Mold is found in homes and businesses around the world. All told, there are more than 400,000 types of mold found in the wild. Around 1,000 varieties of mold grow indoors.
Health effects of mold can include respiratory disorders and trouble breathing. Mold has also been implicated in reduced immune systems, leading to a host of other health problems. People sensitive to molds have reported stuffiness and wheezing, in addition to irritation of the skin and eyes when in the presence of the microorganisms.
Five types of mold are generally found indoors.
Aspergillus are a group of different species of molds commonly found in homes. They are found in climates around the planet and were first identified in 1729. These microorganisms can cause a wide range of ailments in victims sensitive to molds.
Cladosporium can be olive-green, brown or black. The species is marked by dark splotches, connected by tendrils that reach between the miniature colonies. This is one of the most common of all types of mold and is capable of triggering asthma attacks in people suffering from the condition.
Stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold, is often found on sheetrock and other materials with a high cellulose content. If wood or another similar surface becomes soaked with water, it can become a haven for stachybotrys chartarum. This type of mold does not grow on tile, vinyl or concrete. Black mold can cause cold-like symptoms in people exposed to the substance. This type is one of the varieties of mold found in homes.
Penicillium mold may provide humans with a range of antibiotics and foods when properly processed, but they can be a health hazard for some people in the home. For most of us, the health effects of penicillium mold are minor. Unwanted varieties of this mold is extremely common in bread, grains, and many organic building materials.
Alternaria can cause hay fever or hypersensitivity reactions in people suffering from asthma. Many people are allergic to this mold variety, and people with compromised immune systems are often the victims of health attacks triggered by alternaria. They can also be extremely dangerous to plants.
Indoor mold growth should be avoided whenever possible. The life forms grow in moist areas, and all types of mold require moisture to grow.
Mold in the wild can perform a wide range of services for ecosystems. This includes breaking down organic matter, including trees and leaves.
In the home, keep your mold to beneficial varieties of Penicillium found in medicines, and cheeses like Roquefort and Camembert.