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I spoke with the owner of Moldman and he was extremely helpful explaining mold, the high mold count, and the process of remediation for my situation.  He calmed by panic and helped me to further understand resolving mold issues. Unfortunately I live outside their coverage area... I would have loved to have hired them.

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The Truth About Toxic Black Mold: It’s Probably Not What You Think

 

Is Black Mold Dangerous? Here’s the Truth.

The truth is, many people aren’t negatively affected by mold. However, mold can cause allergies in some people who are sensitive to mold. In these cases, it can make their lives miserable. Mold can also cause severe medical issues with a small percentage of people who have other health complications.

If you’ve seen a concerning growth in your home or been told that you have a black mold issue, you probably have a lot of questions. 

Navigating all of the confusing and concerning information about black mold is hard, but we’re here to tell you the truth. 

Many of us have heard of the dangers of “toxic black mold” and may worry about black mold poisoning, but the truth is that black mold is a much more manageable problem than you might expect. 

Few topics get us more upset than seeing misinformation publicized about “toxic black mold,” and mold in general, by unscrupulous companies and zealous media articles that seem more interested in sensationalism than fact-based reporting. 

When you understand what you’re dealing with, you can make informed choices to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. We’re here to cut through the mess and help you understand what having black mold in your home may mean, and give you some tips on how to fix the problem yourself and save big money in the process.

What is Black Mold?

Black mold is the common name for a certain type of mold called “Stachybotrys,” which is thought to be particularly harmful to a person’s health.

Many of us have heard of the dangers of “toxic black mold” and may worry about black mold poisoning, but the truth is that black mold is a much more manageable problem than you might expect. 

When you understand what you’re dealing with, you can make informed choices to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. We’re here to cut through the mess and help you understand what having black mold in your home may mean, and give you some tips on how to fix the problem yourself and save big money in the process.

Symptoms of Black Mold

What Does Black Mold Look Like?

Stachybotrys is commonly known as “black mold” because it’s black in color.  We see black mold most often when there is flooding or water damage, such as attics, basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.

What does black mold look like?  Check out these photos of black mold in basements that experienced flooding:
image of black moldbasement black mold

Is black mold dangerous?

The answer to the above question is “It can be, but the vast majority of black mold situations we see are nothing to panic about.”

If you search “black mold” you’ll be sure to find plenty of websites and articles that tout the dangers of it.  We’ve seen quite the long, sensational list – everything from seizures to cancer to death.  But the truth is that it most situations are nothing to panic about because:
It has never been scientifically proven that black mold is any more harmful than other types and colors of mold.

Only a small percentage of people are especially sensitive to mold (severe allergic reactions).
Most horror stories come from people with severe, prolonged exposure to mold (such as a heavily moldy basement that they live with for years) while most situations are small areas of mold growth that get cleaned up rather quickly.

So why does black mold get so much hype? Well, a lot of it has to do with a general lack of information about a strange substance that looks especially ugly and threatening.

What are mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are poisons produced by some members of the fungi kingdom.  (i.e. “eating a poison mushroom can make you sick.”)  You may have heard of the term “mycotoxins” because it often gets mentioned in articles about mold, as mold is a member of the fungi kingdom.  Mycotoxins produced by mold are what set off allergic reactions to mold in some people.

Since almost all types of mold produce mycotoxins that can cause allergies in certain people who are sensitive, serious mold professionals are trying to move away from the focus on black mold, and move toward the mantra that “no mold, no matter what color, belongs in a healthy home.”

Can black mold make you sick, cause cancer, or kill you?

We know that black mold, along with many other types and colors of mold, can trigger severe allergies (stuffy head, headaches, itchy eyes, sinus issues, etc.) in some people who are sensitive.  Living with allergies like that is awful and miserable.  So in that sense, black mold can certainly make some people very sick.

Black mold has not been scientifically proven to cause cancer.  But we know that it can cause major health problems in some people, such as pneumonia, that can lead to death if you can’t recover from it.  But you know what?  Lots of things (colds, flus, various infections) can lead to pneumonia.  So we think the talk about black mold being especially dangerous is an unfair connection to make.  Black mold causes severe allergies in certain people who are sensitive.  That much we know for sure.

