There are over 20,000 species of “black mold” in existence, but the one that lays the most claim to the moniker is “Stachybotrys chartarum,” also known as toxic black mold. Commonly linked to cases of Sick Building Syndrome, a condition in which people get major illnesses and diseases from a building they frequent or reside in, black mold has been sensationalized for its alleged toxicity upon exposure.
Fortunately, we’re here to desensationalize it. Toxic black mold isn’t as toxic as you’ve been led to believe, and though it can be dangerous, it isn’t significantly more hazardous than other forms of molds you can find in your home.
We’ll cover the basics of how to identify black mold, how toxic it is, and how to eliminate it if you find it in your home.
What Does Black Mold Look Like?
Black mold is most often black but can also appear as a very dark gray or green color. You can differentiate it from other forms of mold by its spotty, circular appearance. You can find black mold in shower grout, growing on ceilings, and hiding in corners. It typically grows in areas with high moisture levels, with consistent condensation, water damage, or flooding.
Can Black Mold Kill You?
Black mold’s toxicity is attributed to its toxigenic properties, i.e., its ability to produce mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are chemicals that are commonly thought to cause serious illness. While mycotoxins can be harmful, most molds only produce them under specific surface and environmental conditions.
According to the CDC, there is very little scientific evidence that molds that produce these toxins are linked to rare or particularly fatal illnesses. Any causal link cannot be taken as proof of causation.
Those most at risk of infection or harmful symptoms caused by black mold are people with existing mold allergies, immunosuppression, or respiratory diseases.
How to Get Rid of Black Mold?
Whether the mold growing in your bathroom is black, green, or any other color, the process of removing it is generally the same.
Remove the moisture source.
Household molds typically grow under very high moisture levels, and the first step of keeping mold from returning is by ridding the conditions it grew in. Remove all moldy items, including carpets, drywall, and flooring, and dispose of them. Fix any leaks and thoroughly dry any moisture-rich areas.
If an area can be cleaned instead of discarded, use household cleaning products, bleach, or soap and water. After cleansing, dry all wet surfaces quickly and don’t allow water to sit.
The easiest way to protect yourself from mold in your home is by preventing it from growing in the first place. A few steps you can take towards mold prevention are:
- Keep high-humidity areas such as your bathroom or laundry room well-ventilated.
- If you live in a humid climate, consider investing in a dehumidifier.
- Promptly fix any building or plumbing leaks as soon as they arise.
Having any kind of mold in your home isn’t good. So, whether you just stumble upon it, it shows up after a water damage event, or you become aware of it due to illness, you can breathe easy that it can be addressed.
For more information and advice on keeping your home clean and safe, contact A+ Restoration Services today to see how we can help. We are your true One Stop Shop serving the Indianapolis Metro area!