Many green molds are some form of the Aspergillus fungi. This word sounds a little bit like “asparagus” which is an easy way to remember its color.
There are more than 185 types of this fungus, some of which are linked to allergies or health problems. A rather serious infection called Aspergillosis — caused by breathing in the spores of green mold — usually shows up in the lungs, but also in the ears, eyes, nose and sinuses. It can even get into the brain.
A mold test kit is the only way to know for sure. Protective equipment is always recommended.
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Twenty species of Aspergillus have been linked to illness or infection. The most common types of the problematic forms of green mold include:
Aspergillus fumigatus: This species of green mold is known to cause allergies and infections. It is usually found in decomposing materials.
Aspergillus flavus: The green mold commonly found growing in water-damaged carpets. In the outdoors, it can be found growing in dirt, dairy products and certain crops. If inhaled or swallowed, serious infections such as ear, throat, lung or sinus infections may result. In indoor environment it is commonly found on damp walls, wallpaper, floor and carpet dust, tarred wooden flooring, humidifiers and HVAC fans, bakeries, shoes, leather, and bird droppings. Strains of this mold may produce aflatoxin, a Class 1 carcinogen.
Aspergillus niger: This green mold (usually very dark gray or black in color) can be dangerous to humans if inhaled because it has been known to form a ball in the lungs.
Some — but not all — forms of Aspergillus are toxic molds, which means they produce and give off some dangerous byproducts called mycotoxins (poisons) such as aflatoxin and achratoxin, both of which produce a number of health conditions and both of which can be carcinogenic.
Other Types of Green Molds
Sometimes Cladosporium looks dark green and black. This is a different type of fungi than Aspergillus. Cladosporium is a sometimes-toxic mold that grows on fabrics, wood, tile, grout, and in damp bathrooms. It has been known to cause asthma.
Stachybotrys commonly called Black Mold or Toxic Black Mold can also sometimes look green.
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