Stachybotrys needs two main ingredients to thrive: a high-cellulose surface, and a near-constant water supply. Cellulose is a fiber found in the cell walls of plants and especially concentrated in processed, plant-derived building materials. Paper, drywall (which is coated with paper), and fiberboard are especially high in cellulose and make great locations for Stachybotrys to thrive.
The second ingredient, a constant water source, can result from a myriad of causes. One-time issues like water damage and flooding can provide ideal conditions for toxic mold. Continuous issues can prove especially troublesome, since they supply a consistent source of water that facilitates mold growth. Homeowners should always look out for water leaks or infiltration. Leaky plumbing is often the culprit of mold growth, as is groundwater infiltrating through the foundation. Groundwater infiltration frequently signals other serious problems, like water drainage issues and foundation problems. Whatever the water source, the first step in preventing and remedying mold is always stopping the delivery of water to mold-prone areas.
Despite the high prevalence of what the scientific community terms Damp Building-Related Illnesses (or Sick Building Syndrome), scientists are only now beginning to understand the connections between the mold that inhabits the dampness and its health effects. According to a 2008 article published in the peer-reviewed Toxicological Sciences journal, the link may lie in the production of mycotoxins. Mold like Stachybotrys produces these chemicals, which can provoke allergies, inflammation, and other toxic effects.
The mycotoxins formed from toxic black mold can cause people to have many symptoms. General symptoms that are caused by this type of mold might include:
- Internal organ damage
- Mucous membrane irritation
- Skin inflammation
- Respiratory problems
- Suppression of the immune system
- Mental impairment
Exposure to Stachybotrys can cause serious and permanent health damage. In some extreme cases it can lead to death. Since it can cause serious health effects, if you find this type of mold in your business or your home you will need to take the appropriate steps to have it immediately removed. The longer that you are around this type of mold the more damage to your health it can cause. If you suspect that you have mold infestation you should call in a professional to test the mold and to remove it as necessary. Removing toxic mold, yourself is not recommended as you want to make sure that you get rid of it entirely.
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