Help! I’ve got black mold!

September 12, 2019 | Mold


Every day, as a mold remediation company, we get the call.  “Help me!  I’ve got black mold, and if I don’t get it fixed right away, everyone in my house will die!”.

Well, they’re not always that urgent.  But Central Indiana, especially low-lying areas like Muncie, Anderson and New Castle have a lot of water and mold issues.  And we’ve been at this long enough to have heard MANY of these calls. And so we want to take a minute to address the issue, and answer some questions.  What is black mold?  Will it make me sick?  How can I fix it?  But first:

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a doctor.  If you have any questions about mold-related health issues, please bring it up with your physician.  They went to school for a long time, and I did not.  They probably know better than me!

What is Black Mold?

So, now that’s out of the way, what is black mold?  Almost every mold call we get, people think they have black mold.  So I would like to get this part out of the way.  There are over 100,000 types of mold growing out there, and “black mold” refers to one of them:  Stachybotrys chartarum.  Stachybotrys, sometimes called “stachy” in the industry, is a mold that typically appears black, likes materials with a high cellulose content (drywall paper, fiberboard, lint, wallpaper, etc.).  It also requires very high, sustained moisture levels.  For instance, let’s say you had a roof leak.  You noticed it and got it fixed right away, but some mold grew as a result.  This mold very likely would not be Stachybotrys.  However, if you had a persistent leak behind a wall that went on for months, then you’d have a much higher chance of running into it.  Overall, however, we have found that stachy isn’t a very common mold in most of the homes in East Central Indiana.  If you see mold growing on the walls, and it’s black, just know that there’s a good chance it’s not “black mold”!

Will I Get Sick?

The next question we get asked a lot is “will this mold make me sick?”  The answer is not as cut and dried as people typically want.  The black mold scare started in the early 90’s when a group of infants in Ohio were diagnosed with bleeding lung syndrome.  The CDC linked the illness to a sister strain of stachy, Stachybotrys Atra.  In the years since, a flurry of research has come up with inconclusive results.  There still hasn’t been an official connection made with stachybotrys  and serious illness, but it has been linked with several respiratory symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.  There has also been a connection between mold growth and asthma in children.  Again, we would recommend consulting with your physician if you think you have a mold-related illness.  A qualified mold remediation company will be able to help you with the root cause, but we can’t offer any medical resources.

What do I do?

So how do you fix it?  Remediation of stachybotrys  is no different than remediation of any other mold.  Proper mold remediation always includes source removal, cleaning, and just as important, finding what’s causing it in the first place.  Like all molds, stachy needs a food source and high moisture to grow.  It’s very important to find the source of that moisture before anything is rebuilt.  Mold remediation is useless if it just comes back again!

In short, if you’ve got a mold problem, it needs to be fixed.  It’s being caused by an underlying moisture issue that, even if the mold isn’t making you sick, can still sometimes lead to rot and structural failure of your home.  So if you’ve got a home in the Muncie, New Castle, Anderson, or surrounding areas, and you suspect a mold issue, Altra Dry will come out and help you diagnose your issues, and give you a quote to help you get back to a healthy living condition.

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