Risks Associated with White and Black Mold
Black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum (sometimes referred to as Stachybotrys atra) is a greenish-black mold. This type of mold tends to grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, paper, lint, and dust. Mold growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, or flooding. Excessive moisture is the major cause for most type of mold growth. However, since all molds should be treated with the same chemicals and immediate removal due to health risks, it is not necessary to determine what type of mold you may have. In most cases, it is not necessary to vacate the home or building entirely, however, if you feel ill because of mold exposure in a building, you should consult your physician to determine the appropriate action to take.
Not all mold exposure causes health risk, however, some people are more sensitive to molds. These people will experience negative effects; physical symptoms, such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to Black mold, or white mold. It is possible, however, for some people to have more severe reactions to these common toxic molds. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, and heavy untreated black mold within the home. These severe effects may include symptoms like fever, and shortness of breath. People with chronic lung diseases like COPD are at increased risk for these mold infections and may develop fungal infections in their lungs, which can increase the health risks associated with toxic black and/or white molds.
Furthermore, in 2004 the Institute of Medicine found evidence linking indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms including: coughing and wheezing. Moreover, the IOM also found evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in children who were typically considered healthy before exposure.
However, the term "toxic mold" is somewhat misleading. While most molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that produce said mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your home. Typically, there is always a little mold in the air and on many surfaces. However, there are few reports that these “toxigenic molds” found inside people’s houses can cause health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss.
Some types of mold may appear white at the early stage of their growth but change color with age. This type of mold is commonly referred to as “White Mold”. The color we see in some mold is actually the color of the spores. The network of filaments, mold body, is generally white and/or colorless. Therefore, mold may appear white before it produces spores and later appear black after producing the colored spores. Regardless of age, some types of molds have white color since their spores are not pigmented. Most of the time, efflorescence is mistaken for white mold. Efflorescence is a white salt-like substance most commonly seen on concrete floors. As the water comes up from the ground through the concrete it carries with it these dissolved salts. When the water evaporates it leaves behind the visible white stuff which is commonly mistaken for mold. If you have any questions about mold remediation, or what types of mold could potentially be inside your home, please call DARI’s mold remediation team at 336-510-4052. DARI has been the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High-Point area’s go-to mold remediation team since 1987.
For more information about mold, check out our frequently asked questions page.