There are many different types of mold that can exist both indoors and outside of a building. Mold is a fungus and falls into three basic categories:
- Allergenic: Molds that cause and produce allergies and allergic reactions such as asthma attacks.
- Pathogenic: Molds that cause health problems in those suffering from an acute illness.
- Toxigenic: Molds that produce toxic substances that can lead to dangerous or even deadly health conditions. This is sometimes referred to as “toxic mold.”
From these classifications, you can understand why untreated mold can wreak havoc on a building’s inhabitants’ health and welfare. Being able to identify the types of mold can help you determine the effects and how to remediate them.
12 Common Types of Mold
There are twelve different kinds of mold that may exist in your home or work place. What follows is a description of each type and its harmful effects on your health. They are listed in alphabetical order, not in order of severity.
1. Acremonium Mold
Acremonium mold is a toxigenic mold type. This type of mold grows in areas where there is condensation from humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans and window sealants. It evolves from a small moist area that turns into a fine powdery substance. It can be pink, grey, orange or white.
Acremonium is potentially toxic if ingested. Individuals who are allergic to this fungus can experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can cause nail infections, corneal ulcers, endocarditis, and meningitis. Other illnesses include arthritis, osteomyelitis, peritonitis and pneumonia. Exposure to acremonium is very dangerous and it can lead to disease in the bone marrow, immune system and other organs. It can also impair brain function.
Attribution: Center for Disease Control
2. Alternaria Mold
Attribution: Abdulghafour – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40158030
Alternaria is a the most common form of allergenic mold that results from water damage within a building. It appears as a velvet-like texture that also contains dark green or brown hairs within it. It occurs where there is dampness or moisture, such as in showers, bathtubs and underneath sinks where leaks are present. Alternaria mold can spread quickly throughout a building.
Exposure to alternaria can cause upper respiratory problems and asthma-like symptoms. Individuals sensitive to the mold can also experience rhinitis and bronchial issues.
3. Aspergillus Mold
Aspergillus is an allergenic type of mold with over 185 species. It presents as long flask-shaped forms that can grow in thick layers, resulting in long chains of mold growth on surfaces. It comes in many different colors, depending on the species.
Aspergillus can become more toxic, based on the species, environment affected and individual sensitivities. Symptoms like asthma, lung infections and respiratory inflammation are possible. At its worst, it can be a deadly carcinogen.
Attribution: Dr. David Midgley [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
4. Aureobasidium Mold
Aureobasidium mold falls into the allergenic mold category. It is a fast-growing, slimy mold that can appear on walls behind wallpaper, painted or wooden surfaces. It appears as pink, brown or black in color, but turns darker as it gets older.
Aureobasidium can cause eye, skin and nail infections. It can cause skin rashes if touched with bare skin.
Attribution:Tom Volk (https://mushroomobserver.org/observer/show_user/290)
5. Chaetomium Mold
Chaetomium is found in buildings that have experienced water damage. It has a cotton-like texture, first appearing as white, but darkening to grey, brown and black as it ages. Chaetomium mold commonly occurs in environments where there is a leaky roof, basement or sink. It has a distinct musty odor.
Chaetomium exposure causes skin and nail infections. Individuals with compromised immune systems can suffer more extreme effects to their health.
Attribution: Natascha Kraemer (http://schimmelbutze.de/schimmelpilze/chaetomium.php)
6. Cladosporium Mold
Cladosporium is an allergenic type of mold that can grow in both warm and cold conditions. It can grow in fabrics, upholstered furniture, draperies and carpets. It is also found beneath floors and inside cupboards. It appears as a suede-like texture in olive green or brown.
Health effects from exposure to cladosporium mold are allergic reactions and irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and skin. Asthma, lung infections and sinusitis can also be experienced.
Attribution: Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Medmyco&action=edit&redlink=1)
7. Fusarium Mold
Fusarium can also grow in warm or cold conditions. This mold falls into both the allergenic and toxigenic types of mold. It grows in buildings that have experienced water damage and is found in carpeting, behind wallpaper and within porous fabrics and materials. It appears as pink or white in color. Fusarium can spread quickly throughout a building.
Skin infections and allergic reactions can occur, resulting in sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and eye irritation. The toxic nature of fusarium can damage the nervous system and possible hemorrhages and internal bleeding. Prolonged exposure can result in more life-threatening conditions like bone infections or brain abscess.
