When people find out they have mold, usually the first thing that comes to mind is, “Is this black mold?” It’s a valid concern, black mold can be quite dangerous for your health.
What is Black Mold?
Black mold is a type of toxic mold, commonly referred to as black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum. It often accompanies water damage and can be extremely toxic to anyone or any living thing exposed to it.
Even though it is called black mold, the mold itself is actually a greenish-black color, and may have a bumpy appearance. Because it is caused from water damage, the top layer is often slimy to the touch. However, keep an eye out for a powdery form when the water dries up.
Symptoms of Black Mold
As mentioned previously, black mold is very toxic to humans and animals. Not only can you visually identify the mold, there are some symptoms and warning signs that you can keep an eye out for that can help identify that you have a black mold problem:
- Breathing problems
- Fatigue, headaches, tiredness
- Confusion/brain fog
- Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
- Asthma attacks
- Coughing or sneezing excessively
- Mental impairment (memory loss)
- Skin inflammation (red itchy eyes, mouth or nose)
- Damage to internal organs
Some of these seem minor, but there are symptoms that are very serious and need to checked out immediately. Not only are these ailments bothersome, but the black mold can also cause permanent damage to your health. If the mold is not found and taken care of immediately, you can certainly suffer long term medical issues.
Identifying Black Mold
Not only can you see the mold to know it is there, but black mold also has a distinct smell to it. It smells very musty and a lot like mildew. Similar to other types of mold, black mold is very adept at finding many different places that it likes to call home.
The mold can be located underneath carpet, behind wallpaper, on the furniture, roofing, under sinks, and other places that would normally come into contact with moisture. Unfortunately, if the mold is located in AC units or air ducts, the smell cannot be detected until the air is blown through it, causing it to spread throughout your home.
Black Mold Growth
Even though it doesn’t grow as fast as other molds, it still only takes about a week for black mold to present itself. Once the mold grows, it forces out any other mold that is growing nearby and completely takes over the environment.
Removal of Black Mold
Since black mold is so extremely toxic, it’s removal is something you need to leave up to the professionals. Knowing the basics of mold removal can be extremely helpful for you to determine what type of professional you should hire.
If you disturb the black mold, it will release spores that are not visible to the naked eye, mycotoxins will release into the air and drift throughout your home. The spores are very hardy and survive under conditions in which other types of mold cannot grow, such as dry environments. Once the spores land somewhere with water, that is when the mold starts to grow and spread.
During the removal process, it is suggested you and your family vacate the home temporarily for safety reasons. You should ideally only return once the toxic mold has been completely removed. A professional company will also test the environment to make sure all of the toxic black mold has been removed completely.
Some experts believe that toxic black mold can never completely be removed from a house or building that has been contaminated. It has been reported that some home owners have permanently moved out, or even burned the houses down as a last extreme resort.
Black Mold Treatment
There really is no way to cure or any antidote that can be taken for exposure to black mold. You can either remove the mold, or remove yourself. If you are away from the mold, your body will start to recover and the symptoms should go away with time. However, there is always the chance that the damage to yourself or your home could be permanent.
Toxic Black Mold (Stachybotrys) (2016.) http://blackmold.awardspace.com/stachybotrys.html
Toxic Black Mold Removal. (2016). http://blackmold.awardspace.com/black-mold-cleanup-removal.html
Sallinger, Wesley. What is Black Mold? http://www.howtoremoveblackmold.com/what-is-black-mold.html