Different types of mold - black mold, toxic mold, allergenic mold - are
present all the time around us and in the air we breathe. In low levels,
molds and mold spores are generally harmless but if their levels increase
they can affect people; especially people with allergies, asthma and
respiratory conditions or suppressed immune system.
Allergenic mold and mold spores are normally not dangerous to humans in
low amounts, but they cause allergic or asthmatic symptoms. Generally,
these types of mold can be relatively easy and safely cleaned and removed.
Note that even dead mold spores or mold particles can trigger allergy
symptoms or allergic reactions.
Mycotoxic mold and mold spores are those containing toxins in the cell
wall. These types of mold can cause serious health problems in humans and
animals. These molds range from short-term irritation to immunosuppression,
to cancer and even death. If toxic molds are identified, it is suggested
that you seek advice from an Industrial Hygienist or other mold
professional for guidance. The average homeowner should NOT attempt the
abatement of these types of mold.
Pathogenic mold is the type of mold that causes infections. Pathogenic
molds can cause serious health effects in persons with suppressed immune
systems, those taking chemotherapy, and those with HIV/AIDS, or
autoimmunity disorders. If any pathogenic molds are identified, it is
suggested that you seek advice from an Industrial Hygienist or other mold
professional. The average homeowner should NOT attempt the abatement of
this type of molds.
Hyphae & hyphal elements are single, unidentifiable fragments of mold.
Although they might not be traceable to a specific mold species, these
fragments can be responsible for allergic reactions in some people and may
indicate previous or current growth. Ascospores and basidiospores are
clusters of spores that may not be easily identified as a specific species,
but may represent a mold problem in the property.
Mildew is a synonym to mold. Dictioanry.com offers the following
definitions of mildew:
Mildew - any of various fungi that form a superficial, usually whitish
growth on plants and various organic materials.
Mildew - a superficial coating or discoloration of organic materials,
such as cloth, paper, or leather, caused by fungi, especially under damp
Mildew - a plant disease caused by fungi.
The following external resources present more information on mold, mildew and different mold
Asthma Foundation of America - Mold Allergy
Definition at Dictionary.com
If you suspect or know that you have a mold problem in your home
or public building you should contact an independent licensed mold inspector.
Mold inspectors specialize in mold testing and know how to establish what type
or types of mold are present in your environment. The information on mold and mold related health problems is
presented as a courtesy and should not be solely relied upon.
See Our Disclaimer
|What is "black mold"? The
news media often refer to "black mold" or "toxic black mold." It
has usually been associated with the mold Stachybotrys chartarum,
a type of greenish-black mold commonly associated with heavy water
damage. Known health effects are similar to other common molds. It
has been inconclusively associated with more severe health effects
in some people. While there are only a few molds that are truly
black, many can appear black. Not all mold that appears to be
black is Stachybotrys.
American Industrial Hygiene Association
Mold Types and Health
Health effects caused by different mold types affected by exposure
levels and environmental conditions:
Irritation: For some people, the "moldy odor" can be
irritating to mucous membranes, cause headaches and other
Allergy: Allergic reactions are typically the most common
Infection: There are an estimated 100
species of mold known to cause infections in humans.
Immune suppressed individuals are especially at risk.
Toxicosis: Many types of mold produce toxic metabolites
called mycotoxins which are believed to be most prevalent
in spores (both living and dead spores).
Provided by: R. Penn