What is Black Mold?
When someone refers to black mold they are most commonly referring to Stachybotrys chartarum. This type of mold however is not the only type of fungal growth that is black and can grow inside of a structure. In fact, there are many types of mold that are black in color and under the right circumstances can be detrimental to your health as well.
Is Black Mold Dangerous?
There are hundreds of different types of mold and hundreds of different genus of each of those types. Each mold has the potential to affect a person and there immune system differently. There are certain types of mold that are known to cause allergic reactions and disease. If you think that you are susceptible to infection or are having reactions due to exposure from mold contamination, consult your physician.
Whether or not the type of mold you have in your home is black, green, yellow, or white it can still be a serious problem to you and your home. It is important to have it removed properly by certified and licensed professionals. See our Remediation page for more information.
What is Stachybotrys chartarum?
Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra) is a greenish-black mold that can grow on materials such as drywall or sheetrock, ceiling tiles and wood when they become moist or water-damaged. Not all greenish-black molds are Stachybotrys chartarum. Some strains of Stachybotrys chartarum may produce mycotoxins. Whether a mold produces mycotoxins depends on what the mold is growing on and conditions such as temperature, pH, humidity or other factors. When mycotoxins are present, they occur in both living and dead mold spores, and may be present in materials that have become contaminated with molds. While Stachybotrys is growing, a wet slime layer covers its spores, preventing them from becoming airborne. When the mold dies and dries up, air currents or physical handling can cause spores to become airborne.
How can I tell when Stachybotrys chartarum is present in my home?
Many molds are black but are not Stachybotrys. For example, the black mold often found between bathroom tiles is not Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys can be identified only by specially trained professionals through a microscopic exam or by cultures. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend that people sample mold growth in their home. All indoor mold growth should be removed, regardless of type.
Should bleach or other biocides (disinfectants, sanitizers, or fungicides) be used to kill mold?
Using bleach or other chemicals to kill indoor mold growth is not needed in most cases. The goal should be to remove mold growth by cleaning or removing moldy materials. Dead mold can still pose health risks if you are exposed. Using bleach or other disinfectants on surfaces after mold removal may be needed where people are thought to be susceptible to fungal infections (such as a person with immune system problems). Should you decide to use bleach or another chemical, please read and carefully follow the label directions and hazard statements (caution, warning, danger). Do not mix bleach with ammonia cleaners or acids, because a dangerous chlorine gas may be formed.