Is Black Mold Dangerous: Causes & Prevention
Do you suspect that you may have black mold in your home? Discover what black mold is, what causes it, how to identify it, and ways to prevent or remove it from your home.
Black mold is extremely dangerous and has the potential to occur in any home. Research by organizations such as the World Health Organization and UNICEF, have linked mold exposure to upper respiratory tract diseases like wheezing, coughing, and in severe cases- death. Mold, in general, is a harmful and unwelcome guest in our homes. Health effects associated with mold can pose a danger to occupants and lead to very serious medical conditions.
What is Black Mold?
There are hundreds of different species of mold, some of which are dangerous and some that are not dangerous. For instance, Penicillium is a species of mold that is not harmful and is used to treat bacterial infections. Conversely there are species of molds that do the opposite and can cause sickness among humans.
Black mold is one of the species that is considered dangerous and can lead to illness. Black mold is a species of fungus-like Stachybotrys chartarum that thrives well in damp and warm areas in and around buildings, most spotted in bathrooms, flooded areas, and laundry rooms. However, black mold isn’t always easily detectable given its ability to grow in dark, hidden areas.
How does Mold Enter the Environment?
Mold spores can enter homes through windows, heating systems, and ventilation systems. Spores are also carried by people or pets, and once those spores fall on moist places, they can grow and thrive. Unfortunately, the average home provides the nutrients and conditions that directly attribute to mold growth.
Any type of building, especially those that are older, is susceptible to mold. Humidity, local climate, and ventilation are all factors that can influence mold growth.
What Causes Black Mold?
Water damage, or water intrusion, is the most common cause of black mold. The longer that water sits unaddressed, the greater the potential for mold to grow. In fact, mold growth can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours.
Generally, mold needs three things to thrive: moisture, food, and warmth.
Preventing Mold from Entering your Home
Follow these proven tips to deter mold from entering your home:
Keep your home and environment moisture-free
Wet spots on the floor or ceiling of your property can be a signal that you have a leaky roof or pipe. Pipes in our homes run behind walls and above the ceiling, causing most leaks to go unnoticed for quite some time. When standing water from leaks are neglected mold can use the moisture to grow behind walls, and oftentimes spread through the ducts and pipes. Contact a professional home improvement contractor to help you identify these leaks and minimize the chances for mold growth.
Clean your air conditioners regularly
Home air conditioners often trap moisture within them, creating favorable conditions for mold breeding. Regular cleaning and maintenance of these conditioners keeps the moisture away. Keeping ducts clean and dust-free eliminates the ‘food’ that mold feeds off. Homeowners are highly encouraged to replace filters after no more than 3 months. Lastly, running your air conditioner at a low level will help with air circulation and prevent a rise in humidity levels.
Heat directly accelerates the growth of mold. Therefore, it is vital that all rooms are well ventilated to keep away heat, moisture, and humidity. Adding mold inhibitors to the paint on your walls is another preventative measure that can be taken to keep mold at bay. Avoid placing carpets in moist areas, such as laundry rooms and basements, as those kinds of carpet placement creates a favorable environment for mold survival. Regularly keeping your home clean and investing in mold spray can help. Clean your house regularly and keep common areas for mold as clear as possible. There are several mold sprays you can use to help with this.
Eliminating mold is only part of the solution. The key is to identify and address the source of the problem to prevent it from coming back. Mold can be removed by cleaning the affected surfaces with soap, water, and appropriate commercial products. However, sometimes the amount of mold can be so extensive that you are unable to clean it by yourself.
How do I know if I have a Mold Problem?
If mold is present in your home, you might show mold allergy symptoms since black mold releases toxins known as mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can inflict specific health symptoms when humans are exposed to them for an extended period. These symptoms often include:
- Nose bleeding
- Sore throat
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose
How to Remove Black Mold
Clearing mold can be challenging when you lack the appropriate equipment to do the job properly and to keep you safe. In most cases, it is wise to have the mold remediated by a professional company who possesses the necessary equipment. It is crucial that affected areas are thoroughly cleaned and dried to prevent allergic reactions from the dead mold. If the affected surface isn’t dried carefully, mold can very easily return.
