Scientific sources say that there may be as many as 100,000 different species of mold. Not all of these molds are indoor molds — molds that could be found in your home — and some of them are harmless. Still, even if only one percent of 100,000 were possible threats to your home, that’s 100 different species of mold. Ideally, you want to avoid all types of mold in your home. However, there are three particularly hazardous types of mold that can grow inside your home: fusarium, trichoderma, and stachybotrys.
Fusarium is more commonly known as an outdoor mold, primarily affecting soil and plants. Fusarium has the potential to ruin entire crops, making it the bane of farmers. So how does that relate to your home? Well, just because it’s more commonly known as an outdoor mold doesn’t mean it has no track record with indoor spaces. Fusarium can appear on your house plants, as well as the food you store in your fridge. And if your home has suffered water damage, fusarium could start to grow on your walls.
Fusarium first appears as a brownish discoloration, either on food, plants, or patches of wall or ceiling that have recently experienced water damage. As it continues to grow, it will blacken on walls and take on a white, fuzzy nature on plants and produce. It can eat away at the drywall of your home, and inhaling fusarium can sometimes cause skin infections.
Trichoderma is one of the most common forms of mold, frequently growing on water damaged wood and causing it to rot. It can also be found in paper, carpet, drywall, and soil. Here again, if your home has recently experienced water damage, this is one of the molds to watch out for. It might also grow in the bathroom because of the moist, humid atmosphere. It is characterized by black spores or a greenish discoloration.
Ironically, trichoderma has as many health benefits as health risks. Agricultural biologists use trichoderma to fight plant pathogens and it’s been used in penicillin and cyclosporine A, an immunosuppressant used to protect organ transplants against rejection. However, breathing in trichoderma in your home can exacerbate various immune conditions, as well as wear away at the structure of your home.
Stachybotrys, or toxic black mold, is probably the most dreaded mold that can be found in your home. It’s greenish black in color and slimy in texture. It grows in moist areas, and as long as the slime covers it, mold are not released into the air. However, when the mold dries out, it becomes powdery and mold spores filter into the air. Breathing in these black mold spores can cause black mold poisoning, with symptoms including difficulty breathing, nausea, sinus congestion, and even vomiting.
Stachybotrys can be difficult to find, as it usually grows out of sight: in tight corners, inside the walls, or under the floors. A professional test upon finding mold in your home can tell you whether it’s toxic black mold, and what to do from there.
If you think you might have any of these molds in your home, call a professional to inspect the situation and eliminate the problem immediately. Mold grows fast, so act faster, especially if you’re dealing with black mold.