(Common terms for you to know)

Data compiled from “ANSI/IICRC S500-2015 Standard And Reference Guide For Professional Water Damage Restoration (Fourth Edition)” and “Fungal Contamination: A Comprehensive Guide for Remediation (Second Edition)” by Michael A. Pinto

Abatement: Suppression, reduction, alleviation of a nuisance; lower the amount of something.
ACGIH: see “American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists”
Acid: A compound usually having a sharp or biting taste, sour or tart. React with bases to form salts.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome: Disease that weakens the immune system of a human. Persons with AIDS are at a higher risk to suffer from health symptoms due to toxin exposure.
Actinomycetes: A group of diverse gram positive bacteria which are often characterized by filamentous growth that can resemble mold hyphae. Some species may cause respiratory problems or allergic pneumonitis. A few types are also plant or animal pathogens.
Acute effects: Effects that occur immediately upon exposure.
Acute sensitization: Repeated or single exposure to an allergen that results in the exposed individual becoming hypersensitive to allergen. Subsequent exposure results in rapid onset of symptoms.
AEGCP: see — “Assured Equipment Grounding Conductor Program”
Aerodynamic: The way objects move through air related to their size, shape, weight, etc.
Aerosol: Fine particles (solid or liquid) suspended in air.

Aflatoxin: A substance produced by certain species of Aspergillus that is toxic and also an extremely potent carcinogen with the liver being the primary target.
Agar plate: A dish containing sterile nutrients in a solidified form which is used to grow colonies of mold or bacteria for identification and counting purposes.
AIDS: see — “Acquired immune deficiency syndrome”
AIHA: see — “American Industrial Hygiene Association”
Air filtering respirator: Respirator that removes contaminants by passing the breathing air through a purifying filter.
Air-purifying respirator: Respirator that removes contaminants by passing the breathing air through a purifying element.
Air sample (culturable): Collected to determine types of organisms present that are alive and capable of growing. A known volume of air is impacted onto the surface of a nutrient medium which is incubated until organisms mature. Organisms are identified and enumerated by a laboratory.
Air sample (non-culturable): A known volume of air is impacted onto the surface of an adhesive that captures all particulate matter, including but not limited to fungal spores, pollen, skin cells, opaques, and fibers. Material identified and enumerated by a laboratory.

Air scrubber: see — “Negative air machine” Airborne: State of being in the air.
Airline respirator: Respirator that consists of a facepiece attached to a large diameter hose that transports pressurized clean air from a remote area (supplied air respirator).
Airlock: Chamber between a work space and the outside that keeps contaminated air from escaping the work space.
ALARA principle: As low as reasonably achievable.
Alkaline: Bitter tasting, a basic compound (bases react with acids to form salts).
Allergen: Substance that causes an allergic reaction due to an individual’s sensitivity to that substance.
Allergic response: Immune system reacts to a foreign material in the body.
Allergy: A type of sensitivity to chemical, physical, or biological agents.
Alternaria: A very common outdoor fungal type. It is a plant pathogen and also grows on decaying plant material and wood. Indoors this fungal type is frequently recovered in air samples and can be found in house dust, in damp spots, and on humid walls or ceilings. Alternaria can cause allergic responses, including hay fever, asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonia, as well as being an opportunistic pathogen in persons with a compromised immune system.

Alveoli: Tiny bunched air sacs at the end of the bronchioles in the lungs where exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide from the blood takes place.
Ambient: Existing or present on all sides.
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists: Organization whose objectives are to advance occupational and environmental health. Published Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control, which provides standards for acceptable airborne fungal spore concentrations.
American Industrial Hygiene Association: Association which released a document, Report of Microbial Growth Task Force, in 2001 which evaluated the current literature and practices related to control of microbial contamination.
American National Standards Institute: Group that published American National Standard Practices for Respiratory Protection. It addresses all phases of respirator use and is highly recommended as a guide to respiratory protection.
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers: International technical society for professionals and organizations interested in design and operation of sustainable buildings. Established a recommended flow rate (15 ft3/minute) of air as it moves through a building.
Amplification: The process of indoor growth leading to an increased indoor fungal concentration compared with the local outdoor environment.
Analysis: The study or examination of something in detail in order to find out more about it. For example, the examination of a collected air sample looking for fungal elements. Provides scientific data used to determine the extent of a problem.
Anesthetic: Substance that depresses the central nervous system, causing a loss of sensation or intoxication.
ANSI: see — “American National Standards Institute”
Anthrax: Infectious disease of warm-blooded animals caused by the spore-forming bacterium, Bacillus anthraces. Humans can also become infected through contact with contaminated animal products, by breathing in high levels of spores from contaminated products, or by ingesting infected meat. Aerosolized spores of B. anthraces can potentially be used for biological warfare or bioterrorism.
Antigen: Any substance foreign to the body that stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies (proteins that fight antigens). Antigens include foreign protein, toxins, microorganisms, and pollen, as well as other materials.
Antimicrobial: Capable of killing or suppressing microbial growth. Typically refers to bacteria, though the term can include fungi, viruses, and protozoa as well.
APF: see — “Assigned protection factor”
APR: see — “Air purifying respirator”
Arthropods: Invertebrate animals with an exoskeleton which range in size from microscopic to several meters in length. This group includes mites, insects, and spiders, as well as crabs and lobsters. The microscopic varieties, such as dust mites, are often allergenic.
Asbestos: Fireproof mineral that separates into smaller and smaller fibers. Commonly used in insulation, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and numerous other products until it was made illegal due to the discovery of detrimental health effects experienced in humans. Harmful only when it is disturbed and releases fibers into the air.
Ascospores: A diverse group of spores produced by Ascomycetes which is one of the four major groups of fungi. These spores are typically found out-of-doors, but can grow indoors under the right conditions—usually water-damaged areas. The majority of these types of spores would not be expected to produce physical symptoms except in cases of extreme and/or prolonged exposure.
However, Chaetomium is an important exception. It is allergenic, can produce mycotoxins, and has been implicated in skin and nail infections, as well as opportunistic infections in immune compromised individuals.
ASCR: see — “Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration”
ASHRAE: see — “American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers”
Aspergillosis: A disease caused by Aspergillus. It is usually an opportunistic infection occurring in individuals with a compromised immune system. There are many different types of aspergillosis, which cause different symptoms primarily in the lung, including respiratory problems, sinusitis, and the formation of “mold balls.” Aspergillosis infections can also disseminate to almost any organ in the body.
Aspergillus: One of the most common fungal genera worldwide. Outdoor sources include dead leaves, stored grain, compost piles, or other decaying vegetation. Growth indoors occurs on water-damaged building materials including carpets, drywall, wallpaper, and other textiles. It is frequently isolated from dirty air conditioning units. Aspergillus is allergenic, causing hay fever, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and sinusitis. Certain species have been identified as causative agents of a disease known as aspergillosis, but rarely in individuals with a normal functioning immune system. Some species produce mycotoxins, the most

well known variety being aflatoxin. This type of toxin is carcinogenic in animals upon chronic ingestion and can also cause liver cancer in humans. Aflatoxin can contaminate grain and other food stuffs, particularly peanuts.
Asphyxiants: Substances that displace oxygen or prevent the use of oxygen in the body.
Assigned protection factor: Measure of the relative protection offered by a respirator in a given environment, based on a comparison of the concentration of an agent inside the facepiece compared to that outside the mask.
Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration: Non-profit foundation whose aims are to provide members and non-members with education and training in cleaning, damage mitigation, and restoration. Released a summary document in 2003 relating to mold remediation (Recommended Professional Practice for Remediation of Mold Contamination in Building Interiors). Adopted the name Restoration Industry Association in 2007.
Assured Equipment Grounding Conductor Program: Written procedure for documented inspection and testing to assure equipment grounding conductors for all cord sets and receptacles that are not a part of the permanent wiring of the building or space.
Asthma: A condition that restricts air movement into and out of the lungs of a human, usually characterized by episodes of wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
Atmosphere: Mass of air surrounding the earth.
Atmosphere-supplying respirator: Provides a substitute source of breathing air.
Bacilliform: A rod shaped bacteria.
Bacillus: A diverse group of rod shaped gram positive bacteria which are ubiquitous in nature. The group includes mainly free living species usually found in soil, but some species are also pathogenic, such as B. anthraces the bacterium which causes anthrax. Under stressful environmental conditions, these organisms produce oval endospores.
Bacteria: Microscopic organisms living in soil, water, organic matter, plants, and animals. This diverse group of prokaryotic organisms are single-celled and do not have a distinct nucleus. A few types are photosynthetic. Although most bacteria are not harmful, some have pathogenic potential; others may cause problems in IAQ, especially when their mode of transmission is through the respiratory route.
Basidiospores: A diverse group of spores produced by Basidiomycetes which is one of the four major groups of fungi. These spores are typically found out-of-doors. Basidiospores usually spread from growth sources during high humidity conditions or rainy periods, when their levels can increase dramatically in the air. They can grow indoors under the right conditions—usually water-damaged areas. These types of spores would not be expected to produce physical symptoms except in cases of extreme and/or prolonged exposure.
Bioaerosol: Tiny airborne particle that is alive, was alive, or is part of an organism that is or once was alive. Examples include fungi, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, pollen, animal dander, insect emanations, microbial endotoxins, and human skin scales.
Bioaerosols may affect living things by causing infection, allergies, toxicity, or other problems.
Biocide: A chemical agent that kills a biological entity. Some common biocides are sodium hypochlorite, quaternary ammonium compounds, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, alcohols, phenolics, and glutaraldehydes.
Biofilm: A thin layer of living cells, usually microorganisms, coating a surface.
Biological contamination: The unwanted presence of living organisms.
Biological hazard: Hazard involving biological agents, such as mold or bacteria.
Bitrex: Very bitter tasting substance used for fit testing of respirators.
Black water: Category 3 water as defined by the IICRC S5()0 standard. Contains pathogenic agents and is grossly unsanitary.
Blood borne pathogen: Pathogenic microorganism that is present in human blood and can cause disease in humans, e.g., Hepatitis B, HIV.

BRI: see — “Building-related illness”
Broad-based sensitization: Exposure to any one of several substances causes symptoms.
Bronchi: Two main air passages branching from the trachea (windpipe).
Bronchioles: Tiny branches of the bronchi in the lungs.
Bronchitis: Inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
Building-related illness: Recognized diseases that can be attributed to airborne building bioaerosols or chemical pollutants.
Bulk sample: A sample of material that is presumed to be representative of an area of suspect fungal growth.
Canadian Workers Compensation Board: Canadian agency similar to OSHA which has issued extensive regulations and guidelines to protect workers from injury and harm at the job site.
Capillaries: Smallest vessels of the blood-vascular system which form a network throughout the body.
Carbon monoxide (CO): Colorless odorless very toxic gas. Can cause IAQ problems if an inadequate amount of fresh air is not supplied into an indoor environment.
Carcinogen: Any substance that has been shown to cause cancer.
Category 1 water: Clean water that poses no threat to humans, as defined by the IICRC S500 standard.
Category 2 water: Water that contains a significant amount of chemical, biological, and/or physical contamination. This water has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans, as defined by the IICRC S500 standard (grey water).
Category 3 water: Water that is grossly unsanitary, containing pathogenic agents from sewage or other sources. This water has the likelihood of causing discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans, as defined by the ICRC S500 standard (black water).
Causative agent: Agent responsible for a certain symptom or disease.
CDC: see — “Center for Disease Control and Prevention”
Cellulose: A complex carbohydrate (polysaccharide) made up of multiple D-glucose units. Fungi and other microorganisms can break down cellulose to release glucose which they use for growth. Cellulose comprises the chief part of the cell walls of plants and is used in the construction of many fibrous products.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Federal public health agency whose mission is to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. The CDC has issued a detailed summary paper about anthrax.
CFU: see — “Colony forming unit”
Chaetomium: A fungus which is a member of the Ascomycetes group. It readily digests cellulose and is frequently isolated from decomposing plant materials, especially woody or straw-like materials. Indoors, this organism requires chronically moist conditions and is most often found growing on cellulose materials, such as ceiling tiles, wallpaper, wallboard, cotton, and textiles. Reports about this target fungal type note that it is allergenic, can produce various types of mycotoxins, and has been implicated in skin and nail infections, as well as opportunistic infections in immune compromised Individuals.
Chemical: Substance with a defined composition that is produced or used in a chemical process.
Chemical hazard: Hazard involving chemicals or
Chemical sensitivity: Symptoms such as dizziness, eye/throat irritation, chest tightness, and/or nasal congestion that appear whenever individuals are exposed to certain chemicals. Some exceptionally sensitive individuals might react to very small amounts of these chemicals.
Chitin: A complex nitrogen-containing carbohydrate (polysaccharide) which is the main component of the cell wall of fungi and forms the hard exoskeleton of arthropods and insects.
Chlorophyll: Green pigment found in plants, algae, and cyanobacteria that absorbs sunlight and uses its energy to produce nutrients for growth.
Chronic effects: Effects that occur after repeated, long-term exposure and are seen months or years after initiation of exposure.
Chronic exposure: Long-term exposure to a substance or organism.
Chronic sensitization: A person is constantly exposed to a small amount of a substance and over time becomes sensitized to it.
Cilia: Microscopic hair-like cells in the nose and throat which help to trap and expel contaminants that are breathed into the body.
Circulatory system: Body system that is made up of the heart, blood vessels, and the blood itself. Mold exposure can impact this system by weakening the smallest vessels.
Cladosporium: One of the most common fungal types distributed worldwide. Spores are easily dispersed by wind and it is the main fungal type found in the dry air flora. Outdoors this fungus grows on leaf surfaces and other plant litter. It is also a plant pathogen. Growth indoors can occur on wet building materials (paint, drywall, and textiles), fiberglass duct liners, refrigerators, condensation pans, and other humid areas. Since it can grow at low temperatures, it is frequently found on refrigerated food. The ability of Cladosporium to sporulate heavily indoors makes this fungus a very important respiratory allergen. Generally considered non-pathogenic, cases of eye, skin, and lung infections have been diagnosed in immune compromised persons.
Clean room: Uncontaminated room having facilities for the storage of workers’ street clothing and uncontaminated materials and equipment.
Cleaner: A mild chemical or mixture of chemicals that aids in cleaning by making it easier to remove contaminants from a surface,
Cocci: Spherical shaped bacteria.
Coliform: Bacteria commonly found in raw sewage and decayed food. Certain types of coliforms can be pathogenic.
Colony: A mass of individual cells of a given species of a microorganism growing on the surface of a solid medium.
Colony forming unit: A measure of viable bacterial or fungal cells in which a colony represents an aggregate of cells derived from a single cell of the organism. Viable sample results are reported in CFUs per area (c/m2), volume (m3) or density (gram).
Combustible: Capable of being easily set on fire.
Commercial pollution liability: Protects contractors against pollution conditions caused during the performance of covered operations, both on site and migrating from the job site.
Condensation: Conversion of a vapor to a liquid phase, e.g., steam to water.
Conductive: The ability or power to conduct or transmit electricity.
Conidia: Asexual spores produced by many different types of fungi.
Conidiophore: The specialized fungal hyphae that produce asexual spores or conidia. Seeing conidiophores in direct microscopy of indoor materials indicates the mold is actually growing and reproducing at the site sampled.
Contact plate: A plate of growth medium designed to be pressed directly onto a surface in order to detect microorganisms, which ideally will grow on the medium in proportion to the degree of surface contamination.
Containment: A safe condition brought about by the presence of a barrier to microbial transmission. A containment device may consist of a stand-alone piece of equipment, a facility within a building, or a whole building that has the necessary engineering controls to keep bioaerosols from escaping.
Contaminant: An undesired substance that is present somewhere that it should not be.
Contaminated: Impure or unclean.
Critical barrier: Two overlapping layers of poly that cover all penetrations (e.g., ductwork grilles) in the work area.
Cryptococcus: A type of yeast that is found in soil worldwide, usually in association with bird or bat droppings. Some species cause cryptococcosis, a disease which primarily affects the lung.
Culture: Growth of a microorganism in a prepared nutrient medium. A technique employed to allow a microorganism to multiply in number in order to facilitate its identification and assessment,
Culture medium: A nutrient substance (liquid or solid) that is used to grow microorganisms.
Cytotoxicity: The degree to which something is toxic or poisonous to living cells.
Debris: Remains of something broken down or destroyed.
Decomposition: The breaking down of a substance into smaller elements through chemical change.
Decon: see “Decontamination unit”
Decontamination: Removal of any hazardous material from workers and equipment as they leave the work space.
Decontamination unit (chamber): One or more chambered enclosures that are used for worker decontamination when exiting a work space.
Dehumidifier: Machine that decreases the humidity of the local environment.
Deodorizer: Products specifically formulated to neutralize, mask, or modify odors, but usually have no affect on microorganisms.

Department of Transportation: Government agency which oversees federal highway, air, railroad, maritime, and other transportation functions, including regulation of transportation and shipping of hazardous chemicals.
Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin, e.g., rashes, blisters, swelling, scabbing, scaling.
Dermatophyte: Parasitic fungus that infects the skin.
Detergent: A cleansing agent which emulsifies oils and holds dirt in suspension, usually contains surfactants, not typically antimicrobial.
Digestive tract: Parts of the body involved with eating, digesting, and excreting foods, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
Direct-read slide: A slide for microscopic analysis which is prepared from materials removed directly from contaminated surfaces without an interim culture or other amplification techniques.
Dirty room: see — “Equipment room”

Disinfectant: Usually used to describe a commercial chemical product designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms on inanimate objects.
Dispersoid: Finely divided particles of one substance dispersed in another.
Disposable suit: Protective full-body suit, including coveralls, booties, and a hood, worn to prevent contamination from contacting the skin or clothing of the wearer.
Documentation: Act or instance of furnishing or authenticating with documents, e.g., photographs, project log, etc.
Dormant: Inactive; not actively growing but protected from the environment.
Dose/response: The relationship between the amount of exposure (dose) to a substance and the resulting changes in body function or health (response).
DOT: see — “Department of Transportation”
Dust mite: Microscopic arthropod species common in the indoor environment which is an important indoor allergen.

E. coli: A type of bacteria commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded animals. It is usually a harmless part of the normal gut flora. Some strains can cause serious diseases in humans, however, including diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, and pneumonia. It is an indicator of water contamination.
EL: Exposure limit.
Electrical resistance: When electrical current flows through a conductor, such as a metallic wire, the conductor itself offers some obstruction to the current flow. The amount of resistance is based on the type of material, length, and diameter of the conductor.
Electrolyte: Minerals in the blood or other body fluids that carry an electrical charge.
Encapsulant: Substance that is used to seal surfaces to prevent any particles from escaping the surface.
Endospore: Dormant, tough structures produced by a small number of gram-positive bacteria which are capable of withstanding very harsh environmental conditions for long periods of time, then reestablishing the normal form of the bacteria when conditions become favorable.
Endotoxin: Potentially toxic compounds found inside pathogenic bacteria, primarily gram-negative bacteria. Endotoxins are a structural component of the bacteria and are thus not secreted in soluble form by live bacteria. They are released when the cell disintegrates.
Engineering controls: Measures used to minimize the spread or migration of fungal spore contamination outside of the work area.
Environment: Local surroundings.
Environmental Protection Agency: U.S. governmental agency responsible for the regulation of pesticides, toxic chemicals, hazardous wastes, and toxic pollutants in water and air. First government agency to publish mold remediation guidelines (Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings).
Enzyme: A protein produced by living cells or synthetically that speeds up chemical reactions.
EPA: see — “Environmental Protection Agency”
Equipment room: Contaminated area where workers remove their protective suits before leaving this area for the shower room.
Ergonomics: Scientific design study, the goal of which is to make sure that workers are safe, comfortable, and less prone to work-related injuries.
Ergosterol: A compound found in the membrane of most fungi which is not significantly produced by higher animals or plants. It can be used as an indicator for the presence of fungi.

