No wonder floods have been considered a major natural disaster for they not only have a devastating instant impact but also leave small traces of damage that continue to linger on for a long time and act as a slow poison.
One such problem that remains to grow is known as the mould that latches on to the structures damaged by water. Houses and places that have been impacted by the flood are highly prone to mould or black mould growth since they remain unaffected by a huge range of temperature changes.
Before evaluating the level of danger posed by moulds, let us know the basics about them.
What are moulds? Is black mould a variety of mould?
Moulds are a member of the fungi family and they exist in a variety of forms in our surroundings from being tiny spores in the air to being monstrous spores sticking to various structures and causing illnesses.
A damp environment is the most favourable base for their growth and they grow supreme fast into becoming a whole colony.
A black mould is a group of different kinds of moulds that are black and can be collectively referred to as the Stachybotrys chart arum or Stachybotrys Atra. These moulds have the highest attraction for moisture and so you can find them thriving on damp and cellulosic surfaces in the form of black-green sports or dark blemishes.
Black mould makes its way inside homes via damp clothes, air, or pet fur but can only survive in presence of moisture. Thus, damp surfaces like gypsum boards, carpet, or drywall become the next breeding ground for these black mould colonies as they retain the moisture for long enough if not dried up.
How dangerous are the black moulds?
Other than impacting the physical appearance of any structure, black mould has another repercussion that gets visible on human health. The common notion has always held black mould exposure as being highly unhealthy and dangerous but the scientific backing to this statement is not concrete.
Science has found that the impact of black ranges from mild to serious and that majorly depends upon the sensitiveness and allergen tolerance of the people. This means that minor exposures may not affect everyone but immense exposure can surely impact anyone. People with previous health conditions may feel magnified health threats from black moulds.
What are the health impacts of black mould exposure?
Fungus like black mould releases toxic substances called Mycotoxins that play a major role in the health problems caused by moulds. Other than mould poisoning is a major concern, issues like body aches, headaches, mood swings, nosebleed, and memory impact have also been reported.
However, black mould exposure is related to other symptoms including:
- Cold-like symptoms like wheezing, blocked nose, watery eyes, etc.
- Skin irritation
- Breath shortness
Allergy prone people are at a higher risk of the health impacts caused by black moulds and they may experience various issues like dry cough, sore throat, sinusitis, red eyes, runny nose, skin rashes, etc. Medical conditions like lung problems or asthma can worsen in case of mould exposure.
Lesser immune people or those who have undergone serious treatments like ones related to cancer, HIV, or other transplants can catch fungal infections.
The last and worst case can be of Mycotoxicosis or mould poisoning that occurs only upon the direct consumption of mould touched items via ingestion.
However, any serious, unique, or fatal medical conditions caused by black mould exposure are extremely rare to find. So, the idea is to not pet the black moulds in your house and start with removing them at their first appearance.