What is Black Mold (Stachybotrys)?
Mold growth is a type of Fungi that produce long tube‐like structures called hyphae. When these hyphae grow, they develop into visible masses known as“colonies.” Depending on the type of mold and growth conditions, these colonies can have a wide variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. You may have heard about Toxic Black Mold in the media or from friends, or a contractor. The word toxic, in the description, has caused mold growth to be as something feared. Stachybotrys Chartarum is the species of mold growth that describes Toxic Black Mold. Because this type of mold can release mycotoxins in an indoor environment, it can lead to serious health complications. Stachybotrys is a species of mold that is usually accompanied by others including, but not limited to, Pennicillum Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Chaetonium, which is usual as stachybotrys is a slow growing mold and many others are more common and faster growing. Although today, there is no set governmental standards for mold levels to indicate problems;, it is a universal industry standard that any amount of stachybotrys that is found in air or surface sample tests is cause for a failed test and professional mold remediation should be carried out due to health risks.
Mold releases spores into the air. This is mold’s way of reproducing. Mold spores will travel in the air in search of more nutrients to thrive and grow. When these mold spores find a nutritional source, they land and colonize. Eventually you see mold growth. The spores themselves are invisible to naked eye. Some species of moldm, including stachybotrys, carry mycotoxins on their spores. These mycotoxins can be responsible for health issues. Trichothecene is the specific mycotoxin that is carried by stachybotrys mold spores. Exposure to these spores has caused consistent death to lab rats and has been used in biological warfare. While the more serious health issues come from extremely high levels of spores, it is an example of how mycotoxins should not be treated without concern.
Black Mold Symptoms
There is more, usually, than tachybotrys when there is a mold problem present: and, so, m any of the symptoms of black mold present in a home or business are similar to any other type of mold. When indoors you may notice strange odor or smell; or, you might see visible mold, elevated humidity levels and/or excessive moisture within building materials. People might experience allergic-like symptoms such as dry/itchy eyes and throat, headaches, trouble breathing, increased mucus and/or other respiratory issues. Stachybotrys has also been associated with rare complications such as convulsions and hemorrhaging due to its ability to release mycotoxins in the air. In the same vein, is also possible there may be little or no symptoms due to the indoor air quality and still have black mold present. This is because stachybotrys is not easily airborne unless disturbed, which makes it of paramount importance to have an inspection done if you suspect moldl.
Symptoms of mycotoxin exposure: (examples)
- Dry eyes
- Sore Throat
- Trouble Breathing
- General discomfort
- Stomach pain
What Does Black Mold Look Like
Most people know what mold looks like, but for the average person, determining if mold is in fact Black Mold (stachybotrys chartarum) by your eyes alone is not easy. For a professional mold expert, it is easier to identify a mold as stachybotrys because of its distinguishable MOLD appearance in its mature state. A slow growing mold, Black Mold can be thick in context and black in color. Yet, if you do not know the various types of mold, it may not necessarily look much different from other mold species, which are black in nature. The only way for us to say with certainty that a specific mold is in fact black mold, is for us to take a swab sample for confirmation.
Inspection & Testing for Black Mold
A qualified and experienced professional mold inspector has been trained to know all of the places where black mold grows and have the knowledge and background to find all instances pf mold. The inspector should be testing for all mold variants, not only for stachybotrys specifically. An experienced Mold Inspector knows black mold is not easily airborne unless it becomes disturbed, which is why surface sampling (not just air sampling) should be done when visible growth is present, to ascertain whether Black Mold it is present. Using a swab sample is the only way to confirm for sure that Black Mold is present. When Black Mold has not yet become airborne, some mold remediation costs can be saved by containing the work area and avoiding use of the costlier equipment. H.N.S.T. suggests you have mold testing performed after remediation to ensure the mold problem was handled properly and the indoor environment is in its normal state.
Where can you find Stacybotrys?
Stachybotrys is found in cellulose rich materials. Examples of materials rich in cellulose include:
- Sheet Rock
- Ceiling Tiles
- Paper products