Over the years, I’ve purchased several investment properties that have had black mold. I was able to get them at steep discounts because, quite frankly, no one else wanted them. I mean, can you really blame people for not wanting to buy a mold-infested property that looks like this?
However, is mold really as dangerous as some make it out to be? That’s the topic at hand for this post.
What Is Mold?
Before we dive into how dangerous mold may or may not be, let’s define what mold is. Mold is a term that refers a host of different types of fungi. There are potentially hundreds of thousands of species of molds.
Molds reproduce by making spores, and any area or space – indoor or outdoor – that has warmth, you’ll likely find mold. Mold is everywhere, and everyday you breath in mold spores. As the CDC states, “There is always some mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces.”
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What is Toxic Black Mold & is it dangerous?
According to the Center For Disease Control, “The term “toxic mold” is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous.”
With so many different species of molds, they come in different colors. The mold species Stachybotrys chartarum has a greenish black color and is often the species associated with black mold.
However, black mold isn’t limited to just Stachybotrys chartarum. There are other molds with a black color such as: Memnoniella sp & some species of Chaetomium, Aspergillus and Cladosporium.
Since black mold is not limited to a specific mold species, and with not all mold species being toxigenic, just because you see black mold, doesn’t mean it’s toxigenic and dangerous to your health.
How much mold exposure is damaging to your health?
The answer is no one knows. There is no specific amount of mold exposure that has been identified to cause health problems (Source: Atlantic Environmental Incorporated).
With being said, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), there is sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people (Source: Institute of Medicine Damp Indoor Spaces and Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2004)
What Causes Mold To Grow In Your House?
Mold needs moisture to grow. So, if you’ve got mold in your home, you’ve got a moisture problem. It could be because you have a plumbing leak, roof leak, water entering your crawl space, moisture build-up in your attic, etc.
Getting Rid of Mold
To get rid of mold you first need to fix your moisture problem. Plain and simple. Figure out where the moisture is, where it’s coming from and fix it. Then remove/replace mold infected areas. There are all kinds of DIY mold remediation videos on YouTube.
Should You Hire a Mold Remediation Company?
I’ve found the work offered by so-called “mold experts” is extremely overpriced. In many cases, you can get rid of the mold yourself for a fraction of what a mold remediation company would charge.
You can’t entirely avoid mold no matter what you do. If you own a property that has signs of mold, you’ve got a moisture problem. Fix the moisture problem, remove/repair mold infected areas, and you should be good to go.
Some mold is toxigenic (releases toxins) and some mold is not. Is toxic black mold dangerous? The verdict seems to still be out on just how dangerous mold is, but, toxic or not, you should remove mold because doing so is best for your health and for your property. Plus, who wants to stare at a wall covered in mold?
Here’s a great video for more on mold: