Is Black Mold the Only Dangerous Mold?

By Brian Karr

In a word, NO.

While black mold (aka Stachybotrys chartarum) may be the most widely publicized type of mold, it is not the only mold that poses potential health risks. In fact, it is not even the only mold that is dark in color.

All molds, regardless of type, should be removed from the home or work environment to ensure the safety of all occupants. However, sometimes evidence of mold growth isn’t visible to the eye.

If you notice a distinctive, heavy musty odor, then that is a sign of mold growth which requires a professional mold inspection.  


Alternaria Mold Symptoms and Characteristics

Alternaria Mold

Alternaria is one of the most common outdoor molds that thrives on vegetation and wood. However, it can also be found in the indoor environment and can be transported through the air or on the skins of fruits & vegetables.

Alternaria is a prime culprit when it comes to allergic reactions.

Physical Characteristics: Alternaria mold is dark (grey, brown, black) with a velvety texture. 

Health Symptoms:

  • Development and/or agitation of Asthma

  • Sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing and dry skin.

Aspergillus Mold Symptoms and Characteristics

Aspergillus Mold

Aspergillus is a very common indoor mold as it includes a few hundred species, which can grow in a variety of places including walls, ceilings, crawlspaces, sub flooring, and more. Its spores are generally dispersed through the air and target those individuals with compromised immune systems.  

Some species can give off harmful mycotoxins, MVOC (microbial volatile organic compound) gasses, and other potentially harmful byproducts.

Physical Characteristics: Aspergillus mold is often green, but can range in color from white to brown or black.

Health Symptoms:

  • Headaches, trouble sleeping, itching, rashes, fatigue, sneezing and coughing.

  • Asthmatic symptoms

  • Aspergillus can grow in human tissue. Those with weakened immune systems are susceptible to this growth, which can be fatal.

Cladosporium Mold Symptoms and Characteristics

Cladosporium MOld

Cladosporium is the most common mold found in air samples from both indoor and outdoor environments. Like Alternaria, it thrives on vegetation and wood and is also a prime culprit in regards to allergies.

Physical Characteristics: Cladosporium mold is dark (green, brown, or black) with a velvety texture.

Health Symptoms:

  • Sneezing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing and rashes.

Penicillium Mold Symptoms and Characteristics

Penicillium Mold

Penicillium is a common both indoors and outdoors. Outdoors it can be found growing in soil, decaying plant debris, and fruit rot. Indoors it can be found growing on water damaged building materials as well as on food items.

Some toxigenic species cause infections while others produce antibiotics and MVOC gasses.

Physical Characteristics: Penicillium mold is mostly green, blue-green, or grey-green, but can be white, yellow, or pinkish. Its texture ranges from mostly velvety to powdery.

Health Symptoms:

  • Headaches, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing, sneezing and rashes.

  • Asthmatic symptoms

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, smell a musty odor, or have noticed any suspect mold-like growth, please call us (888-351-9565) or contact us here to speak with one of our certified experts. We will be able to provide answers to any of your questions and guide you through understanding the issue.