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The Many Faces of Mold and When to Worry

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 by Ashley Walther


Mold can be tricky to identify as it comes in many different shapes and sizes, but it's important to understand which kind you have in your home as the presence of certain molds can pose a serious health risk to your household. 

Common Molds Found in Basements, Crawl Spaces, and Attics

One of the most prevalent household molds is Aspergillus mold. There are currently around 200 known species of Aspergillus mold, a handful of which are known health risks to humans. Aspergillus molds can produce spores that are easily spread through the air, inhaled by humans, and will settle deep in the lungs where they can cause allergic reactions. It has a powdery, velvety texture and begins white in color, later turning into shades of green, yellow, brown, or even black. Aspergillus grows rapidly and can thrive literally anywhere there is oxygen and moisture, making a damp crawl space or basement a perfect breeding ground. Additionally, this type of moldPossible Aspergillus growth on rotting wood. likes to spread on carbon-based building materials like a damp basement wall (see right - Bealeton, VA), as well as in air conditioning and ventilation systems. 

Cladosporium is another mold commonly found in the home and is often found where there is water damage. While usually harmless to humans, it still has been known to illicit allergic reactions via its spores. It appears in quickly-spreading spots and is usually dark green or black in appearance, and is sometimes mistaken for toxic black mold. In the home, Cladosporium thrives in basements, areas near HVAC units, bathrooms, and attics. 

The most dangerous type of mold that we see in our customer's homes is toxic black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum. As the name suggests, it is a highly toxic mold that is commonly found in humid attics or leaky basements where there is ample moisture. Black toxic mold can cause severe health problems if inhaled or ingested - it releases spores into the air that contain mycotoxin, a toxic chemical. Symptoms are usually respiratory in nature, but can cause rashes, eye irritation, headaches, and nausea. In severe cases, the mycotoxins can attack the neurons in the brain and negatively affect mental and neurological abilities. 

The main culprit behind any mold growth is excessive moisture. If your basement or crawl space is exhibiting symptoms of dampness or leakage, you could be at risk for mold developing. To fix the root of your issues and waterproof these spaces, the 3 Pros team is here to help!

 

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