What Causes Black Mold and How You Can Prevent It from Spreading
Mold is a type of fungus that releases spores that thrive in warm, humid areas. While many types of mold are harmless, black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) can be toxic to humans when it grows inside buildings.
Black mold is characterized by a dark black color, where other molds are typically green or grey. The mold itself isn’t toxic, but the spores it produces are. The spores travel through the air in your home, and when you inhale them, they can cause harmful health effects like headaches, skin irritation, and more. It’s smart to know the causes of black mold so you can take steps to prevent it from taking a toll on your family’s health.
Health Effects of Black Mold
Black mold produces mycotoxins, which act as neurotoxins and can cause long-term brain damage. For pregnant women, black mold can cause miscarriages, birth defects, and infertility later in life. It’s crucial to get black mold remediated as soon as you can to minimize negative health effects for you and your family.
Long-term exposure to black mold spores can cause adverse health effects like:
- Respiratory Problems like Coughing, Sneezing, and Irritated Sinuses
- Skin Irritation, Especially Around the Eyes
- Tiredness and Headaches
- Intensified Allergic Reactions
- Mental Impairment
- Immune System Suppression
- And More
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms over a prolonged period of time, it might be time to get an inspection to check for toxic black mold in hidden areas like attics.
[Related: Dangerous Types of Mold]
Causes of Black Mold
For any type of mold to grow and multiply, it must first find its way indoors. Unfortunately, mold spores can find their way in fairly easily. Spores can attach to your clothes or your pet’s fur, allowing you to bring them inside without knowing it. Also, air currents can carry mold spores in through your vents.
Once they’re inside, they have to find water and food, which is why you’ll usually notice mold in water-damaged areas. Organic materials that make up your walls and floors like carpet, insulation, and drywall soak up water, and creates the perfect environment for mold to thrive. The environment must also be warm and dark because ultraviolet rays kill spores.
Using a humidifier and drying your clothes indoors increases the likelihood that mold will colonize your home. Other causes of black mold include leaky roofs and pipes and poor ventilation.
[Related: Common Causes of Mold]
How You Can Prevent Black Mold Growth in Your Home
Mold remediation is a viable option if there is already mold in your home, but you should take steps to prevent mold growth in the first place to save time and money down the road.
The key is to control moisture levels. If you know there are water-damaged areas in your home, you should remove all affected materials. Check around your kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room to check for areas that might have water damage from pipe leaks. Make sure rainwater is directed away from the home, and keep fabrics in your home clean and dry.
Air dehumidifiers offer a good solution to high moisture levels in the home. They remove moisture from the air in your home, reducing the chance that mold would be able to survive if spores got inside. When it comes to mold, the drier your home is, the better.
[Related: Six Ways to Prevent Mold in Your House]
[Related: How to Prevent Carpet Mold]
Being aware of the causes of black mold will help you keep your home safe and healthy, but it won’t help you if mold spores are already colonizing. If black mold is a chronic problem in your home, consider hiring a mold remediation company like CLEAR Restoration in Baton Rouge to remove the mold growth and help you prevent it in the future. Call CLEAR Restoration at 225-245-3575 today for mold remediation services.