Black Mold Removal Colorado Springs Company Brings You Everything You Need to Know about Black Mold

Did you know black mold isn’t one kind of mold (or mould)?

And did you know it technically isn’t toxic? (There’s actually more to it when we say “toxic mold.”)

You’ve read it in newspapers and magazines. You’ve watched news coverage, showing images and video footage of homes infested with it. There’s even been a comic strip series about Stachybotrys (a type of black mold).

But you probably haven’t heard those facts about black mold.

Read on to learn what black mold exactly is, why it’s not technically toxic, and more. This black mold removal Colorado Springs company brings you everything you need to know about black mold.

Black mold is not one kind of mold

Yes, black mold gets its name from the black color it turns to during the advance stages of growth. However, when it comes to black mold species, there are several types.

Stachybotrys chartarum (the most famous), Cladosporium, Aspergillus niger, and Penicillium to name a few.

Mold is not technically toxic

Technically, there isn’t such a thing as “toxic mold.”[1] This sounds strange since we hear this phrase thrown around when we talk about mold.

But think of it like this.

A venomous snake’s fangs and mouth aren’t harmful. It’s the venom that surges from the mouth that is.

Mold’s the same way.

Mold isn’t toxic itself, but some molds are toxigenic (producing a toxic effect). It’s the mycotoxins (toxic substances produced by fungi) they produce that are toxic.[2]

So, you don’t literally become ill or have an allergic reaction from mold itself. The negative health effects are actually caused by the mycotoxins the mold produces.

Is black mold toxigenic?

Some types of black mold aren’t toxigenic. (However, many black molds can cause allergies.)

One of these common, non-toxigenic molds is Cladosporium. Inside, you can find this mold on paper, textiles, floors, carpet, anything that’s suffered water damage. And outside, you’ll see this in soil or on decaying plants.

In fact, we come into contact with Cladosporium frequently, and we won’t even know it. This is because in small doses Cladosporium doesn’t have negative health effects. It’s only when there’s heavy exposure, we see an increase in our allergy and asthma symptoms.

And then there are some molds that are very toxic but aren’t black at all. For instance, several species of Aspergillus aren’t black but produce very toxic and allergenic mycotoxins.

If you only take one thing away from this article, take this: the black color of mold doesn’t always determine whether it’s dangerous or not. Since the color doesn’t determine the potency level, treat any color mold the same way. Meaning play it safe, and get it removed immediately.

The history of mycotoxins will show you why…

Background behind mycotoxins

In 1962 near London approximately 100,000 turkey poults (baby turkeys) died. At first, no one knew why. If it was only a few turkeys, perhaps scientists would have chalked it up to random coincidence.[3]

But, eventually they linked that mysterious turkey disease with the peanut meal they were fed, which was contaminated with Aspergillu flavus. From this discovery, scientists realized mycotoxins produced from mold might in fact be deadly.

This changed the way the scientific community looked at and treated mycotoxins.

But, wait, there’s more…

Mycotoxins: the good, bad, and ugly

Some mycotoxins are in fact beneficial for us.

Remember we mentioned Penecillium, which is a type of black mold. Sound familiar?

Well, guess what mycotoxin Penicillium releases?

Yep, Penicillin—the famous antibiotic that treats bacterial infections.[4]

And guess what? Cyclosporin, another fungal byproduct, is an immunosuppressant that treats organ transplant patients.

You see, certain mycotoxins save lives.

(Technically some don’t refer to these fungal byproducts as mycotoxins because they aren’t toxic to people; they’re toxic to bacteria. However, some do. So, it depends on who you ask. Nonetheless they’re produced by fungi, just like their toxic counterparts.)

While some mycotoxins (we’ll stick with this word) have achieved medical wonders, others have been exploited and used in chemical warfare.[5]

As you can see, like with many other products, mycotoxins fall on a spectrum.

But what does this have to do with black mold?...

Black mold and mycotoxins

Like with other molds, some black molds produce toxic mycotoxins, while others don’t.

Ulocladium, Stemphylium, Pithomyces, Alternaria, Dresclera, and Aureobasidium are all molds that appear black, but aren’t known to produce potent mycotoxins.

(Note that Alternaria mycotoxins can cause severe allergy symptoms.)

Ok, let’s say though there’s black mold in your house that can produce toxic mycotoxins.

You walk around it, not knowing it’s there. In fact, it’s in your house for several years. You don’t cough. Your eyes don’t water. You don’t experience negative health effects from it.

What’s up with this?

The thing is…just because a mold can produce mycotoxins doesn’t mean it will. Even if this mold receives adequate food and water. The stars have to align in order for this to happen.

