Types of Mold
There are more than 100,000 types and species of mold, some of which are harmless, and some which can cause serious health problems if they are not properly removed from your home or place of business. The most common categories of mold, which can be detrimental to your health, are:
- Allergenic Molds: These types of molds contain allergens, which can cause allergies in humans. People, who have asthmatic problems, and also those with weak immune systems, can be susceptible to allergies due to allergenic molds.
- Pathogenic Molds: Such types of mold can cause severe health problems in people who are undergoing chemotherapy, people who have HIV, and those who have weak immune systems. It is best to get pathogenic molds removed from your house by a professional, and not try to do it on your own.
- Toxic Molds: Molds which produce harmful toxins are known as toxic molds. Toxic molds are very rare and are known to cause grave health problems, including death in rare circumstances. If toxic mold is present in your home, you should get it removed by a professional as soon as possible.
The two main types of toxic mold are:
- Stachybotrys: This type of mold is more popularly known as the black mold. It is a contaminant, which is found on wet cellulose type materials, and causes harmful effects to health of people and animals. One strain of stachybotrys is known to produce a poisonous toxin that is fatal to animals, whereas another type is known to be fatal to infants by causing bleeding lungs. Stachybotrys is also responsible for many other adverse health reactions in humans. This type of mold often grows at the back of walls and under ceilings, and is usually difficult to spot due to its hidden growth areas and as it is not easily discovered by regular air sampling. Thus, stachybotrys has immense potential for harm to health as it goes unnoticed and can keep producing lethal toxins without being discovered.
- Memnoniella: This type of mold is another contaminant, which is mostly found along with Stachybotrys on wet cellulose type materials such as paper, cotton, and wood products. Some types of memnoniella mold develop toxins which are very much like those formed by stachybotrys and can be equally harmful to health of humans and animals.
Common Types of Mold Found in the Home
Of the many different types of molds that are found in homes, the following are the most common ones:
- Alternaria: This type of mold is commonly found in homes in the U.S., and is also the most common type of contaminant found across the globe. It is also found on plants and soil, and is a type of allergenic mold. Alternaria causes allergies, and if inhaled by people, could result in hay fever, asthmatic reactions, and other allergies.
- Mucor: This type of mold is found in soil and animal droppings, but is also commonly present in household dust. Mucor can cause lung infections in people who have weak immune systems.
- Penicillium: This type of mold is found in soil, in food, indoor dust, and decaying food materials. The mold that forms on bread is an example of penicillium. It is an allergenic mold, which can cause allergies in people, but certain species are also known to be toxic in nature.
- Aspergillius: This is an allergen and can cause hay fever, asthmatic reactions, and lung infections. It usually does not affect people with strong immune systems, but it does produce some harmful toxins that can serious problems or even prove fatal for those with weak or compromised immune systems.
To learn more about types of mold, see our full list of common types of mold found in homes, offices, and schools.