White mold is a term that applies to many species of mold which can grow in homes. Like any other mold, it may compromise your property and health if you don’t deal with it. Although color may be common with certain species of mold, one type of mold may have multiple colors during its many stages. Generally, it’s not necessary to determine the type of mold you have in your home – all molds have similar negative effects. Read on to learn what white mold is and how it can affect your health.
What is White Mold?
White mold is not a specific type of mold – many species of mold may appear white. The species of white mold commonly found in homes are aspergillus, cladosporium, and penicillum. All these molds may also appear gray, green, black or other tints. Moreover, all molds thrive in moist areas where a food source like wood is present.
Some molds may appear white in their early stages of development. Later, these molds may change color after producing spores. Yet, many molds appear white regardless of age because their spores are not pigmented. The lack of spore pigmentation is caused by the type of material it’s growing on.
Also, white mold appears as powdery and may blend in with the materials it’s growing on, which makes it hard to tell that it’s actually mold.
White Mold vs Mildew and Efflorescence
Sometimes, people confuse white mold with mildew, which may also have a white appearance. However, mildew rarely grows on surfaces other than plants and doesn’t destroy materials. White mold, on the other hand, penetrates the surface of porous materials like wood or drywall and can ruin them.
It’s also common for people to confuse white mold with a substance called efflorescence. It’s a type of salt deposit caused by salty water which seeps through concrete, brick or stone. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind a white crystalline substance that looks like white mold.
Unlike white mold though, efflorescence does not pose any health risks and won’t grow or spread.
To tell whether a substance is white mold or efflorescence, just look at the affected surface. If it’s masonry, it’s most likely efflorescence. Also, put some of it into a drop of water and if it dissolves, it’s not mold. Lastly, squeeze some of the substance between your fingers and if it breaks into fine powder, it’s efflorescence.
Is White Mold Dangerous?
All types of mold, including white mold can cause health problems. White mold should be removed as soon as possible to avoid any health risks and/or structural damage. Even milder forms of white mold can endanger your health.
Since some people don’t realize that white mold is actually mold, it may put them at risk for extended periods of exposure.
The symptoms induced by white mold can include allergic reactions, respiratory infections, eye irritations, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and even depression but are not only limited to these symptoms.
Exposure to any mold spores, both live and dead, and their byproducts like microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), mycotoxins, connecting filaments, etc. can cause illnesses ranging from minor allergic reactions, respiratory problems like asthma and sinusitis, to more serious, life threatening illnesses.
If you suspect you or a family member have been affected by mold exposure, consult a doctor and have the mold removed immediately.
White mold is just one type of mold that can invade your home. There are thousands of species of mold. Black Mold is another common and often misinterpreted type of mold. Check out this article on Black Mold for more information. For mold removal and water damage repair services, contact Pursuit Restoration at 208-515-6503