Black Mold also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is a greenish black mold that thrives in moist conditions. Home] with water damage, high humidly, flooding, and pipe leaks in the present or past are at the highest risk for developing Black Mold. Black Mold is neither rare nor toxic, but can cause minor irritation such as stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing and/or skin irritation. In those with previously compromised immune systems or lung disease Black Mold may also cause difficulty breathing, fever and an increased risk of lung infection.
The importance of identifying Black Mold when one is aware they have a mold problem is that while not toxic in itself Black Mold releases Mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are small molecules produced by the metabolism of mold that can be dangerous to plants, animals and humans.
This article on black mold will show you how to identify Black Mold so that you can take the proper health precautions while eliminating the mold as well as before you have the chance to do so. Identifying Black Mold is not difficult, but also takes a bit of guess work as only laboratory testing can positively identify a molds type.
Identifying Black Mold:
The first step in identifying Black Mold is to identify that you have mold to begin with. The most common identifiers of mold include a musty smell present in the home and/or a visual confirmation of mold. Mold appears as white, greenish or black spots on any surface in the home. Black Mold requires moisture to grow so the best places to look for Black Mold is in moist environments or areas that are more susceptible to becoming moist. Basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens and other areas with many water pipes are at high risk for Black Mold. Even if the mold is not immediately visible Black mold can grow within walls, behind tiles, or even hiding behind household items. Keep in mind that areas that are exposed to hot and then cold air can cause condensation which can also provide the moisture black Mold requires to grow. It’s a good idea to examine your house for areas of high moisture whether you suspect Black mold or not as moisture in a home can lead to more issues than just mold. Preventing Black Mold is far easier than eliminating it.
While as stated the only way to positively identify a type of mold is to send a sample to a laboratory, there are common warning signs that indicate mold is Black Mold.
First, observe the color. Black Mold is not as the name implies always black. Black Mold can range in color from deep green to black. Black Mold is never white, however any mold should be treated with caution and eliminated as soon as possible.
Second, observe the growth pattern. Black mold will always grow in a circular pattern. Rings of mold so to speak are a good indication that mold is Black. However if Black mold is met by a dry environment it may break its circular growth pattern in search of moisture.
Third, observe texture. Black mold will appear slimy on areas that are currently moist and sooty like ash almost on areas that were once moist but have now dried, Even Black mold that has dried is capable of spreading spores and so reproducing in other areas of the home.
The final indicator to look for when identifying black mold is symptoms in you or others that dwell within the domicile. Symptoms of Black Mold often seem similar to allergies and include:
In minor cases:
*-Sneezing or nasal irritation.
*-Itching, red or irritated skin.
*-Itching, red or watery eyes.
In extreme cases:
*-Severe and constant headache.
*-Loss of appetite or weight.
*-Skin rashes or sores
*-Breathing disorders including chronic bronchitis and asthma.
*-Nasal and/or ear infections.
Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can also be caused by a variety of other things. Presence of one or more symptoms may not guarantee Black Mold is the issue.
Dealing with Black Mold:
Minor cases of black mold can be dealt with simply by cleaning. Always wear a face mask and gloves while cleaning black mold or any mold for that matter. Simply spray the Black Mold with bleach and allow to sit and then scrub the mold away.
In the event Black Mold has become extreme and spread inside walls, etc. you are going to want to call an expert. You may also want to take a sample of the mold to be sent for testing. Some home insurance companies will cover mold repair if it poses a health hazard as Black Mold does.
To take a sample of mold in your home for testing, put on gloves and a face mask. Take a piece of scotch tape and press it to a dry section of mold. Put the tape in a plastic Ziploc bag and send away for testing. Mold spore samples may also be helpful if someone in your home is exhibiting unexplained medical symptoms.