When it comes to indoor mold, “Black Mold” is one of the most searched phrases on Google, Yahoo and MSN. According to the SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool, daily total search for “black mold” from Google, Yahoo and MSN is about 710 and if we include all phrases that contain the phrase “black mold”, the total daily search from the 3 search engines comes to about 1700.
But what is “Black Mold”? It refers to a mold known by the scientific name as Stachybotrys chartarum. It is not the only mold that appears black. Stachybotrys species thrive well on wet cellulose containing materials. Since it requires extremely wet conditions to grow, it’s one of the molds used as indicators of moisture damage.
The Controversy Regarding Black Mold symptoms
Scientists generally agree that exposure to damp, moldy home and workplace environments has serious health effects. However, clear causal relationship between individual or groups of mold and ill health is yet to be established. However, despite lack of proven evidence, the detection of Stachybotrys in the indoor environment has led to fear and panic and subsquent closure of office buildings and schools, and even burning of houses and household belongings in some situations.
Stachybotrys was first associated with a toxic response in horses in Eastern Europe and the Ukraine in the 1930s. Horses consuming contaminated straw or hay showed shock, dermal necrosis, leukopenia (a decrease in the white blood cell count), nervous disorders, and death. What fueled the fear for Stachybotrys was an outbreak, between 1993 and 1998, of idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding of lungs) in the Cleveland, Ohio, area where 37 infants were affected (see Infant Pulmonary Hemorrhage in a Suburban Home with Water Damage and Mold (Stachybotrys atra) ). An investigation led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention originally linked the outbreak to household exposure to Stachybotrys chartarum, and other molds (see Overview of Investigations into Pulmonary Hemorrhage among Infants in Cleveland, Ohio).
Most of the symptoms attributed to black mold still remain controversial since none of them has scientifically been proven. These symptoms include:
- Asthma and other respiratory problems
- chronic fatigue,
- Skin irritation
- lung bleeding