Most Common Types of Household Mold
By breaking down organic matter to assist with nature’s life cycle, mold plays an integral part in every outdoor environment. But it becomes a problem when it grows within our homes. It can do anything from threatening the structural integrity of the home to making occupants sick.
The most common questions we hear from people are:
What kind of mold do I have?
Is the mold in my house black mold? Or toxic mold?
Is it safe to be here with mold growing?
Can I get rid of the mold myself?
What is important to understand is that ALL MOLDS, once they are present, can have toxic effects. Every person has varying degrees of mold sensitivity. What doesn't affect one person may cause asthma-like responses in another and make a third person extremely sick. This is why we recommend treating for and removing mold regardless of the type.
It’s important to be as educated as possible when you first notice it’s growth, whether it be underneath your sink or in the windowsill in your bathroom. In this article, we’ll briefly cover what mold is, how it can affect you, and the most common molds found growing within homes.
Molds are small organisms that are included in the kingdom Fungi. They cannot make their own food, unlike plants that can subside by photosynthesis. In order to survive, they create enzymes that break down organic matter into digestible molecules. Outdoors, these small fungi usually don’t impact our day to day lives. But when they begin to grow in our homes, they can pose a dangerous problem.
Mold is present within the air of every home. For most people, it doesn’t pose a problem until it comes into contact with moisture and begins to grow. Some have the ability to eat through wood and drywall, others can produce deadly mycotoxins that can harm anyone who inhales them.
Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are produced by some species of mold. Interestingly enough, some of these mycotoxins are used to create antibiotics and other helpful drugs but others have been used in chemical warfare. If these mycotoxins are present within a home, it can create a serious problem for the occupants, especially the young, old, and immunocompromised. Fortunately, Pure Air has a revolutionary treatment that can expel mold quickly at a low cost to the homeowner.
Aspergillus is another mold you may encounter growing within your house. It is extremely common indoors and outdoors. Unlike other molds, it can thrive in areas of low moisture. It can grow on paper, wood, and metal. Aspergillus has been observed to live wherever dust and dirt can gather, given that the moisture is high enough.
From sneezing to fatal systemic infections, the presence of aspergillus within your home can cause a myriad of health issues. It can cause mycotic keratitis, a fungal infection that affects the eye. It's also been observed to cause blood clots. Respiratory issues such as shortness of breath, a cough, or congestion are also symptoms of aspergillus exposure. All these symptoms can be worsened if the person affected is undergoing chemotherapy, immunocompromised, or has recently undergone organ transplants.
Aureobasidium is a type of mold that is commonly found growing within buildings. Like most molds, it requires some level of moisture in order to grow indoors. It also has the ability to grow in cooler climates, whereas most other molds require a warmer environment to thrive. Aureobasidium is usually found growing on caulk, wood, and damp window frames, along with behind wallpaper. It usually appears in pink, brown, or black colors that can darken as it ages.
The main health impact of exposure to aureobasidium is infections, particularly in the eyes, skin, and nails. Direct skin contact can cause a rash so it’s prudent to wear gloves before touching it. It’s also been observed to cause allergies and can cause mild irritation to the respiratory tract.
Basidiospores account for a large number of different types of fungi. These include mushrooms, puffballs, rusts, smuts, and many other species. They’re extremely common outside and can be found within the air indoors, though growth indoors is rare. You’ll be able to identify basidiospore growth if you see mushrooms growing within your home.
Basidiospores can cause many health problems to those who are exposed to them for long periods of time. Symptoms include hay fever, asthma, and respiratory problems. Unlike other fungi, the toxins produced by some basidiospores are a problem only if directly ingested.
Chaetomium is a common household mold that thrives in wet environments. Not only can it be found near leaking pipes or underneath damp roofs, but it can grow on wood and in the paper within the drywall. It's important to fix any water problems while dealing with the mold growth to ensure it doesn’t resurface. It can manifest with a cotton-like texture and change from white to gray to black as it ages.
It’s health impacts can range from mild to severe. Chaetomium can cause skin and nail infections that can impact the average person. More severe infections can have been found to be mutagenic. Not only that, but there is some evidence that it can cause neurological damage.
Cladosporium is a unique mold that can grow in both warm and cold conditions. It can be found in a variety of locations such as fabrics, upholsteries, carpets, underneath floorboards, and inside cupboards. Some species have been found to resist treated lumber. In order to identify it, it's important to know that it can appear in both an olive-green color and a blackish-brown color with a suede-like texture.
Cladosporium can cause a variety of health effects. If handled directly, it can cause skin rash and lesions. When inhaled, it can cause asthma, lung infections, and sinusitis. All these ailments can be worsened if the person has an underdeveloped or weakened immune system.
Fusarium is a unique mold that can grow indoors due to the fact that it can grow at cold temperatures. It's usually found within carpeting, wallpaper, and other fabrics and materials found within the home. You can also find it growing on food products and compost. This mold can appear in a pink, white, or reddish color.
With short term exposures, it can cause skin infections and allergic reactions that can worsen if the person is immunocompromised. Chronic infections can cause severe and life-threatening conditions. Bone infections and brain abscesses have been known to happen to those that have been around the mold for an extended period of time. In the 20th century Soviet Union, fusarium-infected wheat was sold and baked into bread. Those who ate the bread had a 60% mortality rate.
Penicillium is a common mold that can grow in water-damaged homes. If the water dampens carpets, wallpapers, ducting, or even mattresses, it can provide an ample environment for it to grow. It can spread quickly as it becomes easily airborne. You’ll be able to tell it’s penicillium if you see a green or blue mold with a velvety texture.
While penicillium can be used to create medications for a variety of ailments, it can cause many problems. Short term exposure can cause asthma and pulmonary inflammation. Longer exposure to penicillium can cause chronic sinusitis. Like most molds, these symptoms can be worsened if the occupants of the home are immunocompromised.
Stachybotrys is the type of growth most commonly referred to as "black mold". These are some of the most dangerous molds that can invade your home. It has no environmental limitations and can grow on metals, cardboard, wood, paper, and other materials. As its nickname implies, it can appear in black color but can also show in a brownish-white color. Its texture tends to be dry.
Stachybotrys is also one of the molds that produce a mycotoxin called trichothecenes. These trichothecenes can cause a myriad of problems. It can cause dull aches and pains within the sinuses. Burning sensations and sores can plague the skin. Neurological problems such as brain fog, confusion, and anxiety.
Like most molds, trichoderma thrives in wet environments. It can live on carpet, wallpaper, and other fabrics that hold moisture. It can also be found within the air conditioning filters and the HVAC system of your home. Trichoderma can also be extremely damaging to building materials due to an enzyme that it secretes that destroys wood and paper products. It usually presents in white with green patches.
Trichoderma, like most other molds, can cause health issues if the occupants of the home are exposed to it. Some species of it have been linked to pulmonary and liver infections. When it produces mycotoxins, it can affect people similarly to how stachybotrys affects people.
Ulocladium is a mold that can be found growing after extreme water damage has occurred. It can grow within kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and windows if those locations have high humidity. It usually appears in black or olive-brown color with a cotton-like texture.
If those exposed have allergies or immune disorders, ulocladium can cause them to contract hay fever. In others, it can cause skin infections and asthma-like symptoms with a difficulty to breath. All these symptoms can be worsened if the person affected is immunocompromised.
Hopefully this has been helpful. In the end, regardless of the type of mold growing in your home, Pure Air North Carolina's unique dry fog treatment can take care of it. We kill all the mold, both on surfaces and in the air. Plus we leave behind a barrier to prevent future mold growth. We'll get your air quality back to a healthy place so you can have "pure air" again.