Every day it seems like there is some new story on the new or social media highlighting the dangers of indoor black mold. Not only can it cause significant structural damage to woodwork, drywall and other porous structures in building it can also have serious health consequences for people who live, work there and visit.
While so-called “Toxic Black Mold” is the most serious of the thousands of naturally occurring mold strains in the world, it is not the only health threat. Even seemingly more benign mold strains can fill the indoor air with mycotoxins and mold spores that can cause respiratory irritation, promote chronic inflammation, and allergic reactions. Certain people with compromised immune systems and chronic autoimmune conditions can have severely adverse reactions in the presence of airborne mold spores.
The Threat Of Mold In Commercial Properties
Of course, commercial properties and multi-family residential properties are held to a higher liability standard than other properties. This includes providing tenants, employees, and visitors with a clean and healthy indoor environment.
Active mold colonies, the presence of mycotoxins, and high densities of airborne mold spores can prove to be an active health threat. Especially if the mold strain is Stachybotrys chartarum, which is more commonly known as “Toxic Black Mold.”
Signs Of Toxic Black Mold On Your Commercial Property
Many mold spores share similar characteristics and signs that they have established a presence. Many of these signs are more pronounced when toxic black mold is present in an indoor environment.
Mycotoxins and other gasses produced by toxic black mold have a “Musty” or “Earthy” odor that is reminiscent of a wet basement. Though it can happen in seemingly dry areas as well. Since mold only needs heat and humidity to establish a foothold.
Discoloration On Porous Materials
Mold colonies can leave a noticeable visual appearance on porous surfaces such as woodwork and drywall. Stachybotrys chartarum has an even more pronounced visible appearance with black splotches. A mature colony can even start to develop what is often described as “Slime Heads.”
The mycotoxins and airborne spores produced by a toxic black mold colony can cause physical symptoms in even healthy able-bodied individuals. Though symptoms are even more likely to occur in people with respiratory allergies, respiratory health conditions, and those with autoimmune disorders. Typical symptoms manifest as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and the potential for headaches. Individuals might go away on vacation and notice their symptoms vanish, only to recur again when they return to the mold-affected environment.
What Causes Toxic Black Mold?
The truth is that mold spores exist everywhere in nature, and easily make their way into our interior through open doors and windows. They can even be brought in on the soles of your shoes after a casual walk in the woods. Most of the time these mold spores are harmless and fail to germinate into an active mold colony.
It’s when these mold spores are introduced to an environment that is warm, moist, or humid that they find the conditions they need to activate and develop into an active colony. In the case of Stachybotrys chartarum, a toxic black mold colony can start in less than 48 hours, under ideal conditions.
This is even more likely to be the case if your commercial property has recently had a water event such as flooding caused by severe weather, leaky pipes, or damage to the roof’s rainwater management system. Once a porous surface like wood or drywall is soaked with water it can become a prime breeding ground for a wide range of mold colonies for weeks or even months after all the wetness has seemingly dried up.
Dealing With The Presence Of Toxic Black Mold
The unfortunate reality is that once a toxic black mold colony develops it can be very hard to 100% eliminate on your own. This is due to several factors.
The first being that most of the cleaning products and equipment available at the retail level simply isn’t effective enough to completely kill a mold colony. Even powerful concentrated bleach can’t penetrate deep enough to kill the microscopic roots of an active mold colony. You ultimately end up killing the surface of the toxic black mold, only to have it redevelop again a few weeks or months later.
The other concern with trying to clean up a toxic black mold colony is the risk of accidentally spreading it. Without professional tools, equipment and training you are more likely to disturb the colony, causing it to release tons of fresh spores into the air. You might ultimately end up eliminating one colony only to cause two or three new colonies somewhere else. This can also have significant health implications for immunocompromised individuals and those with chronic respiratory health conditions.
The Benefits Of Professional Mold Remediation
When you turn to professional mold specialists like Building Services Inc. you can trust that experts with years of experience and training are handling your toxic black mold problem with the utmost attention to detail and safety. This includes using professional-grade cleaning products and equipment with industry’s best practices to ensure all traces of toxic black mold have been removed from your property.
Afterward, we will dispose of any severely affected materials in accordance with all state and local safety standards. We can even provide you with the necessary documentation that notes what was done and how it was professionally remediated. This information can prove handy when demonstrating to your insurance provider that the issues are indeed taken care of to the highest degrees, as well as helping to insulate you against any future liability concerns.
We can also help you understand what caused the initial black mold problem as well as advise you on a strategy to prevent it from recurring again in the future. This might include things like strategically placing dehumidifiers in key locations, upgrading the building’s HVAC system to better manage ambient humidity, or makin