What people refer to as ‘black mold’ or “toxic mold” or “toxic black mold” is the fungus whose scientific name is Stachybotrys chartarum. The same species is sometimes referred to as S. atra or S. alterans. This species is not to be confused with other types of black molds which are not necessarily toxic. Like most fungi, the black mold thrives best in moist nesting places. This the reason why it is never advisable to reside in a house that is frequently flooded or a house that is standing on moist or wet ground most of the time. Molds affix themselves to host materials that contain cellulose. Examples of these materials will be wood, paper, cotton fabrics, linen and rayon cloth, leatherette surfaces and many others.
Most of the time, black mold is transferred from an infested house to a newly built one by means of their spores or germinating cells. These are microscopic
specks that are emitted by the mold, swept up by the wind and carried across to other houses. Once in the new home, some spores will land on places that are conducive for the growth of the mold. Colonies are established in those locations. From these colonies, more spores are emitted periodically until the molds have occupied all the possible places where they can grow.
The peculiar thing is that the emission of spores occurs predominantly when the mold dries up and not while it is moist. That is probably because the dryness alerts the organism to propagate itself anew. That may also be partly due to the fact that dry molds are flaky and it takes only a breath of air to dislodge spores from it.
Once the spores are airborne, they can be inhaled. The spores of black molds contain substances which cause abnormal physical conditions in humans and animals. When inhaled in moderate quantities, spores may cause fatigue, headaches, rashes on the skin, red and burning eyes and inflammation of the various mucus membranes in the body. That last effect can lead to dry coughing, sore throat and sinusitis. In extreme cases, the mycotoxin or fungal poison can affect the central nervous system, leading to moodiness and lapses in memory, diarrhea and immune suppression.
It is also possible that the inflammation of membranes should lead to hemorrhaging in the lungs especially if the toxic reactions are to combine with any allergies that the individual might have to other spores. This last effect can easily lead to complications due to the presence of components of the blood in the tissues. Not infrequently lung hemorrhages lead to death.
It is obvious that the effects of having black molds in any house should be avoided at all cost. Luckily enough for us, there are fewer colonies of black molds than most of the other types of molds. Otherwise, they would constitute a major health concern all over the globe.
It is not enough to clean the house once of black molds. Reason being, it is impossible to remove all traces of the organism once they have managed to establish colonies. Their spores are capable of hibernating through considerable periods of time. The same spores also have very tough protective coats that shelter them from the effect of cold and heat.