Errors and omissions insurance: Provides coverage for situations not covered by general liability insurance, i.e., professional errors, negligence, and failure to perform work as promised in contract.
Excretory system: Regulates the chemical composition of body fluids by removing metabolic wastes while retaining proper amounts of water, salt, and nutrients. Organs involved are the kidney, liver, lung, and skin.
Exhalation valve: Valve that allows expelled air to leave the confines of a respirator. Located beneath the valve cover on the chin.
Exhaust unit: Machine that removes air from an environment.
Exhaust ventilation: Mechanical removal of air from a portion of a building.
Exotoxin: Poisonous substance secreted by certain bacteria.
Exposure: Condition of being subjected to a source of risk.
Facepiece: Section of a respirator that covers the wearer’s face.
Faceplate: Clear section of a respirator facepiece that the wearer looks through.
FDA: see — “Food and Drug Administration”
Federal Emergency Management Agency: Federal agency responsible for disaster response activities.
FEMA: see — “Federal Emergency Management Agency”
Filamentous: A tubular, branched growth form characteristic of certain microorganisms.
Filter: Porous article through which a gas or liquid is passed to separate out matter.
Final clearance air sample: see — “Postremediation air sample”
Fire resistant: Difficult to burn. Resists combustion for a specific time under conditions of standard heat intensity.
Fire retardant: A chemical used as a coating for or a component of a combustible material to reduce or eliminate the tendency to burn.
Fireproof: Impervious or resistant to damage by fire.
Fit factor: The estimation of the fit of a respirator to a specific individual, by numerically measuring the amount of leakage into the respirator.
Fit test: Test that determines if a respirator is properly fitted to a face.
Flammable: Capable of being easily ignited and of burning quickly.
Flex duct: Flexible poly tubing that connects to the exhaust port of a negative air machine. Useful when releasing filtered exhaust at a point away from the negative air machine.
Fogging: Method to make chemical product into a very fine mist so that it can be delivered to every part of the target area effectively.
Food and Drug Administration: U.S. governmental agency responsible for assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
Formaldehyde (HCHO): Colorless pungent irritating gas. Serious health effects can occur when present at elevated levels indoors, including eye, ear, nose, and throat irritation, wheezing, coughing, skin rash, and severe allergic reactions. Indoor sources include pressed wood products, urea-formaldehyde insulation, un-vented fuel-burning appliances, and tobacco smoke.
Full-facepiece respirator: Respirator that fits across the forehead, down over the temples and cheeks, and under the chin. Offers greater protection than quarter or half-mask respirators.
Fume: Gas (vapor), smoke, and/or dust, especially if irritating, harmful, or strong.
Fungal contamination: Unwanted presence of fungi.
Fungal remediation: Removal of fungi and its elements.
Fungal spores: Various fungal reproductive structures which facilitate dissemination and propagation. These are generally more resistant to adverse conditions than the fungus itself. Fungal spores are similar to seeds from plants in that they can remain dormant for long periods and grow new organisms when the conditions are favorable.
Fungicide: Substance or chemical that kills fungi.
Fungistat: Substance or chemical capable of controlling or retarding fungal growth.
Fungus (pl. fungi): One of the five fundamental kingdoms of organisms. These eukaryotic organisms have a distinct nucleus, defined cell walls, lack chlorophyll, are generally aerobic, and reproduce by means of spores. They develop a network of extending branched tubes called hyphae. Fungi absorb nutrients by attacking dead organic matter or by acting as parasites on other living organisms. Fungi may cause IAQ problems through the dissemination of spores, toxins, or cell wall constituents. Some types have pathogenic potential as well.
Fusarium: A fungus commonly found growing on decaying plant material. Certain strains are also plant pathogens. This type of fungus can grow indoors under very moist conditions. It can produce potent mycotoxins and is often associated with significant health symptoms. Certain strains of Fusarium are also human pathogens, causing both nail and cornea infections, as well as opportunistic infections in immune-compromised patients.
Gas: A fluid (as air) that has neither independent shape nor volume but tends to expand indefinitely.
Gastrointestinal tract: The system of organs involved in taking in food, digesting it to extract energy and nutrients, and expelling waste. Begins with the mouth, leads to the esophagus, and extends through the stomach, large and small intestines, and ends at the rectum.
General duty clause (OSHA): Each employer shall furnish each employee employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that can cause injury or death. Each employee shall comply with OSHA standards, rules, and regulations.
Genus (plural, genera): Category of biological classification ranking between the family and the species, comprising structurally related species with common characteristics.
Germicide: Usually described as a commercial product that kills many different types of microorganisms.
GFCI: see — “Ground fault circuit interrupter”
Glucans: Polysaccharide sugars composed of D-glucose units linked together. They are components of the cell walls of fungi that can cause allergic reactions in people.
Glucose: A simple sugar important to living cells as a source of energy.
Grey water: Category 2 water as defined by the IICRC S500 standard. Contains a significant level of contamination and has the potential to cause illness in humans.
Gross: Large in size.
Ground fault circuit interrupter: Device applied onto the prongs of an electrical cord that prevents major electrical shock because it cuts power if a short occurs.
Habitat: The place where something is commonly found.
Half-mask respirator: Respirator that fits over the bridge of the nose, along the cheek, and under the chin. Offers better protection than the quarter-face respirator.
Hazard: Source of danger.
Hazard communication: Potential hazards which are clearly labeled.
Hazard Communication Standard: OSHA standard which requires the development and dissemination of information concerning the identity and hazards of chemicals (labels, material safety data sheets). Information must be available to employees who work with these substances and they must be properly trained in their use.
Health Canada: Canadian governmental group that has published Fungal Contamination in Public Buildings: A Guide to Recognition and Management. This is a very comprehensive manual about mold remediation.
Health effects: Reaction of the body to a stimulus.
Heat exhaustion: Heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Mild to moderate dysfunction of the body’s temperature control—heavy sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fainting.
Heat stroke: Body’s heat regulating system overwhelmed and fails, high body temperature greater than 104 degrees, no sweating, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, confusion, seizure, coma. Life-threatening.
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system: Combination of mechanical components and ductwork that delivers air throughout a building. This system heats or cools an inside environment.
Hemosiderosis: The buildup of abnormal amounts of iron in tissues. Pulmonary hemosiderosis is often caused by hemorrhage (bleeding) in the lungs. Hemosiderosis is a potential health effect of the toxins from molds like Stachybotrys.
HEPA: High-efficiency particulate air.
HEPA filter: High-efficiency particulate air filter that removes 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size.
HEPA sandwich: Procedure that consists of vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum, wet wiping and allowing to dry, then HEPA vacuuming again.
HEPA vacuum: Vacuum cleaner equipped with special filters that capture 99.97% of particles larger than 0.3 microns.

