If you own a home, you most likely conduct regular inspections to check for water damage, weathering, and proper functioning of pipes and utilities. You may call in a professional if you find infestations of rodents or insects, which are known to damage homes and cause health issues. However, one of the most frequently-missed pests is black mold, which homeowners often overlook due to its unobtrusive appearance. Despite this, it is crucial to recognize and remove the mold as quickly as possible due to its dangerous health effects.

What is black mold?

Black mold is the common name for Stachybotrys chartarum, a fungal species that grows indoors in moist areas. It is toxic and is known to cause numerous health problems; thus, black mold must be removed if spotted. This type of mold appears as greenish-black spots; however, just because a mold is black does not mean that it is toxic black mold. Because it is so difficult to identify a toxic from a nontoxic mold, all black molds should be treated with the same caution.

Why does it grow?

Black mold grows in moist areas, which most often occur when there has been significant water damage, humidity, leaks, or flooding. Spores are present in minute quantities in the air, and will enter your home through windows and doors; when they land in a favorably moist environment, they will grow into mold and reproduce, creating more spores. Areas particularly susceptible to black mold growth include those with a high cellulose content, as this will provide enough nutrients for the mold to grow; these materials include fiberboard, paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and gypsum board.

What are the risks?

Black mold releases trichothecene mycotoxins, chemicals that affect neurons in your brain and lead to mental impairment and neurological disease. Symptoms can include everything from dizziness and blurred vision to mood and personality changes. Furthermore, spores released by black mold cause significant respiratory problems when they enter the lungs, including irritation, trouble breathing, and bleeding in the lungs. Toxins released by black mold are also known to cause heart problems, internal bleeding, vision and eye problems, immune system suppression, reproductive problems, allergic symptoms, and dermatitis, or an itching of the skin. Ultimately, the most severe issues caused by toxic black mold include coma and death.

How should you get rid of it?

Because of the numerous health risks associated with black mold, it is crucial that the problem is treated quickly and effectively. Call in your local mold removal company at the first sign of black mold, which can be identified by its tendency to grow in moist areas.