What Is Toxic Black Mold Removal?
Black mold removal is one part of the overall process of mold remediation. For those unfamiliar with this term, remediation is defined in general as the action of remedying something, and in particular the reversal or stopping of damage to the environment. Toxic black mold removal from the home environment is a critical and necessary step to safeguard your family’s health.
What Is Toxic Black Mold?
The term black mold or toxic black mold is usually associated with Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra as it is also sometimes called. Stachybotrys chartarum or toxic black mold is a greenish-black mold.
Black mold grows on high cellulose materials like paper, drywall, ceiling tiles and other fibrous materials. Stachybotrys is generally slower growing than most other molds and doesn’t compete well with them so it is rarely a problem out-of-doors. However, once in a home it can be quite prolific and invasive making toxic black mold removal a priority.
Is Black Mold Toxic?
Prolonged exposure to black toxic mold can result in toxic black mold syndrome. The health risks stem from the mycotoxins it produces. Stachybotrys has been shown to pose a serious health risk especially in children and immunocompromised adults although even healthy adults are affected negatively by black mold exposure. Stachybotrys emits trichothecene mycotoxin satratoxin-H which has been proven to be poisonous if inhaled.
Medical studies have linked black toxic mold exposure to upper respiratory tract symptoms like coughing and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. Other black mold syndrome symptoms can include fatigue, flu-like symptoms, skin rashes and eye irritation. Symptoms can be more severe and acute in people who have mold allergies or asthma making toxic black mold removal even more imperative to their health and surviving toxic black mold syndrome.
Mold allergy symptoms include more severe reactions like pneumonitis , sinusitis and black mold has been shown to increase asthma attacks. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest exposure may cause asthma in children. Toxic black mold has also been known to cause pulmonary hemorrhage in infants and in some cases can be fatal.
The purpose here is not to scare you but rather to make you aware of the serious potential health risks caused by toxic black mold exposure and why it is important to implement toxic black mold removal as quickly as possible.
Black Toxic Mold Poses Financial Risks Too
Black toxic mold if left to its own can make you sick and your house unlivable until it is remediated. But putting off toxic black mold removal can also make your finances sick.
Home buyers have become much more savvy about buying homes and with the current market glut they have many more to choose from. Many buyers will want to do a mold inspection. If your home has had a mold problem you will need to be able to prove you performed a black mold removal and the situation has been remediated before you can sell it.
If you’re a buyer you may be looking at homes that have gone through the foreclosure process. These homes have often been empty and unheated and make a good environment for mold to grow. Make sure the house doesn’t have a black mold problem or toxic black mold removal has been done before you buy.
Toxic Black Mold Removal Begins With Mold Inspection
The first step is to do a thorough mold inspection of your home. In order for toxic black mold removal to be successful it is necessary to find and stop water and moisture from entering your home. Without moisture mold can not grow. Stop moisture intrusion and control indoor humidity and you will stop black mold dead in its tracks.
Start your home mold inspection outside. Begin on the roof and look for loose shingles and areas where debris has collected. Pay close attention to roof valleys and flashing around vents and chimneys as these are the most common areas for leaks. Make sure your gutters are clear.
Next you will want to look at your homes foundation. Look for and correct situations where water can collect near it or drain towards it such as around downspouts. Look for leaky hose faucets too. If your home has a basement this is another prime area for mold infestation because it is damp most of the time.
Next move inside your home. You need to be thorough and find all areas where mold is a problem so you will only have to deal with it once. Check the attic for signs of leaks. Look for signs of staining or moisture on rafters or insulation. Look at items you have stored, especially if they are in cardboard boxes. Be on the lookout for a musty smell. That is a sure sign mold is present even if you can’t see it.
You may find visible black toxic mold growing or it may be hiding. Again let your nose be your guide. Look under sinks, behind refrigerators and washing machines and in bathrooms in particular because they have high humidity. Check vents, air conditioners and around windows. Look for signs of condensation.
Mold is microscopic and can hide in cracks and be hard to see. If you don’t find mold but can smell it or suspect it is causing problems dig a bit deeper. Look for stains on walls that might indicate plumbing leaks. Mold can hide behind baseboard, under carpeting and behind ceramic tiles. Corners, especially on exterior walls where air flow is cut off by furniture are breeding grounds for mold.
If all this seems like too much then you may wish to contact a mold inspection company and have them do the work for you. Although a certified mold inspection is more expensive than doing it yourself it can pay for itself if they find something you would have missed.
