There are several types of mold, and some are more harmful than others. Learn about the types of mold that are hazardous to your health and start preventing exposure to them today.
Everyday, our team speaks with homeowners and business owners who are confused about mold and how it can harm them, which makes it an excellent blog topic.
Part of the confusion about mold – how it affects one person differently than the next – exists because mold can harm humans in several ways rather than one. Some people are simply naturally allergic to mold, whereas others may not be able to fight off the normal pathogens it produces.
Some mold produces deadly toxins that are intended to kill other organisms, to ensure survival. These types of mold can be divided into three categories.
Allergenic, Pathogenic and Toxigenic Molds
Allergenic molds affect people who have certain allergies or asthma. When people who are allergic to mold are exposed to it, they have a hypersensitive reaction, during which an excessive number of mast cells are activated, resulting in an extreme inflammatory response in the respiratory system. About 20%-30% of the population is susceptible to mold and/or other allergens, which can lead to reactions like allergic rhinitis. Most people without allergies are unaffected by allergenic molds in small amounts.
Pathogenic molds are capable of causing certain infections or diseases. Most healthy individuals, with their immune systems in good shape, are able to regularly fight off pathogens. However, pathogenic molds are dangerous to people who have compromised or weakened immune systems, which is why pathogenic molds are considered an opportunistic pathogen. Pathogenic molds most commonly affect infants, the elderly and people with suppressed immune systems.
Toxic molds produce mycotoxins, poisonous chemicals that are dangerous to humans. Unlike allergenic and pathogenic molds, toxic molds intentionally harm other living things rather than the harm merely being a side effect. Some of the most deadly chemicals on the planet are mycotoxins. They’re found both on mold and on mold spores. People can get exposed to mycotoxins via ingestion, dermal exposure (skin contact) and inhalation. This can lead to temporary irritation or even long-term illness depending on the individual.
No matter what type of mold you’re dealing with, it’s best to remove the problem as soon as possible, even if no one has fallen ill yet. Also, if you have mold, then it’s very likely you have a moisture problem that will eventually contribute to even more mold growth. Protect yourself and protect your family from toxic black mold. If you suspect it’s present in the space you live and breathe, promptly have it inspected and removed.