If you have been following your local media, you can't help but to have heard or read a number of news stories concerning black mold in recent months. The number of news articles concerning this particular form of mold and the damage it can do to your home is on the rise. A number of illnesses have been attributed to it and the lawsuits which have resulted from infestations continue to be filed in ever growing numbers. Starting the process of black mold removal is critical if you have it in your home!
Scientifically known as either Stachybotrys atra or Stachybotrys chartarum. This particular form of mold is known for releasing highly toxic mycotoxin particles in the air, in large enough quantities to form a serious health risk. While it may be labeled as black mold, this particular form of mold is not always black in color. In fact at the beginning of its life cycle this particular form of mold appears to be white in color and is somewhat slimy to the touch. Although it might start out white in color, Stachybotrys will eventually turn darker over time leading to the name "black mold". It is not however the only mold that is black or dark in color and you cannot tell what type of mold you are dealing with simply from the color it appears to be. There is only one way to accurately determine what type of mold you have found in your home, you need to have a sample of the mold you found in your home professionally analyzed.
Unless your home is less than a few months old, it is likely to have some form of mold growth. Most homes have at least one if not more forms of mold growing in them. However, not all forms of mold are toxic, in fact most are not. It is because of this that all forms of mold you find in your home should be professionally tested. Mold will grow in any location where there is warmth and moisture. This can be under a sink, under your bathtub; in your attic, where you may have a small leak you are not even aware of, and in your basement. While these are some of the more common areas in which mold, including black mold, can grow, there are others you might not think about such as above ceiling tiles, inside your walls, even on cardboard boxes you have stored in your basement or attic.
Mold spreads by releasing spores into the air; these spores are then transported by a number of different means. They can be carried from the mold source by attaching themselves to any item of clothing, your hair, your pet's coats, or your shoes. One method of transportation that has only become news in recent years is in the ductwork which carries hot or cold air throughout your home. HVAC ducts can be a major source of transportation in areas where the humidity is high, as the air in these ducts is moist and although cool, will still carry the live spores throughout your home. Once the spores have entered your ventilation system, not only will they spread to other areas of your home, but they can lead to serious health issues.
One of the leading reasons black mold has come to the forefront in recent years, is the number of ill effects it can have on your health and that of your loved ones. Among the many known health affects listed by the CDC are:
These medical and mental issues can range from persistent mild flu like symptoms to severe problems such as liver and lung diseases which can eventually lead to death. There has also been some suggestions that prolonged exposure to the neurotoxins in black mold can lead to cancer. However, nothing definitive has been noted, further research is ongoing with results not likely to be confirmed for some time to come.
Given the health issues surrounding exposure to black mold, any sign of an infestation in your home is not something to be taken lightly. As renter or a homeowner, if you suspect that you may have an infestation of this or any other type of mold, you should seek professional help. This help should come in the form of a company that offers professionally trained and certified mold removal technicians and is willing to guarantee their work. If you are not sure whether or not you have a mold problem, you need to call in a certified inspector before you end up with mold related health issues or become the next tragic story on your local news.