Mold 101

Learn About Mold, Black Mold and Mycotoxins:

There are more than 100,000 types of Mold. They come in two forms: a multi-cellular fungi called Hyphae or as a microscopic single-cell fungi called yeast (Candida albicans is an example). Individual mold spores are as little as 4 microns in diameter and are invisible to the unaided eye unless grown in colonies.

Common types of mold are:
  • Cladosporium
  • Aspergillus
  • Mucor
  • Alternaria
  • Penicillium

Key Facts About Mold:

Mold is vegetative, meaning it seeks nutrients upon which it can feed. It is alive with all the drive to survive that other living entities have. Scientists estimate that a quarter of the bio-mass of the Earth consists of molds.

Mold can be dormant for centuries and become active when the right conditions present themselves. Moisture and temperature are the primary conditions necessary for spores to germinate. Once active, some molds are capable of providing their own moisture, either by radiating hyphae great distances where there is moisture, or by taking moisture out of the air.

>>Factoid: A large percentage of mold can actually grow on DUST!

Mold lives on decaying matter and whatever else can be found, including wallpaper paste, drywall, and paint. Because it digests matter, it has biological processes similar to other living animals. It therefore emits metabolic waste in the form of noxious odors that can be musty or acrid-mycotoxins.

Molds are sometimes classified into toxic and non-toxic varieties, but all molds decompose organic materials and can be dangerous to the extent that they reduce the structural integrity of buildings and infect humans in ways that are seldom associated with mold. Anyone can be allergic to any species of mold, but even if there are no symptoms of allergies, there are risks due to the mycotoxins they release.

Health Hazards

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless the spores become wet, settle on a food source such as paper, cloth or wood and begin growing. This is when molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances called Mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are the gas-like poisons of molds—there are over 400 different types. When inhaled or ingested over time, mycotoxins are capable of destroying virtually every organ system in man and animals.

Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores causes allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Reactions are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Allergic responses to molds include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash know as Dermatitis.

Reactions are also caused internally when the body is invaded by mold spores. White blood cells destroy the fungi by releasing major basic proteins. Those proteins will also destroy the tissue surrounding the antigen. In the sinuses, this causes a pitting of tissue that then collects bacteria and creates sinus infections.

Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Mold can merge with genetic material, cause organ damage and/or cancer, and even death.

Black Mold or Toxic Mold

There are three types of mold that are less common, but are considered very serious health hazards: Stachybotrys, Mennoniella, and Acremonium. These molds have become known as Black Mold or Toxic Mold. These molds have been linked to a myriad of problems including neurological problems that can manifest as loss of hearing and sight, loss of motor function, dizziness, and mental fatigue. They have also been linked to many auto-immune diseases and some cancers.

However, these are not the only fungi that can be dangerous to human health. Penicillium, Aspergillus, Fusarium, Bipolaris, Mucor and many others secrete Mycotoxins that are harmful when concentrated in the indoor environment.

To determine whether you have a problem involving one of these very toxic molds, you must have diagnostic testing with laboratory identification performed in your living environment. You can use petri-dish tests that you send to a lab or have a professional test in your home.

Now that you understand the problems that come from mold, you need to understand how to remove it from your environment.