BMS CAT Mold Restoration
Addressing the growth of mold in a timely manner can help minimize the extent of damage it can cause to your house. After a thorough assessment, our teams seal off the work area to prevent mold spores from contaminating other areas of the property.
Once troubled areas are defined, stabilization may be implemented. In the simplest case, the project will consist of area containment and moisture control by establishing a drying plan. The drying plan may include water extraction, evaporation, dehumidification, and temperature control methods – all of which a professional mold remediation company, like BMS CAT, can provide.
After the property has been stabilized, remediation services to remove the mold may start.
Each mold remediation job is different, but you can learn more about our mold remediation process here.
Other Frequently Asked Questions About Black Mold
How dangerous is black mold?
The toxins released into the environment by black mold is what makes this mold so dangerous. When inhaled, these toxins can cause a wide range of health problems. Toxins emitted are especially dangerous for asthmatic people, those with pneumonia, and those susceptible to other respiratory health conditions. All molds detected in buildings and homes should be removed regardless of their degree of potential harm.
Here are a few facts about black mold you probably didn’t know.
- Black mold weakens the immune system when inhaled. Exposure to black mold can lead an individual to become more susceptible to other illnesses that aren’t directly mold-related.
- Prolonged exposure to black mold can lead to death from incapacitation of the immune system and brain damage.
- Black mold can cause miscarriages and congenital disabilities in pregnant women.
- Toxins released by black mold directly affects the brain’s neurons and thus can lead to memory damage. It can also have neurological effects such as mood swings and tremors.
- Black mold is easily detectable since it has a strong mildew odor.
- Mold spores can be found anywhere and everywhere around us.
- Some health conditions caused by mold can never go away even after remediation.
Symptoms like a weak immune system and sensitivity will often persist for a long time after exposure. Some symptoms might have an amplified effect for individuals with pre-existing health conditions. Symptoms may worsen for people with weak immune system, asthma, and/or allergies. Oftentimes, children are at a high risk of disease when exposed to mold. A 2016 report by UNICEF suggests that mold exposure to children is a possible link to childhood asthma.
What happens if you touch black mold?
The toxins released by mold if disturbed (if you touch it) are known to cause irritations to the skin, rashes, and even fungal infections.
What happens if you breathe in black mold?
Toxic black mold mycotoxins can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a person’s skin or eyes. Ultimately, these mycotoxins will make their way into the person’s blood, which can lead to many health problems.
What is the difference between mildew and black mold?
Mold and mildew have several common traits, but there also characteristics that can help you differentiate between them. Mold will appear to look slimy or fuzzy, while mildew appears to be powdery.
Another way to decipher between mold and mildew is by smell. The smell of mold is much stronger and sharp, while mildew has a weaker, musty odor.
Can black mold kill you?
All types of molds can cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to or allergic to mold. But there is no reason to believe that black mold is any more dangerous than other types or colors of mold.
Can you paint over moldy walls or ceilings without removing them first?
The simple answer is yes – you physically can paint over moldy walls or ceilings without removing them first. However, this is not smart. Even if you use mold-resistant paint, it will work to prevent future mold growth from occurring, but it DOES NOT kill any present mold growth. Therefore, it is key to hire a professional mold remediation company to replace moldy walls or ceilings before painting over them.
Rely on BMS CAT
When it comes to mold, you should trust a professional mold remediation and removal company. If you try to clean up mold yourself, you might cause the mold to move to unaffected areas of your home. In addition, mold can be dangerous to your health. Our professional team members are experienced and have the right equipment to tackle mold issues. Be sure to call one of our locations across the nation should you think your home has mold growth.