Mold is found virtually everywhere - both indoors and outdoors. Everyone is exposed to some amount of mold on a daily basis without harm. However, exposure to high concentrations of indoor mold can cause health problems. This information presents the health concerns associated with mold exposure and advice on finding and removing indoor mold.
If you are concerned about mold after flooding or a disaster, please also see our Flooded Homes page.
Filing a Mold Complaint
There are no specific laws about mold in Michigan. However, there are other laws and local ordinances that could possibly help you.
If you are a renter and would like to file a complaint about mold in your apartment or home, please talk to your landlord or apartment management company about the issue first. If the problem is not resolved in a reasonable amount of time, then contact our office at 734-222-3800 to file a complaint. Our role is to serve as a mediator or communicator between the complainant and the responsible party. We also provide information to both parties regarding environmental issues. We will not come out to your home to inspect the mold, and we do not have equipment to test for mold.
Also, see the document Mold and Renter Disputes (PDF) from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for guidance.
"Mold" describes a wide range of fungi found virtually everywhere indoors and outdoors. Mold can grow in and on plants, foods, dry leaves, other organic material, and in soil. In nature, molds play an important role in helping break down, or decompose, dead material. Molds produce microscopic cells called spores, which act like seeds to form new mold growths (colonies) when they find the right conditions. These spores are very lightweight and spread easily through the air. When molds grow indoors, spores become concentrated in the indoor air, and can cause health problems when they are inhaled in large numbers.
Mold only needs a few simple things to grow:
- Suitable place to grow (mold prefers warm, dark, unventilated places)
- Food sources - Outdoors this includes soil, compost, leaves, and wood. Indoors this includes drywall, wallpaper, carpet, insulation, and ceiling tiles.
*Of these, moisture is most important. Controlling excess moisture in your home is the key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth.
Mold Prevention Tips
- Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope, such as the roof, as soon as possible.
- Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible.
- Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
- Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
- Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms where possible.
- Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30 to 50%, if possible.
- Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
- Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
- Don’t let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.