How to Deal with Black Mold
Black mold is a rather ominous name for a genus of mold scientifically known as Stachybotrys. Black mold has developed quite the reputation as a toxic substance. It is important to take the time to properly inform yourself about the topic rather than get distracted by the sensationalized scare. While the term “black mold” is loaded with negative connotation and is typically referred to as “toxic mold“, do not run for the hills just yet.
The reason why black mold is such a popular concern is because various species of Stachybotrys can release mycotoxins. Exposure to mycotoxins can potentially result in health implications. These symptoms range from mild allergic reactions to severe respiratory issues. However, reactions vary amongst individuals and differ from situation to situation. Typically, those who are prone to allergies or have a compromised immune system seem to react more to mycotoxin exposure.
Do not let the social emphasis on the threat of black mold distract you. Black mold is not the only kind of mold that releases mycotoxins. There are various other types of molds that also release mycotoxins. Any species of mold at elevated counts should incite concern.
The idea that “mold makes you sick,” is too broad. To begin with, there is mold everywhere, and it is actually important to the ecosystem. We don’t necessarily give it a second thought because normal levels of mold can be perfectly harmless depending on the individual. All it takes for mold to grow is a bit a moisture and some kind of organic matter for it to feed on, and it can grow essentially anywhere. Mold growth can become a concern when there are elevated or abnormal levels.
Elevated or abnormal levels of mold can be an issue due to various factors. In order for mold to grow to such levels, there must be a great enough moisture source. If there is a severe mold growth in your home, that typically entails a major moisture issue that should be resolved. Unresolved moisture problems (ie: a leak, humidity issues, etc.) can lead to other costly problems, aside from mold.
Water Problems to be Concerned About
- Major water intrusion from natural disasters are at the forefront of mold causation. Serious floods and hurricanes can leave behind a lot of water that create major water damage. Any major water intrusion following a natural disaster NEEDS to be resolved. In a majority of cases, it is too big of an undertaking for a homeowner to tackle of their own. If that is the case, call a professional water restoration company to ensure effective and thorough drying of the property.
- Uncontrolled indoor humidity can lead to major mold growth. Humidity often goes unnoticed, but if you neglect it for a long enough period of time, you will allow mold the opportunity to develop and thrive. Be sure to implement proper preventative measure to control indoor humidity to control mold growth.
- Leaks and seepage throughout the property can contribute to the development of mold if not properly fixed. Regularly check the property for any signs of compromised pipes. Monitor your foundation to make sure that it is well maintained to avoid potential seepage into your basement or crawl space.
Severe mold growth decreases property value, and the moisture that allowed the mold growth can severely compromise the building structure. If mold and moisture problems are neglected and allowed to persist, it will only worsen and grow costlier with time. As mentioned before, mold can release mycotoxins which can be dangerous to those exposed to it. Prolonged exposure will only contribute to diminishing health.
When trying to identify mold, physical color is not the only identifier. Mold typically presents as white, black, grey, brown or green. It can be powdery or appear in large or small splotches. Not all mold that is black in color is necessarily “black mold,” and not all “black mold” is actually black in color. If you are unsure of what you might be looking at, call a profession so they can offer you their professional opinion and a peace of mind.
Sometimes small mold growth on hard, non-porous surfaces is an easy clean if you feel comfortable with tackling the job. You can simply wipe it clean with a mild detergent, a baking soda solution, or a vinegar solution. However, if you believe you have a more serious problem on your hands, CALL A EXPERT to complete a professional mold inspection. You do not want to risk contaminating other areas or potentially worsen the situation by attempting to take care of it yourself.
In conclusion, if you are uncomfortable tackling any sized area or any kind of mold contamination, hire a professional that you can trust to complete a safe and effective mold remediation. It’s not worth your health and it’s definitely not worth doing it wrong.