Black Toxic Mold! Why All The Hype by Contractors, And Should You be Concerned?

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Oh, the ole’ “black toxic mold is inhabiting your home and will slowly eat away at your family’s health”… As if! So, what exactly is “black toxic mold”? Well, I don’t recommend performing an extensive Google search about this - unless you’d like to have nightmares. In the simplest explanation, the terms black mold and toxic mold, sometimes used together, are utilized to describe specific species of mold. Stachybotrys is the most notorious species of mold that ties to the toxicity that is this overly-used scare tactic of words. One in fact that restoration professionals have created to drive consumers to hire a remediation Company out of sheer panic

Is all Black Mold Toxic?

Good gracious, no! Mold comes in all colors, shapes, patterns and sizes. More often than not, multiple species of mold will inhabit a space. Stachybotrys is a mold that scares many, as the health effects are something not to mess around with. Because this is a species of mold attributed with long term water damage, it’s color often has many shades of black. That said, Penicillium Aspergillus are species of mold that are much more common - as their growth is often the result of excess humidity within the air. Why does that matter? Well, these specifies of mold are also black in color in many instances. The black spotting that typically develops on walls is very often Penicillium Aspergillus.

What Mold Can Affect My Health?

Great question! Short answer is that you should be concerned with all species of mold equally. No, this doesn’t mean to drop everything and run out of your house at the first sight of mold. This does, however, mean that you should not put greater importance on one species of mold over another - unless of course you know that you have allergies toward something specific. Many individuals now-a-days are having allergy tests performed at their doctor’s office, when they begin to develop cold-like and flu-like symptoms more frequently.

What Should I do When I Discover Black Mold, Green Mold or any other Color Mold?

First, relax… There’s no reason to panic. If you or anyone else within the property are experiencing health issues, it would be advantageous to separate yourself from the environment - or minimize being in these areas at the very least. The next step would be to take advantage of the offering that most professional mold remediation companies promote - “free inspections” or “free estimates”. The benefit of having a remediation professional visit your home is through the acquisition of information from someone with industry knowledge. Mind you, if the professional you bring in is a pushy salesman, you want to find another company. Now, if you’re looking for something a little more concrete, and often without bias, you may want to entertain the thought of hiring a mold assessor. A mold assessor is an individual capable of performing testing (known as sampling) for mold - in addition to the same thorough visual and metered inspection that remediation contractors perform on a first visit. These individuals have the advantage of providing objective data, indicating definitively if mold is present.

Is Mold Testing Before Remediation Services Needed?

Short answer - no, but don’t jump to conclusions just yet. First, there is a major difference between merely collecting mold samples (testing) and performing a mold assessment. When it comes to mold testing, often times air and/ or surface samples are collected by and indoor environmental professional (IEP) and submitted to a laboratory. The results of these samples are then passed on to the property occupants.

When it comes to a mold assessment, much more of an investigation is performed. Using a combination of the olfactory system, flashlight, hygrometer, moisture meters, thermal imaging camera, air quality particle counters, a borescope and good ole’ experience - a hypothesis can be rendered on what is occurring within a property, and a conclusion made. During a mold assessment, collecting mold samples (testing) is often performed. Pairing these samples with other information collected, such as particulate counts, an IEP now possesses objective data to either support or counter their hypothesis. After all, a mold assessment is made up of objective and subjective data - further distinguishing itself from simple mold testing.

Mold Assessment vs. Mold Testing Wrap-up

So, what does this all mean? Well, if you’re simply looking for a laboratory sheet discussing quantities of mold, with intentions on comparing pre-remediation results to post-remediation results - save your time and money; it’s just not needed! However, if you’d like to stand the best chance at successfully remediating a property on the first try, a pre-remediation mold assessment is highly recommended. An IEP and a remediation contractor working together to develop an accurate scope of work is something magical to see in this industry.