Herbicide: A chemical substance used to destroy or inhibit the growth of plants, especially weeds.
Histoplasma: Fungus typically found in bird and bat droppings. Some species cause histoplasmosis, a disease which primarily affects the lung.
Holistic: Therapies that treat a patient as a whole person rather than looking at/treating just the specific illness or health symptom.
Hose mask respirator: Respirator that consists of a facepiece attached to a large diameter hose that transports clean air from a remote area.
Hot water extraction: Deep cleaning method for carpeting which forces water into the carpet, thus lifting any particles deep in the carpeting.
Humidifier: Machine that increases the humidity of the local environment.
Humidity: Measurement of the amount of moisture located in an environment.
HVAC: see — “Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system”
Hydride: Compound in which hydrogen is bonded to a metal.
Hypersensitivity: An increased state of sensitivity or reaction to an agent.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis: A chronic respiratory distress syndrome characterized by a type III (delayed type) allergic response to a sensitizing substance. Usually prolonged, heavy exposure to the allergic stimulus precedes the development of the syndrome in susceptible individuals.
Hypha (pl. hyphae): Long branching filamentous cell of a fungus on which mold spores can form.
Hypothesis: A proposition or assumption set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of a specified phenomenon.
IAQ: see — “Indoor air quality”
IDLH: Immediately dangerous to life and health.
IEP: see — “Indoor Environmental Professional”
IICRC: see—”Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification”
Immune system: Body’s defense system against infectious organisms and other invaders or foreign substances.
Immunocompromised: Patients with a weakened defense system who are susceptible to opportunistic pathogens. Examples are people that have been subjected to organ or tissue transplant procedures, people infected with HIV, and people that have been treated for diseases with agents that suppress the immune system.
Immunosuppressive: Any substance or organism that weakens the immune system, leaving the individual more vulnerable to infections from bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens.
Impactor: Device that draws air through a tapered inlet at a specified rate impacting the particles suspended in the air onto a sticky medium, resulting in an area of deposition.
Inches of water: Unit of measurement used with a magnehelic gauge.
Incubation: Maintenance of proper conditions for growth and development (e.g., for the growth of organisms such as bacteria or fungi).
Indicator species: Organism that serves as a measure of the environmental conditions that exist in a locale.
Indoor air quality: Cleanliness of air in an indoor environment.
Indoor Environmental Professional: An individual who is qualified by knowledge, skill, education, training, certification, and/or experience to perform an assessment of the fungal ecology of structures, systems, and contents at a job site.
Industrial hygienist: Individual trained to recognize, evaluate, and control health hazards in the industrial environment.
Inert: No chemical reactivity.
Infection: Detrimental growth of a foreign species within a host organism, such as growth of a pathogenic microorganism within the body.
Infectious: A pathogenic microorganism or agent spreading, or capable of spreading, rapidly to others.
Ingestion: Swallowing. Taking a material into the body by the mouth.
Inhalation: Breathing. The act of transferring air and its various contents into the body by way of the respiratory system.
Inhalation valve: Rubber flap located behind the filter on a facepiece of a respirator.
Inorganic: Compounds that do not have a carbon basis, composed of mineral, not biological origin.
Insecticide: A chemical substance that kills insects.
Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification: Organization which issued an extensive reference guide for professional mold remediation in 2003. This group also categorized water damage into three classes, depending on the source of the water.
Intrusion: As related to water intrusion and mold growth, the movement of water into a building in areas where it was not designed to be.
Invertebrate: An animal lacking a backbone.
Irritant: Substance that causes a chemical reaction at the site of contact, inflaming living tissue and causing pain or swelling.
Isolation space: The containment area in a work project where the actual remediation takes place.
Kingdom: The broadest unit of taxonomic classification. Most biologists have divided the diversity of life into five kingdoms (Bacteria, Protozoa, Fungi, Plants, and Animals) though many now prefer classification schemes with six or more kingdoms.
Legionella: A pathogenic bacterium first identified in 1976 at a convention of the American Legion, thus the name for the organism and the disease produced (Legionellosis). Usually found in fresh water, aquatic environments, such as lakes and streams, but enhanced growth occurs in other types of warm water environments, such as hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, and parts of air conditioning systems of large buildings.
Legionellosis: The disease caused by the bacterium Legionella. There are two distinct forms of legionellosis: Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal pneumonia, and Pontiac Fever, which is less serious, similar to the flu.
Liability: Legal responsibility to pay for damages.
Lichen: A plant-like crusty growth on tree trunks or rocks. The growth is a combination of two organisms, a fungus and either an alga or cyanobacterium, living in symbiosis (a mutually beneficial relationship).
Limited sensitization: A part of the body is sensitized to a substance and only that part of the body will react if exposed to that substance.
Litigation: Lawsuit.
Lock out/tag out: A safety procedure which is used in industry and research settings to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not restarted prior to completion of the maintenance or service work. Requires that hazardous power source is isolated and rendered inoperative before repair procedures are started and then tagged to let others know not to de-isolate or turn on.
Macrophage: A type of white blood cell that ingests foreign material.
Magnehelic gauge: Instrument used to measure the static pressure differential across a barrier.
Material safety data sheet: Designed to provide workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance. MSDS’s include information such as physical data, toxicity, health effects, first aid, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill/leak procedures.
Material specific sensitization: Exposure to one particular material causes symptoms.
MCS: see — “Multiple chemical sensitivity”
Meiosis: Sexual reproduction that results in the production of new cells with half as much genetic material as the parent cell.

