We get that question a lot, as well as… “Is that the toxic black mold?” or “is that the dangerous mold”. Here is a common sense response to this often asked question.
After much research and literally thousands of mold inspections, ultimately the answer depends on your own personal susceptibility:
Generally when mold of any kind is actively growing in small surface area (less than a few sq. ft.) it does not cause a significant health issue (Air Quality issue) to most of us.
However, those who are otherwise highly sensitive, allergic, or prone to be bothered by mold of any kind will demonstrate a side effect right away and more often than not, it has nothing to do with what type of mold it is. In fact a mold group called Penicillium / Aspergillus tends to be the mold which irritates most people first. Why…….
It’s the first mold to grow (Penicillium / Aspergillus is very opportunistic) and it can grow under many conditions needing less moisture and grows on many material types like leather and vinyl.
“Black Mold” is a mold species called “Stachybotrys” (pronounced Stacki-bot-tris) which tends to grow on paper and processed wood fibers easily such as found with drywall. There is a potential for this mold to have what is called a “Mycotoxic” affect although it is rare and not well substantiated scientifically.
Generally many mold types tend to grow in conditions where moisture, wood based materials, and sustained high relative humidity work together to produce an Air Quality issue. Whether or not the mold type is Stachybotrys or Chaetomium or Cladosporium or Penicillium / Aspergillus or dozens of other mold types which are seen in both indoor and outdoor environments, it doesn’t necessarily matter because ultimately your reaction to mold is based on your own personal sensitivity to it.
Molds such as Stachybotrys may be potentially “Mycotoxic”, but there is a lack of real evidence that there is a direct relationship to exposure to it and a known toxic affect in most people.
What’s the lesson here….Know what your conditions are for mold growth and prevent the growth. If you have uncertainties, RTS can help you better understand air quality and mold in the indoor environment with an inspection and consultation. An inspection is especially important for those who are sensitive to molds.
Please contact RTS Environmental Services at 1-800-722-5589 – www.rtsenvironmental.com