There are over 300,000 known varieties of mold so it’s fairly safe to say that we have all experienced mold in our homes at one point or another. On the positive side, there are only a few varieties of mold that typically find their way into residential homes. The experienced professionals at Disaster Services are familiar with mold and have prepared the following list of information to educate you on the most common types of mold and which can be harmful to the health of you and your family.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus and is classified as a plant-like organism that obtains food directly from its surroundings as opposed to using photosynthesis. Mold can grow on a variety of materials including fabrics and damp walls. Mold reproduces by releasing large numbers of tiny spores, which are very resilient and can withstand both drying and freezing. Mold thrives in damp, humid conditions such as those found in bathrooms.
Common Household Molds
Some of the most common molds found in and around the home include:
Alternaria: Is one of the most common types of mold found outdoors and which thrives on vegetation. It can also be found indoors and according to researchers, has been found in more than 90% of dust samples taken from residential homes. Alternaria can enter the home through windows and doors where it grows on most surfaces. Alternaria is an allergen and can increase the risk of respiratory attacks in individuals suffering from asthma.
Aspergillus: Aspergillus is another type of mold that lives both inside and outside the home and prefers warm, moist places. Aspergillus can pose a health risk for individuals with compromised immune systems. While the inhalable spores are harmless to most people, anyone with a compromised and weakened immune system, lung disease or respiratory problems is at risk for a disease known as Aspergillosis, a condition which can be fatal.
Cladosporium: Cladosporium is found outdoors on plants and is pathogenic in nature. It is very common in indoor areas that are high in moisture levels. Cladosporium can grow on many surfaces including walls and wood work along with carpets and flooring that have suffered water damage. Cladosporium is also found to be airborne and can trigger allergies and asthmatic reactions including sinus. Cladosporium can also cause eye and skin infections and in rare cases brain infections.
Penicillium: Penicillium is a mold that is most often found on food and is fuzzy and greenish in appearance. It typically forms on fruit and other produce. Penisillium can also form on surfaces such as walls as well as soft furnishings including draperies, upholstery and carpets. Like most mold, Penisillium has a preference for moist, warm conditions and thrives in areas of the home that have suffered water damage or areas with high moisture levels.
How Harmful is Mold to Humans?
Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium are annoying and while they can be harmful to your health small amounts can be easily removed using baking powder and vinegar. Stachybotrys (or toxic black mold) can be very dangerous as it produces mycotoxins that can cause serious health problems such as breathing and respiratory issues. Black mold must be removed by professionals and you should never attempt to remove black mold from your home on your own.
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For more information about mold remediation and the cleanup and removal process, contact the experts at Disaster Services today.