Memnoniella: Memnoniella is a dark brown/black fungus similar to Stachybotrys. This fungus thrives on plant litter, in soil, and on many types of plants and trees. Indoor growth occurs on water-soaked materials which contain cellulose, such as paper, wallpaper, wallboard, cotton, and textiles. Allergenicity and pathogenicity have not been reported. Like Stachybotrys, Memnoniella can produce potent mycotoxins in the trichothecene family. Since it requires similar environmental conditions for growth, it is frequently found in conjunction with Stachybotrys, although it is not as common.
Meningitis: Inflammation of the protective membrane covering or the fluid that surrounds a person’s spinal cord or brain.
Mental acuity: Sharp and precise thought patterns.
MESA: see — “Mine Enforcement Safety Administration”
Metabolite: Compound produced by the metabolism (breakdown) of a parent compound. Some may be chemically active (active metabolites), others may not be.
Micron: Unit of measurement equal to one thousandth of a millimeter.
Microscopic: Object too small to see with the naked eye.
Microvacuum sample: A sample collected from a surface by means of an air sampler which uses a vacuum to draw air through a tapered opening impacting the particles suspended in the air onto a sticky medium. The air sampler is hovered above the surface to collect the sample.
Mildew: A type of fungus found in air samples. It is a plant parasite and requires a plant host to reproduce. They would not be found growing indoors unless a host plant is present. This group includes both powdery mildew which appears as a white coating on plants resembling baby powder or powdered milk, and downy mildew, which appears as a dark velvety growth.

Mine Enforcement Safety Administration: Agency that preceded the Mine Safety and Health Administration and certified respirators. Disbanded in 1976.
Mine Safety and Health Administration: Federal agency that enforces compliance with mandatory health and safety standards in the nation’s mines. One of the agencies that certify respirators.
Mitosis: Process of cell division that results in the production of two identical cells from a single parent cell.
Mold: Any of various fungi that produce a superficial growth on various kinds of damp or decaying organic matter. Growth often appears fuzzy, cottony, woolly, or powdery and can be a variety of colors. Molds produce spores that are poorly visible or not visible at all to the naked eye and that in most species are specialized to become airborne.
Mold remediation: Removal of fungi and its elements.
MSDS: see — “Material safety data sheet”
MSHA: see — “Mine Safety and Health Administration”
MUC: Maximum use concentration.

Mucor: A fungus that is commonly found in soil, on plant and fruit surfaces, as well as on rotting vegetation, fruits, meat, and dairy products. Accumulated dust in ventilation ducts may contain high concentrations of viable Mucor spores. This fungal type may cause asthmatic or allergenic reactions. Mucor is rarely pathogenic since most species do not grow well in warm temperatures close to body temperature. However, a few species may cause mucorosis in immune-compromised individuals with sites of infection including the lungs, sinuses, brain, eyes, and skin.
MUL: Maximum use limit.
Multiple chemical sensitivity: Condition in which an individual suffers acute reactions from exposure to low levels of chemicals found indoors. At these levels, most people would show no effects. A small percentage of the population suffers from MCS.
Mushroom: An enlarged complex fleshy fruiting body of a fungus that grows above ground.
Mutagenic: Any substance that increases the rate of mutation.
Mycelium: Mass of hyphae derived either from a single fungal colony or from a group of associated colonies.
Mycotoxin: Toxic compound produced by fungi that can adversely affect animal and human health. Research has implicated many toxin-producing fungi in indoor air quality problems and building-related illnesses.

N-95 filter and facepiece: Minimum of 95% efficient protection against non-oil particulates; generally used for welding, wood working, and general dust environments.
NADCA: see — “National Air Duct Cleaners Association”
NAM: see — “Negative air machine”
Nasal passage: Pertaining to the nose; houses the nostrils which admit and expel air, nose hairs which catch airborne particulate, olfactory mucosa (smell), and sinuses.
National Air Duct Cleaners Association: Group which has developed industry standard for cleaning HVAC systems.
National Fire Protection Association: Non-profit agency which strives to improve the methods of fire protection and prevention, electrical safety, and other related safety goals.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. This group logs IAQ complaints from workers and also certifies respirators.
National Safety Council: Non-profit agency which promotes safety in the workplace, in transportation, in homes, and in communities.
Negative air machine: An exhaust fan which keeps a constant inward flow of air in a room, so nothing can leak outward from the room. Equipped with a HEPA filter which removes 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size.
Negative pressure: Less than the pressure of the atmosphere. Useful for respirators and containments.
Nervous system: Receives and interprets stimuli and transmits impulses to organs. Includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves in humans.
Neurotoxin: Toxin which affects the nervous system, causing paralysis, loss of muscle control, memory loss, and other symptoms.
New York City Guidelines: New York City Department of Health issued guidelines for dealing with fungal contamination in buildings.
NFPA: see — “National Fire Protection Association”
NIOSH: see — “National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health”
Non-porous: Material that does not absorb substances.
Non-viable: Not capable of growing or developing independently.
Normal fungal ecology: Types and concentrations of fungi normally found in ambient outdoor air and non-affected indoor air; reflective of ecological and climatic conditions of a geographical region.
Nosocomial: Infections which are the result of treatment in a hospital or healthcare facility, but secondary to the patient’s original condition.
Noxious: Harmful or injurious to health and physical well-being.
Nucleus (plural, nuclei): Membrane-bound structure that contains hereditary information and controls the cell’s growth and reproduction.
NYC Guidelines: see — “New York City Guidelines”
Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Agency whose mission is to protect workers from injury and harm at the job site. They have issued an extensive manual which deals with IAQ issues.
ODTS: see — “Organic dust toxic syndrome”
Off-gassing: Production of gases from the chemical deterioration of a substance over time.
Olfactory: Relating to, or connected to the sense of smell.
Opportunistic: An infection caused by a microorganism that usually does not cause disease in individuals with a healthy immune system. Takes advantage of the body’s weakened defense.
Organic: Of, relating to, or derived from a once-living organism.
Organic compound: Chemical that contains carbon, an element contained in all living things.
Organic dust toxic syndrome: Acute respiratory illness which develops from inhaling organic dust contaminated with microorganisms. Symptoms include an abrupt onset of fever, respiratory symptoms within hours of a single exposure, and general flu-like symptoms. Documented in farm workers and mold remediation workers.
Organic vapor cartridge: When fitted properly, provides respiratory protection from certain organic vapors, such as chlorine, hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen peroxide.
Organelles: A specialized subunit within a cell that has a specific function and is separately enclosed within its own membrane.
Organism: A living entity.
Organometallic: Organic compounds containing metals.
OSHA: see — “Occupational Safety and Health Administration”
Oxygen deficiency: Inadequate supply of oxygen which results in disorientation and eventually loss of consciousness.
Oxygen-generating respirator: Respirator that utilizes a canister of potassium superoxide. The chemical reacts with water vapor to produce oxygen which replenishes the wearer’s exhaled breath.
Ozone: Powerful oxidizing agent for killing microorganisms. Concentration of ozone required to have an effect on airborne organisms greatly exceeds safe levels recommended by OSHA and the EPA.
PAPR: see — “Powered air purifying respirator”
Parasite: An organism that is able to live on, and cause

