There are nearly 100,000 types of mold among which some are harmless and some are very dangerous. Read on for detailed information.
Have you noticed black, yellow, white or brown patches on your ceilings, bathrooms or in any type of food item, especially bread? Well, they are molds. Mold are a type of fungus which grows in the form of multicellular filaments. They do not prepare their own food and hence, rely on the organic matter on which they grow. They are present in the air in the form of spores, and grow in places which are moist. There are more than 100,000 types of mold out of which some mold are very harmful and some play important role in bio-degradation. Here, we will discuss some of the most common types of mold and its effects on health.
Common Types of Mold
There are many type of mold which can be classified broadly into three main groups based on the human response: allergenic mold, pathogenic mold and toxic mold.
These mold contain allergens which may not be very harmful to our health but can affect people who have a low immune power, or are suffering from asthma. They remain in the dormant state and grow when they come across favorable conditions. They are present in the form of microscopic spores which gets inhaled through the nose and invade the upper respiratory tract and lungs. It is one of the major cause of allergic rhinitis. Aspergillus, Penicillium, Alternaria and Cladosporiu are some of the most common allergenic molds.
Pathogenic means which can cause disease. Hence we can say that this is the category which includes the mold which are capable of causing disease. Healthy and normal people usually resist the infection of these organisms but children, infants, old people and people who have low immune power, especially who are suffering from AIDS, chemotherapy, pneumonia, bronchitis, may get affected with these mold. These mold include the bipolaris species which form gray to blackish brown colonies, and grow very fast.
Toxic mold is one of the most dangerous categories of mold. They can cause dangerous health complications which may even lead to death. They produce mycotoxins which is a fungal metabolites but it is highly toxic in nature. Black molds are included in this category and are hence considered very dangerous to humans as well as animals. These molds can cause various health problems ranging from small irritation to cancer.
Some Commonly Found Molds
Following are some of the most commonly found molds which may harm your house, food items and even your health. Have a look.
These molds look slimy and black in color. Hence they are also known as black mold. They can grow on wicker, hay, wood, paper and cardboard under high humid condition. It produces mycotoxin which is very dangerous for humans as well as animals. Tightness of the chest, cough, nosebleeds, fever, headache, flu, etc. are some of the most common health hazards of this mold.
There are more than 185 species of Aspergillus. They are one of the most commonly found mold, which are considered to be the second most common cause of fungal diseases in US. They are found in homes and offices and produce mycotoxin which may lead to many health complications like respiratory disorders, allergies, etc. They can even cause death in some cases. Aspergillus fumigates, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger are among the most commonly found species.
This mold is found in soil hence, is also known as soil fungus. It grows on plants, humidifier, water-logged carpet, etc. It produces mycotoxin and is either inhaled by the people, or is taken through contaminated grains and plants. It can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis,vomiting and internal bleeding. They can even affect the nervous system, reproductive system and circulatory system.
This mold is harmful as well as useful in some cases. It is found in paint, wallpaper, carpet, food articles, rotten vegetables, etc. It is very commonly seen on the forgotten sandwiches and bread. This mold may result in lung related problems, asthma and allergies. They are also used in food processing, and are used in making Camembert, Roquefort, Brie cheeses. They are even used as antibiotics and help in controlling the growth of other harmful fungus. P. chrysogenum, P. citrinum, P. janthinellum are some of the most common species.
Cladosporium has more than 30 species which can be green, black, gray or brown in color. They have a velvety texture and a smooth appearance. They can be found in poorly ventilated areas, foundation walls, decaying food, clothes etc. They are associated with nail fungus, asthma, skin lesions, pulmonary infections, etc.
So, these were types and commonly found mold. Care should be taken to avoid the growth of such molds which are dangerous to health. If your house is affected with molds then get rid of it with the help of professionals. If you want to clean it yourself then take proper precautions in order to avoid complications. There is a huge list of harmful and non harmful molds which are present around us all the time in the form of spores.