The topic of black mold is a lot like the topic of poison ivy. Everyone wants to know how toxic it is and how dangerous it can be. But there really isn’t a definite answer, and it’s because the toxicity of something is hard to define.
What is black mold?
Black mold is a type of fungus that is commonly found in the home. It thrives in damp, dark conditions where there’s lots of humidity. In most cases, it grows on organic materials such as wood and paper, but sometimes you’ll find it growing on drywall or even insulation.
What are some common signs that my home may have black mold?
The first sign that a room may have black mold is a musty odor coming from a specific area of your home. If you’ve checked the outdoor air quality and you’re not smelling anything out of the ordinary, then chances are good there’s something going on inside your walls or ceiling. Black mold can also be recognized by its color (usually greyish-black) and texture (flat, patchy growths).
How is black mold dangerous?
Black mold is not necessarily dangerous if it’s left alone, but once you become aware of its presence there are several things to watch out for. For example, the spores that black mold creates need a source of moisture in order to grow. As long as there isn’t too much humidity in your home then these spores will be inactive and unable to cause any damage. However, if you’ve got children or pets that spend time playing on the floor where the mold has spread, they could start developing respiratory ailments due to prolonged exposure to the spores.
If I have black mold in my home do I have to get rid of it right away?
Yes, however, it’s not absolutely necessary to get rid of black mold, but it is important to make sure you dry out all sources of moisture in your home. It’s the moisture that allows the spores to thrive and spread, so if you cut off their food source then they won’t be able to grow anymore.
What should I do if I find some black mold in my house?
First things first – open up all of your windows! If there are any sources of excess humidity present (such as wet areas on your roof) then get them covered immediately with plastic sheeting or tarps. Once you’ve solved your humidity problem then check for water damage that may have occurred due to broken pipes or an overflowing dishwasher. Clean up the affected area(s) and spend some time airing out the room(s) with the black mold to get rid of any excess moisture.
It’s also important that you get in touch with a mold abatement specialist, like First Call 24-7 immediately. Hire someone who is trained to work with toxic materials, because untreated black mold can be dangerous or even deadly for your family!
How serious are the health effects of exposure to black mold?
The short answer is… very serious. According to information published by various government agencies, exposure to certain types of molds can cause severe respiratory ailments, including asthma-like symptoms and allergic reactions. Some studies have attributed neurological problems such as depression, memory loss, fatigue, headaches, seizures and mood swings all to exposure to certain types of mold – particularly Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as black mold). Additionally, exposure to high concentrations of toxins produced by certain molds has been linked to other severe health problems such as immune system suppression and even cancer.
There’s no way I’m going to sleep tonight thinking that my house might be full of black mold! What should I do?
A lot of people who are new to the idea of black mold find themselves panicking or becoming very anxious at the thought that their home may be infested with it. While this is understandable, it’s important not to let your emotions get ahead of you because there’s a good chance everything will turn out alright if you take the proper precautions. First things first – contact a mold abatement specialist and get a professional opinion on whether or not your condition is likely to be black mold. If it turns out you do have black mold then follow the guidance of your professional and hire someone to fix any water damage that may have occurred.
In most cases, people who are worried they might have been exposed to black mold can take a few steps themselves to reduce their anxiety. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea that you might have inhaled some poisonous spores then spend some time in fresh air (preferably outside) until you feel better. You should also clean up any areas where black mold has spread in order to prevent further health problems – but make sure you don’t breathe near it because inhaling the spores can be dangerous!