Black Mold in South Florida
When we talk about mold, probably none is more feared than what is commonly referred to as “Toxic Black Mold.” Most people generally fear black mold because it has been talked about a lot on the news and is known to cause health issues if left untreated in the home or office. Mold is a type of fungi that produce hyphae or long tube-like structures. When hyphae are left to grow it forms colonies of these fungi structures. There are some types of mold with varying textures, colors, textures and they come in various sizes too. Probably the main type of “toxic black mold’ is Stachybotrys Chartarum. This particular species of mold can release mycotoxins inside the building which can cause serious health complications.
Stachybotrys is often accompanied by other types of mold, such as Penicillium Aspergillus, Cladosporium, or even Chaetonium. This happens when Stachybotrys is slow growing, and the different species are more common and usually faster growing. Unfortunately, there are no set governmental standards for acceptable mold levels to indicate when a problem exists. However, any amount of Stachybotrys found in air or on the surface in sample tests is cause for a failed test and should result in professional mold remediation to be carried out because of the numerous health risks from it.
Mold is released from spores into the air; The spores can travel around until they find nutrients to attach themselves to so they can thrive and continue to grow. Once they find a nutrient to land on they colonize and eventually you can see the mold as they grow. Spores are not visible without the aid of a microscope. Stachybotrys and some other types of mold carry mycotoxins on their spores which are believed to be responsible for many health complications, such as, breathing issues, cognitive problems, mental issues, and many others. A mycotoxin Trichothecene is commonly seen in Stachybotrys mold spores. Lab rats exposed to Stachybotrys consistently die. These specific mycotoxins have even been used in massive doses in chemical warfare. Any level of Stachybotrys should be taken seriously because of the number of health issues linked to it.
Rarely will you find Stachybotrys is alone in places where a mold problem is present? This is why we see a lot of the same symptoms of the black mold where other types of mold are found present in a home or business. Some common indicators include poor air quality, or you might notice a strange odor or smell. Sometimes you can see visible mold, present. People often experience allergy-like symptoms, such as dry/itchy eyes, sore throat, severe headaches, trouble breathing especially worsened asthma or other breathing issues. Because Stachybotrys can release mycotoxins into the air, it has been associated with more severe symptoms like convulsions and even hemorrhaging. Some people have very few or no signs of indoor air quality issues and may still have black mold present. Stachybotrys is not usually airborne unless disturbed which may make it harder to detect in certain circumstances unless you have an inspection done.
This is a partial list of symptoms caused by mycotoxins :
- Brain fog
- Shortened attention span
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
- Slowed reflexes
- A sore throat
- Memory loss and memory problems
- Impaired learning ability
- Dry eyes
- Aggression and other personality changes
You may be wondering if you can tell if a mold is Stachybotrys chartarum just by looking at it. If it is in its mature state, it is straightforward to recognize if you are an expert on mold. Since it is slow growing, it may be harder to realize in younger states of growth. It tends to be thick and black which does help identify it. However, since other types of mold appear black, it can be hard to recognize for the untrained eye. Below are some pictures of what black mold can look like, but when in doubt it is always best to have an inspection conducted by a professional expert such as we have here at Core Q Mold Analysis. Keep in mind you rarely deal only with one specific type of mold, but generally a combination of various kinds of fungi.