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Scientists have estimated there are more than an estimated 400,000 varieties of mold.  Only a fraction of those have been studied and named. In the U.S. there are about 1,000 types of molds that are commonly found in homes and some of these are much more common than others. There are four types of mold commonly found in Louisville, KY homes and they are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria.

Cladosporium is most commonly found outdoors, it can thrive in any damp, dark environment. This includes inside your home. If you find small, black, pepper-like mold in your toilet, it is most likely Cladosporium.  Cladosporium is not considered toxic, it can cause severe reactions and those with allergies, asthma, or sensitive immune systems. These individuals should do their best to avoid contact with this variety of mold. Because Cladosporium is an airborne mold, it can be very difficult to eliminate completely. If this mold is spotted, surfaces with Cladosporium should be scrubbed vigorously with bleach and wiped dry.

Penicillium is most often found outdoors growing on moist, dead organic matter. This mold is recognizable as the fuzzy greenish blue mold found on food that is past its’ prime. Penicillium is certainly not healthy to ingest, but it’s not extremely dangerous either.  Eating food with Penicillium can cause gastric irritation and allergic reactions, such as congestion, watery eyes, and coughing.  To prevent Penicillium from becoming a problem in your home, be vigilant in throwing away food when it starts to spoil. Be attentive of the fruit and bread on your countertop and throughout food that is at or near it’s’ expiration date.

Aspergillus is one of the most common molds found in Louisville, KY home and it’s also one of the most dangerous. This mold is fast-growing and is most prevalent after a basement flood a large plumbing leak, but can spread anywhere with extremely high humidity and organic matter. Aspergillus, like many molds metabolize allergens known as mycotoxins.  Unlike other molds, Aspergillus produces aflatoxin, which is one of the deadliest carcinogens known to man. While this mold presents the greatest risk to those who are immunosuppressed, it could cause health problems for anyone. If you have Aspergillus, it should be cleaned up and sometimes cut out of your drywall by a professional who can make sure that it is all gotten.

Alternaria is found mostly outside, however this airborne mold can easily enter the home. Alternaria often settles in carpets, clothing, and on flat surfaces. This mold doesn’t need as much water as some of the other molds require, so it can grow in more areas.   Alternaria can be identified by its long hairs and looks like a velvety tuft. It can vary in colors, ranging in color from dark olive green to brown. Alternaria produces mycotoxins, and its large spores have been known to cause respiratory problems like hypersensitivity pneumonitis. For this reason, Alternaria has been called “an asthma-causing mold.”