Types Of Mold
A Quick Guide to Types of Mold
Molds is everywhere in our indoor and outdoor environments and we are exposed to many different types of mold every day. Most of these types of mold are harmless; in fact, some of them are even good for us. Many molds are microscopic and we never even see them. Various forms of mold can grow just about anywhere. All mold needs to grow is moisture, food, and time.
In order to understand how types of mold affect us, it is important to know exactly what mold is. Mold is a living organism, a kind of fungus. Fungi include mold, mildew, rust, yeasts and mushrooms. All mold reproduces by making spores, so tiny that we cannot see them. While plants have stems, leaves and even roots when they grow, fungi have none of these. They do not need the process of photosynthesis in order to live.
In fact, molds and other fungi are parasites and saprobes. This simply means they need to feed off another organism to have life themselves. With saprobes, this food consists of dead and decaying organic substances. All mold does is feed and reproduce. While some molds have no negative effects at all on humans, other types of mold can release toxic chemicals which can pose health risks, and in the most severe cases, these toxins can cause death.
So, how do we know which types of mold are toxic and which are not? Luckily, scientists have already identified many kinds of toxic mold. These molds send mycotoxins into the environment. Mycotoxins are the chemicals that can make humans sick. While some molds simply cause small allergic reactions, other types of mold can make people so sick that they could even die.
Those most susceptible to the health risks of mold are people with compromised immune systems. That includes people who already have an illness, such as AIDS, the elderly, asthmatics, and others with health problems such as heart conditions, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Mold can cause many health symptoms, from flu-like illnesses, to respiratory problems, fatigue, muscle pains and infections.
The types of mold that are common in people’s houses, in alphabetical order, are alternaria, cladosporium, memnoniella, mucor, penicillium, and stachybotrys.
Alternaria can be found around the sides of windows and outside, in plants and soil. It can cause hay fever and asthma, along with other types of allergies. Cladosporium is that powdery dark green or black mold you have probably seen on foods. It can also be found on dead plants. It exists both inside and outside, and because it can be transported easily through the air, it can even get into air ducts and be blown out through central air systems. It can cause asthma, all types of breathing problems, along with skin conditions and nail fungus.
Memnoniella is a fungus that grows on paper, cotton, and wood. It is considered dangerous because many times it is present with toxic black mold. Mucor is not a serious health threat but can cause allergies. It is found in dust, dirt, and the feces of animals. Penicillium is present in rotten food, dust, and soil, and it is one of the most common home molds. It can cause allergies like other molds, but this mold can also cause serious health problems, including infections.
Of the many types of mold, stachybotrys is definitely one about which you should be concerned. It is also commonly known as black mold and it is that mold you see on walls, floors, ceilings, cupboards--anyplace where there is moisture. A leaking roof, wall, or floor makes the perfect environment for this mold. It can cause serious health problems, including lung infections, asthma, skin allergies, flu-like symptoms, headaches, mood changes, loss of memory and death in infants and people with compromised immune systems. If you suspect you have this type of mold in your house or apartment, you need to take immediate action to have it removed.