The Most Common Types of Mold
There are different types of mold and each of them can lead to a different health problem. However, any mold growth is to be taken seriously and addressed immediately as excessive mold causes severe allergies and significantly increases the toxins in the air. Uncontrolled mold can also lead to structural problems in buildings.
The most commonly seen types of mold are:
Aspergillus, which is the root name for about 160 different species of mold, is a fungus. It is said to be the second highest cause of fungal disease that requires hospitalization in the US. Aspergillus fumigates, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger are three of the most widely seen disease causing molds that belong to this category. They are known to trigger severe allergies. Aspergillus flavus also produces a mycotoxin that is regarded as a deadly carcinogen.
Stachybotrys Chartarum (atra) refers to a group of molds that look slimy and black. This mold thrives in water-logged or water-damaged building materials such as sheet rock, insulation backing and ceiling tiles which have plenty of cellulose. The growth of this mold can happen only over time and it is found mostly in places where water damage has been ignored for a period of time. This is another mold that produces mycotoxins which are suspected of being carcinogenic and known to be toxic and immunosuppressive. A person can get affected by these mycotoxins through ingestion, skin contact or inhalation and signs of being affected include rhinitis, cough, dermatitis, nose bleeds and other flu-like indications.
Cladosporium is one of the types of mold and it is usually dark green in front and black in the back and is known to have a smooth and velvety appearance and a powder-like texture. This mold tends to grown in decaying food, plants, clothing and even in the inside of ducts. Among the thirty common species of this genus are C. elatum, C. cladosporioides, C. herbarum and C. sphaerospermum. This fungus is known to cause asthma, lung infections, nail fungus, keratitis, skin rashes and sinusitis. Consistent exposure over time can lead to emphysema.
Fusarium is a mold that is known to be found in humidifiers, water-logged carpet and in some kinds of plants. This is a soil fungus that affects people when they inhale the spores or end up eating contaminated food. They are known to cause skin, eye and also nail infections and extreme exposure can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and even internal bleeding and this is called hemorrhagic syndrome. Many species of this mold also produce mycotoxins and one of these is Zearalenone, which is structurally similar to estrogen, and attacks the reproductive system.
Penicillium is another commonly found mold and includes several species including P. chrysogenum, P. citrinum, P. janthinellum, P. marneffei, and P. purpurogenum. Among places where you may find this mold are in grains, paint, wallpaper, carpet, cellulose, soil and food. Decaying vegetation is also found to encourage the growth of Pencillium and variations of this fungus thrive in parts of Southeast Asia. Among the problems associated with this mold are asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis and allergies. Inhalation is the chief method of acquiring this fungus and so the initial symptoms are related to lung-related illnesses although it does travel to other parts of the body and attack even the bones and the lymphatic system.
These common types of mold are around us a lot more that we realize and are the cause of many everyday health problems. Be rigorous in cleaning your shower, refrigerator and maintain a clean basement. Ensure there is enough ventilation around the house. Small precautions can go a long way in helping avoid major health problems caused by the different types of mold.