Black Mold: Dangers, Side Effects & Tests
Build up your black mold knowledge.
The name alone stirs worry in most homeowners: Stachybotrys Charaturm is a greenish-black mold that can be particularly concerning. Despite common belief, black mold isn’t necessarily more dangerous than other common types of indoor mold. Still, though, the CDC recommends that any mold found in buildings should be removed promptly.
But what exactly is black mold? How and where does it grow? What are some of the symptoms of black mold exposure? Using the knowledge of AmeriSpec mold testing professionals, we’ve outlined the black mold information you need so you’ll know when to contact a local expert.
What is Black Mold & Where Does it Grow?
Many mold testing and inspection service companies might tell you that black mold is cause for panic. The truth is that, at present, no scientific research suggests that what’s commonly referred to as black mold is more dangerous than any other type of mold exposure.
However, that doesn’t mean black mold should be ignored. Just like most mold types, black mold exposure has been connected to some serious health concerns. Despite it’s unsettling and distinct appearance, black mold, like all mold types, is a fungus. As a fungus, black mold needs a significant, constant moisture source to grow and thrive. Often, black mold might develop due to water damage, flooding or substantial leaks.
Because of its reliance on warm, moist environments and its need to feed on organic materials, black mold can grow in bathrooms, showers, kitchens, basements and attics. If you live or own property in a particularly humid climate, your chances of encountering mold growth are likely higher.
When black, toxic mold feeds on materials like drywall or wood, dangerous spores are released. It is when these toxic spores are inhaled or ingested that health concerns may arise. Toxic mold, despite its appearance, isn’t always easy to spot. Large quantities that grow in hidden spaces like crawl spaces and cabinets can become rather problematic as time goes on.
Is Black Mold Dangerous?
The short answer? It can be. The level of impact black mold has on an individual’s health depends on a range of factors. Those who have compromised immune systems or already experience respiratory illnesses may encounter pronounced black mold symptoms and side effects.
Chronic coughing, wheezing, a stuffy nose, sore throat and skin and eye irritation can all be symptomatic of black mold exposure. Long-term exposure may have more demonstrable symptoms like troubling shortness of breath and severe nausea. To avoid any sustained health damage, it is crucial to conduct routine mold tests during real estate transactions, if you own an older home, if you live in particularly humid climates or if children live in your home.
Increasingly, medical research suggests that mold exposure and asthma may have an unsettling connection. Mold exposure has been known to worsen respiratory issues for those with preexisting conditions. And, alarmingly, some data has found that young children exposed to mold have an increased chance of developing asthma as they grow older.
Black Mold Prevention, Cleaning & Tests
Due to the potential for health impacts, partnering with a local AmeriSpec professional for routine mold testing is ideal. Testing kits purchased at hardware stores aren’t always accurate and sometimes air samples can be taken incorrectly. AmeriSpec inspectors are well-practiced in mold testing and work with licensed labs you can trust.
The best way to avoid the health risks associated with black mold and the potential havoc it may wreak on your property value is to prevent its growth in the first place. Routine mold tests are essential for prevention. Beyond regular testing, homeowners should be vigilant for sources of water and water damage. Water permeates porous surfaces, providing the necessary moisture for black mold growth. If you catch a leaky pipe and fix the problem early on, you can sidestep serious black mold formation.
If you suspect black mold to be present in your home and an AmeriSpec expert confirms your suspicions, we recommend finding a black mold remediation expert. DIY mold removal is always an option but can be difficult due to the extensive safety equipment necessary for proper removal. Mold removal professionals come with their own stockpile of safety equipment and are well-versed in treatment and cleaning techniques.
Black mold sounds scary. And, truth is, it sometimes can be. But with routine mold tests from local AmeriSpec specialists, you can make sure mold growth never goes too far. Preventing black mold growth not only protects your property, but can also help residents maintain their wellbeing.