Black mold is the common name for Stachybotrys chartarum, which is a species of black mold that produces its spores in its slime heads. While it can be found in the soil as well as other innocuous locations, it is best known for its presence in buildings that have been exposed to too much moisture, where it can pose a serious health threat to not just pets but also humans. In fact, some people even believe that this particular species of black mold is the culprit behind sick building syndrome, which is when people complain of discomfort and other unwanted symptoms after spending too much time in a particular building, though it should be noted that this remains unconfirmed at the present time.
Otherwise, it is interesting to note that Stachybotrys chartarum flourishes on materials with high cellulose but low nitrogen, with common examples including but not limited to paper, fiberboard, and gypsum board. Such materials can become infested because of leaks, flooding, and even excess moisture for whatever reason, but it should be noted that the conditions for mold are optimal when there is constant moisture. With that said, Stachybotrys chartarum is not counted among the most common species of mold that can infest buildings, but it is more than common enough to be considered a plausible threat, though to be fair, that can be found about all of the molds that can be found in homes.
Regardless, it is clear that mold is a serious problem, meaning that homeowners should remove it as soon as possible when its presence is uncovered. However, they should give some serious thought to entrusting such responsibilities to a skilled and experienced contractor rather than attempting to handle them on their own, both because of the potential risks and because of the remarkable range of locations where mold can be found. After all, an incomplete removal can result in a re-infestation, which will result in further costs as well as further complications, meaning that homeowners must be prepared to be thorough.
What Are the Dangers of Exposure to Black Mold?
People have claimed all sorts of frightening medical conditions to be connected with Stachybotrys chartarum. Examples range from the loss of memories to acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, though it must be noted that researchers have so far been unable to establish a causal relationship between this particular species of black mold and these medical conditions. However, it is more than dangerous enough on its own even without these potential risks, not least because it can cause harm to people through the air that we breathe in and out on a constant basis.
The presence of mold in a home can cause interference with its inhabitants’ breathing. For most people, the symptoms will be limited to wheezing, eye irritation, skin irritation, and nasal congestion, which are uncomfortable and unpleasant but not particularly dangerous. However, some people are more sensitive to the presence of mold than others, whether because of existing allergies or some other problem, while other people are exposed to more mold for longer periods of time. As a result, they can expect more severe symptoms such as fevers and shortness of breath. In particularly serious cases, as with people who are suffering from chronic diseases and problems with their immune systems, they are even at-risk for opportunistic infections of their lungs as well as all of the complications thereof. In other words, it is rare but not unknown for people to end up with fungal infections in their lungs because of mold in their homes, particularly because COPD is extremely common in chronic smokers.
How Can Black Mold Be Removed in a Safe and Reliable Manner?
Removing Stachybotrys chartarum and other species of mold is not particularly difficult, assuming that the homeowners know where it can be found. In brief, the CDC recommends a thorough cleaning with either soap and water, commercial cleaning products, or even a bleach solution with a concentration of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. However, homeowners should know that it might not be possible to save some materials that have suffered too long from the infestation of mold, meaning that they should be tossed out when they come up them rather than make a futile attempt to save them. Furthermore, they should make sure to wear protective eye wear as well as protective gloves while doing their work with the doors and windows open in order to minimize their chances of picking up some of the symptoms associated with excessive exposure to mold.
However, it should be noted that fixing the problem of mold is not always as simple as this. For example, the presence of mold suggests that there is something wrong with the home that will need to be fixed in order to prevent future recurrences of the mold infestation because there is no realistic way to keep mold spores from entering a home through either its doors and windows or by clinging to its inhabitants as they head inside from the outside. Sometimes, this is as simple as having a dehumidifier to bring down the moisture level of a particular location that is seeing too much condensation. Other times, this can be as complicated and time-consuming as checking a home’s plumbing system for potential leaks.
As a result, when homeowners are faced with either a cause of mold infestation that they cannot find or a much bigger mold infestation than what they are willing to handle on their own, they should contact a skilled and experienced contractor to take care of the problem that they either cannot or will not. Generally speaking, this should be as simple as using a search engine to find some mold specialists operating in the local region, though homeowners should make sure to review their claims and credentials to make sure that they are genuinely capable of providing the services that they are offering. This way or only this way will they be able to solve the problem of Stachybotrys chartarum and other molds in an efficient and effective manner that will minimize the disruption to their normal day-to-day routines.
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