Attribution: Terry Price, Georgia Forestry Commission, Bugwood.org
8. Mucor Mold
Mucor mold is found in soil, plants, manure, decaying fruits, vegetables and as a common contaminant of stored and processed foods in the kitchen. It is a fast-growing, allergenic type of mold that is usually white or grey in color.It is often found growing near air conditioners, HVAC systems and ducts where there is moisture from condensation. It can also occur in damp carpets.
Mucor causes respiratory problems and can result in asthma conditions, breathing problems and flu-like symptoms. Prolonged exposure to mucor can result in mucormycosis, which is a fungal infection that damages sinuses. In addition, the eyes, nose, blood, digestive and renal systems can be compromised.
Attribution: Lena Wild (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:LenaWild&action=edit&redlink=1)
9. Penicillin Mold
Penicillin is an allergenic type of mold found in water-damaged buildings. It presents in carpets, wallpaper, air ducts and mattresses. It is blue or green in color with a velvety texture. It can spread quickly throughout the building.
Yes, penicillin serves as an important ingredient in antibiotics; however, the presence of it in buildings can cause severe respiratory conditions. Pulmonary inflammation, chronic sinusitis and asthma can result from breathing the airborne spores. Individuals with immune disorders can suffer worsened symptoms and increased complications upon exposure to penicillin mold.
Attribution: Ryan Somma (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ideonexus/2618721930/in/photolist-7kkbwE-eiW68w-7z134g-9FbYQK-9FbZ8a-9vbkf8-4ZpCN7-5KLgGb-HeYDv-hE6Hu-9Hoz8D-ak7eiZ-ag7xxJ-9EY425-boNVBQ-aka1cy-HbZHDF-8YZ4ak-9FbZbi-bBJHVR-ak9ZW9-fHEXZB-8YZ4at-nxSeGF-8GHTfT-dyqngk-aA8ckM-dm1ZnP-bX4xEv-vuHzC9-bX4xHa-bX4xMr-nwjqJr-sgnezW-pgzq8-6th92F-eaiqit-boB5yh-7rbXCs-nuvzCU-ngndt7-Jhv33y-nf9iwJ-bi1PWM-nvzcwz-nEGeEm-nus5Xa-ys8jgH-yoDrou-E6bgp7)
10. Stachybotrys Mold
Stachybotrys is the toxigenic type of mold, also known as “black mold” or toxic mold. It is slimy and appears as dark green or black in color. Stachybotrys thrives in areas with extended periods of high humidity and dampness. It grows on materials such as wood, cardboard, hay or wicker.
Stachybotrys produces mycotoxins that cause severe health problems including upper respiratory issues, fatigue, depression, and sinus aches and pains. Persistent cough, nose bleeds, fever, headaches and tightening of the chest are additional possible effects of exposure to this type of mold. It is also linked to neurological and pulmonary problems in infants and children.
Attribution: Alexander Davronov (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indoor_Mold.jpg)
11. Trichoderma Mold
Trichoderma is an allergenic mold. It grows rapidly as wooly-type clusters in white with green patches. It typically appears in buildings with wet surfaces like wallpaper, carpets and fabrics. You can also find it in air conditioning filters and HVAC ducts that contain condensation.
Individuals exposed to trichoderma mold can experience pulmonary and liver infections. If the mold also produces mycotoxins, it will have effects similar to stachybotrys mold. Trichoderma can destroy materials where it grows, causing structures to rot and crumble.
Attribution: Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trichoderma_colony_in_nature.jpg)
12. Ulocladium Mold
Ulocladium mold thrives in conditions where there is excess water and wetness caused by water damage. It is usually black in color. Ulocladium may grow in conjunction with stachybotrys, fusarium and chaetomium molds.
Ulocladium can cause serious health concerns to people exposed to it. Those with a predisposition to allergies or who have immune disorders can experience hay fever, skin infections and asthma-like symptoms.
Call the Professionals to Remediate All Types of Mold
With the various types of mold that exist, and knowing the health hazards that they cause, it’s always best to hire a professional to remediate the conditions.
Contact St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration if you see or suspect mold growing in your home or work place. We have the equipment and trained technicians to make sure the mold is removed safely and completely so that the safety and health of people and pets are not compromised.