How dangerous is black mold to health?
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
There is a commonly held belief that black mold — sometimes called toxic mold — can cause severe health problems because it releases mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic substances that a fungus produces.
Some research suggests that mycotoxins from S. chartarum have a link to serious health problems in people who live in contaminated buildings.
One such health concern is mycotoxicosis — mold poisoning. Others include:
Is all black mold “black mold?”
The dangerous black mold that you hear about on the news is scientifically known as Stachybotrys. But it’s not the only mold that is black. Molds besides Stachybotrys might not be as dangerous to your health, but you still don’t want them to exist inside your home. It’s important that you have an experienced mold inspector who can tell the difference.
What causes black mold?
Stachybotrys, and molds in general, require damp environments to thrive. This type of environment is usually provided for them as a result of flooding, storm damage, or even leaking pipes. There’s a good chance that if you see black mold growth that your property has an underlying problem that needs to be corrected. This is why it’s critical to dry and dehumidify your property as soon as possible if it ever suffers from water damage.
How can you tell if I have black mold?
While many people would think that simply seeing black stuff on the wall is enough evidence of black mold, a formal inspection is a little more complicated than this.
When we do a mold inspection, we operate as your state licensed industrial hygienist. We carefully collect air cassettes and swab samples to determine the types of mold present and the severity of the infestation. If we are able to confirm the presence of black mold, we prepare a formal protocol to remediate the environment in order to make it safe again.
This Remediation Protocol is then given to a licensed mold remediation company. They follow the necessary plan of action to remove and/or kill the mold.
At the completion of the Mold Remediation Protocol, our industrial hygienist will come back to your facility and test the air once again. After analyzing the black mold tests, the hygienist will either confirm that the contractor’s work was effective in cleaning the environment and safe for occupancy, or we’ll confirm that there are still deficiencies remaining that need to be addressed to make your building safe again.
How do you deal with black mold?
The short answer is: very carefully! Mold spores can cause severe respiratory distress in many individuals, so it’s essential to suit up while doing any kind of mold remediation or mold inspection. We have special safety gear to protect our employees to wear any time they deal with a case of black mold.
We begin by encapsulating the affected area(s) of the property. Then we set out to remove any contaminated surfaces. De-humidification and drying ensure that we are able to halt the mold’s progression in the building. Any sources of excess moisture are repaired. In instances where we can’t remove affected surfaces, we apply biocides to kill the black mold, and any remaining traces of mold are encapsulated to help seal them in place. Finally, we restore the property. We will fix walls, replace water damaged flooring or sub-floors, re-insulate, or do any other tasks necessary to bring your property back to good condition.
Can you inspect my home for black mold and fix the problem?
This really depends on where you live. Each state has their own consumer laws when it comes to dealing with black mold infestations. Some states simply require that a mold remediation company hold a special license to work on mold related issues. Other states have a threshold for how much mold remediation work can be done before a special license is required. Whatever the requirements are within your state, we’ll be sure to follow the proper mold regulations to ensure our work is compliant with your government. Our goal is your 100% satisfaction, and we can’t do that by operating against the black mold laws and regulations where you live.
It is important to know that a mold remediation specialist generally SHOULD NOT perform both the mold testing and the mold remediation on the same property. It’s a safety check to avoid scams, and in some states it’s actually illegal. The goal is to eliminate a conflict of interest that has been exploited in the past to harm consumers and commit insurance fraud. So when you are looking for a company to help you deal with black mold, be sure to understand whether the company will do the inspection or the remediation. It might not be appropriate for them to do both parts of the project.
Will Insurance Pay for my Black Mold Remediation?
It depends. Insurance companies will pay for mold remediation if it happens as a result of a covered peril, like fire, lightning, falling objects, etc. A standard homeowners policy won’t cover mold that comes from a flood, but flood insurance will.
Insurance won’t pay for a loss that comes as a result of poor maintenance of your home. This means if you fail to properly repair your roof and water pours into your attic, you likely won’t be covered.
We found this article about mold coverage really informative when it comes to what is, and isn’t, typically covered from an insurance perspective. If you still aren’t sure if you have coverage, you might want to read it. You should also speak with your insurance agent, who would be more than happy to discuss your particular case.