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Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in

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Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 17 Dec 2018, 05:53
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Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in their homes. After someone becomes ill, specialists are often hired to eradicate the mold. These specialists look in damp areas of the house, since mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture. If one wishes to avoid mold poisoning, then, one should make sure to keep all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage that could serve as a breeding ground for mold.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?


A. Mold cannot grow in dry areas.

B. Most homeowners know enough about plumbing to determine whether theirs is in good condition.

C. Mold itself does not create moisture.

D. No varieties of mold are harmless.

E. Mold spores cannot be filtered from the air.

Originally posted by Juaz on 15 May 2007, 21:10.
Last edited by Bunuel on 17 Dec 2018, 05:53, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2010, 19:58
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Hey All,

Even though the right answer was eventually arrived at here, there was enough confusion I thought it might be worth outlining. Let's do it.

Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in their homes. After someone becomes ill, specialists are often hired to eradicate the mold. These specialists look in damp areas of the house, since mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture. If one wishes to avoid mold poisoning, then, one should make sure to keep all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage that could serve as a breeding ground for mold.

Conclusion: To avoid mold poisoning, keep plumbing in good condition.
Premises: Specialists check in damp areas of the house/mold is almost always in moist places
Assumption: Plumbing is the only thing that causes moisture.

Now I swear on a stack of bibles I wrote this assumption before looking at the answer choices. Think about it. The argument is airtight, other than this little issue. The conclusion involves plumbing, but that seems pretty specific, doesn't it? What about fixing the roof, so rain water can't get in? Truth is, there are plenty of ways moisture could get into the house.

As for a pattern, this is an eliminate alternate cause question. These are very common on the GMAT CR section, and there's a great thing to know about them: very often, when the question posits that A causes B, the assumption is that B doesn't cause A. It's called a causation/correlation mistake (we see two things happening, for example moisture and mold, and assume that moisture causes mold). Though sometimes the answer will just be any other old cause (like the leaky roof I suggested), very often it's just a reversal (mold might cause moisture). Be on the lookout!

1]Mold itself does not create moisture.
ANSWER: Uh-oh. Think about it. If mold DID create moisture, then it wouldn't be enough to check the plumbing, because the mold could be anywhere. This would explain why it's always found in moist places.

2]Most homeowners know enough about plumbing to determine whether theirs is in good condition.
PROBLEM: This is a tricky one. If the conclusion were, "Homeowners should thus have no problem finding mold on their own," this would be the assumption. But the conclusion is that plumbing needs to be kept in good condition. If you don't know, you'd just have to learn.

3]Mold cannot grow in dry areas.
PROBLEM: We don't need to assume this, because the conclusion is not that all mold will be eradicated if plumbing is checked. It's only that if one wishes to avoid mold, one should keep plumbing in check. Even if mold can grow in dry places, the facts point towards moisture being the most common place to find it, and thus the conclusion would still hold.

4]No varieties of mold are harmless.
PROBLEM: Not the issue. Even if some are harmless, some aren't.

5]Mold spores cannot be filtered from the air.
PROBLEM: This might suggest another way that mold poisoning can be avoided (some type of filtration system), but as the conclusion relates to actually getting rid of the mold where it comes from, this answer choice is out of scope.

Hope that helps!

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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 20 May 2007, 17:12
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Here's my take, someone please feel free to correct me if I am incorrect in any of my thinking: Hopefully some of you will get a better idea of why the INCORRECT answers are wrong.

D and E are both outside of the scope of the argument. D is dealing with a variety of mold, which in the passage you see no mention of. E involves filtering spores from the air, which is again not mentioned in the argument

Now with A:
"Mold can grow in dry areas", if you take the contrapositive of this statement you are left with "Mold can not grow in dry areas". If you were to use the contrapositive to attack the argument, would the argument crumble, no.

Why, because the argument states "since mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture." Almost always does not count for always (100%).

With B:
The argument states "one should make sure to keep all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage that could serve as a breeding ground for mold.

While the possible answer B states "most homeowners know enough about plumbing to determine whether theirs is in good condition"

Difference : The argument uses "internal plumbing" while the possible answer of B usues "plumbing"... need to be careful with reading.

Left with the answer C:
Mold itslef does not create moisture
->by taking the contrapositive of this your left with "mold itself DOES create moisture". This is where you are able to break the argument and make it crumble.

