Is Black Mold Different From Toxic Mold: The Lethal Truth
If you have a moisture problem or high humidity at home, sooner than later, you will be contending with mold. And chances are high that you will be facing toxic black mold vs black mold.
Exposure to the toxic black fungus can bring a myriad of problems, among them mold toxicity symptoms among children, grownups, and even pets.
But molds are really not the same. Although none is good when it grows in your indoor living spaces, there are dangerous types of mold.
Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold) is notorious for producing mycotoxins, which can affect your health in a big way.
What is toxic mold?
Toxic mold is a type of mold that produces mycotoxins, which can be harmful to humans and animals.
Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by some species of fungi, including black mold.
Exposure to these substances can cause a range of health problems. These include:
- Airways congestion
- Recurring sore throat
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Incessant coughing
- Runny nose
- Unexplained fatigue
- Delusion and other neurological issues with prolonged exposure
There are more illnesses, as you can see in mold exposure symptoms in toddlers.
This type of mold is greenish-black and often has a slimy texture. The fungus grows in damp areas, such as bathrooms, basements, and other areas with high humidity levels.
It is also possible to see signs of black mold in the humidifier, again, characterized by the dark green color and slimy look.
Is black mold different from toxic mold?
Yes, it is.
Many people assume that black mold is toxic because it is black. While all lethal mold turns out to be black, it is not about the color. Thus, it is possible to have a dark mold infestation that is not lethal.
Some of the black mold species include Alternaria, Cladosporium, and Aspergillus. They might cause mold exposure symptoms in babies, but they are not necessarily toxic.
Toxic black mold, on the other hand, refers specifically to the species Stachybotrys chartarum.
It produces mycotoxins, which are harmful to humans and animals. They can cause nasty symptoms, especially in people with compromised immune systems.
Once more, we repeat that not all strains of Stachybotrys chartarum produce mycotoxins. But it is still important to take precautions when dealing with this type of mold.
Black-colored vs black toxic mold
Black-colored mold can be any type of mold that is black, including the three most common species – Alternaria, Cladosporium, and Aspergillus.
Today, there are more than 20,000 documented species of black mold in the world. And yes, the color does look black. It is not really pitch-dark, but it can range from dark green to black.
Thus, when you see black mold at home, you really cannot tell whether it is the toxic type or not, just by looking at it.
You see, the toxicity is not in the color. It is in the mycotoxins. Even then, the toxic type of black mold does not produce these substances all the time. It produces them only when the conditions are right.
If it does not produce mycotoxins because the conditions for doing so are not right, then it cannot affect your health. Or can it?
Matter of fact, toxic mold might not produce mycotoxins, but it can produce VOC – volatile organic compounds in the form of gasses. These gasses can affect your health.
You can read my post on how to get rid of formaldehyde from your indoor air, one of the volatile organic compounds occurring at home.
So, how then do you handle black mold, since you can’t tell its toxicity level by looking at it?
The best thing is to remove it as soon as possible. Even if it is not harming you, it is quite an eyesore on your walls. Besides, you need to know how to remove the musty smell of mold from your house.
Is black mold always toxic?
It is not always toxic.
As we mentioned earlier, black mold can be any type of mold that is black, including Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Alternaria.
While these molds can cause health problems, they are not necessarily lethal.
Stachybotrys chartarum, on the other hand, is always toxic. This type of mold produces mycotoxins, which can be harmful to humans and animals.
It will also produce mold spores that spread fast in the house, to start other mold colonies, if they land on moist surfaces.
It is important to take precautions when dealing with any type of mold, but toxic black mold requires special attention due to its toxicity.
How to tell if black mold is toxic
This is the crux of the matter, knowing how to tell that you have … not just dark-colored mold, but the toxic variety.
One of the ways to determine if the dark mold is toxic is through testing. For this, you have to take a sample of the mold to a laboratory.
But let’s face it … how easy is it for you to do this? Not very. Don’t worry though because there are other ways to know whether you have the lethal dark-colored mold.
See the symptoms to watch out for below:
Toxic black mold symptoms
First, even before you get to see the health symptoms that we will discuss here, be smart. Whenever you see black spots on your walls in high-humidity places, just know you have mold.
Treat all types of this fungus like the enemy it is. By the time you are seeing the symptoms of black mold exposure in children or grown-ups, it is already too late.
So, remove it as soon as you see it. Actually, make a habit of checking your crawl spaces often.
Use a dehumidifier to lower humidity in the bathroom and other spaces. Keeping it below 50% can prevent mold growth.
- Exposure to toxic black mold can also cause neurological issues, such as headaches, dizziness, and memory loss.
- You may experience digestive problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, after exposure to this mold.
- If your family is experiencing respiratory problems like breathing difficulty, coughing, and wheezing, they have been exposed.
- Some people may develop allergic reactions to toxic black mold, which can cause symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin rashes.
- You could experience fatigue and a lack of energy without explanation.
You can see that some of these symptoms are also common with other illnesses. Therefore, rule out any other condition first, that is, unless you truly know you have a moisture problem at home.
Besides, it helps to know the signs of a mold infestation at home, such as the strong musty smell that reminds you of rotting leaves. You can use an air purifier or dehumidifier to remove the musty smell, but you still have to remove the mold.
If you know for sure that you have been exposed to toxic black mold, hence the onset of these symptoms, see a doctor. There are laboratory tests for mold, which the doctor might recommend.
Also, mold exposure causes sinus infections too. Thus, if you have recurring sinusitis, check whether you have this fungus in the house.
It is important to know what humidity level makes mold grow. It is also important to know the signs of mold infestation at home, all mold!
The best thing is to act on it immediately. Remove it. You can call a mold removal service such as FP Restoration, that is, if you are in their area of service or any other.
If you decide to remove it yourself, cover up properly to ensure you don’t come into contact with it. Wear gloves, mask and coveralls.
But the best measure is preventive action. Thus, always use a dehumidifier in Florida to lower your indoor humidity.
Without high humidity and the right temperature, mold is not going to grow.
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