Types of Mold
What is Black Mold
If you talk to homeowners and you come to the topic of mold, the opinion prevails that black mold is particularly harmful to health and represents a serious problem for the residents. But is that really the case? Is black mold generally more harmful, toxic and aggressive than other types of mold that can be found on and in the house?
On the one hand, it should be clear to everyone that there is no such thing as a single “black mold”, but about 40 different types of “black mold”. Interestingly, the main distribution area for most of these types of black mold is food such as cereals, fruits or vegetables. However, some of these black mold species can also colonize other habitats such as wallpaper, walls or cupboards under good growth conditions. Molds are often not particularly picky here if the humidity, food supply and temperatures in the room are right.
The particular toxicity and air quality of black mold so often conjured up in the vernacular actually refers to the species "Alternaria Alternata". A black mold that releases a so-called mycotoxin into its environment (like many other Alternaria species, by the way) can cause sensitized people to experience reactions such as shortness of breath, allergy symptoms, reddening of the eyes or a runny nose and the like. It is not even necessary to have direct contact with it to get these conditions. However, it must also be mentioned at this point that this type of black mold is rarely actually found in the living room, so other causes are usually responsible for the corresponding symptoms.
Black mold does not behave any differently from the tried-and-tested mold control measures such as high-proof alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or chlorine-containing compounds, just like molds of different colors. However, in the case of large-scale infestation, it should actually first be determined whether Alternaria Alternata is the culprit, and if so, it makes sense to have the infestation of the black mold removed by a specialist in order to keep the mycotoxin exposure in the home as low as possible.
Otherwise, the same applies to black mold as to the control of other types of mold.
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The cellulose-degrading mold Stachybotrys chartarum can usually be found indoors after water damage on plasterboard, wallpaper and other materials containing cellulose. It is a mycotoxin generator and feared as a causative agent of stachybotrymycosis. The toxins formed (satratoxin, T2 toxin, trichothecenes) can also be absorbed through skin contact.
With Stachybotrys chartarum, toxin effects can occur even at low spore concentrations in the indoor air. Dead spores can also be toxic and allergenic. It is noteworthy that Stachybotrys chartarum in the lungs can prevent the synthesis of an enzyme that keeps the alveoli under tension so that they do not collapse. Stachybotrys chartarum causes poisoning from mold fungus poisons (mycotoxins). There are four different stages:
This method makes a lot of sense at the beginning because the very characteristic conidia and sometimes even conidiogenic cells from Stachybotrys are already microscopically visible on it, making it at least possible to make a suspicious diagnosis. Of course, after a positive initial diagnosis, further examination methods must be used.
Should People Vacate if Mold is Found
Mold on fruit and bread is easy to spot. Unfortunately, this is not the case when mold is found in the household. Mold not only looks ugly it is also extremely harmful to your health. It becomes a problem especially in winter. When cold air from outside and warm air from inside meet and moisture is generated, mold often develops.
Mold spores are part of our natural environment. They can be found everywhere, even indoors. Spores are usually harmless. However, if the mold concentration exceeds a certain level, it can become dangerous. Molds like it moist.
By breathing and sweating, people permanently produce moisture, but we also produce moist air when cooking and washing up, washing clothes and ironing, especially when bathing and showering. In a four-person household, between 10-12 liters of humidity each day. If the moisture is not removed, microorganisms will form, causing mold spores.
Mold can have many different appearances, such as dots on the wall, discoloration, dark rings or stains. Mold is not always black, it can also be green, orange, brown or white. Unusual, musty smells could already be a sign of mold in the home. Mold is not always directly visible. It can also arise behind furniture unnoticed by the resident, for example because furniture has been too close to the wall. In principle, mold can develop in all living rooms, it does not stop at bedrooms and children's rooms.
Frequent coughing when not smoking or having asthma can be a sign of health problems caused by mold. Frequently inflamed eyes can also be a sign of mold in the home. The chemical compounds in the mold irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes and lead to inflammation. This can result in conjunctivitis and corneal inflammation.
Allergies and infections caused by mold spores can also have serious and protracted health consequences. Especially in children, early exposure to mold spores has been shown to lead to asthma later. At the latest when it comes to mold removal, the question arises as to who has to bear the costs. The decisive factor is who caused the damage. Incorrect heating and ventilation behavior can be reasons as well as structural defects.
Inadequate building sealing of the house, water damage in the masonry and new ventilation conditions are not always recognizable or known at first glance for homeowners, tenants, or landlords. In all cases, however, the burden of proof lies first with the owner.
The Aspergillus mold is widespread worldwide and occurs everywhere in the soil, on rotting plants, in the soil of potted plants as well as on cereals and nuts. Aspergillus can also be found in large quantities in compost heaps and composting plants and in moldy foods. The spores are also often spread through poorly maintained air conditioning systems. Building dust contains large amounts of Aspergillus spores (conidia), so construction sites represent a possible mold infection source for humans.
Aspergillus spores enter the human body through the air people breathe. Since they are very small, they can reach the alveoli. But the Aspergillus spores can also gain access to the body through injuries to the skin and mucous membranes. As long as the immune system is intact, mold does not make people sick. The spores are easily fought by the body. However, a very strong mold contamination, such as in the bio bin or when moisture accumulates in living rooms and basements, can cause respiratory problems such as asthma.
In immunocompromised people, Aspergillus mold can survive and get in the lungs, in the ear canal or in the mucous membrane of the paranasal sinuses and, depending on the localization, trigger pulmonary aspergilloma, mycosis of the external auditory canal or the paranasal sinuses. The fungus can also spread to the central nervous system. An infection with Aspergillus species is called Aspergillosis.
Cladosporium is a genus of mold. Cladosporium species are very common and are preferred in swamps, forests and gardens because they like to grow on rotten plants or foliage. They can also be found in greenhouses, in poorly cleaned refrigerators and in food. They also grow on textiles.
Cladosporium species can make up to 90% of all airborne molds in the outside Richmond air in summer. They are the most common mold in the outside air and can be found in almost all parts of the world with the exception of the polar regions. More than 50 species are currently described for the genus Cladosporium. The most common species are Cladosporium herbarum and Cladosporium cladosporioides.
Penicillium is a mold that is widespread almost worldwide and occurs mainly in and on the ground. It can also be found on plants. Because of the branched shape of its reproductive organs, it is also called brush mold.
The fungi are mostly light green in color. The mold spreads most comfortably in warm and humid conditions. Penicillium is particularly common in bread, cheese, fruit (apples, peaches, citrus fruits), jams and fruit juices. Some of its types are used to manufacture the antibiotic active ingredient penicillin and to refine foods such as molded cheese.
Because they prevent the appearance of other molds, individual types are also used in the manufacture of sausage products. Penicillium can asthma trigger, and various allergic reactions cause, such as coughing, hives, sneezing and runny nose, as well as bronchitis and rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal mucosa). In addition, many types of brush mold release mycotoxins, which are highly toxic in their effects. These substances are mainly absorbed by people through spoiled food. Penicillium is characterized by very rapid growth in the colonies. The spore flight extends from April to September. The mycelium is initially colored white, but then changes to greenish or yellowish tones.