaster.
Another local trend that can promote mold growth is the shift away from hot water radiator heat toward ducted warm air heating systems with humidifiers. Finally, the trend toward more energy efficient tighter houses can increase moisture build up in the structure and reduce cleansing air changes.
What should I do when buying a house?
Hire the most qualified home inspector you can find to evaluate all the traditional subjects such as the roof, structure, and heating. In the process, they will compare the house in question to an average local home with regard to moisture and mustiness.
If the home inspection reveals dampness issues, or if you have a known sensitivity to mold, consider a mold screening evaluation of the house by an environmental laboratory. Your home inspector may have an arrangement with such a lab. Screening measurements need to be carefully taken to compare indoor and outdoor spore counts for various molds.