Molds are fungi that grow into multicellular filaments. They reproduce through tiny spores that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The spores float through the air, both inside and outside. They grow indoors when the spores land on wet or moist surfaces. Molds cannot grow without water or moisture. The most common health effect of mold is allergic reaction, which includes rash, wheezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose.
Different kinds of mold can cause different health problems. It is important to understand the types of mold found in homes. The most common include the following:
- Alternaria species usually grow outdoors but may thrive indoors in damp places, such as showers and under sinks where pipes are leaking. They can be found in homes or buildings that have experienced flooding. Exposure to alternaria may cause asthma attacks and other allergic reactions.
- Aspergillus molds are usually found indoors, causing allergic reactions and respiratory infections. They may also cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which is characterized by inflammation of the lungs.
- Aureobasidium molds are usually found outdoors but can also form indoors, especially on wood surfaces, painted surfaces, and wallpaper. They can be found on the caulking and frames of damp windows. They are either pink or black in color and are well known for their allergy-causing properties.
- Botrytis fungi are found in high humidity areas, such as bathrooms with little ventilation. They can cause asthma and other allergic reactions.
- Chaetomium is usually found on drywalls, window frames with water damage, and on damp carpets. You can detect it by its musty odor.
- Cladosporium fungi are typically found inside the house. They can grow in cool areas, unlike most molds that thrive in warm climates. They grow on carpets and wood surfaces and cause different respiratory problems.
- Fusarium species can grow in cooler areas. They can be found on water-damaged carpets and fabrics. They cause respiratory infections and asthma.
- Penicillium molds are typically found in materials that have been damaged by water, such as mattresses, carpets, and curtains. They spread quickly from one part of the house to another. Exposure to penicillium can cause chronic sinus infections, inflammation of the lungs, and other allergic reactions.
- Stachybotrys chartarum is often referred to as black mold or toxic mold. It produces mycotoxins, a toxic compound that can cause breathing problems, sinus infections, asthma attacks, and other allergic reactions.
- Serpula cacrymans causes dry rot as it feeds on wood. It is known as yellow mold.
- Trichoderma fungi are usually found on damp carpet and other wet surfaces. They also produce mycotoxins that cause health problems.
- Ulocladium is a genus of fungi that grows in places where there is extensive water damage.
If you have questions about the mold in your home, it’s best to call a mold remediation specialist to assess the problem and let you know if remediation is required.