Argument assumes that "mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisutre". Assumes moisutre is the effect of the mold. But if mold is the effect of the moisutre it makes the argument crumble.
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2010, 12:02
Caught between A and C

The stem states,"..mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture"

Going with A for this reason.OA pls.
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Apr 2010, 19:58
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Hey Kiski,

Also, always be aware of really strong statements. C says "Mold cannot grow in dry places". Would we need to assume that mold NEVER grows in dry places? If it happened one out of a million times, would that compromise our argument? Probably not. Always be wary of terms like "cannot", "never", and "always".

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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Nov 2012, 09:53
vivtai wrote:
Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in their homes. After someone becomes ill, specialists are often hired to eradicate the mold. These specialists look in damp areas of the house, since mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture. If one wishes to avoid mold poisoning, then, one should make sure to keep all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage that could serve as a breeding ground for mold.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

Mold itself does not create moisture.

Most homeowners know enough about plumbing to determine whether theirs is in good condition.

Mold cannot grow in dry areas.

No varieties of mold are harmless.

Mold spores cannot be filtered from the air.

OA will be provided after discussion, thanks!


Conclusion: If one wishes to avoid mold poisoning, then, one should make sure to keep all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage that could serve as a breeding ground for mold
Premise: specialists look in damp areas of the house, since mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture

As we can see that the premise says that the mold is almost always found in moist areas and then the conclusion asks us to keep plumbing in order to prevent leakage that could serve as breeding ground for mold. Thus, the observation that mold is almost always found in moist areas is led to mean that moist areas lead to molds, not the other way around.

In other words, the observations is like X and Y are always found together. Then, we conclude from this that X leads to Y. In deriving this conclusion, we are assuming that Y does not lead to X and there is no other substance Z, which could lead to both X and Y.

Thus, when we derive that moist areas act as breeding grounds for mold, we are assuming that Mold itself does not create moisture (option A).

Therefore, option A is correct.

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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Feb 2013, 08:03
if the argument were "..since mold is always found in places where there is substantial moisture.." The C would be correct?!
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Feb 2013, 21:15
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IanSolo wrote:
if the argument were "..since mold is always found in places where there is substantial moisture.." The C would be correct?!


Actually, no. C would still not be correct. There is no material change in the argument if you remove 'almost'.

The conclusion of the argument is: If you want to avoid mold poisoning, keep all plumbing in good condition.

The point is that moisture could be created by something else - excessive rain, water sprinklers, mold itself - so by just keeping plumbing in good condition, you may not be able to avoid mold.
If mold actually creates moisture, it will always be found in places where there is moisture.

If at all, (C) can be an inference in case you remove 'almost'. The premise gives you that mold is always found in moist places. We must take the premise to be true so we can infer that it cannot grow in dry areas (though, the inference is not perfect. We can say that it can grow in dry areas but it cannot be found there because it is not visible or something...).
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Feb 2013, 07:07
Correct Choice is A. Here is my explanation.

Here the author has attributed the dampening of areas to the leakage thru internal plumbing. While doing so he assumes that there are no causes other than internal plumbing responsible for dampening of places. We would look for similar reasoning

A) This choice eliminates the posibility of other cause. Correct.

B) This choice is fantastic and tempting, however passage says homeowner's responsibility is to keep the plumbing in good condition, which he/she can do by calling plumber also and not necessary to personally determine the condition. So incorrect.

C) Wrong. Premise clearly states that molds almost always found in places where there is moisture (We can not refute premises in assumption/weaken questions)

D) irrelevant

E) irrelevant
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2013, 12:31
mun23 wrote:
Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in their homes. After someone becomes ill, specialists are often hired to eradicate the mold. These specialists look in damp areas of the house, since mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture. If one wishes to avoid mold poisoning, then, one should make sure to keep all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage that could serve as a breeding ground for mold.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?
(A)Mold itself does not create moisture.
(B)Most homeowners know enough about plumbing to determine whether theirs is in good condition.
(C)Mold cannot grow in dry areas.
(D)No varieties of mold are harmless.
(E)Mold spores cannot be filtered from the air.
Need explanation...................


Hi mun23,

The argument shows a causal relationship between the premises and the conclusion. The conclusion states that one should avoid any moisture at home if one wants to stay away form mold poisoning. The causal relationship is that moisture causes mold. The assumption in this causal argument should support the causal direction of the conclusion. i.e. the assumption must prove that A causes B or moisture causes obesity and nervousness.

