There are many difference types of mold – black mold, toxic mold and allergenic molds. These molds are present around us all the time in the air we breathe whether inside or outside. In low levels, mold and mold spores are harmless but if the levels increase they can have serious effects on people; especially those who suffer with allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions or immune suppressed individuals.
The media often refers to “black mold” as being “toxic mold”. It is usually associated with the mold Stachybotrys, a type of greenish-black mold which is associated with heavy water damage. This mold is not always toxic mold. While there are only a few molds that are truly black, many molds may appear to be black. Not all molds that appear to be solid black are Stachybotrys mold.
Certain molds excrete toxic compounds called mycotoxins, sometimes only under specific growing conditions. Certain mycotoxins can be very harmful or even lethal to humans and animals when the level of contamination is high enough. Some of the most deadly chemicals on the planet are mycotoxins. Mycotoxins breed on the surfaces in which they land on. They can cause human illnesses through ingestion, but also through dermal exposure and inhalation of mycotoxin-contaminated debris or air borne spores.
Mycotoxic mold and mold spores are the more dangerous molds which contain toxins that reside in the mold cell wall.These molds can cause serious health problems to both humans and pets. They range from short-term irritations of the respiratory tract to immunosuppression, to cancer and even death.
One example of a common toxic mold is Stachybotrys, which has been associated with “sick building syndrome”. Some mycotoxins cause immune system responses that vary considerably, depending on the individual. The duration of exposure is a key factor in triggering immune system response.
Mold spores can also be allergenic, causing irritations of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Molds may excrete liquids or gases, not all of which can be detected by smell.
Allergenic mold and mold spores are not usually harmful to humans unless they are at high levels. However, allergenic molds can cause allergenic or asthmatic symptoms when exposed. Generally, allergenic molds are easily cleaned and removed. NOTE: Even dead allergenic mold spores or mold contaminated particles can trigger allergic and/or asthmatic reactions.