The term “toxic mold” and its meaning can often be misunderstood. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a mold that’s referred to as toxic mold is not toxic on its own. It is chemical substances know as mycotoxins that these species produce that are harmful to the human body.
1. Stachybotrys- is the most famous toxic mold, otherwise know as black mold and is one of the most harmful toxic mold species. This black mold is usually found inside homes due to water damage. The mycotoxins that this species of mold produce can cause lungs to bleed, which is potentially fatal to infants and animals. The issue with black mold is that it’s hard to detect, it usually develops behinds walls and under ceilings which can make it resistant to regular air sampling.
2. Memnoniella- which is also referred to as black mold, is very similar to Stachybotrys and has the same effects. Memnoniella only differs when it is viewed under a microscope, its spores are released in chains, whereas the spores that Stachybotrys releases are in clumps.
3. Aspergillus– are green and gray flecks and appear on wooden surfaces. Aspergillus has 20 different species in total and is dangerous as it will often cause serious asthmatic reactions, allergies or lung infections. All Aspergillus species of mold produces mycotoxins, which are a health hazard, especially for those individuals who are immune compromised including infants and seniors.
4. Penicillium- there are many species of Penicillium some can be beneficial but others are harmful. Some species of Penicillium molds are used for producing cheese and medicine. Similar to other molds, Penicillium causes allergies, ands it’s especially harmful for people that already have weak and or compromised immune systems.
5. Alternaria- is on the most prevalent toxic molds and includes many species. Respiratory issues such as severe asthma and hay fever are among the conditions one might suffer from when she or he has inhaled Alternaria spores.
6. Geotrichum- is white in color and usually appears powdery. It is know to spread fast and is often associated with adverse health conditions such as tuberculosis and pulmonary infections. This mold breeds in moist conditions and temperate climates, commonly found in attics and crawl spaces where there has been moisture. Its spores can spread easily via air to new environments. It is an allergen that causes itchy eyes, fatigue, and sometimes chronic headaches.
7. Trichoderma- this mold is also white in color with green patches. It is an allergic type of mold that mostly thrives in moist areas. The mold has five different subspecies, most of which are non-pathogenic. However, some of the subspecies have been associated with liver and pulmonary infections.
8. Chaetomium- is also an allergic and is often found in drywall that has previously been damaged by water. Its spores have been linked to autoimmune diseases, neurological damage and allergic reactions such as respiratory issues, difficulty breathing and red watery eyes.
9. Bipolaris- as this mold begins to grow it is a whitish or grayish brown color, but gradually turns to dark olive as it ages. It looks soft and fluffy and usually grows outdoors on soil or grass. It thrives in water damaged materials such as carpets, hardwood floors, and houseplants. This toxic mold grows rapidly and only takes about five days to mature. It is also a well know allergen and may cause asthma, wheezing, stuffy nose and coughing when its spores are inhaled.
10. Ulocladium- is black in color and often found in wet and moist areas of homes that have suffered water damage. This type of mold commonly grows in bathrooms, basements and kitchens. Ulocladium has two subspecies both of which are highly allergic. It has been linked to severe allergic reactions such as hay fever and skin infections. Prolonged exposure to its spores causes difficulty breathing asthma-like symptoms.
11. Fusarium- can range from pink, to reddish or white in color. It is capable of adapting to colder temperatures and mostly grows on food products, compost, carpets, drywall and any other water damaged materials. Exposure to this mold can cause allergic reactions, including a sore throat, dermatitis, itchy eyes and running nose. Significant exposure to this mold can cause lethal conditions such as brain abscess and bone infections. It’s toxins can damage the nervous system and cause internal bleeding.
12. Aureobasidium- is also allergic and may cause eye, skin and nail infections. It is normally pink, brown or black in color, but gradually turns to darker brown as it matures. This type of mold grows in wet and water damaged areas such as wooden surfaces, behind wallpapers and carpets.
As you can see, there are quite a few common mold species which can lead to severe health issues. Some are extremely difficult to clean and hard to detect. However, it’s important to find and identify all the mold in your home, as mold can seriously threaten your health and the health of your loved ones.
The safest, most efficient way to detect mold is to have a professional mold inspector visit your home and carry out mold testing. Contact Coastal Pure Air today for an Indoor Air Quality Test and determine exactly what type of toxic mold is in your home.