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Just How Dangerous Is Black Mold to Your Family's Health?

What is so sinister about black mold? You might see the term “toxic” black mold on the Internet, but this is somewhat inaccurate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It does convey the danger that exists when black mold grows unchecked, though. Black mold itself is not toxic, but the spores produced by the mold are problematic for many people, especially for those with allergies or asthma. The key to controlling the problem is understanding black mold symptoms, its identifying traits and what to do if it grows in your home.

What is Black Mold?

Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is a fungus. Like most fungi, it tends to grow in dark, moist places. Older structures often fall victim to it, but it can grow anywhere there is moisture. Mold spores enter the structure through doors, windows and vents, and then attach themselves to areas with excess moisture. It may be condensation from an air conditioning system or leaky pipes.

The truth is the source of the moisture isn’t important. Mold loves wet, cellulose materials like paper, cardboard, tiles and wood. Walls, ceilings and wood cabinets are frequent targets of mold growth.

How Do You Recognize Black Mold?

Black mold is just one type of mold that grows in a home, and not even the most common type. Other types of indoor mold include:

  • Cladosporium
  • Aspergillus
  • Alternaria

It is not easy to tell one species from another with the naked eye. Black mold is perhaps the most dangerous, but any form of mold growing is a potential problem. There are health conditions associated with exposure to mold. A mold that is left to thrive will produce spores for your family to inhale and ingest plus it causes permanent damage to surfaces.

Black mold is very dark and has a slimy texture. Compare this to other types of growth, such as Alternaria, for example. Alternaria almost looks like it has a coat. It is a dark brown color and has a wooly texture.

Are All Molds Dangerous?

Reactions to mold are specific to the individual. What this means for you and your family is mom might get sick from one type of mold spore but everyone else in the house is fine. Extensive mold infestations are unsafe for everyone, especially black mold.

Specific black mold symptoms include:

  • Chronic upper respiratory tract infections
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing

Studies have suggested a link between asthma development in young children and exposure to black mold.

How to Get Rid of Black Mold

As with most things, the best way approach is to prevent black mold from growing in the first place. Clean up moisture when you see it and replace water damaged surfaces as soon as possible. Fix plumbing and roof leaks before they cause problems, as well. Do-it-yourself tips for cleaning signs of mold include:

  • If you see a small amount of mold growth on a hard surface, scrub it off with dishwashing soap and water.
  • For larger areas, mix one-part bleach with 10-parts water and clean the surface thoroughly.
  • Avoid trying to paint or caulk over the mold. Remove the growth first, replace any damaged material, and then paint.
  • Discard any infested material, including cloths you used to clean with, in tightly sealed plastic bags.

If you suspect a mold issue, don’t hesitate to take action. Protect your family and prevent property damage by contacting the professionals at Rainbow International for a consultation and mold removal estimate immediately.

 

For Further Reading:

How to Prevent Mold in the Most Likely Places

Types of Mold You Need to Know About

5 Natural Air Fresheners That Eliminate Household Odors

Health Risks of Mold Exposure