When most people are talking about toxic black mold, they are generally referring to Stachybotrys Chartarum. This is the black mold that in 1994 killed 6 children in Cleveland, OH and sickened another 19 with pulmonary hemorrhage. Since that incident in Ohio and several other much smaller incidents across the country, “Toxic Black Mold” would appear to be on the same level as the Bubonic Plague. It had gained such a reputation in the media that everyone was scared to death of it. I would receive phone calls from a frightened client asking me if they should leave their home for a hotel because they found a little bit of “toxic Black mold” growing on a ceiling tile in their basement.
So is this menace to society really all it’s cracked up to be?
My answer would be no.
The entire phenomenon has been greatly blown out of proportion by the media and unfortunately by some members of the mold removal industry as well – and although not as dangerous as made out to be, black mold can still be dangerous and bring cause for concern. Any type of elevated mold in your basement, attic, bathroom, kitchen or crawlspace is cause for concern. Indoor mold spore counts should be the same or lower than outdoor mold spore counts. Any time you find a significant amount of any type of mold you should call in a certified mold testing company to assess the situation.
What is “toxic” about black mold?
When you hear people say they think they have symptoms of toxic black mold, what they are really referring to is the reaction a person might have when they come into contact with the toxins produced by mold, known as mycotoxins. These toxins are produced by fungi in order to protect itself from other molds as well as predation. Molds that can produce mycotoxins are called toxigenic species. As of now, scientists that study these type of fungus and toxicologists that study these byproducts still do not know a lot about when, or why and how these toxins are produced. What is known is that on very rare occasions and typically in the very young and the very old, people do get very sick from black mold. So while I always want all of my friends, family and clients to be aware of the possible dangers from exposure to certain types of mold, I also want people to restrain themselves from jumping out their window if they should find some in their home.