Black mold, or any mold for that matter, is a scary thing to have to deal with. But the good news is that not all molds that are black in color are the infamous toxic black mold. There are literally a thousand different types of mold found in the United States, and many of them are black.
Molds are found both indoors and outdoors, but the molds found outdoors are an important part of nature’s process. Indoor mold serves no such positive function, as it breaks down the material it’s growing on, your home or business, and causes health issues ranging from allergic to potentially fatal in cause and severity. Knowing what kind of mold you have is important to help you have it addressed as quickly as possible. A less-serious allergy-causing mold can sometimes be cleaned by the property owner while a more serious one needs immediate, professional assistance.
How to Determine if it’s Toxic Black Mold
Where the Black Mold Grows
Any building can develop mold around leaky plumbing or in bathrooms and kitchens that are not perfectly ventilated and humidity controlled. Buildings with areas of humid air(are damp and of warmer temperatures), also tend to foster mold growth anywhere these conditions exist. Any place that has suffered water damage can also grow mold, such as from flooding, a plumbing leak, or a roof leak.
Look for mold in kitchens and bathrooms first, particularly dark corners, behind fixtures, and in cabinets. Then examine any place where there has been a leak or water damage and any place in the building that is humid. Often you can just follow the smell. Don’t rule out an area of the building because it’s not the most likely place. Any place can grow mold if moist and dark conditions are present.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to areas with mold can cause mild to severe health conditions, depending on the type of mold and amount of it. Mold that is more difficult to find, like inside walls, can grow without being noticed to alarming amounts and cause various irritating and sometimes life-threatening symptoms.
Many molds cause allergic symptoms in certain individuals, such as sneezing, coughing, sore throat, etc. Neurological symptoms such as dizziness, depression, headaches, memory loss, and concentration problems are symptoms of toxic mold exposure.
Mold symptoms depend largely on the amount of mold you’re being exposed to and how long you’ve been exposed to it. If you have unexplained neurological symptoms or they fluctuate depending on whether you are at the location or where you are in the building, leave if possible and seek immediate help as neurological symptoms indicate a serious level of toxic mold exposure. Don’t necessarily assume that you don’t have toxic mold because you don’t have those symptoms yet.
How to Identify Toxic Black Mold
With so many types of molds in existence, and with many of them looking very similar, it may be difficult to properly identify what type of mold you have. Stachybotrys, or toxic black mold, is slimy when wet and powdery when dry and can be black or green in color. It prefers paper, wood, and similar cellulose materials. Since it requires constant moisture to grow, you’ll usually find it in places with long term water damage or after a leak or flood that was not properly addressed.
What to Do if You Find Mold In Your Home
All molds need to be cleaned up right away. There is no acceptable amount of mold that can be present in a home and no type of mold that is not at least a threat to people with allergies or those with a weakened immune system.
Only attempt to clean up mold if you are 100% sure it’s a non-toxic mold and it is in a location that is easy to thoroughly clean, i.e. there are no joints, cracks, and crevices that it could have traveled into.
Call a mold removal expert for large areas of mold growth, for situations when water damage is present and/or the mold may have grown into areas you can’t reach, for any mold you are not 100% of it’s toxicity, or if you just don’t want to worry about what kind of mold it is or how to clean it.
RCS damage cleanup specialists will help you determine every location mold is present in your home or business, extract any water, repair water damage, remove all of the mold, and give you tips to prevent mold from recurring.