Mold: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part 3

Mold that is growing12.11.2014

Written by: Selective Micro Technologies

Finally, in the last installment of our mold series, we explore more specifically the different kinds of mold and how to treat and remove them. There are a lot of good resources available on the internet such as on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) websites. There is plenty of information, pictures, guides, and advice on what to do in case your home or business is found to have mold.

Therefore, it is important to be well-informed about mold because of the potential health risks that exist when certain types of mold are present for remediation purpose. If you find there is mold present, it is important to consult a professional mold mitigation agency or licensed mold remediation expert. Having mold mitigation done by a professional not only ensures the mold will be removed completely, but it also ensures that it is removed safely and under liability coverage.

Common Indoor Molds

Some of the common indoor molds include the following: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys chartarum. Despite the type, mold can be very invasive and secretly cause major damage to structures, especially if not detected in time. Each mold acts and looks different, and can have different effects on people. Some mold affect people’s health while others do not. Here are a few descriptions of the common molds listed above:

  • Cladosporium: According to the CDC, Cladosporium “is a mold that is common in the environment. Outdoors, it can be found on plants and other organic matter. Indoors, Cladosporium is common in the air and on surfaces such as wallpaper or carpet, particularly where moisture is present. Cladosporium is a very rare cause of human illness, but it has been known to cause several different types of infections, including skin, eye, sinus, and brain infections. Cladosporium has also been associated with allergies and asthma. Cladosporium has been identified in clinical specimens as one of the pathogens in the multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other fungal infections associated with contaminated steroid injections.”
  • Penicillium: According to Encyclopedia Britannica online, Penicillium mold is a “genus of blue or green mold fungi (kingdom Fungi) that exists as asexual forms (anamorphs, or deuteromycetes). Those species for which the sexual phase is known are placed in the Eurotiales. Found on foodstuffs, leather, and fabrics, they are of economic importance in the production of antibiotics (penicillin), organic acids, and cheeses.”
  • Alternaria: According to an article on the University of Missouri website about Alternaria, it says that “Alternaria is one of the most important allergenic molds found in the US. Alternaria is one of the most common outdoor molds, but also has been found in the indoor environment. The National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing conducted a study looking at house dust samples from 831 homes in 75 different locations throughout the US. Alternaria was found in over 90% of those dust samples. While much of that allergenic load was probably due to outdoor Alternaria finding its way inside, Alternaria is known to grow on moist surfaces in the home as well.”
  • Aspergillus: According to the CDC, “Aspergillosis is an infection caused by Aspergillus, a common mold (a type of fungus) that lives indoors and outdoors. Most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to Aspergillus. The types of health problems caused by Aspergillus include allergic reactions, lung infections, and infections in other organs.”
  • Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold): Daniel L. Sudakin wrote an article on Medscape which said, “Stachybotrys chartarum is one of several species of filamentous fungi capable of producing mycotoxins under certain environmental conditions. In some observational studies, the growth of this toxigenic mold in the indoor environment has been implicated as a cause of building-related illness. Following reports of a cluster of cases of pulmonary hemosiderosis and hemorrhage associated with exposure to Stachybotrys, public health measures have been recommended which have far-reaching implications.

The toxic effects from mycotoxins produced by Stachybotrys chartarum were first reported in the 1920s in Russia when researchers reported severe morbidity and mortality in cattle and horses that ingested hay contaminated with this mold. Clinical observations included severe skin and mucous membrane inflammation, bleeding disorders, diarrhea, and upper and lower respiratory tract disorders.

Why chlorine dioxide is the superior disinfectant

Treating and Prevention:

The best way to prevent damage from mold or health risks from exposure to mold is by employing preventive measures and taking necessary precautions. However, as listed above, treating and removing mold needs to be done by professional and specific mold mitigation specialists. The US department of housing and urban development website (HUD) lists ways to prevent and remove mold. Here are some common practices included with that listing:  

  • Keep your house clean and dry.
  • Fix water problems such as roof leaks, wet basements, and leaking pipes or faucets.
  • Make sure your home is well ventilated and always use ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • If possible, keep humidity in your house below 50% by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
  • Avoid using carpeting in areas of the home that may become wet, such as kitchens, bathrooms and basements.
  • Dry floor mats regularly.

Infographic:

Black Mold: Your Bathroom Nemesis

Mold Resources:

General Sources: