Mold: The “Un” Invited Guest to the Party
Before one can fight mold, though, one must learn about what mold is.
Molds are microscopic fungi, a group of organisms which also includes mushrooms and yeasts. Fungi are highly adapted to grow and reproduce rapidly, producing spores and mycelia in the process.
Mold is encountered every day. Foods spoil because of mold. Leaves decay and pieces of wood lying on the ground rot due to mold. That fuzzy black growth on wet window sills is mold. Paper or fabrics stored in a damp place get a musty smell that is due to the action of molds.
While molds are often considered to be harmful, certain molds can be useful to people. The drug penicillin is obtained from a specific type of mold. Some foods and beverages are made by the actions of molds. The key to beneficial kinds of molds is that they are selected and grown in a controlled fashion.
Molds are undesirable when they grow where we don’t want them, such as in homes. Molds that grow inside may be different from the ones found outdoors. According to USA Today, there are at least 100,000 types of mold, but only a few dozen are toxic and can cause health problems. These toxic molds produce chemicals called mycotoxins that can cause rashes, seizures, unusual bleeding, headaches, respiratory problems and severe fatigue in some people. According to the Mayo Clinic, sinus problems are almost always the result of toxic mold.