Stachybotrys in My Home

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Stachybotrys in My Home: Now What?

The presence of high levels of mold indoors is known to cause a variety of health concerns and can even lower the value of a property. In most indoor environments, all it takes for mold to begin to grow is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration or a flooding event.

One type of mold in particular has garnered widespread attention by the media. Stachybotrys chartarum has often been called "black mold" or "toxic mold" when referred to in news reports. Although Stachybotrys chartarum can appear black in nature, and is also often green, so to can many other types of mold. Likewise, even though Stachybotrys chartarum can produce mycotoxins, its presence does not necessary mean that toxins are present.

Stachybotrys chartarum often grows on wet materials with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust and even lint. In many circumstances where water damage has occurred, multiple types of mold are found. For example, Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Alternaria are all frequently associated with moldy indoor environments. Some of these fungi are also known to sometimes produce mycotoxins and they can also cause health concerns.

Having Stachybotrys chartarum or any type of mold growing indoors with high levels present in the air people breathe is a concern for building occupants. Some people are allergic to mold and it is a known asthma trigger. Immunocompromised people and those with chronic lung diseases are at increased risk for opportunistic infections and may develop fungal infections in their lungs from some types of fungi, such as Aspergillus.

Whether its Stachybotrys chartarum or any other type of mold associated with wet indoor environments, mold growth indicates that there is a problem with water or moisture. This is the first issue that needs to be addressed or else the mold will continue to be a problem.

There are professionals who specialize in conducting indoor air quality investigations and companies who remediate homes and buildings when mold growth is found.

These are just a few things to know about Stachybotrys in indoor environments