Will Toxic Black Mold in My Home Poison Me?Toxic black mold or stachybotrys is found by certified mold inspectors about 6% of the time in indoor air samples and about 1% of the time in outdoor samples.
According to literature and according to this inspectors experience it grows almost exclusively on very wet cellouse containing materials including paper, carpet backings, ceiling tile, and especially on drywall.
It is the most feared of all molds, due to the numerous news reports, newspaper articles, and magazine articles attributing possible brain damage, infant deaths, expensive property damage and other horrible consequences surrounding its growth in residential settings.
Many molds produce mycotoxins (toxic chemicals that molds use in a type of microbial warfare). Living things that do not possess claws, fangs, or a hard shell to use in self defense or fast legs to run away from predators, will typically revert to the use of camouflage or the production of poisons. This is very common in nature.
In reality, toxic molds like Stachybotrys also known as toxic black mold and others may have to be either consumed in mold contaminated foods, or physically handled so that excessive physical contact is made between human skin and the mold in order for toxic reactions to develop. At this time most scientists do not believe that breathing in toxic mold spores can have toxic effects on humans when inhaled at the levels typically encountered in homes and offices.
Public opinion may not be in support of the above statement and in the future we may find that the above statement is not true and perhaps one day we will find that toxic molds cause toxic reactions via inhalation but currently scientific evidence does not support the view that toxic molds can poison you via inhalation at levels found in indoor environments. To support this statement please review the following abstract from the International Journal of Toxicology Volume 23, Number 1 / January-February 2004 pages 3 to 10.
"Risk from Inhaled Mycotoxins in Indoor Office and Residential Environments
Bruce J. Kelman A1, Coreen A. Robbins A1, Lonie J. Swenson A1, Bryan D. Hardin A1 A1 GlobalTox, Inc., Redmond, Washington, USA
Mycotoxins are known to produce veterinary and human diseases when consumed with contaminated foods. Mycotoxins have also been proposed to cause adverse human health effects after inhalation exposure to mold in indoor residential, school, and office environments. Epidemiological evidence has been inadequate to establish a causal relationship between indoor mold and nonallergic, toxigenic health effects. In this article, the authors model a maximum possible dose of mycotoxins that could be inhaled in 24 h of continuous exposure to a high concentration of mold spores containing the maximum reported concentration of aflatoxins B1 and B2, satratoxins G and H, fumitremorgens B and C, verruculogen, and trichoverrols A and B. These calculated doses are compared to effects data for the same mycotoxins. None of the maximum doses modeled were sufficiently high to cause any adverse effect. The model illustrates the inefficiency of delivery of mycotoxins via inhalation of mold spores, and suggests that the lack of association between mold exposure and mycotoxicoses in indoor environments is due to a requirement for extremely high airborne spore levels and extended periods of exposure to elicit a response. This model is further evidence that human mycotoxicoses are implausible following inhalation exposure to mycotoxins in mold-contaminated home, school, or office environments."
Regardless of if toxic mold can poison you with mycotoxins via inhalation, it is a fact observed by this inspector many times that mold can make some people very sick. Asthma attacks, allergies, and sinus infections from mold appear to be very common. Such conditions in turn can cause people to loose sleep, loose energy and concentration, miss work, and in general feel as if they were being poisoned by mycotoxins.
Daryl Watters has a bachelors degree in education for teaching biology and general science and is a certified mold inspector, certified home inspector, and certified indoor environmentalist providing building inspections in South Florida since 1993. For more information visit http://www.floridamoldinspectors.us http://www.florida-mold-inspection.com