Mold comes in many different forms, shapes, sizes, smells, colors, you name it, the differences are endless. The most speculated types of mold are white mold and black mold with the black mold being the most common. A frequently asked question that sometimes goes unanswered is, what are the differences between white mold and black mold?
First, we’re going to give you the rundown on black mold. Black mold, technically termed Stachybotrys chartarum, is both dangerous and toxic to both humans and pets. The way black mold forms is by feeding off natural food sources including wood and dust in moist areas. The CDC offers a large collection of information on black mold and common questions asked. The most common places in homes and buildings black mold forms are under sinks, in basements, inside walls, and around windows and AC units. Often times, some molds can look just like black mold but actually are very dark green, gray, and brown and just assumed to be black mold. Depending on whether or not people living in homes with black mold are experiencing symptoms and how severe the infestation is, will determine if you need to leave completely, or just avoid areas where black mold is found. We suggest airing on the side of caution and removing yourself and pets from homes and buildings where black mold is found.
Industry professionals have long debated the categorization of white mold. White mold can be considered the beginning stage of many different types of mold. To simplify this, white mold can be a young black mold or a growing Stachybotrys chartarum. White mold is also an adult type of mold. Generally, white mold is identified as what you see growing on food and plants at the beginning stages before it turns into a different color but is also prevalent in homes and buildings. Just like black mold, people should consider white mold dangerous and get it tested as soon as possible. If it is mold at the beginning stages, it is best to catch it before it spreads and releases spores into the air.
To conclude the differences between black mold and white mold is mold is mold and it should be treated the same. Take the same precautions with white mold, as you would with black mold. Always air on the side of caution when dealing with the mold of any color. Be sure to reach out to mold professionals in your area when you find mold whether it be white, black, blue, gray, or green.
Managing a full household can be a challenge from keeping up with cleanliness, to making sure all of the errands get done, to caring for children and pets. It can be overwhelming. What makes things even more difficult, is when a problem that is not so easy to fix, arises. For example, when a window breaks. This issue must be solved in a timely manner because it can endanger children and pets living in the home. So what happens when there is a problem that is not so obvious and just won’t get solved with a band aid?
Building damage is frequently overlooked because it occurs on the inside of a building structure. It is basically out of sight, out of mind. But, when you begin to see signs of damage, more destruction than you expected could have already occurred. What exactly are we referring to? Mold. Mold is a hidden danger that can affect the health of everyone living around it especially pets. Pets feel the negative effects of mold exposure more than people because their immune system is smaller and more sensitive than ours.
Mold sickness was first discovered in animals in the 1930’s in Russia when farm animals became ill from sleeping on and eating damp hay where mold formed. These days, black mold information is readily available therefore mold is thankfully more controllable. The signs of mold sickness can be difficult to spot, especially because they are very similar to those of a cold. If your pet shows any signs of a cold or similar illness, mold should be considered a cause. Symptoms of mold exposure in pets is very similar to those of people including:
While not an overwhelming amount of stories are in the current media about pets and mold exposure, there have been multiple reports since 2000 of situations where pets have been affected. In this particular story, two cats were living in a home where there was flood and water damage in the direct area where the cats dwelled. Although no one likes hearing sad stories with animals (we don’t like anything short of funny cat videos on the internet) this unfortunate situation helped raise awareness and probably saved many pet lives. If you have an ill pet and have had water damage in your home, it’s best to let your veterinarian know if your home has been exposed to water damage whether it’s from a flood, roof leak, or a common household leak.
The best action to take when you find your pet is suffering from any of the above symptoms related to mold is to relocate them. Take them somewhere where they can be comfortable and away from the effected home. Taking them to the vet is always a good precaution to take as well. The veterinarian should run routine tests to make sure the health of your pet is not declining. As petful.com states, “treatment may involve a blood transfusion (if the pet bleeds unduly) and antibiotics to fight secondary infections. Your vet will repeat blood tests to monitor liver function.” As you can see, mold and pets is very serious and for the sake of your little loved ones, should not be taken lightly.
