What’s that colorful fuzz in your closet or bath? Mildew? Mold? Mold comes in many colors, textures, and shapes, and can be exceedingly difficult to identify. Even salt deposits (efflorescence) can mimic mold. It is also difficult to pinpoint “dangerous” versus “harmless” varieties. Although black mold’s notorious mycotoxins are nearly universally toxic, there’s a reason all molds are treated as a potential health hazard.
Mold Identification Guide
Mold is found everywhere. Just add water (or moisture) and you’ve got growth. So, what’s growing in your home?
Despite the “nontoxic” misnomer, these molds can all cause health issues.
Found in showers, under leaky pipes, and in structures that have suffered floods/water damage, Alternaria spreads easily, and can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
Frequently found indoors, Aspergillus can cause allergic reactions, respiratory infections, and lung inflammation.
This pink and black mold is often found on damp window frames and caulking, as well as wooden, painted, and wallpapered surfaces. It is a common allergen.
Found in high-humidity zones like bathrooms with poor ventilation, Botrytis can cause allergic reactions and asthma.
Chaetomium is often found on drywall, window frames, and carpets following water damage, and has a characteristically musty odor.
This mold can grow in warm or cool climates, and is found in homes on fabrics (upholstery, carpet) and wooden surfaces (cabinets, floorboards, etc.). It can cause a host of respiratory issues.
Fusarium can also proliferate at lower temperatures, and is commonly found on water damaged carpet and fabrics. It can cause allergic reactions, asthma, and respiratory infections, and is particularly damaging to those with compromised immune systems.
Blue or green, Penicillium can spread quickly, and is commonly found on water damaged materials including insulation, wallpaper, carpet, furniture, and even mattresses. It is linked to chronic sinus infections and lung inflammation, Penicillium can also cause allergic reaction.
Many people are allergic to this mold, which if found in structures with extensive water damage, including homes that have experienced flooding.
Types of Toxic Mold
- Stachybotrys Chartarum (Black Mold)
The slimy black appearance of this mold gives it its ubiquitous name. It has a characteristically musty odor, and develops in frequently damp areas like HVAC ducts and surrounding leaky pipes. The mold itself is not toxic – but the compounds it produces, ‘mycotoxins,’ are. Exposure can result in allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, asthma attack, chronic sinus infection, fatigue, and depression.
Trichoderma produces mycotoxins like Stachybotrys Chartarum, to which many are allergic, and results in similar health effects. It is commonly found on damp surfaces like carpet and wallpaper.
Wow, That’s A Lot of Types… I’m Not Sure Which One I See
There are over 100,000 types of mold spores, ranging in color from black, white, yellow, green, pink, and even orange. Identifying mold is extremely difficult, as even the same mold can even appear a different color depending on the situation. One thing they all have in common, however: They are a potential health hazard and need to be removed, before they cause any more damage to your furnishings and the structure of your home.
Spending so much time identifying your exact mold culprit won’t change the result. Contact Rainbow International for fast, safe elimination of your mold and moisture mess today.