How Dangerous is Black Mold?

One of the most common questions among Mainers with mold issues is ‘How dangerous is black mold?”. It’s a common question because lately the internet has been brimming with reports of the extreme danger associated with ‘toxic black mold’. We’d like to clear this issue up today.  First of all, the term “toxic mold” is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house.

Let’s Take a Look at Black Mold Health Effects More Closely

What is Black Mold?

Black mold (or Stachybotrys chartarum)  is a specific type of mold that occurs as part of the natural environment. The EPA notes that outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. The problem can originate from sudden water releases, like a burst pipe or large spill that goes untreated, or from a chronic condition, such as a leaking roof or plumbing. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. It is not necessary to determine what type of mold you may have. All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.

Black Mold Health Effects

According to the CDC, “Mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors. However some people are sensitive to molds. These people may experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to molds. Some people may have more severe reactions to molds. In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.”

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services comments on black mold:

“Recently, there has been heightened concern regarding exposure to a specific type of mold commonly referred to as black or toxic mold.  The Internet abounds with individual reports of illness attributed to “toxic black mold.”  However, currently there is no conclusive scientific evidence linking the inhalation of black mold spores or any type of mold in the indoor environment to any illness other than the previously described allergy symptoms.  The term “toxic” is an inaccurate description of this mold.  There are many common molds that are black in color.”

These reports indicate that while black mold does present palpable health risks, reports of extreme risk may be overblown. However, it is still critical to call on a black mold removal and remediation company for the health of your family and home.

How do You Remove Black Mold?

Mold has to be removed and contained to stop it from completely taking over a living space. Using bleach or other chemicals doesn’t reduce the health risk associated with black mold spores, which can be just as dangerous dead as alive and can present health risks to building occupants. Therefore fogging and trying to just kill mold is a waste of time and money. You should never allow biocides to be fogged in your home. Also the chemicals used to treat or limit mold are considered pesticides in Maine and can be very harmful (often more so than the mold itself). Find out more about the steps involved with mold removal and remediation.

Need to Remove Black Mold? Contact Us Today for a FREE Estimate!

Completing a black mold removal project correctly is a process. However, with the right contractor and the right plan, the process can be as timely and painless. Maine-based Octagon Cleaning and Restoration thoroughly understands how to get rid of black mold and save your home from water damage. Contact us today for a FREE No Obligation Estimate or for more information about our services.