How to Spot and Prevent Black Mold

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Closeup of Mold

Mold generally grows in damp places. Those growing inside homes can cause symptoms of mold sickness to the occupants, as many of them are toxic molds. Homeowners should be very vigilant and look out for signs of toxic mold growth and take remedial actions immediately.

Not all toxic molds growing inside the house are easy to spot, especially when they are in hidden places. However, careful observation can reveal certain telltale signs of mold growth.

Signs of mold growth

  • Discoloration of walls, roofs and floors ? The most toxic mold Stachybotrys, which causes severe symptoms of mold toxicity, is called black mold after its characteristic color. Brown, pink or grayish green discolorations also are signs of different types of mold.
  • Musty odor ? The volatile organic compounds released by molds have certain odors people typically associate with molds. All of them may not be offensive odors, but that doesn?t mean the mold growth is harmless.
  • Illnesses with unknown reason ? If one or several members of the household fall ill frequently check out the usual symptoms of toxic black mold.
  • Swelling of floorboards ? Any unevenness of floorboards should be investigated. Water damage is the most common reason for buckling, as the boards swell up absorbing water, creating the ideal condition for toxic mold growth.
  • Bathroom carpets ? They trap moisture and mold spores along with a host of other undesirable materials such as cockroach droppings and mites acting as a reservoir of toxic mold.

Reasons of Mold growth

  • Leaks and water seepage – Leaks from the roof, plumbing, imperfectly sealed windows, bathroom and kitchen fixtures etc., can be the starting point of a potential toxic mold growth. Groundwater seeping up through concrete basement can cause dampness.
  • Lack of proper ventilation ? While making the homes highly energy efficient, ventilation has suffered. The steam from bathtubs sinks and cloth dryers get trapped inside the home.
  • High humidity ? More than 55% relative humidity encourages mold growth. The black mold Stachybotrys needs very high humidity initially, nevertheless, it can survive in less humid conditions once established. Monsoon, hurricanes and high water table are environmental factors that increase humidity.
  • Flooding events ? hurricane, flooding during the rains, fire fighting, faulty drainage and sewage back-up are major causes of wide-spread water damage encouraging toxic mold growth.
  • Lumber ? As lumber for building construction is mainly obtained from rain forests; many species of fungi are brought along with it. They are not treated properly, leading to the proliferation of toxic molds. Afterwards too, storing them in the open, as well as construction during cold and wet months, encourages lumberyard mold growth.

Measures to prevent mold growth

Make sure that the house has a well-ventilated crawl space. The Bathtubs and kitchen sinks should be fitted with overflow spouts connected to good drainage. Any clogging in the lines should be cleared immediately to prevent sewage back up that can flood the floors and promote toxic mold growth. After steam cleaning of carpets, and post-fire water damage, ensure that the carpets and the floor are completely dry. Regular maintenance of heating and air-conditioning systems is also necessary. It is also a good idea to have a new home built during the summer months. These homes have less risk of lumberyard mold spreading during the construction stage.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I live in a 7 yr. old apartment. Spots in my carpet about the size of your pinky finger nail, have been developing over the past year. Not sure how they got there. Noticed more after heavy rain downfall. Also, carpet was cleaned 4/5 yrs. ago, carpet was left rather wet and took several days to dry. Could either of these situations create mold? Allergy like symptoms started 13 yrs. ago when I was exposed to resin coating, 4 times in 7 months I developed bronchitis! sever chronic cough! that leaves me breathless, that I still experience to this day. If I get near something with a coating or made of resin! ( like a copier, ink cartridge ), is part of the mixture for the ink. It would effect me even thou it was two rooms from me. All symptoms would start and at times I had to leave the building in order to leave. John Hopkins ran numerous test! but found no reason other than the fact that it occurs when exposed to resin products all kinds, including air ventilation system. Hard for me to go anywhere. Any suggestions?

    • Based on the symptoms that you have described and the carpet situation it is very clear that your symptoms are from mold exposure. If the carpet is in your bedroom I would have it removed immediately or sleep in another room with no carpeting or signs of mold growth. If the carpet is everywhere and cannot be removed, then I would strongly suggest looking for a new apartment. Also, I would highly recommend reading my free report entitled, “4 Steps to Becoming Mold Free and Healthy – For Good” and following the program that I present in the report.

      All the best,
      Cofe Fiakpui L.Ac. MTCM

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