Following the mantra that “no mold, no matter what color, belongs in a healthy home” is the best way to keep yourself and others safe from any possible mold symptoms.

Health effects of black mold

According to the EPA, various types of mold can cause health problems for some people. Those health problems are primarily in the form of allergies such as stuffy head, headache, itchy eyes, trouble breathing, etc. These ailments can be more severe in the young, the old, and those with other health issues. The CDC basically says the same thing – that mold can cause health issues in some people, or no issues in other people.

According to the CDC, Stachybotrys black mold is unproven to cause serious medical issues beyond those mentioned above.  In other words, symptoms of black mold are only proven to be similar to other molds.  The CDC simply states that various types of mold may cause health symptoms, to consult with a doctor if symptoms persist, and that no color or type of mold belongs in a building.

You may be thinking: “If all we know for sure is that mold causes allergies in some people, and maybe some serious health problems in a small percentage of other people, then what’s the big deal?”

Well, our answer to that is to imagine yourself as one of those people who are sensitive to mold. Constant allergies, constantly feeling sick, and miserable in your own home. There’s even a scientific name for it:  Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Mold, along with other problems such as radon, Chinese drywall, etc., can cause Sick Building Syndrome. Suffering through Sick Building Syndrome is a terrible way to live, and we wouldn’t wish it upon our worst enemy!

How Did I Get Mold?

Like any other living thing, mold needs food and water to thrive.  Mold problems start when a mold spore (tiny, invisible “mold seed”) that’s floating in the air lands on a wet piece of organic material (such as wet wood or drywall), takes root and starts to multiply.  Mold spores are everywhere in the air, including in the cleanest of homes.  

In fact, every breath you take likely has some mold spores in it at low levels! In the home, mold usually grows wherever there is dampness and moisture, like basements, attics, kitchens and bathrooms, or areas that have experienced flooding.

With over 100,000 species, mold comes in about any size, shape, and color you can think of, making it impossible to tell what type of mold you have without testing by a certified mold inspection professional.

Do I Need Professional Testing?

In short, usually not!  Because, remember the saying:  “no mold, no matter what color, belongs in a healthy home.”  And that is good news because a professional mold inspection with testing can run anywhere from $300-$750. In most cases where mold is clearly visible, knowing exactly what type of mold you have is unnecessary. We advise most of our clients to forgo the inspection process and just apply that money saved to the cost of fixing the problem. The EPA agrees that mold testing isn’t necessary in most cases.

There are exceptions, however, such as when a mold inspection with testing is required as part of a real estate sale or if you require “proof” that a mold problem is present, such as for a legal dispute.  If you think you may have a mold problem, but aren’t sure, then we recommend formal testing from a professional.  And if you require clearance testing to verify an “all clear” after a mold problem is fixed, then professional mold testing is necessary.

How To Remove Black Mold Yourself 

Did you know that it’s often possible to remove black mold yourself?  It’s true!  Professional mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars and is often excluded from many homeowners insurance policies.  But in many instances hiring a mold removal professional isn’t necessary and black mold can be removed by a handy homeowner in less than one weekend of work.

If you feel like you may be a homeowner who is up to the challenge, we’ve written an eBook that gives step-by-step instructions on how to tackle your mold problem.  For less than $20, we guarantee that you’ll save hundreds, if not thousands, of your hard-earned dollars.

You can purchase our eBook here:

And if you’re not comfortable tackling the problem yourself, we’re happy to provide you a quote if you’re in our service area.  Just contact us for a completely free quote.

Bottom Line:  No mold belongs in a healthy home.  Be it black mold, or any other color of mold.  It should all be treated the same.  If you have mold, remove it.

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The Moldman Difference

  • No overstating mold problems
  • No scare tactics
  • No pressure, no hassles
  • 100% focus on mold and water damage
  • Licensed, insured, and certified
  • Thousands of jobs worth of experience
  • 10-year warranty & 100% satisfaction guarantee

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