WHAT IS BLACK MOLD? SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT, & PREVENTION
Have you noticed dark green or black fungus patches growing in your kitchen, shower, or basement? Is it giving off an unpleasant musty odor? If so, you might be dealing with black mold.
Why is this a problem? Well, it's one of the most toxic species of mold which can cause serious health problems if inhaled.
If you find suspect any mold or mildew in your home or business, contact a professional mold removal service right away.
What Is Black Mold?
Black mold is the common name for Stachybotrys Chartarum. Not surprisingly, its name comes from a distinctive black or dark green color. Like most other fungi, black mold grows in moist and damp conditions.
It’s important to note that not all black mold is toxic, and not all toxic mold is black. Stachybotrys Chartarum is just one of the most toxic types.
Finding black mold may be scary at first, but as the old saying goes, knowledge is power. And in this case, knowledge is protection against a range of potential health problems.
Understanding the basics of mold and what to do if you find it is the best way ensure you and your family are breathing clean air inside your home.
Why Is Black Mold So Dangerous?
Stachybotrys (unlike many other mold types) contain mycotoxins, which are compounds found in certain types of molds. They are toxic to most plants, animals, and humans and can cause serious health issues like respiratory problems and immune system suppression.
How Does Black Mold Spread?
Mold grows and spreads through microscopic spores that travel through the air and into your home or business. Spores are so small you’ll need a microscope to see them with your eye.
When these free-floating spores find a warm and damp surface, they set up shop and begin to grow. That’s when problems begin.
Spores develop into colonies that grow bigger and stronger, releasing a high concentration of spores throughout your property. The more of these spores you breathe in, the higher the risk of developing health problems and property damage.
Mold needs a few conditions to grow and thrive.
Signs Of Black Mold
Be on the lookout for some tell-tale signs, especially in high moisture areas or areas with recent water leaks. For those wondering how to identify black mold, there are 4 main ways to do this.
- Smell – Is there a musty, or strong mildew smell? Black mold in particular has a smell of rotting leaves or dirt. Try to follow the smell and locate the source if possible.
- Color – Appears dark green or black. Keep in mind that not all black-colored molds are toxic, and Strachybotyrs can also be found in other colors.
- Texture – Has a fuzzy, clammy, & slimy texture. This is in contrast to or types of mold and mildew, which has a more powdery texture
- Testing – Have it professionally tested in a laboratory or looked at by a professional mold technician.
Other signs to look out for include:
· Water stains or leaks· New and sudden health issues such as respiratory problems or allergies
Health Problems Caused By Black Mold
The health effects of Stachybotrys vary from person to person, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. If you have a compromised immune system, existing respiratory issues, or severe allergies, you are at a greater risk of developing health problems and displaying mold exposure symptoms.
According to mold study published in the NCBI regarding small amounts of spore inhalation...
"In healthy people, the immune system destroys the spores before they cause any harm. In those with a weakened immune system, however, the infection is potentially fatal."
Health experts recommend any black mold found should be removed right away. There are always health risks involved with exposure, even for healthy people.
Black mold symptoms don’t always present themselves right away. Just like asbestos exposure, you may be inhaling dangerous spores without realizing it, with long-term exposure increasing the frequency and severity of symptoms.
Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure
- Itchy, red, or watering eyes
- Skin rash
- Runny nose
- Difficulty Breathing
- Asthma symptoms
- Chronic fatigue
With repeated and long-term exposure, black mold poisoning symptoms can also present themselves. These include recurring headaches, vomiting, memory loss, dizziness and sudden changes in moods.
Mold often goes undetected due to the fact that many of the health symptoms resemble other more common illnesses such as cold, hay fever, or other allergies. Regular mold testing is an important preventative measure.
Where Does Black Mold Grow?
Stachybotrys grows in dark, high moisture areas. It tends to favor high cellulose materials such as drywall, fibreboard, and wood, and wallpaper, but can grow on nearly any organic and many non-organic surfaces.
Some of the common places to find black mold include:
- Between walls
- On or behind drywall
- In air vents or ducts
- Around window sills
- In bathrooms especially around showers, sinks, and the toilet
- On or underneath the carpet
- In basements
- In the attic
- In the building foundation
How To Remove Black Mold?
Removing black mold on your own is not advisable or recommended. Without the proper safety equipment, removal tools, and expertise, incorrect removal can lead to releasing more mold spores throughout your home or business and worsening the indoor air quality substantially.
What’s more, mold spores often burrow deep into materials or hide out in hard-to-reach places. Removing the visible signs of mold does not always address the underlying problem. If spores are left behind, they can quickly regrow and make the situation worse.
Certified mold removal specialists are trained to safely inspect, assess, identify, and remove all traces of visible, hidden, and airborne mold.
How To Prevent Black Mold
Mold is hard to remove and even harder to prevent from coming back. Even if you successfully remove all traces, it can grow back time and time again given the right conditions.
The best thing you can do to keep your home safe is to schedule a home inspection. They can help you identify signs of water damage, and locate both visible and hidden mold sources.
Here are some tips for how to prevent black mold in the home.
- Keep humidity levels low, below 50%. You can control humidity with an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
- Ensure proper ventilation throughout the property using exhaust fans, open windows, and dryer vent is functioning properly.
- Conduct a home inspection or call a plumber to identify and fix any water leaks, leaky roofs, or other plumbing issues.
- Use a mold inhibiting paint
- Use mold-killing products to wipe away surface mold on bathroom tile
- Dry any wet areas immediately.
- Remove any wet carpet or furniture that isn’t drying right away.