How Do You Know if a Mold is Dangerous?
When an inhabitant sees
their environment affected by mold for the first time, it is easy to jump to
conclusions that the mold is dangerous. The truth is that there are over 200
known types of mycotoxins, or toxicities released by mold.
Not all of these are
dangerous, though it is unknown how many undiscovered toxins are yet to be
identified. When trying to determine the seriousness of a mold infestation, the
best thing to do is to look to hiring a toxic mold inspector.
identification is something that should only be attempted by a trained eye.
Mycology is the study of
fungi, and only those trained in mycology should attempt to identify the mold
present in a location to determine its exact type and toxicity.
Not only are inspectors
trained to recognize causes, symptoms, and instances of mold, but they can
provide valuable helpful information on cleaning the mold and preventing a
Toxic mold inspections
require a thorough evaluation of the premises, including mold sampling and mold
It is important to
remember that mold may even be present where it is not seen, and only a trained
or certified mold inspector will know where to check for the growth of mold.
Not only are they trained to detect mold by visual inspection, but they can
also determine if mold is present by scent.
Potentially Dangerous Molds Give Off Odor
Potentially dangerous molds such as
Stachybotrys, give off an unmistakable odor that is easily recognizable by mold
inspectors. Most likely, those inhabiting the dwelling have smelt the odors as
However, to determine
exactly which spores are present, the inspector will need to take a sample of
the mold. Lab testing under a microscope could take from one to several weeks.
What about Toxic, Black Mold?
Stachybotrys, also known
as black mold and toxic mold, is recognizable because of its color. While there
are several types of mold that appear black in color, Stachybotrys is a
greenish-black, flowering-type mold.
It grows rather rapidly,
and is the mold you so often see on news programs featuring homes ravaged by
floods. This mold is different from the green and white mold on foods, and the
black mold that shows up on the shower curtain.
Toxic mold will typically
show up on high-cellulose surfaces, such as paper, dry wall, wood, and ceiling
tiles. Carpet and wallpaper are great surfaces for Stachybotrys to grow on.
What Does a Mold Inspector Look For?
Most important for the mold inspector is to
find the source that created an atmosphere in which the mold could grow. If the
source of excess water is not found, such as leaking pluming or an inefficient
HVAC, mold spores will only re-infect the area once the current damage is
cleaned and removed.
The only way to prevent
the dangerous molds from growing is to control the moisture indoors and provide
proper ventilation throughout.
By taking these measures
indoors, and by controlling excess water outdoors with proper grading, building
owners can help prevent the dangerous mold spores that can grow â€“ and the
health affects that they come with.