- Safety and Health Topics
Mold is fungi that is found everywhere – both indoors and outdoors all year round. The terms fungi and mold are often used interchangeably, but mold is actually a type of fungi. Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that exposure to mold can cause a variety of adverse health effects. There are many thousands of species of mold and most if not all of the mold found indoors comes from outdoor sources. It seems likely to grow and become a problem only when there is water damage, high humidity, or dampness.
Mold produces and releases millions of spores small enough to be air-, water-, or insect-borne. It can also produce toxic agents known as mycotoxins. Spores and mycotoxins can have negative effects on human health. For those people who are affected by mold exposures there can be a wide variation in how they react. People at greatest risk of health effects are individuals with allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or other respiratory conditions, as well as infants and children, elderly people, and pregnant women. In addition, individuals with a weakened immune system are at risk.
Mold is addressed in specific OSHA standards for General Industry, Shipyard Employment, and Construction.
Provides references that may aid in recognizing workplace hazards and health effects associated with mold hazards.
Control and Clean-up
Provides resources that may contain information to help prevent and control workplace hazards.
Provides links and references to additional resources related to molds.
- Mold Hazards during Disaster Cleanup. OSHA Fact Sheet (Publication 3713), (September 2013).
- Mold. OSHA QuickCard™, (2013). Also available in Spanish.
- Preventing Mold-Related Problems in the Indoor Workplace. OSHA Publication 3304, (2006). Provides building owners, managers and occupants with basic information about mold, mold sources, and building-related illnesses.
- A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (October 10, 2003). Provides recommendations for the prevention of mold growth and describes measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and workers involved in mold cleanup and prevention.
Workers have the right to:
- Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
- Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
- Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.
For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.
How to Contact OSHA
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.