It is no secret that there are things that can infest themselves in the crawlspace underneath your home. Various fungi, animals, insects, and mold can come in your home at any moment if the space underneath your home is both spacious enough and open to the elements, such as moisture or growing shrubbery. But what is the worst possible scenario, when it comes to infestations in your home?
Mold. All it takes to grow is a small amount of moisture for it to start invading your home. And, all it takes for it to spread is the releasing of spores once the mold hits its reproductive stage, increasing the risk of exposure to harmful substances in the air of the household.
But how much do we know about black mold outside of what we have been told on the news? Is it as alarming as people say it is? And if so, what can be done to prevent the problems associated with mold in the home?
The Nature of Mold
Mold is a commonplace thing in our world. There are some species of mold that are used to our benefit, such as yeast and penicillium, and there are others that exist but do nothing at all. Take for instance, the bacillus, a mold that survives in soil. It is considered nonpathogenic for humans but doesn’t seem to have much of a benefit either.
However, there are some molds that negatively affect plants, animals, and yes, even human beings. These are the species of mold that can cause allergies and toenail infections at best and, certain types of cancer along with mental illnesses at their worst.
Black mold ( Stachybotrys chartarum) is a species of mold that is famously noted as toxic. It is dangerous enough to cause bodily harm with a laundry list of problems for people that start breathing in the spore filled air of this species.
The mold is considered ‘toxic’ but it is partially an inaccuracy. According to moldmanusa.com “Media reports of Black Mold often refer to molds that can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), such as groups of molds known as Stachybotrys. Mycotoxins will not always be produced when these types of mold are present. …The presence of mold does not necessarily mean mycotoxins are present. The conditions needed for mycotoxins to be produced are not fully understood.”
So, when black mold is being reported or toxic mold is mentioned, it is not talking about that specific species of mold but rather, a specific characteristic that can be found in multiple types of mold.
Is it A Real Threat?
For starters, you would have to figure out the odds of coming across black mold in the home. The good news is there are over 100,000 species of mold that exist. This means that the odds of you coming across it in your lifetime isn’t all that high. In fact, you would be more likely to suffer injuries in the bathroom than you are to come across black mold.
But, since toxicity can appear in different types of mold, it is always a good idea to get rid of it as soon as you find out about its existence. Prolonged exposure to multiple types of mold in general is bad for a person’s respiratory system and could have long term devastating effects.
So, how do you know if black mold is in your home, and if you find it, what do you do?
Mitigating the Mold
If you smell a funny earthy scent, and you are suspecting it is the mold nearby, take the time to get it tested either by a professional, or with a DIY kit if you are feeling confident. Then, once you figured out what it is. If it’s black mold, you can start by cleaning the area immediately.
Protective eyewear and non-porous gloves are what you need to be wearing before you start to clean away at the walls. If you do not feel comfortable with breathing in the air, you can always utilize a face mask. Either way, I cannot stress to you how important it is to protect yourself from contact with toxic spores. Then get the area scrubbed down with soap and water. If you think that it is not enough, instead use a solution of 1 cup of bleach, and a gallon of water, as recommended by the Center of Disease Control (CDC).
Warning: Never mix your bleach cleaning products with anything ammonia, you are just trading in one toxin for another in the form of Mustard Gas
Make sure the areas are ventilated while you are cleaning so you could get fresh air in for yourself and a chance to dry the area a little faster.
Once you are done cleaning the area, you need to address what caused the mold in your home in the first place. I mentioned earlier that mold exists where there is moisture, so you would need to either figure out yourself where the mold came from or hire a professional.
A Call to Action
Address the issue as soon as possible, because even if you don’t think that the mold is even continuing to grow, there is still a chance that it could create respiratory problems.
If you haven’t checked your home in a while, maybe you should consider calling someone to inspect your crawlspace or places where water could gather. The earlier you can detect an infestation of mold, the quicker any allergies, immune system attacks, and infections of a physiological and neurological nature can be prevented long term.