Black Mold and Your Health
Dangerous, deadly… black mold has been called a lot of things, and it certainly is not something you want in your house. Any mold can make you sick, but black mold might not be as dangerous as you think.
Many people live in fear of black mold, citing health concerns such as mycotoxicosis, known as mold poisoning. Black mold does cause this. However, it's not alone in causing it.
Almost any mold can cause serious health problems, and you don't want any of them in your house.
What Is Black Mold?
Black mold is a group of molds and fungi that present themselves in the color black. Most commonly, black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum.
All molds produce mycotoxins and these are the truly dangerous waste toxins.
When exposed to these mycotoxins and mold spores, many people develop aches and pains, mood changes, headaches, memory loss, and nosebleeds.
Usually, the body can eliminate them once removed from the area. But, repeated exposure can cause problems.
Why Is Black Mold So Dangerous?
Black mold is not any more dangerous than any other type of mold. However, it is found much more commonly in homes and wooden structures exposed to rain and frequent moisture. These molds thrive in warm, damp, and humid environments. That's why they often are found in bathrooms and kitchens the most.
People with allergies may be more sensitive to mold than others. The mold may exasperate problems such as
- A Blocked Or Runny Nose
- Watery Or Red Eyes
- Coughing Or Sneezing
- Sore Throat
- Breathing Issues
A study conducted in 2012 showed children exposed to mold in their homes have an increased risk of developing asthma before they are seven. This study looked at 36 different types of molds typically found in the home.
People with a weakened immune system, such as undergoing cancer treatment or having autoimmune disorders, may develop a fungal infection more readily when exposed to mold.
Toxic Load On Organs
If you're exposed to mold, the body has to get rid of it, and it may detoxify your system through your lungs, digestive system, kidneys, and liver. It's difficult to separate out the load placed on the body from the mold when combined with processed foods, pollution, and other sources of toxicity. But, it can be more difficult to get rid of.
Currently, there's no link between mold and cancer. However, research into cancer shows that anytime the immune system is overstimulated for long periods increases the risk of cancer.
What To Do If You See Black Mold
If you see black mold, the problem is already getting out of hand. You should consult with a mold expert in your area to help determine how extensive the problem is and what to do about it.
Generally, by the time you see mold, it is already traveled far behind wallpapers, ceiling tiles, wall panels, and has seeped into the wood supporting your house.
These professionals will help guide you through what it will take to remediate the problem. Many times, the infected area needs to be removed from the house entirely and rebuilt.
If you have a smaller area, they may recommend spot treatments.
Before you start anything, make sure you have proper ventilation. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system might be required as well as opening windows to let fresh air in.
The first step is to remove anything in the area that you can, thoroughly disinfecting it with a mold-killing mix. Often this mix includes bleach, a fungicide, or detergent in water. Never mix bleach with any other chemical except water.
Cut away and dispose of any item that cannot be cleaned, such as carpeting, wallpaper, papers, wood, or window treatments. Place items in a sealable plastic bag to avoid the spores spreading.
Mold is a microscopic organism and you should remove several inches to several feet of material surrounding the area to be sure to get rid of all of it.
Treat the remaining area with bleach, the fungicide, or detergent and water. Do not mix bleach with any other chemical.
Repair any damage that may be letting in water or moisture to supporting structures. This includes rainwater from outside the house and condensation from sinks and baths inside the house.
Mold is a problem in your home but can be taken care of. If you believe you may be exposed to mold, taking steps to reduce places where it may grow is your first step, and fixing any leaks or water damage should be a priority.