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Glossary of Mold Related Terms


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The place where a population lives, including its living and non living surroundings.

Hard Water

Alkaline water containing dissolved salts that interfere with some industrial processes and prevent soap from lathering.


Risk, peril, jeopardy to which an individual is subjected.

Hazardous Waste

By-products of society that can pose a substantial or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly managed. They have at least one of four characteristics: they are ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic.

Heavy Metals

Metallic elements with high atomic weights such as mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, and lead. They can damage living organisms at low concentrations.

Hedonic Tone

The degree to which an odor is perceived as pleasant or unpleasant. Expressed in terms of preference by phrases such as "dislike very much" or "like slightly" or by facial expressions such as smiling or frowning.


High efficiency particulate arrestance (filters).


The measure of moisture in the atmosphere


Heating ventilation, and air-conditioning system.

Hydrocarbons (HC)

Chemical compounds made up entirely of carbon and hydrogen


The immune system's exaggerated response to an allergen.

Hypersensitivity Diseases

Diseases characterized by allergic responses to animal antigens. The hypersensitivity diseases most clearly associated with indoor air quality are asthma, rhinitis, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a rare but serious disease that involves progressive lung damage as long as there is exposure to the causative agent.