Is Black Mold Dangerous?

Is Black Mold Dangerous?

Mold Facts and Myths!

Mold Facts and Myths!
Mold Facts and Myths!

Recently, there was an article in the New York Post, NYCHA nightmare: Creeping black mold throughout her public housing apartment when the cops arrived. In the article, police arrived at the public housing apartment of 83-year-old Mary Ellison who was sick from the black mold in her apartment.

Most of what we hear in the media about mold is often the extreme examples which does create some panic in people when they find mold in their homes. Our advice, don’t panic! Call our mold hotline, 703-897-7121, if you suspect mold.

Valor Mold is passionate about indoor air quality and specialize in mold removal. One of our goals is to educate consumers and business owners in the Washington, DC area about mold.

In order to accomplish this objective, we have launched this blog to offer you free and valuable information that will help you understand the many concerns caused by mold and assist you in making informed decisions in the event that you do find mold in your home or business.

This article explores the topic of black mold, explaining what it is, why it grows, and the potential health consequences of exposure, listing the top 15 health issues that black mold, also known as Stachybotrys, causes. In addition, we will start this article by listing and explaining 8 myths about mold that most people believe!
If you are concerned that you may have black mold growing in your home or business, please give us a call, 703-897-7121, we are here to help! 🙂

8 Common Myths About Mold!

8 Common Myths About Mold!
8 Common Myths About Mold!
  1. All mold is bad! Not true. In fact, mold is used to make blue cheese and the common medicine, penicillin!
  2. Everyone gets sick from mold! This is partly true because some molds will definitely cause health problems, particularly if you are consistently exposed to mold for an extended period of time. That said, it also depends on the strength of your immune system. The effect of mold on people varies greatly. Molds produce allergens, and while some people will be allergic to the allergens produced by mold not everyone will react to mold, and the effects can be varied depending on ones’ sensitivity to mold. People who are highly sensitive to mold may develop allergic reactions and show symptoms such as difficulty breathing, bloody noses, itchy and watery eyes, etc. People with already compromised immune symptoms are also at risk for reacting to mold; some studies have suggested that serious health effects can arise from repeated exposure to mold, so if you do find mold and suspect it could be causing health problems, call Valor Mold.
  3. Mold is only a problem when it grows indoors! This is not true because mold is part of our eco-system and has a role in our environment to eat dead organic material. Every time you go outside, you are breathing in mold spores. Simply put, mold is everywhere, outdoors and indoors, so if you are sensitive, even being outside can trigger mold allergies. The problem with indoor mold growth is the concentration of indoor spores. Health problems will arise if the concentration of indoor spores is significantly greater than the concentration of spores outside. In addition, as mold begins to grow, it can release mycotoxins and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can result in bad health. Since mold affects everyone differently and some people are pre-disposed to mold illness, it is important that you contact Valor Mold if you suspect that you have mold in your home or business.
  4. Bleach kills mold! This is a myth perpetuated frequently on the Internet. Bleach can be effective on non-porous surfaces, but is not an good long term solution. Bleach is not effective on porous materials and using bleach also poses health hazards. Our advice, if you find mold don’t reach for the bottle of bleach and spray it because you could make the situation worse. If you want to learn more about the ineffectiveness of bleach, check out this article.
  5. If you find mold, all you need to do is kill it! Wrong. Killing mold is not enough. Simply killing mold does not remove the health effects as the allergens are still present even in dead mold. To properly protect against health effects, removal of the affected areas is often necessary. Care must be taken when removing the affected areas so that the allergens and mold is not spread throughout the house. That is why Valor Mold follows an 8 step process to ensure that your mold removal is done right the first time!
  6. Since mold is part of nature, it is not a problem! Wrong. While mold may be natural, consistent exposure to mold can have negative affects on ones health. If mold is growing in your home or place of business it needs to be addressed as it will deteriorate your building and can cause health problems.
  7. A little bit of mold is not a concern! Again, this is a myth. If you see mold, you likely have moisture issues in your home that will continue to lead to increased mold growth. Visible mold could be indicative of a much worse mold problem in your home. The major concern is the mold that you do not see, which could be growing behind walls. The best advice we can give is to contact Valor Mold so that we can assess the situation.
  8. Mold is easy to clean! Some consumers think that they can clean the mold themselves by simply visiting their local hardware store and purchasing a mold killing spray. It may seem like a good idea, but spraying or trying to kill the mold will not address the core moisture problem that is causing the mold. The other major consideration is you want to be very careful that you do not disturb the mold because the spores will spread further in your home or business which could make the situation worse. While you may be able to clean up certain kinds of mold in small quantities most people are not equipped to do proper mold remediation. Simply wiping the mold away is not good enough. To properly “cleanup” a mold problem you must identify the cause, isolate the area to keep the mold from spreading, and clean and or remove the affected surfaces. Unless you know how to setup a containment unit, have a couple of commercial sized HEPA air filtration units, protective gear, HEPA vacuums, specialized cleaning agents, and can do a wet extraction to keep mold spores from spreading, you should probably call Valor Mold because we are professionally trained to do this for you!