A lot of times, the production of mycotoxins is random. It depends on the material the mold grows on, temperature, food, pH, humidity, and other unknown factors.[6]

So, you can walk all around in a house of mold that potentially could cause you a lot of heart ache, but never feel a thing. Because, for some reason, they aren’t producing the mycotoxins.

This doesn’t mean they never will. Nor does it mean it’s safe to keep the mold in there.

If that doesn’t convince you to get the black mold out, perhaps this will…

How black mold gained attention

If not all black mold is toxic, how did it get a reputation for being the worst of the worst?

Well, Stachybotrys chartarum, the most famous of black molds, got the public’s attention when an unusual outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding in the lungs) in infants occurred in Cleveland, Ohio from 1993-1994.[7]

Because the outbreak was so rare (and startling), this called for an extensive study.

Researchers ended up finding Stachybotrys chartarum in all of the homes the sick infants were in. Among several other factors, this was the main finding for the outbreak.

Because of this, black mold (and mold in general) became the hot topics in magazines and on news shows. Even notorious comic strip, Rex Morgan, created a series on Stachybotrys. And, besides this, several million dollar litigations involving mold erupted.[8]

It’s safe to say, this outbreak put mold not only on the medical community’s radar, but on the publics’ as well.

So, does that mean Stachybotrys chartarum causes lung bleeding?

Put it this way, it’s complicated…

 Relationship between pulmonary hemorrhages and Stachybotrys chartarum

The findings from the 1993-1994 Cleveland outbreak continue to be controversial, though not unlikely.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

“To date, a possible association of acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants and Stachybotrys Chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) has not been proved. Further studies are needed to determine what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage.”[9]

This does not mean this type of black mold does not cause bleeding in the lungs; simply, it means there needs to be more experiments done before the CDC can say this is or isn’t linked to Stachybotrys chartarum.

You should know though that the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) states that certain types of molds do affect the lungs, resulting in asthma.[10]

The CDC acknowledges that mold exposure does increase the risk for immunocompromised people to contract illnesses or lung infections.

It also states that there is a link between mold exposure and upper respiratory track symptoms.[11]

So, yes we do know for sure that mold exposure has some negative impact on the lungs. We just need to know more.

Now that that’s clear…

What you need to know about Stachybotrys chartarum

While it’s not the most common, it also isn’t the rarest. There are roughly 15 species of Stachybotrys, Stachybotrys chartarum being the most common.

So, this is the one that will most likely pop up in your home.

But where specifically?...

Where does it grow?

Specifically, Stachybotrys chartarum grows on material that has a high cellulose and low nitrogen content. So, you’ll find this on fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, lint, and dust to name a few.[12]

Ok, but how do people know about it?...

Background

Stachybotrys chartarum was first associated with the death of several horses in Eastern Europe during the 1930s.

Supposedly, the horses ate hay that was contaminated with Stachybotrys mold.

Because of the contamination, the horses suffered from mouth, throat, and nose irritation, shock, dermal necrosis (fancy way for saying injured or dead skin), lower white blood cell count (these cells are responsible for fighting off infection and disease), hemorrhage, nervous disorder, and death.

So, from the start, this mold has a toxic history.

If it is in your home, here’s what you need to know to prevent it from spreading…

 Growth Factors

As with all molds, Stachybotrys chartarum grows more rapidly when:

  • there’s water damage,
  • the humidity increases,
  • water leaks occur,
  • condensation is prevalent,
  • and water infiltration and flooding takes place.

Of course, constant moisture makes it grow larger and faster. You’ll want to check the basement, crawl space, leaks, and/or any other areas in your house that have a lot of moisture; these are common places for black mold.

Even if it doesn’t spread, Stachybotrys chartarum can cause significant health effects.

Health Effects

 People have reported symptoms such as headaches, sore throat, diarrhea, fatigue, depression, and dermatitis.[13]

Other symptoms include:

  • Inflammation of the skin
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Nose bleeds
  • Burning sensation of the mouth and nasal passage
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Fever

(Please know that some of these symptoms are controversial.)

These symptoms depend on the length of exposure and the number of spores he or she inhale; in addition, if that person has a low immune system or has a sensitivity to mold.

So, you want to get rid of this mold fast. Here’s how…

Treatment

Like we said before, it doesn’t matter if you have this specific type of mold, a different type of black mold, or a different kind of mold altogether. Once you see or smell mold, it needs to go.

If you do suspect a mold infestation, it’s best to call your local mold removal and remediation company to take care of it.

(And if the mold grows, know that there’s a problem with water moisture. This needs to be addressed first. Be prepared to discover possible water damage.)

This means if you live in Colorado, you might want to call this black mold removal Colorado Springs company.

Let the professionals handle it, whether it’s Stachybotrys chartarum or not.

But you live in a newer house. Doesn’t that mean you’re safe from black mold?

Black mold in older homes versus newer homes

 Is there a difference?

