Black mould, other moulds, and fungi can be found almost anywhere and require very little to survive. Moisture, oxygen and a food source are all that is needed for mould to thrive, and our homes provide the ideal habitat!
Moulds including black mould can be detected indoors and outdoors year round. They spread by releasing tiny seed-like particles called spores into the air. Leaking roofs, high humidity, inadequate ventilation and flooding are some of the root causes of mould and black mould growth. Under these conditions mould growth can develop in as little as 24-48 hours.
There are literally thousands of different species of moulds. Some are harmless but there are species that have the potential to be very harmful. Black toxic mould (also known as stachybotrys) is a greenish-black mould that produces spores called mycotoxins. These mycotoxins are capable of causing serious health problems in humans and other animals who may be exposed. Even brief exposure to this group can prove dangerous. This species of mould is usually found in building materials with heavy water damage but is not as common as one might think.
Sensitivity to moulds can vary greatly between individuals, some may trigger an allergenic response while others will seem to tolerate the same exposure with little or no symptoms. Symptoms of exposure are usually dependent on various factors including species type, length of exposure and the individuals underlying health. However prolonged exposure to any species of mould in an indoor environment has the potential to cause health problems. People more at risk are the young, elderly and pregnant women. Also, people with chronic or acute medical conditions and/or compromised immune systems.
Controlling humidity in a home is one of the best ways to limit potential mould growth. Ensure that areas of high humidity like the bathroom and kitchen have an exhaust system that is properly insulated and vented to the outside. Also, a de-humdistat switch is a great way of helping to control humidity in the home.
For further information please view the Health Canada website.