A good mold inspector has looked at many homes and has developed an eye for finding hidden mold. Remember these guys want to make money, so you can be sure if mold is present they will find it.
Since black toxic mold is a living organism it is important all of it is found and all moisture problems are corrected before toxic black mold removal is done, otherwise it will grow back.
Is Mold Testing Needed For Toxic Black Mold Removal?
Toxic black mold removal does require caution and protective clothing because of its toxicity to humans. However if you have found mold whether is black, white, green or whatever color, it has to go. Not all black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum and although it is by no means rare there are many other types of mold that are also damaging to your health.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)has witnessed first hand, thousands of cases of the problems associated with mold growth after flooding and has classified mold as a major health hazard linked to many health problems.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states: “It is not necessary, however, to determine what type of mold you may have. All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.”
So if you are the kind of person that needs to know, go ahead and start testing for black mold but it is not really necessary because all mold must go. On the other hand if you did not find any visible mold but believe you are living in a sick house or have mold sensitive family members you may want to test for mold.
Even in this case you still don’t really need to know the type of mold you have. What you will want to know is the concentration of mold spores in the air. This is beyond the scope of home mold test kits and will require a mold remediation specialist to perform.
DIY Toxic Black Mold Removal
Many homeowners want to know if diy toxic black mold removable is feasible. The answer depends on the size of the mold infestation and the materials that are infected. Also if you or other family members are mold sensitive or have respiratory problems then toxic black mold removal should be left to a professional mold remediation service.
The main danger in diy black mold removal is spreading the mold to other areas. Containment becomes increasingly difficult with larger areas especially if you are living in the house.
Before attempting toxic black mold removal it is important to first correct the moisture problem that caused mold growth in the first place, otherwise it will just grow back.
Bleach And Toxic Black Mold Removal
You may have heard you can use bleach for black mold removal. So did a lot of fly by night mold remediators who are now tangled up in toxic black mold lawsuits. Don’t think you can just spray bleach on black mold and paint over it and it will be gone.
First, some molds are resistant to chlorine. While it may be suitable for use on hard smooth surfaces it will not kill mold in porous materials. These materials like ceiling tiles or drywall will need to be removed and replaced.
If getting rid of black toxic mold were as simple as spraying it with bleach the EPA, CDC, FEMA and countless other local health agencies would not be involved and there would be no need to properly train and certify mold remediators.
Toxic Black Mold Removal – Why Size Matters
If the mold infestation is small or limited to hard surfaces it may be possible to carry out your own black mold removal. As a general guideline mold removal and remediation is rated by levels of contamination. Each level requires additional precautions and expertise to handle.
Level 1 is for areas under ten square feet. Level 2 is for areas 10 to 30 square feet. Level 3 is for areas up to 100 square feet. Level 4 is for areas over 100 square feet. Level 5 involves cleaning the HVAC system.
If you are healthy, handy and not sensitive to mold, wear proper protective clothing you may be able to handle a Level 2 black mold removal. Beyond that and proper removal and containment is too difficult for most and it is recommended you seek a mold remediation company.
Level 1 mold removal involves a small isolated area. If it is a hard surface like glass, plastic, metal or concrete it can be scrubbed and cleaned with bleach or a biocide. Protective gloves and a NIOSH 95 respirator should be worn.
Level 2 would involve remediation of an area about the size of a sheet of drywall. At this point you are looking at sealing and removing the debris, isolating the area, sealing any vents and using a HEPA vacuum to clean all surfaces.
When To Call For Professional Mold Remediation
Because of the danger of exposure to the person removing the mold, those living in the home and to the risk of spreading of the mold infestation it is best to take a cautious approach to diy black mold removal.
It is easy to underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to complete larger home mold removal projects. Larger projects can also require removing furniture during the project and in some cases relocating until the project is complete. For most people this means seeking a professional mold remediation company for areas over 30 square feet.
Toxic Black Mold Removal Summary
Although toxic black mold is the most widely publicized and the most toxic, many types of mold are known to cause health issues. Regardless of the type of mold living in your home it needs to be removed.
Black toxic mold can make your house unlivable and unsellable. It is important to do a thorough mold inspection and find its hiding places. Before removing toxic black mold it is important to correct the moisture problems that caused it.
When dealing with areas larger than 30 square feet, black mold removal is best left to professional mold remediation specialists.
Because black mold won’t get better on its own and will continue to produce toxic spores it is important to begin toxic black mold removal as soon as possible after its discovery.