Mould: the toxic fungi that grows in any household

While no one really knows just how many species of fungi exist, we do know it ranges from tens of thousands to perhaps even three hundred thousand or more.

It’s vital to be able to recognize mould and know its potential health effects, so the Research and Development Director at ATP Science, Matt Legge, has revealed three of the most common deadly moulds to keep an eye out for.

1. Acremonium

Acremonium mould evolves in its appearance over time. Starting as a small moist mould, it eventually turns into a fine powdery substance. 

The mould usually grows in households where condensation from humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans and window sealants exists. 

Acremonium mould is often pink, grey, orange or white in colour, and has the potential to lead to disease in the bone marrow, immune system and other organs. – Reference

2. Alternaria

Alternaria is the most common form of allergenic mould in the world. The velvet-textured mould has dark green or brown hairs, and typically grows wherever dampness occurs. Therefore, it’s common in showers, bathtubs, and below leaking sinks. 

The mould causes asthma-like symptoms including in the upper respiratory tract, nose and mouth. It’s crucial to remediate Alternaria mould as soon as possible because it spreads quickly. 

3. Ulocladium

Like most other moulds, ulocladium thrives wherever it’s wet. Usually black in colour, ulocladium can be typically found in structures after extreme water damage. Kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and windows with high condensation levels are some of the places the mould can be located.

People with a predisposition to allergies or immune disorders can experience severe reactions like hay fever when exposed to ulocladium. Skin infections, general asthma-like symptoms and difficulty breathing have also been reported by people affected by the mould previously.

What if I find mould?

The team at ATP Science say treating small amounts of mould is often relatively simple, people just need to keep the joint dry.

“Keeping the windows open, keeping the house aerated throughout the days, and keeping it light [sterilizes areas],” they say.

However, some other tips include:

  • Locating the mould: Mould rapidly spreads, so check everywhere. It’s worth remembering it thrives in dark/damp areas like under flooring and behind wallpaper.
  • Disposing any mouldy materials: Wood, drywall, and carpets are especially hard to clean, even for professionals. Some materials simply can’t be saved. Using the correct safety gear like gloves, masks, and goggles, dispose of all traces of mouldy items.

It’s worth noting mould spores can sometimes even survive harsh dryness. If the mould remains and/or continues to grow, call in a professional mould remediation team to work their magic.