Common Household Mold & How Your Health Is Affected

When you find mold in your home often your immediate response it to panic! When mold is growing on a surface, spores can be released into the air where they can be easily inhaled. These spores in small amounts may not be harmful, however as the spores grow, mold can create rather large health issues.

Here is a list of 6 common household mold types that are found in your home and how it can affect your health:

Cladosporium

Characteristics

  • Green, brown, gray or black
  • Powdery appearance

Where it grows

  • Food
  • Dead Plants
  • Wood
  • Insulation
  • Dark, damp environments like basements

Health Effects

  • Can cause severe allergic reactions
  • Harmful for people with asthma, allergies, and weakened immune systems

Aspergillus

Characteristics

  • Gray, brown, yellow, green, white or black
  • Grows very quickly

Where it grows

  • Walls
  • Insulation
  • Soil
  • Clothing
  • Humid, moist areas like leaky basements

Health Effects

  • Can cause infections in people with weakened immune systems
  • Produces a carcinogen called aflatoxin

Penicillium

Characteristics

  • Green, white or blue
  • Fuzzy appearance

Where it grows

  • Food
  • Walls
  • Insulation
  • Moist organic matter

Health Effects

  • Irritates the stomach if ingested
  • Airborne spores can cause congestion, coughing and eye irritation

Alternaria

Characteristics

  • Dark green, gray or black
  • Long, velvety hairs
  • Doesn’t need as much water to grow as other molds

Where it grows

  • Carpet
  • Clothing
  • Around windows
  • Damp areas such as flooded basements

Health Effects

  • Respiratory problems
  • Asthma
  • Hay fever

Stachybotrys

Characteristics

  • Dark green or black
  • Slimy
  • Often referred to as “toxic black mold”

Where it grows

  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Floorboards
  • Any moist area

Health Effects

  • May cause cancer
  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Dizziness
  • Joint pain

Memnoniella

Characteristics

  • Dark green or black
  • Smaller than stachybotrys

Where it grows

  • Cotton
  • Canvas
  • Wool
  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Damp areas such as basements

Health Effects

  • Can cause severe allergic reactions
  • Harmful for people with asthma, allergies, and weakened immune systems

 

Sources:
https://www.mouldfacts.ca/mold/household-mold.html
https://www.mold-advisor.com/mold-types.html
https://www.cdc.gov/mold/basics.htm
https://www.moldbacteria.com/memnoniella.html