Newspapers, radio and television are picking up stories related to black mold and the symptoms of toxic mold illnesses and litigations due to this toxic mold are increasing day by day. Stachybotrys Chartarum, a fungus commonly known as black mold actually starts out as a white, slimy, growth on damp surfaces, but eventually becomes black. Its spores are loaded with dangerous mycotoxins that can cause a variety of mold illness symptoms.
Effects of black mold
Common symptoms of mold exposure include allergic reactions like sneezing, runny nose and eye irritation. It may be mistaken for a flu when common black mold symptoms such as fatigue and sore throat are present. Spores of other molds can also produce allergies, but toxic mold symptoms can be much worse than that. Pulmonary hemorrhage and certain types of cancers may result from prolonged exposure.
Black mold first gained notoriety back in 1994 with the case of several infants in Ohio suffering from pulmonary hemorrhage due to it. An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) concluded that pulmonary hemorrhage in infants was a symptom of toxic black mold exposure. People suddenly woke up to the seriousness of black mold infestation in homes and offices and began attempts at mold remediation.
Black mold in court
Awareness about toxic molds and their negative impact has been increasing, as are the litigations regarding mold. Erin Brockovich who suffered constant flu-like symptoms from the black mold in her home sued the previous owners and the building contractors. Michael Jordan of NBA fame and ?the Hulk? Lou Ferrigno are a few of the celebrities who went to court over mold damage to their homes.
While Ed McMahon?s claim that mold killed his dog, and made him and his wife develop symptoms of mold illness, got him a compensation of 7.2 million dollars, Melinda Ballard was awarded 32 million dollars. No wonder, insurance companies are increasingly shying away from covering damages due to indoor toxic mold.
Effect of weather on mold growth
Cold and wet weather is ideally suited for mold growth; hence, major flooding events have an undeniable role in worsening the air quality in buildings. Hurricane Katrina caused such water damage to buildings that toxic mold growth became rampant. The relief workers had to use protective gear and respirators while entering flood-affected buildings. Black mold is not the only villain around. According to Dr. Peyton Eggleston, pediatric allergist at John Hopkins University, flood-damaged homes in New Orleans are threatened by the toxic mold, Penicillium which can also produce symptoms of mold sickness.
Effect of economic slowdown
Economic depression decreased the demand for housing, but it has significantly increased mold damage to properties. When people occupy houses, the doors and windows are opened and closed frequently, causing some amount of air circulation. When homes lie vacant, mold gets a free run in the stagnant, damp air. These homes need extensive repair and mold remediation to become inhabitable again.
Mold is here to stay
Molds have been around since the beginning of time and they need little more than dampness and some organic material to survive. Asbestos in older homes has been causing illnesses and lawsuits just like mold does, but there is a big difference. While an end to the asbestos scourge is possible once that material is removed, the problems due to toxic molds and mold sickness are here to stay.
All we can do is protect our homes from toxic mold, be aware of the symptoms of black mold exposure, and take immediate remediation measures with the help of qualified experts before the problem gets out of hand.