Chaetomium is a common mold that currently has over 80 species. Chaetomium is a rapidly growing mold that appears cottony and white in color initially, but as it matures is becomes more darker in pigmentation, because of this Chaetomium is considered a demataceous mold, meaning its spores are a dark pigment, with a mature colony appearing in color from gray to olive in color, with the back side or underneath appearing from brown to black. Chaetomium emits a musty odor.
One of the 80 known species is Chaetomium globosum, and it is frequently found in Water Damaged Buildings (WDB). This species of Chaetomium thrives in the same environmental conditions that Stachybotrys does, both species are routinely found growing in the same location. Because of the dark pigmentation of the Chaetomium globosum spores it is often mistake by the untrained eye as Stachybotrys. However, a Licensed Mold Inspection will tell you that there are several species of mold, some not considered toxic, that have dark pigmentation including but not limited to:
An experienced Licensed Mold Inspector will never call suspect staining or suspect areas of suspicious growth mold or tell you what species of mold it is without performing a Surface Sample. Just because it may look like a "toxic black mold" does not mean that it is toxic, or mold at all. If someone claiming to be an educated mold expert, tries to tell you what they are looking at without a proper sample being taken and analyzed by an accredited third party lab, consider it a warning sign that they might be trying to talk you into a remediation that might not be necessary.
Chaetomium is known as what one would call a "toxic mold". In fact in 1985 OSHA added the following Chaetomium species to their Toxic Substances Control Act Edition:
Chaetomium species can not only cause histamine responses (allergenic) but it releases several mycotoxin's known as but not limited to Chaetoglobosin and Cochliodinol. It has not been a widely studied fungi in the past, however, it has come to the forefront in medical studies recently. These ongoing studies have produced some worrisome results.
(For a full list of different mold types and their associated mycotoxins click here. )
Recent medical studies have suggested that people who have been exposed to certain Chaetomium mycotoxins could be predisposed to permanent neurological damage of the myelin sheath. Because of these studies a high incidence of autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus have been linked to long term Chaetomium mold exposure. Chaetomium has also been linked to brain abscess, peritonitis, and cutaneous lesions.
Chaetomium is known as a "marker" spore type on the Mold Report air sample results from the independent AIHA-LAP accredited lab. Marker spore type, such as Chaetomium and Stachybotrys, when found indoors, even in small numbers are an indication of indoor mold growth from a Water Damaged Building Material (WDBM)
If Chaetomium is found to be in your home it is The Mold Guyz professional opinion that you have your home remediated by a Licensed Mold Remediatior to restore your home to a condition 1 environment (a normal fungal ecology).
Common Worldwide Mold
Formed inside fruiting bodies, dispersed by drops of water, wind, insects
Outdoors in soil, seeds, dung, woody material, straw
Indoors normally on cellulose-based or woody material. Sheetrock paper is a big food source for this mold.