Mold plays a vital role in breaking down organic matter. Mold is also an ingredient in several lifesaving medications. So, why is everyone worried about finding mold in their homes?
When mold colonizes indoors, it can have an adverse effect on one's health. Some molds can also cause a property to decay and rot. While not every type of mold can kill you, there is no such thing as a safe mold. Different types of mold negatively affect humans in different ways.
Allergenic molds trigger allergy and asthma attacks. These attacks become more severe with long-term exposure. Respiratory inflammation is often reported with allergenic mold exposure, and skin conditions are also associated with allergenic molds.
Pathogenic molds cause diseases. People with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to diseases spread by pathogenic molds.
As toxic mold begins to break down organic and inorganic materials, it releases mycotoxins into the environment. These mycotoxins cause a wide array of medical afflictions. Long-term exposure to toxic mold may result in cancer or death.
The Many Species of Mold
More than 100,000 species of mold exist. Out of those 100,000 species, only an estimated 100 are toxic. The problem is, it's difficult to determine which mold is toxic and which mold is benign. Toxic mold can colonize in almost every climate and comes in a variety of colors.
No mold is good mold when it's growing indoors, but these five species are the absolute worst types of mold to find in any home.
Aspergillus is one of the most common molds in North America. It can be allergenic, pathogenic and toxigenic. Asthma attacks and respiratory infections are usually the first signs that you've been exposed to Aspergillus. Certain varieties of this mold release deadly carcinogens called aflatoxins.
Fusarium thrives on water damaged surfaces, stale foods and compost piles. The pink, red or white mold made this list because it's been known to cause brain abscesses, bone infections, central nervous system damage, hemorrhages and internal bleeding.
Chaetomium looks like cotton, except it can be white, gray, brown or black in color. This mold is often found in basements. Children and the elderly are most susceptible to this toxigenic mold. Chaetomium emits a strong, musky odor.
Acremonium is one of the most dangerous molds ever discovered. Impaired mental function, vital organ damage, autoimmune diseases and cancer are just a few of the health problems associated with this mold. Acremonium loves humidity and is often white, pink, orange or gray in color.
Stachybotrys is the wretched black mold that the experts warned you about. This slimy green or black mold colonizes on any moist surface, although it's most often found on cellulose, cardboard, wood, paper, hay and wicker. A single exposure to Stachybotrys can result in difficulty breathing, severe headaches, nosebleeds, cough and fever. Depression, flu-like symptoms, severe neurological issues, cancer and pulmonary bleeds are all symptoms of long-term Stachybotrys exposure.
What To Do When You Suspect You Have Mold
There are several methods to test for mold. If any of these tests yield positive results, you should not hesitate to call in a professional mold remediation service.