Understanding the Risks of Black Mold
Black mold is one of the most potentially harmful types of mold. Prolonged exposure to black mold, also known officially as stachybotrys, can lead to respiratory problems and irritation of the mouth, nose, and throat. Black mold spreads through the release of spores into the air and is found mostly in dark, damp, humid conditions. Wherever there is moisture, there is the potential for mold. Mold spores can enter an indoor space from outside through open entryways, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These spores can also attach themselves to people, clothing, bags, and animals and infiltrate an indoor environment. Eradicating mold from the indoor environment is extremely important to avoid health problems related to exposure to mold spores.
Preventing health problems associated with mold exposure comes down to preventing mold from occurring and eradicating it as soon as possible if you find it. While no form of mold is healthy to be exposed to for prolonged periods, black mold has been shown to be related to upper respiratory tract problems, coughing, and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. For people with asthma or immune conditions, exposure to mold can exacerbate existing conditions or worsen them. Health concerns from mold may include allergy like symptoms and individuals with upper respiratory problems could experience breathing difficulties. People with immune suppression can also be at increased risk for serious complications from mold exposure. Though black mold is less common than other mold varieties, it is by no means rare and taking measures to prevent mold growth of any kind is the best way to avoid risks to personal health.
Preventing Mold Growth
Mold thrives in dark, moist environments. Anywhere where there is water damage, excessive humidity, condensation, or leaks, there is potential for mold growth. In order for mold to thrive, moisture must be constant. Stachybotrys, black mold, is usually greenish-black and is known to grow on paper products, ceiling tiles, wood products, carpet, and drywall among other materials. You may not be certain if the mold you find is black mold, but this isn’t necessary since all mold should be treated with the same caution for potential health risks. If you notice mold, take immediate action to get rid of it. The first step is to eliminate the conditions under which the mold is thriving. This usually means eliminating water sources leading to mold growth or moisture accumulated in the affected area. If the mold is severe and has spread, you may need to tear out materials and replace them. Be sure to wear a respirator mask when working in a mold affected area since spores are easily inhaled. If you don’t feel comfortable dealing with this problem, call a mold remediation specialist for professional eradication.