What should you do if you find signs of black mold? There are many resources that can lead you in the right direction to solving your mold problem. If you are reading this blog, you probably already completed step #1 which is identifying that you have a mold problem. As indoor environmental professionals, we have multiple blog posts with advice on how to handle your mold issue. If you take away one thing from this blog, remember that mold should not be ignored, and even though you don’t see symptoms now, they can show up later. So keep you and everyone in your home safe including your pets.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Mold Killers on the Market
Any sign of mold in your home can seriously impact your day-to-day life. It can appear in your shower, countertops, tile floors, drywall or cause serious damage to your roof, windows, pipes and even the air. But we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to live with this! So what are we here to talk about? MOLD PRODUCTS!
Sometimes it feels like there are so many solutions out there. Products that claim to get rid of mold, mildew, and clean your air. Luckily, we have outlined some of these home remedies and are highlighting them to show you what is in the market making these claims. These examples come with the disclaimer so please don't confuse these solutions for problematic mold that is airborne or is causing damage to your home. In this case, we 100% recommend you call a professional to assess the situation and identify the source.
This brand offers an array of mold removal products. Mold Armor uses a powerful bleached-based formula that claims to kill mold without scrubbing on multiple surfaces including interior walls, bathroom surfaces or exterior areas such as brick, vinyl siding or concrete.
How to use:
Simply spray on to the desired surface, let stand 10 minutes and rinse off.
Using bleach as an attempt to remove mold, won't always work. Beach opaques mold which turns it white instead of getting rid of it. Using bleach on porous surfaces such as wood and concrete can permanently damage those surfaces and may eat away at them worse than mold would. Also, this product has a strong chemical base which can be dangerous when inhaled or used in closed areas.
Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover
With a heavier focus on interior areas, Tilex uses a Clorox bleach formula to kill mold, mildew and other bacteria found on any nonporous surface such as showers, counters, sinks, bathtubs or tiles. This spray also claims to remove tough mold stains commonly found in the home.
Spray on surface affected by mold or mildew, let stand for five minutes and rinse off.
Again, bleach does not always solve the problem. Our advice would be to use an anti-bacterial soap to clean nonporous surfaces. Why? It's in the name! ANTIBACTERIAL. Mold is a bacteria.
Concrobium Mold Control
This product claims to serve as a green approach to mold removal. Concrobium is a product that aims to prevent and eliminate mold without harmful chemicals or bleach. On the bottle, it mentions it can be used for general interior maintenance, damage repairs, and construction or renovation projects.
Apply a thin layer of the solution to the desired surface and allow it to dry thoroughly. Once the surface is dry, wipe clean and use again for any residual staining. For mold prevention, leave a thin layer on the surface.
We like that this product contains no harmful chemicals and also claims to encapsulate mold spores. Even though it may get growing mold spores under control, It almost sounds too good to be true. we would probably classify this as more of a cleaning product rather than a mold killer.
Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit
While this product is not a “mold killer”, a home mold testing kit claims it can help you identify potential harmful and toxic mold spores. Pro-lab offers three types of testing: indoor air quality, AC/heating air test, and surface mold sampling. There is an optional mail-in lab analysis that can tell you the type of mold for an extra $40 fee.
We won’t bore you with the exhaustive instructions, but each kit comes with all of your testing supplies and a detailed step-by-step guide. The entire process could take about an hour.
If your mold issue is unexplained growth, it's best to consult with a professional and we'll tell you why. Even though this test may tell you whether or not you have mold in your home, this test still doesn't tell you where the mold is coming from. A lot of surface mold leads to a source of hidden mold which a lot of times is more severe than what meets the eye. If you're using this test to cut cost and you find you have mold, you're missing vital steps in the mold detection process including consulting, support with questions, expertise, and a post-remediation clearance test to ensure the mold is completely removed. After sampling and sending in the results, the cost difference is not that large and with professional mold testing, you get a professional with years of experience and more assurance.
Until we use these products and conduct the proper before and after testing, we will not be able to fully judge whether or not they work. A case study with a record of results is what is needed to really judge the effectiveness of each product. Remember, these products are only designed to rectify mold to a certain extent. We would always advise consulting with a professional, like Air Quality Assessors, to determine what type of mold you are dealing with to prevent any further damages.
Pregnant mothers are very susceptible to the ill effects of molds in the environment because of their delicate condition. Infants, babies, and toddlers can also have significant reactions to even the smallest amount of mold. Everyone is actually exposed to mold (and mildew) every day but depending on the type and level determines if and how you will be affected. Black Mold is an unwelcome and dangerous guest in your home and one that should not be taken lightly, but it can be prevented and treated.
