Dealing with mold is one of the most significant problems faced by most homeowners in the U.S. It can often grow undetected, causing various health issues and threatening the integrity of your home.
Among all the different types of mold, black mold is perhaps the most well-known due to its prevalence in most households, often showing up during mold inspection, and its toxic nature.
If you’re a homeowner worried about black mold in your home, you may benefit from a thorough mold inspection to identify areas conducive to mold and eliminate these problematic areas. If you want to learn more about black mold, this blog is for you.
In this blog, you will find some of the most asked questions about black mold, from its nature to tips on cleaning black mold and mold mitigation to keep your home mold-free. Read on below to find the answers to all your black mold questions.
What is Black Mold?
Black mold is a type of black-pigmented mold that commonly grows in warm and damp environments. Although there are many different types of mold that may be considered black mold, they are mostly associated with being toxic. However, that’s not always the case. Most types of black mold can be allergenic, triggering allergic reactions in those who inhale or come in contact with their spores.
What Does Black Mold Look Like?
Black mold appears as dark, circular-shaped spots on contaminated surfaces. Unlike what the name suggests, black mold isn’t always black. It can appear as dark green, gray, or dark brown. Most black mold colonies will also have a tinge of orange or white.
Which Black Mold Is Dangerous?
Many different species of mold have often been referred to as black mold. These include Alternaria, Aureobasidium Pithomyces, Stemphylium, Dresclera, and Ulocladium, the most common being Alternaria. None of these mold species produce mycotoxins, which means they are not toxic, although Alternaria can be allergenic.
The black mold species commonly referred to as toxic black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum. It has a dark black, sometimes dark green, appearance and is highly toxic. It releases mycotoxins, which are toxic chemicals found in mold spores that are incredibly toxic when inhaled.
Are Black Mold Spores Dangerous?
Not all mold spores are dangerous. As mentioned above, none of the spores emitted by all, except one, is considered toxic, although they are highly allergenic.
However, Stachybotrys chartarum produces mycotoxins that can be highly toxic to sensitive and compromised individuals, the severity of which depends on the extent of contamination and the duration of exposure.
Depending on the above factors, exposure to mycotoxins will produce the following effects:
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Blurry vision
- Itchy eyes
In some cases, more severe symptoms will manifest, such as:
- Difficulty with digestion
- Damage to the immune system
- Damage to the lungs
What Conditions Impact How Black Mold Forms?
The three most common factors that impact the growth of black mold are the availability of a viable food source, moisture, and warmth. In most residential properties, most carbon-based surfaces may be considered adequate food sources, while the temperature level may only hasten or slow down its growth. The limiting factor is moisture, which can be introduced as a result of the following issues:
- Leaky pipes
- Faulty air conditioning system
- Poor ventilation
- Roof leaks
- Wet laundry
- Poor maintenance
What are Some of the Most Common Areas Where Black Mold is Found?
Black mold frequently grows in damp, warm environments where surfaces with high cellulose content can be found. They can usually be found growing:
- Under the sink
- On top of the shower
- In refrigerators
- In the basement
- Inside air conditioners
- Drywall sheets
- Air ducts
Will Black Mold Kill You?
For most healthy individuals, toxic black mold is not life-threatening. In fact, it may not even trigger allergic symptoms if you’re not allergic to it. However, some groups are more prone to the potential health risks posed by toxic mold, which is why cleaning black mold must always be a priority. These groups are the more highly prone to being sick from toxic mold exposure:
- Very old people
- People with existing health conditions
- People whose immune systems are compromised
Although these groups may still be unlikely to die from exposure to black mold, in some cases, exposure may be fatal due as a result of complications.
What Are Some Initiatives That Can Help With Mold Mitigation?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shares eight tips to clean up mold:
- Protect yourself at all times.
- Toss out anything that can’t be cleaned completely within 24 to 48 hours.
- Improve indoor ventilation by opening all windows and doors.
- Use fans and dehumidifiers to circulate air and remove moisture.
- Don’t mix different cleaning products, as the resulting mixture can create toxic vapors.
- Scrub all surfaces with water and detergent,
- Don’t apply paint or caulk over moldy surfaces before they are sufficiently cleaned.
- Dry your home as quickly as possible.
Trust the Experts in Professional Mold Removal
Toxic black mold is one of the most significant issues most homeowners face, especially those living in warm, humid climates. With a deeper understanding of what black mold is and how it thrives, you can create an effective plan to deal with it and keep your home mold-free.
If you’re dealing with a more extensive mold problem, call the experts at Restoration 1 of Avondale for professional mold removal. We have the experience and expertise to safely and effectively deal with your mold issues and prevent them from coming back. Give us a call today!