Types of Mold
Opinions vary as to how many varieties there are with estimates ranging from a few hundred thousand to over a million. Mold is a natural part of our world and spores are virtually all around us. Mold only becomes an issue to us when it is able to attach to moist surfaces, reproduce and thrive.
There are over a hundred or so varieties of mold commonly found in homes. Different health problems can arise depending upon which variety of mold you are exposed to. However, there is no “good” mold. While some people are more sensitive to the effects of mold than others, everyone should avoid breathing it or touching it.
Types Of Mold Usually Found In Homes
There are three types of harmful molds: Allergenic, which cause allergic reactions; Pathogenic, which cause health problems for people already suffering from weakness or illness; and Toxigenic which are commonly referred to as toxic mold.
This is a brief examination of twelve varieties of mold most commonly found in homes:
Acremonium A toxigenic mold that typically grows in condensation from humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans and window sealants. It can appear pink, grey or white in color and its appearance may change over time. This dangerous mold is a carcinogen, and can lead to disease in the bone marrow, the immune system, and other organs.
Alternaria The most common form of allergenic mold, Alternaria can grow wherever there is dampness. It is velvet-textured with dark green or brown hairs, spreads quickly and can cause asthma-like symptoms.
Aspergillus There are about 185 species of this common household mold that appear in many different colors. Aspergillus is an allergenic mold, but can become more toxic depending upon the environment.
Aureobasidium Pink, brown or black, Aureobasidium is most commonly found growing behind wallpaper or on wooden or painted surfaces. The allergenic mold is known to cause infections of the eyes, skin, and nails.
Chaetomium This mold has a cotton-like texture and can be found in buildings affected by water damage. It may change color from white to grey to black over time and can cause skin and nail infections.
Cladosporium Fabrics, upholsteries, and carpets can prove hospitable hosts to Cladosporium, an allergenic mold. Cladosporium has an olive-green or brown color with a suede-like texture and can cause allergic reactions to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.
Fusarium Typically found in homes with water damage, Fusarium is both allergenic and toxigenic. Fusarium is often pink, white or reddish and grows naturally on food products and compost. It can also be found in carpeting, wallpaper, and other materials.
Mucor This allergenic mold typically grows in thick patches near air-conditioning, HVAC systems, and ductwork and can cause a range of respiratory problems. Prolonged exposure can have even more serious consequences including fungal infections that can damage the lungs, sinuses and even the brain.
Penicillin In addition to antibiotic production and food processing capabilities, this allergenic form of mold can travel through the air and exposure can cause pulmonary inflammation and asthma. Long-term exposure can lead to chronic sinusitis. You can recognize Penicillin by its characteristic blue or green colored surface with a velvety texture.
Stachybotrys Also known as Black Mold, Stachybotrys is a notorious toxigenic mold that can also cause allergic reactions. In spite of its Black Mold moniker, Stachybotrys can be dark green and has a slimy texture. Stachybotrys produces mycotoxins that can cause severe health problems including breathing difficulty, sinusitis, fatigue and even depression.
Trichoderma Generally white with green patches, Trichoderma is allergenic and grows as wooly-textured clusters on wallpaper, carpet, and damp fabrics; as well as in air conditioning filters and HVAC ducts that have condensation. When Trichoderma mold produces mycotoxins, it acts similarly to Stachybotrys or Black Mold.
Ulocladium Usually black in color, Ulocladium typically appears in homes and buildings that have extreme water damage, and can grow simultaneously with Stachybotrys, Fusarium, and Chaetonium. There are two varieties, both of which can cause serious health issues including hay fever, skin infections, asthma-like symptoms and difficulty breathing.
When To Clean. When To Call.
There are many, many types of mold. No matter the variety growing in your home, you should take steps to remediate it. Practically every type of mold can be successfully treated and prevented by controlling moisture and humidity.
You may be able to clean mold yourself on surfaces that are small using mild detergent and water, and drying completely. If you are dealing with mold over an extensive or hard to access area, or if you have signs of hidden mold, it may be time to call a professional.
As you can tell, there are many different varieties of mold, and they each effect people differently. While some effects are mere annoyances, others can be serious.
Partnering with a mold remediation professional can help you properly identify the source of your mold, determine the true scope of your issue, and put a plan in place to remove it from your environment and keep it from coming back.