Now that you understand some myths about mold, the remainder of this article will educate you about black mold.

Black Mold Is The King Of Molds!

Black Mold Is The King Of Molds!
Black Mold Is The King Of Molds!

Stachybotrys molds decay organic matter. The most common species, Stachybotrys chartarum, sometimes referred to as Stachybotrys atra often grows indoors.

Ideal conditions for Stachybotrys growth include moisture, a nutrient/food source, temperature, and time. Ideal humidity for this black mold is a relative humidity of 90% or higher for it to begin the germination growth process. Stachybotrys feeds on materials with a high cellulose content such as hay, straw, wood chips, and building materials such as ceiling tile, drywall, paper vapor barriers, wallpaper, insulation backing, cardboard boxes, and paper files.

Stachybotrys is considered the King of Molds because it will develop into the dominant mold group if the conditions are favorable and will crowd out the other molds that began feeding on the material first.

Unlike other molds like Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium which begin growing within one to two days, Stachybotrys takes one to two weeks to begin growing.

When Stachybotrys mold is growing on wet material, the spores do not disperse as easily because the spores are held together by a sticky/slimy coating. However, when the material dries out or is disturbed, the spores will spread through the air.

The main concern of Valor Mold is to prevent the spread of toxic black mold. The most effective method of doing this is through containment, which is the process of creating a poly barrier around the area where the Stachybotrys mold is growing.

This procedure is so important because Stachybotrys spreads by releasing spores. Mold contaminated materials must be removed and disposed of because this mold does not just grow on the surface of the material; it has root-like tendrils called mycelia, meaning it is able to penetrate the surface.

Typically Stachybotrys mold grows in clusters at the end of stem-like structures known as hyphae.

Black Mold Can Make You Sick!

Black Mold Can Make You Sick!
Black Mold Can Make You Sick!

According to the CEO of Wonder Makers Environmental, Michael Pinto, there is mounting evidence that mold causes sickness:

There is now good science that documents that exposure to fungal contaminants and damp environments not only triggers standard allergenic responses, but pushes certain parts of the immune system into overdrive. In essence, the body’s defense system ends up attacking the host as well as the biological invaders. (The Answer to the Mold Illness Questions Is: All of the Above)

In 2009, the World Health Organization, produced a 228 page document entitled WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould and concluded the following:

When sufficient moisture is available, hundreds of species of bacteria and fungi – particularly mould – pollute indoor air. The most important effects of exposure to these pollutants are the increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms, allergies, and asthma, as well as disturbance of the immune system. Preventing (or minimizing) persistent dampness and microbial growth on interior surfaces and building structures is the most important means of avoiding harmful effects on health.

Many mold survivors chronically exposed to mold develop a condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), defined as:

An accute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and mycobacteria as well as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases, mannans, c-type lectins and possibly spirocyclic drimanes, plus volatile ogranic compounds.” (What is Mold Illness? Better yet, do people get sick after being exposed to water-damaged buildings?)

CIRS is associated with 37 health symptoms, including asthma, dizziness, migraines, and bronchitis.

15 Health Concerns Caused By Black Mold!

15 Health Concerns Caused By Black Mold!
15 Health Concerns Caused By Black Mold!

Stachybotrys produces a mycotoxin (i.e., poison from a fungus) named trichothecenes.

Stachybotrys black mold is a health concern because animal studies have shown that one of the major effects of trichothecenes is immuno-suppression.

In fact, even low level exposure can suppress the immune system resulting in bacterial and viral infections, coughing, skin irritation, and other allergic reactions, and there is some speculation that it may even cause cancer.

Listed below are the top 15 health conditions caused when toxic Stachybotrys black mold is inhaled or ingested:

  1. Sore/hoarse throat
  2. Cold and flu symptoms (headaches, slight fever, and muscle aches)
  3. Nosebleeds
  4. Tingling or burning of nose, mouth, and perspiration areas (under the arms or between the legs)
  5. Chronic fatigue
  6. Dizziness
  7. Nausea/vomiting
  8. Memory loss
  9. Attention deficit/concentration problems
  10. Personality changes such as irritability or depression
  11. Neurological disorders such as tremors
  12. Hair loss
  13. Coughing with blood
  14. Bleeding in the lungs (hemosiderosis)
  15. Damage to internal organs including blood, liver, kidneys, and lungs

Got Black Mold Questions?

Got Black Mold Questions?
Got Black Mold Questions?

If you are concerned that you may have black mold in your home or business that requires removal, call Valor Mold, 703-897-7121 or send us an e-mail.

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