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Glossary of Mold Related Terms


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Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

A colorless, odorless, nonpoisonous gas which results from fuel combustion and human activity indoors. Elevated levels of CO2 indicate ineffective ventilation indoors.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

A colorless, odorless, poisonous gas which results from incomplete combustion.


A substance that can cause or contribute to cancer.


Able to burn, corrode, dissolve, or eat away other substances.

Caustic Soda

Sodium hydroxide, a strong alkaline substance used as the cleaning agent in some detergents.


See constant air volume

Ceiling Plenum

Space below the flooring and above the suspended ceiling that accommodates the mechanical and electrical equipment and that is used as part of the air distribution system. The space is kept under negative pressure.

Central AHU

See "Central Air Handling Unit."

Central Air Handling Unit

For purposes of this document, this is the same as an AHU, but serves more than one area.


Cubic feet per minute. The amount of air, in cubic feet, that flows through a given space in one minute.

Chemical Cleaning

Cleaning by using a chemical instead of mechanical or abrasive cleaning.

Chemical Disinfection

Disinfection by using chemicals instead of heat and other physical, electrical, or radioactive methods.

Chemical Mixture

Any combination of two or more substances.


To take up and hold, usually irreversible, by chemical forces.

Chlorinated Solvents

Organic solvents containing chlorine atoms. Examples include methylene chloride, perchloroethylene and 1,1,1 trichloroethylene used as cleaning agents.

Chronic Exposure

 Long-term exposure lasting several weeks to a lifetime.

Chronic Toxicity

The ability of a substance to cause long-term poisonous human health effects.


Able to induce a cancer response at the cellular level.


The process of removing unwanted substances and putting them in their proper place.


Carbon Monoxide.


Carbon dioxide


A joining together of particles that settle out in waste water. Lime, alum, and iron salts induce the clumping of particles.


Burning or rapid oxidation accompanied by a release of energy.


Start-up of a building that includes testing and adjusting HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and other systems to assure proper functioning and adherence to design criteria. Commissioning also includes the instruction of building representatives in the use of the building systems.


The quantity of one constituent dispersed in a defined amount of another.

Conditoined Air

Air handling system that provides a constant air flow while varying the temperature to meet heating and cooling needs.


Any physical, chemical, biological, or radioactive substance that can adversely affect air, water or soil.


Action or effect of eating away gradually. This can occur through oxidation, the action of strong acids, or caustic alkali.


A chemical agent that reacts with a surface, causing it to deteriorate or wear away.

Crawl Space

The area beneath floors that provides access to utilities and other services. Other options are basements and slabs on grade.

Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)

A measure of the volume of a substance flowing through air within a fixed period of time. Indoors, it is the amount of air measured in cubic feet that is delivered and exchanged in one minute.