Is All Black-Colored Mold “Toxic Black Mold”?

by Allied / Friday, 01 January 2021 / Published in Mold Remediation

Black mold–the very name itself strikes fear into the hearts of many homeowners, especially those dealing with a full-blown mold infestation. The term becomes even more alarming when “toxic” is added before it, in which case the resulting term is enough to send homeowners into a tizzy.

But what are black molds and toxic black molds exactly? Are they one and the same thing?

Identifying Black Mold and Toxic Black Mold

Most types of mold that grow in the typical home have a distinct color. They usually cause a noticeable discoloration on the surfaces on which they grow. It isn’t uncommon for large areas of walls or the ceiling to assume the color of the mold growing on it.

Most people assume that dark-colored mold is black mold, whether this is the case or not. But not all mold that has a darkish appearance is black mold. Even mold that is clearly black may not necessarily be toxic black mold.

Keep in mind that there more than 100,000 mold species in existence. Therefore, it is difficult to determine what type of mold has taken root in your home based on its color or appearance.

The difficulty of identifying the type of mold in your home is compounded by the fact that black mold itself consists of several different species. Some of these are practically harmless, while others could be classified as toxic based on their qualities.

What most people refer to as “black mold” is either Cladosporium or Alternaria. Although these two types of mold aren’t necessarily toxic, they can cause some severe health issues. In particular, these types of mold can trigger or aggravate asthma and even cause various allergy symptoms. Cladosporium and Alternaria are especially hazardous when you are exposed to them indoors.

What You Need to Know About Toxic Black Mold

So what type of mold is “toxic black mold”? The scientific name of this type of mold is Stachybotrys Chartarum. This particular species can be extremely toxic, especially in high concentrations. Stachybotrys Chartarum is especially risky in confined spaces, where it grows and multiplies rapidly.

Like all toxigenic molds, Stachybotrys Chartarum works in a specific and somewhat predictable way. When it takes hold in an environment conducive to its growth, it will grow and develop over time. As the mold spores eat and grow, they combine with other spores and form ‘colonies’. They then gradually release toxins called ‘mycotoxins’ into the air.

The released toxins have the potential to cause serious health issues, some of them with long-term implications. Once the mycotoxins are in the air, they are essentially irritants that could pose health risks to people that are exposed to them. In particular, the toxins produced by Stachybotrys Chartarum could have harmful effects on people with health conditions that have existed before being exposed to the mold.

Apart from causing harm to humans, mycotoxins also affect the quality of air in the immediate vicinity. When left unaddressed, they could even have a significantly detrimental effect on the environment.

Mycotoxins: Only From Black Mold?

Black mold has been the subject of widespread myths and speculations, many of which have little to no basis in reality. One of the most commonly-held beliefs is that only black mold produces the mycotoxins harmful to human health.

This isn’t exactly true. In fact, several species of mold produce the same toxins and introduce them into the air of an indoor environment. In an article published by Medical News Today, it is stated that all molds have the potential to produce mycotoxins.

However, the article also states that the presence of mold doesn’t necessarily mean that there are mycotoxins in the immediate vicinity. This means that even if you have mold growth at home, you may not necessarily be exposed to mycotoxins.

What To Do If You Have Mold At Home

As you may have realized by now, almost all types of mold are potentially dangerous and can result in serious mold related health problems. If you detect signs of mold growth in your home, it is in your best interests to call a professional mold removal service as soon as possible to get rid of all traces of mold and treat the affected areas. Even if you merely suspect that you have mold growing in your home, it is advisable to call a mold removal service to check your home so that any potential problems could be addressed. Professional mold removal specialists have the equipment and technical knowledge to deal with mold safely and ensure that it doesn’t cause further harm to you and your family.