What Is Black Mould?

Posted by henry in Services Category

Black MouldIn all areas of life, you’ll find words or phrases that have taken on a life of their own and can strike fear in the hearts of most people who hear them. The term “black mould” has that ability with homeowners and many others in modern society. The legend of black mould is strong and it continues to grow. But what is it, really?

Getting Technical

Technically speaking, what we all know as black mould is actually “stachybotrys chartarum.” This type of mould, often shortened to “SC” is known for infesting materials with a higher than average cellulose content and requires dampness to really flourish.

Toxic effects of stachybotrys chartarum first came to light way back in the 1920s when horses and cattle in Russia that had eaten mouldy hay started dying off. The first human cases also surfaced in Russia, but in the early 1940s. Again, it was through hay and straw that the people were affected. Some of the symptoms included inflammation in the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, dermatitis, fever, burning nasal passages, bloody rhinitis, cough, fatigue, tightness in the chest and headache.

Where to Find It Today

You don’t have to make a trip to a farm to find stachybotrys chartarum today. It can still grow on hay and straw, but you’ll also find it in materials that are a lot closer to home. With the right level of moisture and humidity, you might find black mould on materials like:

• Drywall
• Wood chips
• Ceiling tile
• Wicker
• Paper vapor barriers
• Cardboard boxes
• Wallpaper
• Insulation backing
• Fiberboard

Isn’t It All Black?

To look at household mould or mould found in the workplace, you’d think that it was all the same thing. Aside from the green mould that grows on food, most mould looks dark and seems to have a sooty or powdery appearance, just like black mould.

However, you must keep in mind that there are other types of mould that look like stachybotrys chartarum, but aren’t. It’s also important to remember that the spores of each particular mould must be examined under a microscope if it is to be properly identified.

What does all this mean? It means that black mould does exist and it is dangerous and if you think that you might have it in your home or business, give us a call so we can do a full inspection and tell you for sure. Don’t panic, but don’t wait too long either.

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  • We had a burst sprinkler in our offices and all the walls and floors were soaked – it took 5 hours to turn the water off. There now appears to be black mould above the heater in the office and there is black markings on the walls in the hallway. Is it possible to have someone come in and assess whether this is indeed mould? The General Contractor for the complex has told us that it is NOT black mould – but I would like a second opinion before returning to working in the office (currently working off-site). Our insurance adjustor felt that there would be a mould problem and that the walls and insulation would have to be removed and replaced.

    Laura Elliott | March 10, 2014