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Identifying Potentially Dangerous Molds

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 by Anthony Picarello

How Do You Know if a Mold is Dangerous?


When an inhabitant sees their environment affected by mold for the first time, it is easy to jump to conclusions that the mold is dangerous. The truth is that there are over 200 known types ofmycotoxins, or toxicities released by mold.

Not all of these are dangerous, though it is unknown how many undiscovered toxins are yet to be identified. When trying to determine the seriousness of a mold infestation, the best thing to do is to look to hiring a toxic mold inspector.


Mold identification is something that should only be attempted by a trained eye.




Mycology is the study of fungi, and only those trained in mycology should attempt to identify the mold present in a location to determine its exact type and toxicity.


Not only are inspectors trained to recognize causes, symptoms, and instances of mold, but they can provide valuable helpful information on cleaning the mold and preventing a recurrence.


Toxic mold inspections require a thorough evaluation of the premises, including mold sampling and mold testing.


It is important to remember that mold may even be present where it is not seen, and only a trained or certified mold inspector will know where to check for the growth of mold. Not only are they trained to detect mold by visual inspection, but they can also determine if mold is present by scent.


Potentially Dangerous Molds Give Off Odor


Potentially dangerous molds such as Stachybotrys, give off an unmistakable odor that is easily recognizable by mold inspectors. Most likely, those inhabiting the dwelling have smelt the odors as well.


However, to determine exactly which spores are present, the inspector will need to take a sample of the mold. Lab testing under a microscope could take from one to several weeks.


What about Toxic, Black Mold?


Stachybotrys, also known as black mold and toxic mold, is recognizable because of its color. While there are several types of mold that appear black in color, Stachybotrys is a greenish-black, flowering-type mold.


It grows rather rapidly, and is the mold you so often see on news programs featuring homes ravaged by floods. This mold is different from the green and white mold on foods, and the black mold that shows up on the shower curtain.


Toxic mold will typically show up on high-cellulose surfaces, such as paper, dry wall, wood, and ceiling tiles. Carpet and wallpaper are great surfaces for Stachybotrys to grow on.


What Does a Mold Inspector Look For?


Most important for the mold inspector is to find the source that created an atmosphere in which the mold could grow. If the source of excess water is not found, such as leaking pluming or an inefficient HVAC, mold spores will only re-infect the area once the current damage is cleaned and removed.


The only way to prevent the dangerous molds from growing is to control the moisture indoors and provide proper ventilation throughout.


By taking these measures indoors, and by controlling excess water outdoors with proper grading, building owners can help prevent the dangerous mold spores that can grow – and the health affects that they come with.


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