Becoming pregnant and having mold grow in your home can cause a multitude of problems for you and your baby’s health. Generally, molds cause respiratory problems such as asthma, skin rashes, unsightly smells and other allergic reactions. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that exposure to certain types of molds to individuals, particularly to pregnant women is quite dangerous. Studies have shown that of all the types of molds, the black mold (Stachybotrys Chartarum) is the most dangerous and exposure to it whether pregnant or not, can be a threat to one’s health. In an article by The New York Times reported on several similar occurrences of bleeding lungs in children from newborns to 10 months old due to mold exposure. Food mold is a whole other subject and definitely deserves some attention. For more information on food mold and what types you should avoid especially while pregnant, view this excerpt from the USDA.
Pregnant mothers will do anything to protect their growing babies. Unfortunately, it sometimes goes unknown when mold exposure occurs. Repeated and prolonged exposure to black mold can affect the physical development of a fetus. Severe maternal allergies secondary to black mold exposure can lead to serious damages to the growing fetus. This includes brain damage and problems with the respiratory system. Also, the exchange of gases is not facilitated in a manner that is sufficient to supply the oxygen supply of the mother. If this happens, less is delivered to the fetus thus causing alarm since oxygen is necessary for optimum brain and respiratory functions. Women who are pregnant can suffer birth defects, miscarriage, and infertility later on.
Other symptoms when pregnant can include:
Mold exposure can impact your health in many ways. Mold releases lethal mycotoxin spores and can cause neurological breakdown, pulmonary decay, immune system degradation, skin irritation, and even death. The spores released by black mold attach your brain’s neurons—incapacitating your mental ability. The reaction to black mold can be tremors, mood swings, and other neurological shifts. If you’re exposed for long enough, black mold spores can shut down your organs, incapacitate your immune system, and damage your brain—resulting in death. Other symptoms of black mold exposure include fatigue, headaches, seizure, tremors, mood swings, confusion, fever, eye irritation, sneezing, rashes, coughing, bleeding of the lungs, and sometimes death.
When experiencing mold within your home, there are short term/long term effects your babies and toddlers can experience. Exposures to molds growing indoors for babies are often associated with:
Long-term exposure to indoor molds on babies can develop more severe symptoms:
Very commonly, mold smells like mildew and must, so it can be detectable even when you can’t see it. To be on the safe side, it is reiterated that pregnant women should stay away from molds. Pregnancy should be a pleasant experience unmarred by the presence of trouble-causing molds. Therefore, it will be best to get help from mold inspectors, like Air Quality Assessors, to help you act on such situations before they worsen.
September is here which means mold awareness month is upon us and we at Air Quality Assessors, would like to implement its purpose and inform, educate, and raise awareness so everyone knows the ins and outs of mold and its health effects. When it comes to mold, we’ve heard everything from “mold isn’t harmful because it's natural” to “Oh, I just covered it up with paint so it won’t affect me”. These statements prove that there is much to be taught about the dreaded for letter word we call MOLD. For starters, we are going to tell you a few fun facts that stand out among the rest.
Fact #1: Mold comes in many varieties and colors.
A lot of people assume that mold is only black, and yes, mold is black and the most occurring mold is black mold, but it comes in many different color varieties like green, orange-yellow, and gray.
Fact #2: Regardless of your health, mold can and will affect you…eventually.
Being healthy doesn’t mean mold won’t affect you. We highly recommend that you do everything in your power to remain as healthy as possible, but this won’t necessarily prevent mold from taking its toll on your health. Symptoms range from cold/flu symptoms to fatigue, and sometimes the worse symptoms (blindness, cancer, etc..) show up in your system significantly later than around the times of exposure (more on this shortly).
Fact #3: Mold destroys the material it grows on.
Mold needs 3 things to grow including moisture, nutrients, and proper temperature. Nutrients include multiple types of materials including wood, cotton, and drywall. When mold grows on these materials it is actually slowly eating away at the materials as seen in the photos below. The black mold is present on top of and inside of this wood panel and is growing within the crevices of the panel eating away at each and every area slowly but surely.