The assumptions in a causal arguments are often of two types:

i) Assumptions that support the causality of the argument either by eliminating an alternate cause of the conclusion OR
ii) by demonstrating that the conclusion, it it exists, is in proper direction. In other words A is caused by B and not B has caused A.

Any option which does not tell us anything about the causal link between moisture and mold growth can be safely eliminated.

Lets analyze the answer choices.

(A)Mold itself does not create moisture.

This is in fact ii) from above, i.e. it states that the conclusion exists in proper direction. If mold itself does not cause moisture then it only the moisture that causes mold and the conclusion that "one has to stay away from moisture to avoid mold poisoning" is validated.

(B)Most homeowners know enough about plumbing to determine whether theirs is in good condition.

Not relevant, no link between moisture and mould

(C)Mold cannot grow in dry areas.

Again, irrelevant, the stimulus talks about mold growing in areas with moisture.

(D)No varieties of mold are harmless.

Harmfulness of varieties is again irrelevant.

(E)Mold spores cannot be filtered from the air.

Again irrelevant, whether molds can be filtered will have no effect on our conclusion.

You can try a similar example for practice from the post below.

the-popular-belief-that-a-snake-s-age-can-be-determined-by-147522.html#p1184417

Hope that helps,

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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2017, 03:25
The basic structure of this argument is fact that “mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture,” so therefore, to avoid mold and the resultant mold poisoning, then people should take steps to prevent wet areas. This argument assumes that wet areas occur first, causing mold to grow. Conversely, this assumption requires that the mold growth itself does not occur first, creating wet areas as a result.

Ans. C - Mold itself does not create moisture.

Regarding Ans. A - Even if mold could grow in dry areas, the fact that mold is almost always found in wet areas is still valid. This is the fact upon which the argument is based, so the argument does not depend on the unnecessarily absolute assertion that mold cannot grow in dry areas
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2017, 22:41
airborne mold spores =>people ill
substantial moisture ===> mold

all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage ==> NO mold
assumption here is :-
1> Only leakage can cause substantial moisture.


Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

A. Mold cannot grow in dry areas. We already know this. We already know that mold can grow in dry areas but most of the time it grows when there is substantial moisture.
C. Mold itself does not create moisture. aligned with prethinking. if mold itself produces moisture, then no matter how good we take care of this situation, we won't be able to control mold growth.
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Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Dec 2018, 03:33
Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in their homes. After someone becomes ill, specialists are often hired to eradicate the mold. These specialists look in damp areas of the house, since mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture. If one wishes to avoid mold poisoning, then, one should make sure to keep all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage that could serve as a breeding ground for mold.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?

So mold accumulates in areas with substantial levels moisture. What to assume?


A. Mold cannot grow in dry areas. ( it can grow probably who knows, because it accumulates substantially in moist areas, it doesnt mean it cant grow in dry places)


B. Most homeowners know enough about plumbing to determine whether theirs is in good condition. ( This is out of scope. Cause specialists are hired )

C. Mold itself does not create moisture. ( Correct, Mostuire is catalyst of accumulation of mold in moist places, but mold itself doesnt create moisture)


D. No varieties of mold are harmless. ( cant be assumed)



E. Mold spores cannot be filtered from the air. ( out of scope)
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Dec 2018, 01:59
Juaz wrote:
Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in their homes. After someone becomes ill, specialists are often hired to eradicate the mold. These specialists look in damp areas of the house, since mold is almost always found in places where there is substantial moisture. If one wishes to avoid mold poisoning, then, one should make sure to keep all internal plumbing in good condition to prevent leakage that could serve as a breeding ground for mold.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?


A. Mold cannot grow in dry areas.

B. Most homeowners know enough about plumbing to determine whether theirs is in good condition.

C. Mold itself does not create moisture.

D. No varieties of mold are harmless.

E. Mold spores cannot be filtered from the air.



Confused between A and C. I think both when negated undermines the conclusion.
@VeritasKarishma....can you please help?
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Feb 2019, 01:57
I can tell that A is not the right answer, since it is not an assumption. It is stated in the passage. B is irrelevant. D is also irrelevant. E is actually kind of interesting, and tricky. It informs us that there is no other way to prevent mold poisoning but it is actually irrelevant to the argument, since the passage is only concerned with getting rid of the mold at the source. So C is the right answer. This is also supported by logic, because if the mold could produce moisture then it would not be enough to prevent leakages and the development of moist areas. One would have to look for the mold, since it could provide its own moisture.
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Re: Every year many people become ill because of airborne mold spores in   [#permalink] 13 Feb 2019, 01:57
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