Toxic Black Mold: Truths and Myths

Toxic Black Mold: Truths and Myths

Truths About Black Mold

  • 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
    • Rash
    • Sore throat
    • Sinusitis 
    • Wheezing
  • 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

  • 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. 

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