Varieties of Mold that Can Effect Your Health
If you’ve had any experience with mold in your home before, you know just how
invasive this fungus can be. Besides the possible damage that mold does to your
home, the spores released by molds can be the cause of many health concerns. Spore are
produced as part of mold’s reproduction process—spores are almost like tiny
seeds. Because the spores are so light, they can travel up to 20 miles in the
wind. These little spores wreak havoc when inhaled by an individual with
allergies or asthma, but even a healthy individual can be affected by mold. So,
do you know what types of mold are currently invading your residence?—here is a
list of common molds that pose a health hazard:
- Cladosporium - A powerful allergy irritant that is found
throughout the United States, both indoors and outdoors. This mold causes
skin sensitization and aggravates the upper and lower respiratory tract.
Cladosporium is a common cause of extrinsic asthma (immediate
hypersensitivity). Certain strains release toxic spores.
- Alternaria – One of the leading allergy-causing molds. When it
shows up indoors, this mold is often growing in carpets, textiles and other
horizontal surfaces (such as window sills).
- Helminthosporium – A common fungus that often grows on celery.
Mutated forms are difficult to exterminate. The spores produced by this mold
are larger than other varieties and often end up in the upper respiratory
- Epicoccum – This mold is very similar to Helminthosporium. The
mold colonies are spread through the air, soil and on food. The spores are
very often found in indoor air.
- Penicillium - A frequent indoor mold that is often growing in
basements. Causes mucorosis in individuals with weakened immune systems, and
will create health problems for those who live in a home with a high
concentration of penicillium spores.
- Aspergillus - A resilient, indoor mold that can survive in dry
conditions and grows veraciously in the autumn and winter (in the northern
hemisphere). Twenty of its species have been reported to cause serious
fungal infections in individuals with lowered immune systems. Aspergillus
can spark several different allergic-related diseases and lead to permanent
lung damage (fibrosis).
- Mucor – This is another indoor mold, often seen as the black
splotches found on breads. Mucor is a skin and bronchial allergen, and is
reported to enter the body through open wounds, which causes other serious
If you have mold allergies, you probably have noticed that it is more
difficult to avoid spores than other allergens. For example, relief from pollen
can be found indoors; pets can be shut out of certain parts of the house to
avoid contact with dander, etc.
The hardest part of mold removal is catching it before it has gotten out of
control. This is because usually mold grows in unseen places. Mold sprouts up
within walls, under carpets and in air ducts. For people with allergies or
asthma, inhaling spores can cause very serious health problems. It isn’t
guaranteed that you will be immune to mold whether you have allergies or
not—spores can create illness in usually healthy individuals. This is because of
the toxins or mycotoxins found in certain spores.
Mycotoxins are can cause illnesses ranging from chronic sinusitis to cancer.
Exposure of long periods of time can harm the brain, reducing mental
capacity—the symptoms of this are learning disabilities or cognitive
In writing articles like this one, I come across a lot of preventative
information on mold. The repeated recommendation in avoiding mold infestation is
dehumidifying the air in your home. Another strongly suggested precaution would
be installing an air purifier with Ultra Violet light technology. UV light is
perhaps one of the most effective ways to reduce the effect of microorganisms in
the air. It can neutralize spores as well as bacteria and viruses like flu and
For additional information on mold, check out
Mold-Help.org. This is one of
the most comprehensive resources on mold and mold identification that I’ve
found. To take care of airborne spores,
make air purifiers that are perfect for use in your home. An
HVAC UV air
purifier that can be installed inside of your duct work is an ideal mold
solution, because it eliminates the mold’s ability to reproduce throughout the