WHAT IS TOXIC MOLD?
Toxic mold, also known as black mold, is a dangerous substance that can enter homes and cause illness to the family. If black mold isn't detected immediately, it can spread into the walls and other areas of the home, making it difficult to get rid of. There are several types of mold that are present in homes, but only black mold is toxic.
Areas of the house with water damage are breeding grounds for black mold. These areas include, but aren't limited to, basements, laundry rooms, bath rooms, crawl spaces, under the sink and around the windows. Any area where water has leaked, or there is a lot of moisture, can harbour toxic mold.
Inspect the walls of the house for black patches of mold. These areas would likely be located near the floor, especially if the house has once flooded or had a major spill. When the floor gets wet, toxic mold can grow on and in the drywall, often traveling upwards.
Whether or not the black mold is toxic is determined by the shape. Toxic mold grows in a circular pattern that doesn't vary unless it travels to an area where moisture isn't present. The circular pattern of black mold is present on wet, humid surfaces and dry areas that where once wet. If any of the above is present, contact a professional to inspect your home for black mold. A professional can search and test for mold to determine if it is of the toxic variety, as well as let you know what steps are necessary to remove the mold from your home.
Toxic mold can cause people to experience cold-like symptoms. These include congestion, sinus issues, tiredness and a skin rash. If the toxic mold remains in the home, these symptoms can worsen and lead to liver diseases such as necrosis and fibrosis, respiratory illnesses and pathogenic infections.
Toxic mold can be prevented by keeping your house free of excess moisture. If you experience flooding in your house by a broken pipe, water bed, tub overflow or a large spill, clean it up immediately and run fans to dry the area. Keep the humidity in your house at no more than 50 percent. This can be done by airing out your house as often as possible. Open the windows or run the bathroom fan when showering.
If you are in the process of building your house, have a mold guard applied to the wood framing before installing the drywall. The doors and windows can be weatherproofed by adding heavy duty weather stripping. This will prevent mold from forming around the windowsills and doorways. It is less expensive to prevent toxic mold from growing than it is to have to remove it later.
If you would like more information, I can recommend several mold experts that work on the North Shore.