That dark damp corner in the basement that has grossed you out ever since you can remember, a substance lurks. What is it? One may ask this question only to be shocked and quite frankly completely disgusted to find the answer is mold. Household molds can grow quickly and can be extremely detrimental to one's health. Mold is essentially a fungus that grows anywhere indoors or outdoors whenever sufficient moisture is present. Here is the crazy part; individually fertile threads can produce hundreds of thousands of spores in four to nine days. As gross as mold is, we still eat it in our foods on a daily basis! Cheese, wine and beer, vinegar, sour cream, smoked meats and fish, and even canned juices contain different types of mold. Not all types of molds can be harmful towards a household but some can be deadly so you should always take precautions.
Mold can grow indoors and outdoors in every type of climate, social and economic condition. Wherever oxygen, moisture, and other chemicals are present mold can and will grow. Indoors mold can be found in damp basements, closets with poor ventilation, and behind baseboards and walls. Mold thrives in bathrooms and kitchens because there is always water present. Usually the mold will grow because the water will soak into the walls or an area will stay damp for an extended period of time. Outdoors mold can grow on dead and dying vegetation. Shady and moist areas, such as rotting logs or leaves are areas that most likely have some type of mold or fungus growing on it.
Because we live with mold (and even consume it) we should be able to know some common types of household mold, whether it is harmful or not, and what it looks like.
The first type of household mold we will be discussing is called Penicillium. This mold is an allergenic and it can cause many diseases in humans. Commonly found in soil, food, or decaying food materials. Another place it can be spotted is in the air conditioning system living in the dust, the spores spread around the house whenever you turn the system on. Scary to think that a mold could spread through your house in less than one week. This mold when it is large enough to be seen shows up in white circular patches. Sometimes when it is found on food it can be green or the traditional white color.
Cladosporium is a powdery substance that can be black or a darker green color. It can grow on food, dead plants, paint, and fiberglass air ducts. This has multiple effects on humans such as nail fungus, asthma, pulmonary conditions, and skin rashes in humans.
Memmoniella is another common household mold. This is usually found on cotton, paper and wood products. In the supports for your house or on a chair that has been rotting away in the garage is a particularly place for this bugger to grow. Memmoniella can develop toxins that can be very harmful to humans and animals. It is also found alongside the next mold in our lineup, Stachybotrys.
Stachybotrys is probably one of the more disgusting looking molds on this list. It is black, patchy, and slimy. Sometimes has a furry nature to it as well. This repulsive mold can be really bad for humans. It has been known for causing cancer, asthma, and severe headaches. Commonly found in the back of walls and under ceilings similar to Memmoniella.
Mucor is a mold that a lot of us with dogs or cats are familiar with. This mold commonly grows in soil and is found on animal droppings. It looks a lot like hair and is white in color. People with weak immune systems can easily develop lung infections if they are exposed to this type of mold for a long period of time.
Alternaria like Penicillium is an allergenic mold. It is usually found on plants and in soils. Some of the effects include asthmatic reactions, hay fever, and various other allergies. If found in food it looks can be black, it also erodes the food it is on. On plants the leaves turn brown in small circular places, and sometimes have large holes in them.
Molds have an important positive role in nature but have some extreme effects upon humans and animals when in the wrong place. Having some knowledge about common types of molds, what they look like, and what their effects are can greatly reduce the impact that mold can have on your house and your health.