Mold is a type of fungus that decomposes dead organic material such as leaves, wood, and plants. It needs appropriate moisture, temperature and an organic source of food to grow. Molds tends to thrive on cellulose based materials like drywall, cardboard and wood based products. Mold can grow both outdoors and indoors but if found indoors, can be problematic to one's health.
Workspaces, homes, and institutions are prone to mold growth depending on factors such as dampness, darkness, and poor ventilation (e.g. bathrooms, kitchens, basements etc.). When conditions are not ideal, the mold releases spores that can spread by wind. When the spores settle down and find the right conditions, they grow and multiply.
Mold damage in an office building
The spores develop root like structure within hours of wetting and many common mold species produce visible colonies within 3 to 5 days. Exposure to mold can cause health concerns broadly categorized as allergies, infections or irritations. Of these categories, allergies are most common which produces symptoms like sneezing and coughing in the affected individuals. Molds also produce odorous byproducts called volatile organic compounds, causing a earthy and musty smell. Mold can be a variety of different colours; the colour of the mold (blue, green, black) depends on the type of mold and is affected by nutrient source, environment, and age of the mold.
Ultimately, it is important for vulnerable individuals like infants, individuals with lung diseases, individuals undergoing chemotherapy or other cancer treatment, the elderly, and those who are HIV positive to stay away from areas with signs of mold growth.
With our established sensor device called the BlueJay, Ambience Data wants to help monitor for indoor air pollutants to detect premature or current signs of mold growth. CO2, PM2.5/10, temperature, humidity, and pressure are all important factors to monitor for when determining indoor air quality.
The BlueJay has been, and is currently being used in workspaces, laboratories, and institutions to provide accurate, real-time air quality data. This data is used to assess the health status of individuals in the premises. For instance, high levels of PM2.5 (organic compounds, combustion particles, etc) can travel deep in the lungs, and contribute to serious health conditions like lung disease and emphysema. High levels of CO2 can contribute to workers feeling faint or weak.
Our journey to provide large amounts of real-time datasets to concerned citizens, organizations, and institutions starts with you, the reader, by sharing the same passions as we do for human health and the environment.
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