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Tag: "Mycotoxins"

The Difference Between Mold and Mildew

The Difference Between Mold and Mildew

[ 1 ] June 25, 2010

Mold and Mildew

Most people don’t realize there are different types of mold. In fact, there’s even a difference between mold and mildew. They are similar in appearance, and most people can’t tell them apart. Mold and mildew are actually different types of fungi. They are also different in texture and color. One thing they have in common is they’re unwanted. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone happy about mold or mildew growing in their home.

Mold and mildew both like warm and moist areas. They also grow in many of the same places. That’s why people get confused about them. Both types of fungi can grow in showers, and on paper and fabrics. However, mildew grows in showers and on fabrics more often than mold does. Both types of fungi can also grow on food items, but mold affects food more often than mildew does.

They both spread when their spores are disturbed. The spores travel through the air and grow wherever the situation is right. Mold is usually black, sometimes green or even blue. Mildew is normally white or gray in color.

Mildew Characteristics

There are basically two types of mildew. Powdery mildew has the appearance of gray or white patches. You might see this type on flowers and other plants. Downy mildew is often found on food. The way it looks will vary depending on the food item. It might look like a hunk of powder or sugar is on the food. It can also appear as chalky looking spots on leaves.

Mold Characteristics

Mold usually looks slimy or fuzzy, and that depends on what type it is. Although it’s usually black, mold actually comes in a variety of colors. It comes in a variety of shapes as well. Usually, it appears as black or green spots in a shower or bathroom. Sometimes it grows in the crevices of bathroom tile. This is usually not a serious health threat. However, it is a serious threat when the situation turns toxic, and mold removal becomes very important.

Toxic mold contains mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can cause all kinds of illnesses. Some people aren’t affected by it at all, but others become seriously ill. Symptoms include headaches, asthma and coughing. Eye and throat irritation can occur as well.

In serious cases, a person could experience trouble with their lungs, rashes, blurred vision or worse. This doesn’t mean you should run screaming whenever you see mold. Just be aware of these symptoms, and take action if you think you’re in danger.

All types of mold and mildew thrive in wet, dark places. Get rid of their breeding grounds, and you’ll get rid of them. Bathrooms are a common problem spot. They are often wet and not well ventilated. Those create perfect conditions for mold and mildew to thrive. Dry the area after each use, and open a window to admit fresh air. If you do this you should not develop bathroom mold in the first place.

Types of Mold You Should Know About

[ 0 ] January 28, 2010

For most of us it’s important that we keep our homes as clean as possible and that includes keeping it free from mold. Yet as easy as that may sound, there are literally millions of types of mold in and around your home every day. And while some molds are not harmful, there are some, which can cause a variety of health issues.

Here are the most common molds, which can generally be found in your home:

Types of Mold

Aspergillus is actually the most common species when it comes to mold (fungus). There are over 150 different types of Aspergillus molds with sixteen of those species having known to cause humans illnes. The fungus is often found in decomposing organic materials and contaminated foods and can cause severe allergic reactions in humans almost immediately.

Caldosporium is a fungus that is found on decaying plants, woody plants, food, straw, soil and paint. There are over 30 species of Caldosporium with the most common causing skin lesions, nail fungus, sinusitis and asthma.  And in several studies, chronic exposure to the fungus has been known to lead to pulmonary emphysema.

Fusarium is a fungus that is commonly found in soil and on plants. The fungus can also be found in humidifiers and carpets that have been water damaged. Human contact with Fusarium can result in eye, skin and nail infections, but can also product hemorrhagic syndrome in severe cases.  

Mycotoxins are actually a byproduct used by the fungi inside of our bodies, which in return can cause cold and flu type symptoms, sore throats, nosebleeds, headaches and fatigue. Some molds that have been known to produce mycotoxins are black mold (also known as stachybotrys) and Aspergillus.

Penicillium is a green or blue fungus found in soil, food, cellulose, paint, wallpaper and decaying vegetation. The fungus can cause hypersensitivity, asthma and severe allergic reactions in some people. Penicullium also has several species and has been used to make certain cheeses and penicillin. However, it can also cause kidney and liver damage in some people since it does have the ability to produce mycotoxins.

Stachybotrys is a fungus, which thrives on water damage and moisture ridden surfaces such as drywall, shower tiles, wallpaper and carpeting. Stachybotrys also know as black mold effects more households than many people realize.

If a leaking pipe or leaky roof has gone unnoticed, chances are that area will have Stachybotrys growth. The fungus is generally black and slimy in appearance and can cause extreme health illnesses to both humans and pets when it is left untreated.

Exposure to this toxic fungi can cause dermatitis, chronic pain, coughing, respiratory infections, migraines, dizziness, nose bleeds, fever, cold and flu like symptoms and even death in small children and pets.

Of all of these types of mold, they should all be handled with extreme care regardless of the situation or species. Removing mold from your home not only allow for a cleaner environment, it also gives you a peace of mind against unnecessary health risks.