The Truth About Black Mold—And How You Can Stay Safe

Oct 1, 2018 |

A Guide to Black Mold

Black mold sounds just as menacing as it is. It releases lethal mycotoxin spores and can cause neurological breakdown, pulmonary decay, immune system degradation, skin irritation, and even death. Whether you’re working to prevent black mold from growing in your home or remediating an existing problem, here are facts you need to know to stay safe.

Black Mold Facts

1. Black mold is a neurotoxin.

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.

2. Black mold suppresses your immune system.

When you breathe in black mold spores, your immune system is weakened, so on top of being sick from the mold, you can also become more easily ill from germs.

3. Black mold can kill.

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.

4. Black mold endangers pregnant women.

Women who are pregnant can suffer birth defects, miscarriage, and infertility later on.

5. Black mold can harm anyone—including pets.

The young, sick, and elderly are most susceptible to black mold symptoms and damage, but all living things can be harmed by black mold.

6. Black mold has a smell.

The mold smells like mildew and must, so it’s detectable even when you can’t see it.

7. Mold grows in damp, humid, and warm locations.

All molds love this combination and thrive in it. That’s why your bathroom is a breeding ground for black mold and other types of mold.

8. You’ll suffer from a number of symptoms when exposed to black mold.

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.

9. Black mold isn’t actually toxic.

The mold itself isn’t poisonous—just the spores it emits.

10. Some damage is irreversible.

Depending on how long you live amongst black mold, you could suffer once it’s been remediated. Immune system weakening and sensitivity to mold can persist throughout your lifetime.

11. Mold is everywhere.

Mold spores are all around us all the time. Only some present major health hazards.

How To Identify Mold

DIY Mold Test Kit
Mold Test Kit


Before you fly off the handles, make sure the mold you’re seeing is, in fact, black mold. The easiest way to identify mold is to look at the color. Mold can be black, white, green, red, and orange. If your mold is any color other than black, it’s not black mold. Other molds can be treated with a bleach solution. However, if you’re unsure, you should call a professional rather than handle a potentially dangerous substance yourself.

Black Mold Prevention

Keeping mold out in the first place is your best plan of action. You can avoid paying a ton for mold remediation and endangering your health by doing the following:

1. Keep it dry.

Keeping your home dry is key to preventing mold from growing. Dehumidifiers in basements, ceiling fans in bathrooms, and good air flow can all improve your chances of keeping mold at bay.

2. Remove tainted material.

It’s imperative that you remove affected materials if you undergo mold remediation.

3. Keep it outside.

Never bring old wood or other porous objects in from the outdoors. Mold spores grow on everything and can go wild when brought indoors.

4. Use cleaning products.

You can use mold reducing sprays in your bathroom and damp locations. Endurance BioBarrier (Amazon) preventative mold spray is one product that discourages mold growth. It works on mildew too.

5. Get a dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers suck moisture out of the air and prevent mold growth. The Frigidaire FAD504DWD Energy Star 50-pint Dehumidifier (Amazon) is the “#1 Best-Selling” dehumidifier on Amazon and will do the trick.

6. Keep water away from your house.

Water is key to mold growth. Don’t let your basement or home become flooded, and you’ll have waged half the battle on mold. You can do this by grading your yard to keep water flowing away from your house. You may also install downspouts that divert water from your home.

Mold Remediation

If mold creeps up on you or you buy a new house and find it hiding in the walls, don’t panic. You can have mold professionally remediated. While this can cost anywhere from $500–$10,000, you might be able to add a rider to your homeowner’s insurance policy to cover this event.

Mold remediation specialists use special ventilation masks and clothing for protection. You won’t have those products on-hand, and should avoid a DIY approach since it’s can be dangerous. In some states, it’s actually illegal (especially during a renovation) to handle the mold yourself. Inspectors will have to sign off on the remediation to ensure safety to the building’s occupants.

Black mold is an unwelcome and dangerous guest in your home, but it can be prevented and treated. You can learn more about prevention, mold control, and top water damage reducing products here. But before you go, take a second to tell us about your favorite mold prevention tips and products in the comments section.

Written by Caroline Maurer

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  • Phil

    scare mongering

    • Christ InME

      These are facts, I have been exposed, re-exposed, and almost died. Why say such a thing when you have no idea.

      • Phil

        I am a PhD mycologist and am repeating the scientific and technical facts – as also reported by the US EPA. Again, there is no such thing as “toxic mold”, people can get sick but there is no evidence they have died from the exposure and there are plenty of folks like the above writer who blow up “mold.” Black, green, what ever – mold can be a problem. Folks respond in different way to exposure – some of it psychological, some by getting sick from actual exposure. The scare-mongering article likely refers to toxin present in spore of some species of Stachybotrys that have NOT been shown to make folks sick or die.

        • Janice Surratt Homer

          I am having tightness in cheast and respitory problems. My allergy doctor also say said I am allergic or had a reaction to mold and trying to figure out how damaged or tainted all my stuff is in the trailer where I’m having the problem

          • Phil

            Research? I have and know the subject well – and you know you. The reaction of one person – whether somatic or psychological – does not prove the general claims There’s no doubt that some individuals are allergic to mold. That does not mean there’s substance to Ms. Marrer’s BS and marketing of cleaners and appliances.

        • Dana Davis

          I’m having some very horrific breathing problems from the black mold coming into my home from the air-conditioning system and even losing consciousness and having my sinus cavity hollowing out from the black mold so don’t tell me it isn’t life threatening!! Maybe you should do a little research!

          • Phil

            Research? I have and your alleged experience – real or not – is not “research”. Hollowing out your sinus cavities from black mold? Good grief – perhaps you have an emotional problem.

      • Brian

        Little of this true. You are repeating false reports by degreed “Scientists” in the restoration industry…that own stock in Labs or otherwise on the payroll of restoration companies.
        These have been proven false, do NOT line up with EPA or CDC positions.

        Stachybotris, the boogie man, dubbed Black Mold CAN produce mycotoxins, but is REMOTE! Stachybotris is inherent in sheet rock. It just needs some water to grow.

        Many molds are black and after turn black when they die.

        There are no mold related deaths other than at risk people that ALREADY have a low immune system. Colds have done in more people than can remotely be attributed to mold.

        The Doc is right.

        I’m in the mold industry and mold just needs to be cleaned up no matter what kind it is because all of it is unsanitary.

        Here’s another line of crap by our industry:
        “Aspergillus Penicillium (AP) is known to cause cancer”. Truth: Turkeys got cancer from AP by eating moldy grain. Children in third world countries got cancer from AP in moldy food. Such reports don’t include vital information on how long they ate the bad food or the general heath of the Turkeys or children prior to consuming. The affects of AP inhalation on humans or animals are unknown. This means there is no science to backup cancer claims. That means claims are anecdotal at best; which are not acceptable as science by the science community.

  • Janice Surratt Homer

    I just recently had to move out of my park model travel trailer due to feeling sick. My cat also had respitory problems. Wondering how long before I start to feel better!

  • BioCide Labs

    The Mold Bomb Fogger is the easiest and most effective ways to teat mold.