You may have heard about black mold on the news, a passing story about a baby who got sick or a family that discovered their house was overrun with the stuff. But do you know what black mold is and how it could affect your family?
Toxic molds such as the infamous black mold are a form of fungus, one of the most common forms, in fact. It spreads easily under the right conditions and unfortunately, the right conditions can be found in many homes these days. While an extreme quantity of any kind of mold can cause problems in humans, some people are more sensitive than others and black mold tends to trigger health problems in most of the population.
What are the health problems caused by black mold? They are numerous and include difficulties breathing and allergic reactions. According to a study done by the Mayo Clinic back in 1999, 37 million Americans suffer from mold-related sinus infections which are chronic in nature. Also, asthma has risen at an alarming rate the past few years and experts claim that this is due to mold exposure.
Small children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems (such as pregnant women and those suffering from HIV) are most at risk for problems related to black mold, although it can affect anyone exposed to it for long periods of time. Most of the time, the symptoms are fairly mild, simply allergic reactions. However, they can actually be deadly to some individuals and for this reason it is important to identify and remove any toxic mold from the home.
Black mold tends to grow in moist, dark places. Bathroom showers and in the cabinets under a sink are two very common places to find this mold. While these are areas that would normally be fairly damp and dark, leaking pipes or faucets and floods can also trigger the growth of this noxious fungus in areas such as the basement and inside the walls. If you have a leaking roof, you might also notice black mold growing on your ceiling and down the walls.
Once black mold has become established in one area, it can quickly spread. Unfortunately, this usually means that extensive renovations will need to be done in order to get rid of the mold entirely. That could mean replacing drywall, floor boards and baseboards, among other things. For the safety of your family, though, it is well worth the expense and the hassle.
Black mold may not actually be in your walls or floors. It can also grow in other damp areas such as a swamp cooler, plant pots or even on your shower curtain. Black mold can also appear inside air ducts which means that the spores are easily transported throughout the house and can infect the entire residence.
Preventing mold is far easier than getting rid of it later on. By keeping the relative humidity of each room below 55%, you can help prevent the growth of this mold. A humidity sensor can be a handy tool to let you know if a room is too moist. You might need to install a ventilator fan in the bathroom to remove excess moisture after a shower.
Any leaks or flooding should be cleaned up immediately and the area dried thoroughly before any mold gets a chance to start growing. You should repair a leaking roof as soon as possible and keep your home well ventilated so that mold doesn’t have a chance to get a foothold.
If you do end up with toxic mold growing in your home, you will most likely need to call in some experts in order to remove it. There is no point in taking out most of the mold, since it will just continue to grow, you need to get rid of everything completely. Professionals can ensure that all mold is removed and this is a safer method than trying to do the job yourself.
Black mold grows rampant in moist areas, especially ones that offer a steady trickle of water, such as beneath a dripping sink or in a flooded area. Fortunately, you can prevent it by taking measures such as those given above. If the mold continues to grow, despite your best efforts, you will be forced to renovate areas of your home in order to destroy the mold once and for all.