is mold that contains poisons in its spores. The most worrisome mold, Stachybotrys chartarum (also called Stachybotrys atra), has been labeled by most health departments as a health hazard.
Toxic mold is a greenish-black mold that grows on material with high cellulose content, such as straw, fiberboard, dry wall, paper, lint and even dust and it requires constant moisture for its growth. It does not grow on plastics and vinyl.
Black mold exposure is also referred to by specialists as one of the causes of pulmonary hemorrhage, known as the "sick building syndrome". Increasingly, black mold has been causing serious problems in homes and buildings in North America. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), some recent studies concluded that approximately 50 percent of homes are inflicted with unknown moisture dilemmas.
However, black mold exposure has been known to sicken people for years. During 1993-1994 in Cleveland, Ohio, there was a rare outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage among infants. Researchers then found out that Black mold was growing in the homes of the sick infants and this incident increased public (and the medical community) awareness of molds in homes and buildings.
Toxic mold has also caused problems for homeowners and building managers who must deal with moisture issues. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that all indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what types of mold are present or whether they can produce toxins.
Toxic Mold Symptoms
Some people are more sensitive to molds than others and mold exposure can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Others may develop severe reactions, including fever and shortness of breath. People with chronic lung illnesses may develop mold infections in their lungs.
According to the CDC, the vast majority of mold growing in the home or shower is nothing more than a nuisance and does not pose any serious health risks. However, mycotoxins, including black mold, can cause the more serious issues that occur such as breathing problems, lung inflammation, fever, burning sensations etc. They can also be responsible for acute and chronic sicknesses as serious as cancer, fibromyalgia, heart problems, lupus, and even mental deficiencies.
Most symptoms can be treated with medication and diet, but to date there is no treatment for the more serious consequences.
Toxic Mold Lawsuits
Lawsuits in the US regarding mold in residential or commercial buildings, and the exposure to their inhabitants, are increasing, mainly due to public awareness of toxic mold danger, and because of the decision by most health departments to label Stachybotrys as a health hazard.
Many building owners and homebuilders are finding themselves in toxic mold litigation. Most toxic mold lawsuits involve insurance companies that do not pay for mold-damage claims. However, insurance companies have had to settle claims when they failed to pay for moisture-related repairs that eventually turned into a mold problem. And homebuilders have been successfully sued for bad workmanship that contributed to the growth of toxic mold.