If you’ve discovered or suspect you have mold in your home or workplace, the next most common question is “is it dangerous?” Not all molds are created equal. Some are considered toxic mold while others are less of a hindrance. While no mold is good in the home or workplace, there are some types of mold that fall into the “most dangerous molds” category.
The most dangerous molds are considered “toxic” and can be considered deadly or harmful to humans. Many people believe that toxic mold is one type of mold, but in fact, there are hundreds of species of mold that can be extremely harmful to the human body.
Where do the most dangerous molds grow?
The most dangerous molds grow in the same areas that all mold grow in. Any place is that is dark and accumulates moisture is a potential area for mold to grow. It can grow on just about any organic surface in your home or place of work as long as the conditions are right. Moisture sources can be anything from high humidity to a flood. Most common moisture sources are from leaks in the home that allow water from outside to come inside.
The Most Dangerous Molds
Toxic molds fall into five categories. Each category includes many species of mold, and they have a wide variety of harmful qualities. Symptoms range from allergy type reactions to deadly illnesses. All five of these categories can grow indoors and be found in our homes. It can grow in sneaky places such as in your basement, under your carpet and inside your walls.
Stachybotrys is an extremely dangerous fungus, also known as “black mold”. Mold species under this genus produce mycotoxins wherever they are disturbed, which can cause a long list of serious infections. They usually grow on materials that contain cellulose and that have remained damp for a long period of time. Such surfaces include cardboard and gypsum board, ceiling tiles, wood, and other organic materials.
Stachybotrys has also been linked to severe illness in young infants. Those people with compromised immune systems, small children, and the elderly are highly susceptible to illness when they come in contact with this species of mold. Some symptoms associated with exposure to Stachybotrys include (but are not limited to):
– respiratory issues
– nasal and sinus congestion
– eye irritation
– a sore throat
– chronic fatigue
– central nervous system issues
– aches and pains
There are about 200 known species of Penicillium molds that are found in the air or the soil. Their main purpose is to cause food and other perishable goods to spoil, and their presence usually indicates high moisture levels in the environment. Indoors, they will cling to various damp surfaces, such as walls and wallpapers, floors, and carpets. Colors range from blue and yellow to green and white.
These mold families have been connected to illnesses such as nail fungus, asthma, and also infections of the lungs, liver, and kidneys.
Cladosporium is a very common mold and is one that falls into the most dangerous mold category. This genus comes in green, brown, gray, or black colors and is comprised of around 40 species. Common gathering spots include painted walls, wood, carpets, wallpapers and other damp organic surfaces.
Chronic cases of Cladosporium may produce pulmonary edema and emphysema.
Fusarium springs to life even at lower temperatures and is most often spotted growing on water-damaged carpeting and fabrics. Its prolonged presence can cause mild allergic reactions, asthma, and severe respiratory conditions. It is often orange in color.
Fusarium may cause some types of gastrointestinal illnesses and has been linked to some illnesses which affect the female reproductive system.
The least serious of the most dangerous mold groups, the Aspergillus mold family consists of almost 200 species. Only 16 of those cause illness in humans, none of which are fatal if treated. The mold is yellow-greenish in color and often encountered indoors. Neglecting its presence can lead to respiratory infections or may even cause inflammation of the lungs – a condition known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Toxic molds produce chemicals during their natural growth that are classified as toxins or poisons. The types that have been found to have profound effects on human health, are given the label of “toxic mold.”
We should always take the proper precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones by eliminating environments which molds grow. If you do find mold in your home, you will need to identify which type of mold you are dealing with so that you can take the correct steps to remediate and remove it. Contacting a professional mold remediation company can help you determine if you have one of the most dangerous molds and guide you in the proper treatment.