damage to, another organism.
Particulate: Term used to describe complex group of air pollutants that vary in size and composition.
Pathogen: An agent that causes a disease, especially microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.
Pathogenic: Capable of causing disease.
PEL: Permissible exposure limit.
Penicillium: A common fungal type found in both soil and air. Outdoors it grows on decaying vegetation, fruit, grains, and in compost piles. Penicillium is considered to be a primary colonizer on damp building materials and contents. As a source indoors it is found in water-damaged carpet, fabric, wallpaper, moist chipboard, and other cellulose products. It is often found in household dust and is frequently a contaminant on food, such as bread products and various types of fruit, especially citrus fruit. Penicillium is reported to be allergenic, causing hay fever, asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Infections of the ears, lungs, skin, and eyes have been documented in humans, but this occurs primarily in immune-compromised individuals. Certain species within this group also can produce volatile organic compounds, as well as a variety of potent mycotoxins that attack various internal organs.

Personal protective equipment: Items intended to protect the wearer from exposure to hazardous substances.
Pesticide: A chemical or biological agent that kills plant or animal pests. Herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides are all pesticides.
PF: Protection factor.
pH: Measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.
Pharyngeal passage: Passage at the back of the mouth which opens into the esophagus or the larynx.
Physical hazard: Dangers that involve bodily harm.
Pneumonitis: Inflammation of the lungs.
Pollen: Male reproductive agent for plants. Exposure to pollen can create allergic reactions in humans.
Pollutant: Substance that spoils or ruins an area or resource, such as air, water, or soil. Similar to contaminant.
Pollution exclusion: Provision in an insurance policy that excludes damage from pollutants from being insured, unless that damage resulted from a covered loss.
Poly: see — “Polyethylene plastid”
Polyethylene plastic: Plastic sheeting which is required for mold remediation projects. 6-mil poly is recommended for all remediation activities.
Poria incrassata: Very rare and fast-growing wood decay fungus which is known as the “house-eating fungus.”
Porous: Material that absorbs substances.
Positive pressure: Greater than the pressure of the atmosphere.
Post-remediation air sample: Sample collected at the end of a remediation project to determine the content of air within an environment.
Post-remediation evaluation: Internal contractor quality control. At minimum a visual inspection is conducted, but sampling is recommended.
Post-remediation verification: External third party quality assurance. Inspection is conducted by an indoor environmental professional who sets up sampling and evaluation criteria. At minimum a visual inspection is conducted.
Powered air-purifying respirator: Motorized system with a blower that passes ambient air though an air-purifying filter that removes contaminants from the ambient air before it is delivered to the breathing zone of the user.
PPE: see — “Personal protective equipment”
Project manager: Person responsible for organizing a remediation project and keeping it running smoothly.
Proliferate: To grow or multiply rapidly.
Propagule: A structure, such as a cutting, a seed, or a spore, that can give rise to new growth.
Protection factor: Measures the overall effectiveness of a respirator.
Protozoa: Single-celled eukaryotic organisms that exhibit diverse motility mechanisms. They feed on bacteria.
Pseudomonas: Aerobic rod-shaped gram-negative bacteria which survive and multiply in a wide variety of environments, including water.
Pulmonary: Having to do with lungs.
Pulmonary fibrosis: Scarring of the lung.
Pulmonary hemosiderosis: Bleeding of the lungs.
QA: Quality assurance.
QC: Quality control.
QLFT: see — “Qualitative fit test”
QNFT: see — “Quantitative fit test”
Qualitative: Data which can be observed and described, but not measured.
Qualitative fit test: Uses contaminants, such as irritants and bitter tasting compounds, and test exercises to determine whether a respirator fit is sufficient.
Quantitative: Data which can be measured.
Quantitative fit test: Uses specialized equipment to measure the difference in airborne particulate concentrations inside and outside the respirator.
Quarantine: Voluntary or compulsory isolation, usually done to contain the spread of something considered dangerous.
Quarter-mask respirator: Respirator that fits over the bridge of the nose, along the cheek, and across the top of the chin.
Radon: A heavy radioactive gas formed by the disintegration of radium which can be an indoor contaminant.
Regulator: Controls the flow of air into a respirator.
REL: Recommended exposure limit.
Relative humidity: Ratio of the amount of water vapor in the air at a specific temperature to the maximum amount that the air could hold at that temperature, expressed as a percentage.
Remediation: Cleanup of a site to levels determined to be health protective for intended use.
Respirator: A personal protection device designed to protect the wearer from inhalation of hazardous substances in the atmosphere.
Respiratory system: Organs involved in breathing, including the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, and lungs.
Restoration: Practice of bringing an environment to a desired previous state.
Restoration Industry Association: Name adopted in 2007 for the Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration (ASCR).
RH: see — “Relative humidity”
Rhinitis: Inflammation of the lining of the nose, causing a runny nose, congestion, itching, and sneezing.
RIA: see — “Restoration Industry Association”
Risk assessment: Investigation that examines the presence of potentially dangerous elements and factors.
Rodenticide: A chemical used to kill rodents.
Rust: A group of parasitic plant fungi, which attack leaves and stems of certain crops, vegetative plants, and other living plant materials.
Safety glasses: Glasses used to protect a worker from possible eye injury.
Salmonella: A pathogenic gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium which can contaminate water and food.
Sampling: Practice of collecting a representative part from a larger whole group.
Sampling plan: Description of where, when, and how an investigator proposes to test his or her hypothesis.
Sanitizer: A substance that reduces

bacteria, molds, and other microorganisms to a safe level, but does not necessarily eliminate them.
Saprobic/saprophytic: Obtains food from nonliving or decaying organic materials, such as plant debris.
SAR: see — “Supplied air respirator”
Saturate: To treat, furnish, charge, or fill something to a point where no more can be absorbed, dissolved, or retained.
SBS: see — “Sick building syndrome”
SCBA: see — “Self-contained breathing apparatus”
SCUBA: Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.
Self-contained breathing apparatus: Respirator that consists of a facepiece and a regulator mechanism connected to a cylinder of compressed air or oxygen carried by the wearer.

