Understanding Black Mold

April 23rd, 2013 - Posted by Michael Bowers LEED GA under Technical

What is black mold?
Black mold, which is also referred to as toxic mold is used to describe Stachybotrys, a genus of molds. Stachybotrys is an unpopular mold because of its ability to grow in interior of homes and buildings and the harmful effects it can have on the human body. Stachybotrys is known as a toxic mold because it can produce toxins called mycotoxins.
What are Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are toxins produced by some species of mold (myco means fungal). These mycotoxins are some of the most toxic substances within the mold colony. Mycotoxins travel via the spores of toxic black mold. People who are exposed to toxic black mold conditions are mostly exposed to mycotoxins through breathing them in. Mycotoxins in the air can also enter through the eyes. This can lead to toxic symptoms and health issues.

What does black mold look like?
Toxic black mold can appear to be a greenish/black colored mold. It at times will appear slimy and wet. At times toxic black mold will appear dry if the water source is no longer producing moisture. There are many molds that appear similar to toxic black mold. If you believe you have discovered Stachybotrys the only way to be certain is to have the mold analyzed by a professional mold expert.

Effects of black mold
There are multiple symptoms that people may experience when exposed to the mycotoxins of toxic black mold. The most common symptoms that can be caused by toxic black mold include, but are not limited to: Respiratory issues, Skin inflammation, Hemorrhage, Irritation of the mucous membranes, Damage to internal organs, Mental impairment, Tiredness, Nausea and Immune system suppression.

Because of the extreme health effects toxic black mold can cause to your health, any Stachybotrys found within the interior of your home should be professionally remediated immediately. The longer you are exposed to toxic black mold, the greater the risk of your health being damaged because of it.
Remediation of black mold
Never attempt to dispose of toxic black mold on your own. Improper removal of mold can cause the release of high amounts of spores and mycotoxins. This can lead to cross contamination throughout the interior of the home and increases the chance of health issues.

If you discover toxic black mold in your residence you should contact a professional and if required in your state, a licensed mold remediation company. The removal of mold can be very extensive. Improper remediation of a toxic black mold condition can lead to cross contamination and require additional remediation and cleaning. While remediation is being performed, arrangements should be made for the home to be empty of residence. Some mold conditions can require long term remediation leaving the home inhabitable.
Timetable for black mold to grow
Toxic black mold grows at a slower rate than most molds. It requires a food source to be extremely wet for up to 7-10 days before it can start to grow. Typically your average mold will take 1-2 days to colonize, but toxic black mold can take up to 12 days before colonizing.
Toxic black mold in a home will typically grow in a place that is not visible to the occupants. Because toxic black mold requires extensive moisture for a long period of time, it will usually grow in a place where there has been a hidden water leak. Many times the cause of toxic black mold growth is a plumbing leak hidden within the walls. Other causes include: water heater and washer leaks, shower and sink leaks and water entering into the interior by way of a construction failure.

This post was submitted by Michael Bowers LEED GA.

Previous post:

Next Post: