What Remodeling Pros Should Definitely Know About “Black Mold”

Black mold can be a common site for pros on the job, especially if you do a lot of remodeling work. Learn more about moldy growths and their health implications here.

What is Black Mold?JRJfin/Shutterstock
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What is "black mold"?

According to Moldman USA, a mold removal company, black mold is a term that has been used by the media to describe mold that produces toxins. Mold that produces toxins is scientifically known as Stachybotrys. The toxic particles found in some mold are found in Stachybotrys, but can be found in other mold. Also, the mold is not always black.

Toxic Mold is not an Accurate TermBurdun Iliya/Shutterstock
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"Toxic mold" is not an accurate term

The CDC says that while molds can produce toxins, the molds themselves are not toxin or poisonous. The hazards associated with mycotoxins should be considered the same as common molds, according to the CDC.

Mold Comes in Many Shapesicarmen13/Shutterstock
Courtesy of icarmen13/Shutterstock

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Mold comes in many shapes

There are more than 100,000 types of mold and without a test, it’s nearly impossible to recognize a specific type of mold.

Mold Can Come in Many ColorsPumbastyle/Shutterstock
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Mold can come in many colors

According to Moldman USA, toxic mold can come in several colors and black mold isn't always toxic mold. Plus, the specific type of mold doesn't matter much in the long run—you still have to remove all kinds of mold.

There is no Test that Proves an Association Between Black Mold and Health Symptoms
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There is no test that proves an association between black mold and health systems

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no test to prove an association between black mold, which is known as stachybotrys chartarum, and health symptoms.

Awareness Increased in Early '90sWaraphon.Siritakan/Shutterstock
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Awareness increased in early '90s

According to a paper written by Berlin D. Nelson, a professor of plant pathology at North Dakota State University, increased awareness of stachybotrys chartarum started in 1993-94 with an unusual outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage in infants in Cleveland. Researchers found the mold in the homes of the infants, which raised alarm. The babies experienced lung bleeding.

A link between stachybotrys chartarum and the infants health was made, though, papers since have not been as conclusive as to the effect of stachbotrys chartarum on health.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published two reports that criticized the study in Cleveland and concluded that an association and acute pulmonary hemorrhage was not proven.

Mold Exposure Doesn't Always Mean Health Problems
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Mold exposure doesn't always mean health problems

Some people will not have any health symptoms if exposed to mold indoors, however, some will, according to the CDC. People who are sensitive to mold may experience nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing or skin irritation when exposed to mold, the CDC says. Those people exposed to large amounts of mold in work settings may see more severe reactions, like farmers working with moldy hay.

There is a Link Between Indoor Mold Exposure and Respiratory Problems
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There is a link between indoor mold exposure and respiratory problems

The Institute of Medicine found in 2004 that there is evidence to link respiratory problems to indoor mold exposure. Problems like upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, wheezing and asthma symptoms.

Decrease Exposure to Mold
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Decrease exposure to mold

For those sensitive to mold, they are advised to avoid areas where mold is likely to be found, like compost piles, cut grass and wooded areas. Mold growth can be slowed indoors through controlling humidity. Shower areas and cooking areas need to be well-ventilated as well.

Cleaning Mold
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Cleaning mold

Mold can be removed with soap and water or with a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water. Soap and water is the better of the two options because the mixture contains surfactants, which will help to actively remove mold. Bleach doesn't have that property.

Next, check out our pro guide to grout.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman