When water damage occurs, experts will caution you on the dangers of black mold. Homeowners and businesses should be prepared to take action quickly to prevent its growth and spread. Though mold spores exist in the environment at all times, water leaks, condensation, and flooding can create the perfect growing conditions for mold to thrive.
Mold is most prevalent in homes and buildings in Southern states and areas with severe storms. It favors moist, humid conditions. While there are many types of mold including mildew, both black mold and toxic black mold spores pose the greatest risk and are most difficult to treat. The different forms of black mold do have various toxicity levels and are identifiably different.
All mold can affect your immune system, trigger allergic reactions, and cause long-term health problems, but there is a difference between common mold and toxic (deadly) black mold.
Toxic black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) is dark green or black. It is a highly dangerous form of mold known to produce mycotoxins as airborne mold spores. The mold spores are easily circulated and affect indoor air quality. When they’re unknowingly inhaled, they’re dangerous to human health.
How do you identify toxic black mold?
Consider both the location and the appearance when you’re looking to identify toxic black mold. Toxic black mold tends to form in consistently humid environments, like attics, or in areas that were subject to prolonged flooding issues, like basements, crawlspaces, and around foundations.
Toxic black mold growth has a more potent and identifiable smell, like the smell of decay, wet soil, or rot. Visually, it may be greenish-black, grayish-black, slimy, or more furry than other forms of mold or mildew. If you try to clean it with a heavy-duty cleaner, you might find that it remains on the surface and doesn’t completely wipe away.
What are the health effects of toxic black mold?
Contact with toxic black mold can increase the likelihood of developing asthma, and contribute to more severe, long-lasting chronic symptoms. People with auto-immune conditions and weakened immune systems can experience fungal infections, chronic fatigue, lung disease, memory loss or cancer as a result of mold exposure.
Early-onset symptoms may present as allergies, but lead to serious health problems:
What is the best way to clean toxic black mold?
Cleanup of a toxic mold problem should be attempted with great caution, and never without thorough personal protective equipment including a N95 respirator mask, gloves, and protective eyewear. It can get into the air vents, so cleanup requires whole-house protection. A specialist at ATI Restoration can offer a mold inspection, make recommendations, and determine the complexity of the cleanup to mitigate the mold.
How do you identify black mold?
Common black mold presents differently than toxic black mold. It’s likely to appear in ordinary spaces, not just in water-damaged basements and humid attics. Non-toxic black mold also cleans more efficiently than toxic mold, and it doesn’t possess the same musty, dirty smell that makes toxic mold so recognizable.
What are the health effects of black mold?
There are many different species of mold. Though non-toxic black mold exposure isn’t likely to trigger persistent, chronic symptoms, the presence of black mold in the home or workplace can still make a person feel unwell. Symptoms vary based on individual sensitivities and may present more like common allergy symptoms. Common reactions include:
What is the best way to clean black mold?
Non-toxic black mold can be cleaned easily using a store-bought mold and mildew remover, bleach, or dish soap. You can treat visible black mold on wood by spraying it with a solution of two quarts of water mixed with one cup bleach. Use a soft brush to help saturate the mold. The mold will rub off. Do not rinse the areas after treatment, and check back in 3-4 days to see if the mold was eliminated.
The easiest way to manage mold growth is to prevent it from starting. Mold thrives in humid, damp, and warm environments, so prevention starts with controlling the moisture levels in your property and promoting ventilation. In attics and basements, fans and dehumidifiers can help control the humidity levels to make the spaces less inviting for mold.
Additionally, prevent mold by cleaning up spills quickly and thoroughly (use a fan to help dry an area if necessary), keep mold-prone surfaces clean, dry and disinfected, and repair plumbing leaks before they become a concern.
If you’ve had a flood or experienced extensive water damage, the likelihood of fostering toxic black mold exponentially increases. It may even be hidden out of sight behind drywall. Contact a restoration specialist at ATI Restoration who can help you mediate your space before the toxic mold causes health issues. We can provide moisture mapping services, work directly with your insurance company, and schedule service to help prevent mold.
If you’ve identified mold in or around your home or business, and are concerned that the infestation may be severe, contact the expert team at ATI Restoration. Our fast, reliable mold remediation and removal specialists will find the source of the issue and provide prompt mold removal.
Contact our team online or by calling (866) 294-2341. When we meet with you, our specialists will provide an audit and make recommendations based on the outbreak’s severity. We can provide mold testing, and will work directly with your insurance company to help you file a claim if necessary.