Do you smell something odd in your home?
It could be mildew or, worse, black mold.
Mold and mildew are members of the fungi kingdom; both like to be in moist, humid areas, often found around your home in places like the bathroom, attic, or basement. However, they also have stark differences.
Mildew grows on the surface and can generally be removed with a store-bought cleaner and scrubbing brush. Ensure ventilation in the room, and wear appropriate respiratory protection. If it’s black mold, you’ve got a bigger problem because it tends to penetrate materials, can be tricky to treat, and is highly toxic to your health.
Dr. Sponaugle believes that toxic black mold is the most significant health problem in the country right now. “The research is out there from all over the world. I don’t know why we’re so far behind.”
So why is black mold dangerous? What are the risks of ignoring it?
Read on for why you should give black mold a second glance.
What Is Black Mold?
Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is a greenish-black mold that grows on materials like drywall, wood, under the carpet, behind shower walls, in basements, etc. More specifically, black mold grows best in places that have experienced water damage or have elevated moisture levels.
Black mold releases lethal mold spores into the air called mycotoxins. Due to the air-tight buildings that we now live, study, and work in during this day and age, mold spores become trapped, damaging indoor air quality. Inevitably, mold spores are inhaled, causing acute to severe health issues.
After natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes, excess moisture and standing water contribute to mold growth in a home. Think about all the uninhabited, flooded homes after Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma.
Mold can affect anyone’s health, but Dr. Sponaugle notes that about 25 percent of us are especially vulnerable to the fungi’s toxins due to genetics susceptible to mold toxicity.
People with respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies are especially sensitive to mold; however, those with weakened immune systems are most endangered.
Black mold can have a musty odor, and precautions should be taken if it smells. However, there isn’t always an odor, and many times, if it’s hidden behind a wall, it won’t be as easy to detect. Therefore, you must be aware of the symptoms that black mold causes.
What Are the Symptoms?
The most common black mold symptoms are the following:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Chronic coughing, sneezing, sinus congestion
- Brain fog/loss of memory (can’t find the words)
- Irritation to your eyes, blurred vision, white spots
- Mucus in your throat
- Neurological & Mental Health Disorders
- Rashes, Reddish colored blotches
- Kidney/bladder discomfort
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Vertigo, Feeling lightheaded
- Recurring infections
- Hormonal disruption
- Liver disease
- Autoimmune disorders
Testing for Black Mold
The most common areas include basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms, and kitchens. Sight and smell can be a good indication of whether or not you have a black mold problem.
Of course, the most obvious indication is if you see black.
In Dr. Sponaugle’s opinion, the best option and safest option is to call a professional mold testing company that will take samples of the air quality in your home. They’ll be able to identify what type of mold you have and then recommend the next steps. It’s better to be safe and find out if you have no mold than to live unknowingly in a black mold-infested home before it’s too late.
How to Clean Black Mold
Now that we’ve explained why black mold is dangerous, you’re anxious to remove it.
You’ve already identified where it’s coming from.
Although many of us like to “DIY,” Dr. Sponaugle does not recommend cleaning black mold yourself.
“I do not recommend anyone to put their health at risk by cleaning black mold themselves, that’s what professionals are trained to do. I especially do not recommend anyone to clean black mold with chlorine or bleach. When you do so, you then rupture the cell wall, where the lethal mycotoxins are contained. If you bleach the spore, you then rupture the spore, and you will release those toxins throughout the air in your home, school, or workspace.”
However, we realize not everyone can call a professional. If you must clean it yourself, a professional citrus spray removal is recommended. The citrus encapsulates the spore first, then kills the spore, and can dissolve the volatile organic compounds, i.e., the mold mycotoxins. Several sprays are on the market now, so please do your due diligence before purchasing.”
Now that you have researched which citrus mold removal spray is most effective, seal off the room where the black mold is. Shut the doors, cover the vents, doors, etc. You don’t want any spores escaping.
Place an exhaust fan where the spores go out, ideally near a window
Wear gloves, a facemask, and goggles, and cover all exposed skin when cleaning out the black mold.
Lightly spray the mold with water. Scrub it with a brush/rag with soapy water.
Finally, scrub the area with a professional citrus mold removal product.
After cleaning out all the black mold, place all the equipment and debris in a heavy-duty trash bag. If you can, don’t walk through the entire house with it. Go straight to the back door to the garbage can.
Congrats! You’ve just succeeded in the first steps of removing the black mold from your home. If the black mold reappears, then your issue is beyond the surface, and you must call a professional for adequate removal.
So Why Is Black Mold Dangerous?
In a nutshell, it can cause health problems for everyone in your home if left untreated.
Black mold will not just disappear on its own unless it’s properly removed. Don’t assume that it’s just some stain on the wall.
If you can’t afford a professional mold tester to come out, do what we recommend. Every little bit helps!
How We Can Help
At the Sponaugle Wellness Institute, we assist in the healing of patients with chronic illnesses. Dr. Sponaugle specializes in treating Mold Toxicity, Industrial Toxicity, Gut Toxicity, Lyme Disease, and more.
Now you know the answer to the question, “Why is black mold dangerous?” Just listen to some of the lives that we’ve changed through our treatments.
If you have any additional questions/concerns, please feel free to contact us today!
Dr. Rick Sponaugle, MD, is a licensed medical doctor in Florida, integrative physician, and board-certified anesthesiologist. With an emphasis on Environmental Medicine, Dr. Sponaugle specializes in treating brain and neurological disorders derived from Mold Toxicity, Industrial Toxicity, Gut Toxicity, Neurological Lyme disease, and five additional stealth infections that attack the Brain and Neurological system of most patients. Our Medical Director, Rick Sponaugle, MD, is an integrative physician who attempts to prioritize treatment through quality forensic medicine. Performing an analysis of 400 numerical bio-markers in his initial consultation, Dr. Sponaugle's goal is to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your multiple symptoms.