What is black mould?
Black mould are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Moulds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mould spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mould growth.
What are some of the common indoor mould types?
- Cladosporium – A type of fungi including some of the most common indoor and outdoor moulds. Species produce olive-green to brown or black colonies
- Penicillium ( Penicillium causes food spoilage, colonises leather objects and is an indicator organism for dampness indoors.)
- Alternaria ( Alternata is recognized as an important allergen with airborne spores and mycelial fragments being responsible for the allergic symptoms in individuals with rhinitis or bronchial asthma )
How does black mould affect people?
Some people are sensitive to moulds. For these people, exposure to moulds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to moulds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of moulds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around mouldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
People with a weakened immune system, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, people who have had an organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get mould infections.
Exposure to mould or dampness may also lead to development of asthma in some individuals. Interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
Where are moulds found?
Moulds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mould growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.