It is no secret that mold is mother nature’s way of taking out the trash. After all, without decomposition, there would be no room on the planet for us to live on since there would already be so much taking up space on the planet. However, when mold starts to show up on the walls of your basement, it is less of a helper and more of a hindrance. What’s more, there is a wide variety of mold species that exists on the planet. Over 100,000 to be exact. So, that leads to a couple of questions. Which ones are the most common in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area? Which ones are harmful or harmless? Where are they most commonly found? There is only one way to find out. With a little bit of research, you will have the answers to the questions you need.
Last week, we covered the Aspergillus and Penicillium. This time, we are going to cover Fusarium and Cladosporium.
Fusarium was first discovered and classified by Johann Heidrich Fredrich Link, a German naturalist who contributed his findings to the first dissertation of the. Magazine of the Society of Naturalist Friends in Berlin. The publication was released back in 1809, which was only a small contribution among many to the fields of biology, chemistry, anthropology, archeology, and botany.
It is an interesting genus with several species being used throughout history and even today for harm. Some of the pathogenic species have been dangerously responsible for the loss of commercial crops, causing the spreading of disease in things like barley, the Panama disease in bananas, and coca plants. However, this genus is host to pathogenic species in humans too.
Its first discovered in 1930’s when the Soviet Union during WW2 when the citizens were suffering from casualties from their food of all things. Because many citizens were conscripted into the military, any wheat that was used for the baking in bread was not harvested or stored properly. This let the mold grow unchecked, exposing everyone to the deadly mycotoxins.
Ingestion of these toxins causes symptoms of a very harmful disease known as “alimentary toxic aleukia”. In people it presents itself as rapid reduction in white blood cells, dangerously lowering the immune system, severe heart attacks like the ones found in scarlet fever, hemorrhaging bone marrow loss, and bleeding from the nose, throat, and gums.
The scary part in all of this is that Tennessee has wheat production, including in the winter time. It also is a fungus that specifically grows in overwintered grains at cold temperatures. An outbreak of this has a possibility of happening in Chattanooga, Tennessee if the production teams are not careful.
Cladosporium, just like fusarium was first recorded in 1809 by Johann Heidrich Fredrich Link, in his publication Dissertation 1: Magazine of the Society of Naturalist Friends in Berlin
This genus is ridiculously common in the average home, with over 759 different types of species. All of which are harmful to either plants, animals, people, or a combination of the two. There has been no recorded beneficial use of Cladosporium except for laboratory testing for detecting allergens. It grows in: carpets, wallpaper, window sills, fabrics, walls, wood surfaces, painted surfaces, cabinets, floors, HVAC vent covers/grills, and paper.
Symptoms of people who have long term exposure to the mold and spores of Cladosporium suffer mostly the typical allergy symptoms, such as dry skin, sneezing, stuffy nose, coughing, itchy throat, eyes, and nose, along with watering eyes. But these are only the symptoms of what you would expect in mild cases. Severe cases of mold exposure induce asthma attacks in people who have a family history of allergies, are working in a place with poor ventilation, or have chronic respiratory or skin conditions.
There are still plenty more to go when it comes to the species of mold that are not only dangerous but are commonly found in most homes. Even ones in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. The world of mold is fascinating and full of both helpful and hurtful examples, depending on its species, so it is important that you take the time to properly identify it and remove it before it can take a toll on your health. Remember the most important things you can do to increase your chances of remaining healthy while removing mold in your home:
- Wear proper safety equipment such as gloves, goggles, or a mask when handling mold.
- Get a testing kit to find out the best way to remove it
- Follow and enforce OSHA and CDC procedures and instructions when it comes to what cleaning materials you need to remove the mold with
If you do not feel comfortable handling the sudden appearance of mold in your home, you can always call a professional to do the job. Allied Crawlspace is here to help with your mold removal needs in the Chattanooga, Tennesee area.