Black mould is a type of fungus that develops and grows on surfaces as a fine, dark powdery substance. It grows on drywall, wood, clothing, food, carpet, furniture and in some mechanical equipment like air conditioners. After it forms, it feeds on the surface and degrades it while emitting small mould spores into the surrounding air that can come into contact with skin or breathed into people's respiratory systems, causing various disease symptoms.
Exposure to black mould can cause health issues in the body. They generally start out mild, often mistaken for a cold or allergies before beginning to escalate. Minor symptoms include headaches, cough, sore throat, lethargy, red eyes, dizziness, nausea, rashes and hives, the beginnings of asthma, poor digestion and chronic sinus problems.
Prolonged and constant exposure to black mould is especially dangerous. This can lead to the need for hospital stays for increased severity of symptoms such as hair loss, numbness or pain in the extremities, rectal bleeding, urinary infections, severe lung diseases, fibromyalgia, infertility and destruction of brain tissue.
Signs of Mold
Black mould grows quickly in the right conditions. Moisture or dampness on surfaces that don't dry promptly or reoccur can be a warning sign that mould may develop. A green, brown, or black coloured area of a damp wall usually characterises growth, often in lower wall sections or in corners. Musty odours are also an indicator, especially in damp or humid areas like basements and crawlspaces.
How to Avoid
Simple protective measures can protect people from black mould. All water stains should be checked and the causes of staining removed. Proper humidity control in homes is important and can be regulated by using a humidifier or dehumidifier. Ceiling fans in both winter and summer allow for consistent airflow, and lower the potential areas where moisture may linger to form mould. Outside areas should be managed to keep water drainage away from homes, sprinklers angled away from walls, and gutters checked regularly.
Exposure to black mould can be very dangerous to people. Prolonged exposure can lead to illnesses, ranging from the simply annoying to long-term disease. Proper maintenance in the home and diligence in watching for indicators removes much of the threat.