Black mold is a problem that can affect the well-being of a building and the residents inside. This fungus has a reputation for growing in damp, humid places and large infestations can weaken the wooden framework of a structure, causing the whole building to be condemned. There is a health risk associated with this mold, and people with respiratory problems are at risk whenever exposed. Knowing that there is a danger to one’s health, a logical question to ask is whether black mold is toxic and what is the extent of the harm it presents.
Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, has been known for contributing to the adverse effects of asthma and bronchitis. People with allergies have been known to experience breathing difficulties and fungal infections can occur, since black mold spores can be airborne and ingested through breathing. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) recognized black mold as being the cause of a large number of lung disorders. It has also caused breathing problems in infants that can be extremely dangerous. The primary agents for black mold’s threat are the mycotoxins it can create. These are toxic and can cause problems.
Yet, not all black molds are toxic. Stachybotrys chartarum can generate mycotoxins but there are numerous types of mold that have a black color and are not toxic at all. Indeed, without a lab test it is hard to determine if a black colored mold present in a building contains a health threat. However, this doesn’t mean that mold should be routinely ignored. There are other molds besides Stachybotrys chartarum that can infest a space and are very toxic. Aspergillus strains contain toxins that can be harmful to internal organs including the liver, kidney, and heart. This type of mold grows in the same environment as black mold and works its way into the wood or wallpaper of a room. This particular species of mold has also been known to harbor carcinogenic elements. Penicillium, though associated with penicillin, does contain mycotoxins. What is interesting about this particular mold is that it need not be alive to contain a toxin.
Although not all back molds are toxic, mold grows in the same conditions that more toxic fungus can spawn. In other words, this is definitely a case of where there is smoke there is fire. If there is evidence that mold may exist, a sample should be lab tested to determine the type of mold. A black mold finding definitely should cause concern and proper steps to remove it should be implemented. An obvious benefit is that if treatment is performed to remove the black mold it will probably get rid of other forms as well. A smart idea would be to follow up a newly treated area with additional lab tests to be certain that all toxic molds have been effectively eradicated.
Prevention is always the best strategy when dealing with black mold. The relative humidity (RH) should be kept below fifty five percent and all water pipes should be checked for leaks. Air conditioning and duct systems should also be examined to ensure there are no moisture build ups. The health risks caused by black mold and other fungi are easily eliminated with such diligence, thus preventing mold from spawning and permitting all residents to breathe a bit easier.