Semi-porous: Material that absorbs certain substances up to a point.
Sensitivity: Capacity of an organism or animal to respond to a substance, i.e., to an environmental agent.
Sensitization: Repeated or single exposure to an allergen that results in the exposed individual becoming hypersensitive to the allergen.
Sensitizer: An allergen, such as fungal spores or certain chemicals, which can cause hypersensitivity reactions in a person upon single or repeated exposure.
Sensory nerves: Nerves that use chemicals to produce electric impulses that send information to the brain.
Service life: Length of time a cartridge or canister will effectively collect and contain a contaminant.
Settle plate: A plate filled with microbial growth medium and left open for a prescribed period of time so that bioaerosols can settle on it.
Shower room: Room in a decontamination unit that contains a shower and drain.
Sick building syndrome: Set of symptoms that affect a number of building occupants during the time they are in the building, and diminish when they leave.
Sinusitis: Inflammation in the sinuses.
Smog: Mixture of smoke and fog.
Smoke: Liquid or solid organic particles resulting from incomplete combustion.
Smoke test: Activity to determine if a complete seal between two materials exists.
Smoke tube: Small glass tube which emits smoke when broken.
Smut: A type of fungus found in air samples.
SOP: see — “Standard operating procedure”
Sorbent: Substance that collects and holds material.
Special use facility: Facility that contains people who may be particularly susceptible to mold exposure.
Species: Class of organisms having common attributes and designated by a common name, ranking below genus.
Spirochetes: Bacteria that are shaped like spiral rods.
Spore: Reproductive structure of fungi and some bacteria which is resistant to adverse environmental conditions.
Sporicide: Agent that kills bacterial endospores and fungal spores.
Sporulation: Fungal process wherein spores are produced and released for reproduction.
Stachybotrys: A dark brown/black fungus known for its ability to produce mycotoxins.
Stagnant: Stale or foul from standing, as a pool of water.
Stain remover: Products designed to eliminate stains, but which are not necessarily antimicrobial.
Standard of care: Degree of care that is cautious, prudent, and reasonable.
Standard operating procedure: Detailed written instructions for carrying out operations correctly and always in the same manner, part of a quality system.
Staphylococci: Gram-positive bacteria that are spherical in shape and usually grow in clusters.
Sterilant: Same as sterilizer.
Sterilizer: A physical or chemical agent that destroys all forms of microbial life, including highly resistant endospores.
Streptococci: Gram-positive bacteria that are spherical in shape and grow in chains or pairs.
Substrate: Materials or matter that support fungal or other microbial growth.
Supplied air respirator: Supplies clean, breathable air from an independent, remote source.
Surface sample: A sample taken from the surface of a material suspected of being contaminated.
Surfactant: Substance that lowers the surface tension of water, thus helping it to penetrate and remove contaminants from hard surfaces.
Susceptible: Especially sensitive, likely to be affected with a disease, infection, or condition.
Swab sample: Surface sample used to identify bacterial or fungal growth which is collected onto the end of a swab.
Symbiotic: Multiple organisms that live in partnership with each other.
Synergistic effect: Biological response upon exposure to multiple agents that is greater than the sum of the effects of the individual agents.
Systemic disease: A disease that is not localized in the body, but is spread widely throughout the body.
Systemic poison: Substance that is toxic in various organ systems.
Systemic sensitization: The entire body is sensitized, and will react if any part of it is exposed to the sensitizing agent.
Tape sample: Collected to identify mold growth on a surface.
Target fungal types: Organisms not typically found in clean indoor environments, identified by their characteristic need for high moisture content to grow, ability to naturally produce toxins, and common degradation of cellulose-containing material.
Taxonomy: Orderly classification of living organisms according to natural relationships.
TC: Testing and certification.
Tetragenic: Substance that causes birth defects.
TLV: Threshold limit values.
Toxic response: Reaction to a poison.
Toxigenic: A substance or biological entity that has the property itself or can produce one or more compounds that have the property to harm humans or other animals.
Toxigenic fungi: Fungi that have been shown to produce mycotoxins are toxigenic fungi.
Toxin: Microbial substance that is able to induce host damage.
Trachea: Air passage chamber that delivers air into the lungs.
Trichoderma: A fungal type associated with significant health symptoms.
Trichothecenes: A class of toxins produced by certain fungal species such as Fusarium, Trichoderma, and Stachybotrys.
Ubiquitous: Present everywhere.
United States Department of Agriculture: Federal agency responsible for safety and inspection of food, agriculture, and natural resources.

USDA: see — “United States Department of Agriculture”
UV light: Part of the light spectrum generated by the sun. UV light can also be generated artificially. It is damaging to living cells after prolonged exposure. UV light has been used to disinfect air, surfaces, and water.
Vaccine: A preparation of a weakened living or a killed microorganism, or a fragment thereof, that is administered to induce immunity to a specific disease.
Vacuum/culture technique: Air samplers that sample mold propagules by means of a vacuum drawing airborne matter onto culture media.
Ventilation: Movement of air.
Vapor: Diffused matter (as smoke or fog) suspended floating in the air and impairing its transparency.
Viable: Capable of living, growing, or developing.
Virucide (viricide): An agent that kills viruses.
Virus: Any of a large group of infective agents which are capable of growth and multiplication only in living cells. They cause mild sickness to significant disease in man, animals, and plants.
Visual inspection: Investigation that actively searches for dust, debris, mold growth, or unrepaired damage to determine the cleanliness of a completed remediation job. Should be performed prior to post remediation sampling.
VOC: see — “Volatile organic compound”
Volatile: Evaporating quickly at normal temperatures and pressure.
Volatile organic compound: Chemicals that easily evaporate into the air. Some VOCs are of industrial origin, such as compounds that evaporate from housekeeping or maintenance products used or in storage; others are produced by certain microorganisms.
Voltage: A measure of the force of electricity.
Warning property: Detected as an odor, taste, or irritation. Used as a sign that a respirator cartridge or canister in use is beginning to lose its effectiveness.
Waste load-out area: Used as a short-term storage area for bagged waste.
Water activity: The measure of the amount of free water in a material. Determines the ability of an organism to colonize a specific material.
WCB: see — “Canadian Workers Compensation Board”
Yeast: Single-celled fungi that reproduce by budding. Yeast do not usually form filaments as other fungi do. Most yeast are harmless and are commonly present on human skin and in areas of the body where moisture is present. However, some yeast can be allergenic and certain strains are human pathogens also. Growth indoors requires continually damp conditions.