Just how there isn’t such a thing as “toxic mold,” the myth that mold likes older homes than newer homes is false.

The fact is mold grows on organic materials and thrives in high moisture environments. This could be on the ceiling of a recently built house—there’s a leak in the attic. Or an older home—the washing machine hose broke, causing some flooding.

There may be a better chance that mold grows in an older house than a newer one. But not because mold likes older homes more than newer ones.

You see, mold tends to grow when there’s water damage. If the new house is developed according to code, the pipes and appliances (i.e. toilet, sink, garbage disposal…) don’t have much wear and tear.

Because of this, there’s less of a chance a pipe will burst or a leak will spring up.

Not so much the case with an older home, which has pipes and household appliances that have stood the test of time—aka many, many years. So, a busted pipe or faucet leak is much more likely to occur. And when there’s water damage, like we said, there’s mold.

However, if you are on top of fixing leaks and replacing, repairing, and updating appliances, it really doesn’t matter how old your house is.

You could live in an older house and not have any mold. Versus a person who lives in a newer home, but doesn’t do any upkeep; he or she probably has a bunch of mold growing.

Older or newer house aside, you find out you have black mold. Shoot. What do you do now?

Do you treat black mold differently than other molds?

The simple answer, no.

Assume a common-sense approach when handling black mold, or any type of mold for that matter.

What we mean by this is assume the mold is toxigenic and needs to go. It’s not worth the risk of your health or those living in your house.

Although treatment is the same, black mold does differ slightly from regular mold.

Unlike regular mold, you cannot get rid of black mold with bleach. Since bleach is typically the strongest cleaning solution people know of, it’s important to call black mold removal Colorado Springs, Denver, Miami, New York Cite, wherever you live.

And when it comes to black mold, you can restore nonporous materials infested with it. But you should replace infected porous materials. This is because it’s virtually impossible to clean up.  Especially if it’s the insulation or walls, the only way to get black mold out of your house is via removal and replacement.

While you may have to pay more, it beats spending more in the future…on your house and your health.

Plus, you save your home value from plummeting.

Speaking of health, what are the health risks?

We’ve mentioned the specific health risks for Stachybotrys, a specific type of black mold. But, when it comes to black mold in general, here are some possible (and common) health risks:[14]

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Eye irritation
  • Irritation of the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and throat
  • Sneezing
  • Rash
  • Chronic coughing

For prolonged, severe, or exacerbated allergic exposure to black mold, you could see:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • (Possible) bleeding in the lungs and nose

Like we said with Stachybotrys chartarum, symptoms depend on the person. People who are asthmatics, immunocompromised, mold sensitive, or smokers may see an increase in certain symptoms.

If you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from mold-related symptoms, you need to see your general physician right away.

What’s that? Didn’t catch everything? Don’t worry, here’s what you need to know:

Summary

  • Black mold isn’t one type of mold, but many.
  • It gets its name from its black pigmented spores, which gives it its black appearance.
  • Mold isn’t toxic; some molds are toxigenic, though.
  • This means they can emit mycotoxins.
  • Mycotoxins are fungi byproducts.
  • They were discovered in 1962 when 100,000 turkey poults (fancy name for baby turkeys) mysteriously died.
  • Some mycotoxins are good such as Penicillium, which is a famous antibiotic.
  • Others have been used in chemical warfare—it’s on a spectrum.
  • And guess what? Some black molds aren’t toxigenic, even though they have a reputation for it.
  • This reputation is largely from 1993-1994 pulmonary hemorrhage outbreak in infants in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • The researchers found all lived in homes filled with Stachybotrys chartarum, a type of black mold (and, after that, the most famous)
  • However, more studies need to be done to prove this connection.
  • There’s a slew of symptoms related to Stachybotrys chartarum and black mold in general, especially lung-related symptoms.
  • You need to get a check-up if you think you have mold-related symptoms
  • And use a common-sense approach method for all mold: get rid of it. Call black mold removal services Colorado Springs, Birmingham, wherever you’re from. Just get the mold out.

Found this insightful? Have more questions about black mold?

Contact this black mold removal Colorado Springs company for more information.

 

Image Credit: Mold via GTA Mold Inspectsions

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[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds

[3] NCBI: Mycotoxins

[4] NCBI: Mycotoxins

[5] NCBI: Mycotoxins

[6] Mold Help: Stachybotrys Chartarum

[7] APS: Stachybotrys chartarum: The Toxic Indoor Mold

[8] APS: Stachybotrys chartarum: The Toxic Indoor Mold

[9] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds

[10] AAAAI: Environmental and occupational respiratory disorders: The medical effects of mold exposure

[11] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds

[12] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds

[13] Medscape: Stachybotrys chartarum: Current Knowledge Of Its Role in Disease

[14] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds

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