Black Mold & Toxic Mold
Is your home, business or school contaminated with Toxic Black Mold?
Find out with a MOLDetect Mold Test Kit!
Black mold can grow in any room or location and sometimes is referred to as toxic mold
The presence of BLACK MOLD does NOT necessarily mean that Stachybotrys mold or toxic mold is present. Other molds may appear black as well.
DIY Mold Test kit to confirm or rule out fungal growth & identify the types present.
(This includes Stachybotrys, often called ‘toxic mold or black mold’)
“Black mold” or “toxic mold” are terms often used to describe Stachybotrys, a mold that has received much media attention.
This slow-growing mold requires significant, chronic water saturation (about 3-5 days) to materials containing cellulose (e.g., sheetrock, wood, cardboard, paper or jute-backed carpeting) in order to grow. It does NOT grow on bathroom tile, but may be found in other areas in the bathroom (e.g., carpet back, wood studs or sill plate, sheetrock wall).
Stachybotrys (black mold) spores die quickly after release but, like all mold spores, ‘black mold’ spores remain allergic and toxic even when dead. In order to eliminate the hazard, the mold growth and mold spores themselves must be physically removed, not just treated with an anti-fungal product or bleach.
Chronic exposure to black mold toxins (“toxic mold”) has been reported to cause cold or flu-like symptoms, sore throats, chronic sinusitis, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, dermatitis, hair loss, general discomfort, concentration issues and/ or other health-related problems.
Medical experts suspect Stachybotrys mold may often be involved in ailments complained about in sick-building syndrome.
In 1997, Stachybotrys or toxic mold was linked to a cluster (1993-1994) of pulmonary hemorrhage in infants (bleeding lungs) in Cleveland, Ohio. The CDC has since said further research is required in order to establish a definite link.
Other similar cases have since been reported, including a case study published in November 1999 in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) journal Environmental Health Perspectives by MOLDetect owner Susan Flappan entitled Infant Pulmonary Hemorrhage in a Suburban Home with Water Damage and Mold (Stachybotrys atra).
Researchers believe that infant lung bleeding can be caused by exposure to toxic molds. They say the tricothecene mold toxins are poisons that inhibit collagen production, the protein that gives strength to capillaries. If this is the case, mold does not directly cause infant fatalities; however, the mold toxins can weaken capillaries and make them more likely to burst under the stress of illness or smoke.
Initial descriptions of Stachybotrys mold dates back to the 1930′s, when Russian scientists blamed it for the deaths of horses and other animals in the Ukraine after toxic mold was found in straw and feed. A few years later, the Russians themselves reported respiratory problems, inflammation, fever, headache and fatigue from sleeping on straw-filled mattresses that contained mold, or after burning old mattresses.
Researchers once reported that toxic mold only occurred in 1 to 3% of homes, and that the spores were rarely airborne because the Stachybotrys mold colonies are very slimy. However, in 1997, while working as an environmental health specialist in the Allergy Section at Children’s Mercy Hospital, Susan Flappan found that toxic mold was present in 30 to 40% of the asthmatic/ allergic patients’ homes she investigated. “We were surprised,” Flappan said. “This mold was supposed to be very infrequent and very rare. We found it was a lot more common problem than we ever thought it would be.” In Flappan’s mold investigation, 69% of the Stachybotrys positive homes had airborne spores, with concentrations ranging from 84 to 8,400 spores per m3. Home Assessment for Indoor Allergens.
It’s important to know that while “black mold” spores may be slimy when wet, Stachybotrys spores become powdery when dry and therefore can actually become easily aerosolized.
Dr. Eckardt Johanning, an occupational and environmental health physician from Albany, New York found that mold toxins can cause mood changes, memory loss, and immune dysfunction, along with sore throats, headaches, upper and lower respiratory problems, skin disease, eye irritation and general tiredness.
In 1999, the Kansas City Star quoted Susan Flappan saying, “I think it is a missing link to a lot of questions we’ve had. We’ve had patients go from doctor to doctor without any explanation of what is wrong. Once they get rid of the Stachybotrys (black mold) problem, their life gets better.”
Though scientists don’t understand all the effects of mold, Sidney Efross of the EPA in San Francisco says, “There’s probably nothing we can call a safe level” of toxic mold.