The Great Mold Q&A
Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, the topic of household mold probably gives you something of a shiver. Dealing with mold can be expensive, time-consuming, and even hazardous to your health. Any dweller who’s done his or her research will tell you that researching the signs, symptoms, causes, and cures of mold is a huge part of safety and happiness in your abode.
Knowing the basics of household mold is as simple as doing some research. The frequently asked questions below are an excellent place to start.
Q: What are the common types of household mold?
A: The four most-often found types of mold in most households are as follows:
This mold is usually found in damp areas (such as basements, bathrooms, or leaky windows), and likes to hang out in textile fibers, including carpets and curtains. It has large spores and causes allergic responses in many people; it’s often an asthma trigger. Alternaria is most typically located outdoors, but can enter houses very easily, where it flourishes under the right conditions.
Houses located in warm climates that have gone through water damage (such as a flood) are common carriers of this fast-growing visitor. Aspergillus frequently leads to reactions in humans, and can be one of the more hazardous molds if allowed to linger.
Another mold found largely in the great outdoors, this one also travels easily inside and, while it’s not technically considered a toxin, it can certainly be unpleasant. Allergic reactions are common, and it’s also very difficult to remove due to its tiny spores and widespread nature.
This is the mold you probably find in your kitchen if you leave produce or food around too long. White or green with a fuzzy texture, it’s a sign of organic spoilage and can cause congestion as well as stomach problems if its spores or inhaled (or, heaven forbid, eaten).
Q: What’s the most dangerous type of mold?
A: There’s no one right answer here, since different molds can cause different reactions in people depending on their immune systems, specific allergies, and other sensitivities. With that said, the most infamous dangerous mold is likely the one known as Stachybotrys Chartarum, aka toxic black mold. Its ability to infiltrate houses, its stubborn nature, and the range of health problems it can cause make it a nasty customer.
Q: What are the health risks of mold?
A: As stated above, mold can have all kinds of health risks for all kinds of people. Even the most innocuous molds can cause dangerous reactions in those with particular allergies. Of course, the toxic molds are the most dangerous, simply because they’re the most damaging to everyone, even those without previous vulnerabilities. Possible effects on humans exposed to toxic mold include everything from breathing problems to mental impairment; all effects can be permanent and/ or fatal in certain conditions.
Q: What should you do if you find mold in your home?
A: Remember: the longer you’re exposed to hazardous mold, the more severe – and potentially permanent – the effects can be. If you find mold in your home, the clean-up process will depend largely on the size of the affected area and the type of mold. Mold often grows in association with water damage. If the area is small and the mold is a less-toxic version, it’s possible to do the clean-up yourself, but only if you follow basic health guidelines (a good starter guide is available at The EPA website).
Remember, too, that the source of the mold, such as a plumbing leak or a structural issue within the home, must be dealt with, too, in order to prevent re-growth.
If the mold affects a larger area, or the type of mold is unknown, calling in the mold remediation professionals is the best – and sometimes the only legal – option.