The topic of black mold has always been a little mysterious. You hear rumors about the damage it can do to your home and health; some of it sounds outrageous, but you’re just not sure what to believe. Plus, everyone you ask gives conflicting advice. It’s just hard to know whether you’re really dealing with black mold, and if you are, how do you mitigate it? We’re here to break down the truth and myths about toxic mold so you can act swiftly and decisively for yourself, your family, and your house.
Truths About Black Mold
The following are truths about black mold that are backed by scientific evidence:
- There isn’t one kind of black mold; many molds are black in color.
- The mold most people are referring to when they say “black mold” is most likely a subtype called Stachybotrys chartarum.
- Exposure to S. chartarum is likely no more dangerous than exposure to other molds.
- Like other molds, S. chartarum or black mold can be present in the air.
- Any kind of mold spore can cause sickness in almost anyone; however, those with weakened immune systems (e.g., uncontrolled HIV, transplant patients, and those undergoing cancer treatment) are at higher risk of developing fungal infections.
- People with allergies may also be more sensitive to the effects of mold than others; possible symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Red, watery eyes
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Serious mold allergies may cause more severe respiratory symptoms.
- Exposure to mold, including black mold, may worsen pre-existing asthma or lung issues.
- Infants and kids exposed to mold at home have an increased risk of developing asthma; however, black mold was not among the types identified to do so.
Myths About Black Mold
The following are all myths that exist and continue to be perpetuated about black mold.
- Black mold exposure causes conditions like cancer or lung disease: despite this commonly held belief, there is no legitimate research or evidence showing that exposure to black mold causes these serious health issues.
- Black mold can grow anywhere, anytime: growth only occurs when there is moisture; this could be from water damage, leaks, condensation, or flooding.
- Black mold is particularly dangerous because it releases mycotoxins: all molds are capable of producing mycotoxins; however, just because you see mold doesn’t mean it is producing them. If it is, evidence doesn’t show that inhaling or touching mold can cause mycotoxicosis. The majority of cases stem from eating moldy food.
- Exposure to black mold can lead to memory loss, inability to focus, fatigue, headaches, and other similarly vague symptoms: there is no hard evidence that black mold causes these subjective symptoms that are often related to mycotoxicosis.
- There is a causal relationship between exposure to black mold and infant pulmonary hemorrhage: this has never been proven.
- There is a link between autoimmune disease and black mold exposure: again, this has never been proven.
- There is a test for black mold: as of yet, no such test exists. If you find any kind of mold in your home, move forward with removal.
If you see any kind of mold in your home, including black mold, reach out today. We will send an expert to perform an inspection, identify mold varieties and levels, and give us the data we need to create a customized removal plan. Ultimately, while black mold may not be significantly more toxic than other types of mold (as is the common myth), it can still cause plenty of health issues, particularly in sensitive populations.