Mold Removal: Brevard and Questions About Black Mold
When it comes to black mold removal, Brevard has experts on the subject–just talk to Sunsation Restoration!
What Exactly Is Black Mold?
In a previous entry, we discussed some of the most common mold types that you may find in your home. Those aren’t the only mold types as there are hundreds of different species of molds. Today, we’re going to discuss one very specific kind of mold, one that you very well may have heard of and tried to answer some common questions about it. Many call this type of notorious growth ‘black mold’, and it is said to be toxic and particularly dangerous. When it comes to black mold removal, Brevard sees plenty of it from the large flooding and humidity problems in our area. But what exactly is ‘black mold’?
In truth, it can be a catch-all term since molds come in a variety of different colors, types, and species. In fact, most of the molds you see in your home are a dark or black color! The most common species of black mold is stachybotrys chartarum. It also goes by the names stachybotrys atra, stachybotrys alternans and stilbospora chartarum. For the sake of simplicity though, I will be referring to it as chartarum throughout this article.
Is It Actually Toxic?
This is the biggest question about black mold and, according to the CDC, it’s complicated. Molds are capable of producing toxins, but the molds themselves are not toxic. The hazard comes from the mycotoxins they produce. Chartarum produces more mycotoxins than other molds. This can and will result in more allergy and respiratory problems than others. Mycotoxins are what cause the health problems. The level of these problems depends on several factors. These factors can include the type of mycotoxin, duration of exposure—even the age and sex of the person can come into play. Mycotoxins produced by black mold can also exacerbate other issues a person may have, such as vitamin deficiency and alcohol abuse.
Are There Different Types of Mycotoxins?
Like molds, there are a lot of different types of mycotoxins. Currently there are over three hundred types of discovered mycotoxins. Aspergillus and penicillium are two common mold types that produce mycotoxins. The ones they often produce are aflatoxins and citrinin. Aflatoxins in particular are linked with to liver cancer in both animals and humans. Ones such as ergot alkaloids can cause damage to the central nervous system, like what happened to Case in William Gibson’s Neuromancer. And others like patulin can cause damage to immune systems in animals.
How Do They Affect People?
They can get into the human body like any other mold. That means breathing it in, consuming affected foodstuffs, and even skin contact. For instance, consuming afflicted plant products can expose a person to aflatoxins. Ergot alkaloids are also ones that when consumed can cause issues. It’s important to note that pharmaceutical companies use ergot alkaloids in research and in drugs. Modern agricultural methods have also reduced the chances of someone coming into contact with them, especially at the supermarket.
Is It Actually Black?
Not always, but most common forms of it actually do appear black. It’s important to note though that due to the sheer number of species of molds, it may change color. The color change can come from simple time as the mold grows older, or exposure to other elements. If it looks black, it might not actually be chartarum. The only way to know for certain what kind of mold you’re looking at is to get it tested by a professional who knows how to identify it. You’ll want it removed anyways because of all the other problems it can cause anyways. Working in mold removal, Brevard Sunsation mold teams will often remove black mold in homes without it being Stachybotrys Chartarum!
How Common is Stachybotrys Chartarum?
Like mentioned in the previous piece, mold is everywhere, but it’s not always dangerous. Chartarum isn’t as common as other mold types, but calling it rare isn’t possible.
Where Is It Most Commonly Found?
Stachybotrys chartarum was first discovered by Czech mycologist, August Carl Joseph Corda. It was discovered in grain and soil. Today though, it can form on and in drywall and carpets. Like other molds, moisture is vital to creating a breeding ground for chartarum. And because it comes from soils, flooding can introduce it to a house. It also seems to form on wet gypsum boards and wallpaper. When dealing with post-hurricane season mold removal, Brevard Sunsation teams can see an increase in black mold problems.
How Can I Prevent It?
The best methods of preventing chartarum is like preventing other forms of mold. Controlling the humidity and ensuring proper ventilation are also important methods for prevention. You will also want to fix leaks in the roof and pipes as well. In the event of flooding, always be sure to clean it up and to ensure there’s no chance for mold to grow. Because you can find chartarum in soil as well, flooding can bring it indoors. The moisture from the flooding can then result in the mold forming if not dealt with.
One possible issue is that spores can get into the house during construction. In which case flooding could wake them up and cause them to start growing and spreading. In an instance like this, you will want to get someone to test the house and have it removed. If it’s in the walls and insulation, then it’ll be very expensive to replace and clean up.
Can I Remove It Myself?
Depending on how much there is, you may be able to clean it up yourself. If it’s not a huge amount it is possible to do so. The CDC actually has some information on how to remove mold yourself as well. If you ever have a doubt, it’s always best to contact a mold removal Brevard specialist. It might cost more than doing it yourself, but it’s a small price to pay to make sure your home is safe the first time. If you aren’t completely sure what kind of mold you have or you don’t know how to clean up mold yourself, don’t hesitate. Call Sunsation or another certified mold removal Brevard team.