What is Black Mold?
What is black mold? It is the common name for the species of fungi which is given the scientific name Stachybotrys Chartarum . This is a toxic form of mold that has prompted health authorities to quarantine homes and offices as biohazards, and it has caused property owners to actually destroy houses and buildings in order to get rid of it. Studies have shown that Stachybotrys can cause a variety of illnesses, including bronchitis, asthma, influenza-like symptoms, rhinitis, bleeding lungs, emphazema, and there have even been a number of reported deaths. An infestation of the mold species Stachybotrys may appear as a slimy, greenish-black substance or it may appear to be powdery like carbon or black soot.
Mold usually makes itself at-home in damp areas of your residence. You might find mold in an area that has been subjected to water damage caused by leaky water pipes or roofs, or in a damp basement. Black mold, or more precisely the dangerous toxic mold, can develop when mold spores bond to a wet surface and start to grow. It grows on organic substances, as it depends on that organic matter for food. Since the cells of mold do not contain chlorophyll, it cannot collect its nutrients through photosynthesis. Rather, mold secretes certain enzymes from the tip of its hyphae. These special enzymes break down organic substances like starch or cellulose into more simple organic materials that can be easily absorbed by the hyphae.
Toxic black mold can cause many different health problems. People who have had contact with black mold may begin to experience a several distinct symptoms. At first, symptoms indicating toxic mold poisoning can mimic flu or cold symptoms, such as a cough, red and watery eyes, and runny nose. However, if the source of the mold exposure is not corrected, our bodies can become poisoned by mycotoxins, which are toxic to both people and animals. The functions of mycotoxins have not been clearly established by scientists, but they are believed to be a defensive mechanism that helps certain fungi to eliminate other microorganisms in their surroundings.
Mycotoxins produced by black mold seem to be a serious health hazard, although there is little agreement among scientists about the extent of health problems caused by these compounds. Mycotoxins may have toxic effects that include sinus irritation, immune system suppression, and cancer. Keep in mind, though, that almost all the information related to illnesses caused by mycotoxins relates to the ingestion of contaminated food. As you would surmise, ingesting mycotoxins has been found to produce a range of serious health problems, including: liver damage, kidney damage, and gastrointestinal problems. In addition, mycotoxins have been implicated as a cause of various heart problems and central nervous systems damage.
Here is a list of health issues associated with black mold:
- respiratory system issues
- congestion of the nasal and sinus passages
- buring of the eyes
- blurred vision
- sensitivity to light
- dry cough with tendancy of hacking
- throat pain when swallowing
- irritation of the nasal passages
- inability to catch one's breath
- feelings of extreme fatigue
- irritation of the skin
- recuring headaches
- memory loss
- changes is mood
- body aches
- possible high body temperature
- diarrhea or loose stool
- suppression of the immune system
Tips For Controlling Mold Growth
There are some common precautions you can take in order to minimize the amount of mold that grows in your home. They are as follows:
- Try to keep the humidity level in your home below 60%
- Use a quality dehumidifier during the months that are most humid
- Utilize exhaust fans in your bathrooms
- Use paint that has mold inhibitors added to it
- Do not place carpeting in your bathrooms
- If any carpets in your home become flooded, replace them
Taking Corrective Action
If you suspect that black mold is growing inside of your home, you should have your house tested immediately. Discovering the root cause of toxic mold, and conducting proper mold remediation is critically important. The longer you wait, the more expensive and difficult proper mold removal will likely become. Many homeowners decide to have toxic mold testing conducted by a professional, but there are also toxic mold tests that homeowners can use on their own. Testing kits are inexpensive and provide quick diagnostic results. Pro-Lab offers an excellent toxic mold test kit at a very reasonable price :click here to learn more about Pro-Lab's black mold test kit
The secret to removing toxic mold lies in two important factors, find the source and remove the problem, then make sure to use an effective cleaning product that is designed to remove mold and also block mold from growing back. Many natural cleaning products will not have this ability, so choose your mold cleaning products wisely. The next step is to begin disinfecting and cleaning the mold. This is done by finding all the moldy areas in a room and spraying them lightly so that they are damp. Damp mold spores will come off better than ones that are still dry. Next, apply mold cleaning products, or mold removal solutions, which help kill mold and prevent mold infestation in the future.
If there is an extreme amount of unhealthy black mold found in your house, you may have to relocate until all the mold is removed by a professional mold removal company. If you decide to remove the mold yourself, you will need to purchase the proper safety equipment, including full-face protective gear and disposable gloves. Bear in mind that everything you use during your cleaning process, from sponges and spray bottles, to drop cloths and old clothing, should be destroyed rather than thrown away. Put everything in plastic bag and take it to a company that properly disposes toxic substances.click here to learn more about black mold