There are many more facts about mold and some will be covered through the rest of this post. Next, we will briefly cover the effects mold has on health.
As stated before, regardless of your health, mold can affect you. Chances of it having a negative impact on your health has to do with the length of time you are exposed, the severity of the issue, and the condition of your health. Since mold can grow within 24-48 hours, situations where there is major water damage, for example in a flood, it is best to address the issue immediately and either vacate or remove the affected materials.
The most common symptoms of mold exposure are those similar to a cold including coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and skin irritation. More advanced symptoms include fatigue, nausea, pain in joints, and loss of appetite. As if that wasn’t enough, there are more severe symptoms including memory loss, brain damage, cancer, and death. The results are plain and simple. Mold is BAD for your health.
There are many articles and publications that inform you of different actions you can take to rid your body of mold exposure. Some are doctor recommended and some are more natural ways as simple as drinking a combination of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables. Regardless of which path you take, it's best to be proactive in ridding your body of toxins.
As you can see, there is much to learn about mold. We have many blog posts that can help people understand all aspects of mold including how it effects your pets, mold in rental properties, and even the effects of toxic mold syndrome.
Our final words of advice: Don’t ignore mold because it will continue to grow. Don’t cover it up because it will come back. Always consider your health when dealing with mold and never wait to address it. "Don't just guess it, test it!"
Many people aren’t familiar with what we do at Air Quality Assessors until they find themselves dealing with an issue they’ve never dealt with before. Mold can be a troublesome disturbance to deal with, but luckily there are knowledgeable experts that can solve your problem so you don’t have to. We want you to be informed on how to make an educated decision on who to go to when you find you’re dealing with mold and know the full process, so here are some things to consider when you find yourself faced with a mold problem.
There is perhaps no houseguest more unwelcome than mold. Not only is it unsightly; untreated mold can grow out of control and cause an abundance of problems, including structural damage and even severely harm your family’s health. We aren't talking about a little bit of bathroom mold and mildew. We are talking about dangerous embedded growth that you can't get rid of by turning on your vent fan.
If you see any of the following signs of mold in your home, you should call the qualified inspectors at Air Quality Assessors right away:
· Unexplained musty odors in any part of your home
· Finding mysterious dirt or soot
· Bubbling paint
· Brown stains on your ceiling
· Condensation such as fogged windows
· History of past flooding or water damage
· Health symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, rashes, congestion or headaches
Mold Inspection vs. Mold Treatment
The state of Florida mandates that the same company that tests for mold cannot treat any mold that may be found on your property. This is for the protection of consumer’s health and safety and to make sure you are getting the most accurate and honest service. Air Quality Assessors specializes in the detection, testing, and assessment of mold. Our three-pronged approach to mold evaluation guarantees that your home will be thoroughly vetted. If any mold is found, we will then refer you to one of our trusted mold removal partners who will work with you to make sure your property is completely clear of any damaging fungi.
At Air Quality Assessors, our mold testing specialists are trained and certified as Florida Licensed Mold Inspectors with the training and experience necessary to find the past and current mold growth. Not only do we check for mold, but if you have a mold problem you most likely have other hidden issues you should get inspected.
Our specialties include:
· Mold assessment
· Allergen testing
· Water testing
· Written protocols for mold remediation
· Mold inspection
· Chinese drywall
· Bedbug DNA testing on mattresses and other surfaces
Here are a few things you’ll want to know about mold inspections with Air Quality Assessors:
We look for both past and current growth. Past mold indicates a water problem which may return if there is a specific problem like a recurring leak.
We inspect both inside and outside your home. This is to find places where hidden mold can cause structural problems like inside walls and crawlspaces.
Some mold growth is normal. The operative word is some. However, we will test all mold found to determine if it is harmful or could be a problem in the future.
We look for moisture. Water is mold’s best friend so we check your property for sources of moisture that could contribute to mold growth.
So you feel confident is choosing Air Quality Assessors for your mold and indoor air quality needs, here is a little information about us. We have been serving Central Florida since 2010 and have almost 20 years of professional experience in the mold testing and remediation field. We operate in complete confidentiality and partner with trusted Indoor Environmental Professionals to give you unbiased results and the fast, effective solution you need to keep your home healthy and strong.