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Is Your Home Making You Sick? How To Remove Toxic Black Mould

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Is Your Home Making You Sick? How To Remove Toxic Black Mould

Black mould is a serious health concern. Exposure can cause a variety of symptoms, from allergic reactions to potentially life-threatening illnesses. I was alarmed when I noticed black mould growing in my home, and knew I had to take action to remove it safely and thoroughly.

What Is Black Mould?

Black mould, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is a greenish-black fungus that grows on materials with high cellulose content like wood, paper, and drywall. This toxic mould grows in warm, damp, humid environments indoors.

Some key facts about black mould:

  • Thrives in damp, poorly ventilated areas of a home like basements and bathrooms
  • Releases microscopic spores that can be inhaled
  • Exposure can cause coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, and other allergy symptoms
  • Prolonged exposure may lead to respiratory illnesses and weakened immune systems

I realized the persistent cough I’d had for weeks could likely be traced back to the black mould I’d spotted in my basement. I knew I had to act quickly to remove it before it could make me or my family sick.

Health Dangers of Black Mould Exposure

Exposure to black mould can cause a wide range of concerning symptoms and health issues:

Allergic Reactions

  • Coughing, sneezing, runny nose
  • Eye irritation and watery eyes
  • Rash or irritated skin
  • Difficulty breathing

Respiratory Problems

  • Wheezing, chest tightness
  • Worsened asthma symptoms
  • Repeated lung infections like pneumonia

Weakened Immune System

Prolonged exposure can suppress your immune system and make you prone to illnesses.

Life-Threatening Conditions

In severe cases, black mould exposure has been linked to deadly conditions like:

  • Pulmonary hemorrhage in infants
  • Memory loss and permanent neurological damage

Clearly, black mould is not something to be taken lightly. I didn’t want my family to suffer any of these terrible health consequences.

How To Identify and Remove Black Mould

Upon learning about the dangers of black mould, I inspected my home carefully for any signs of an infestation. Here is how I identified problem areas:

Locate Visible Growth

  • Check damp areas like basements, bathrooms, under sinks
  • Look for black, greenish-black spots on walls, floors, ceilings
  • Pay attention to musty odors which may indicate mould

Check for Hidden Growth

  • Remove baseboards or panels to inspect hidden areas
  • Look inside air ducts and HVAC systems

Once I found the black mould colonizing my basement, I knew I had to remove it safely and thoroughly. Here are the steps I took:

Step 1: Prepare for Removal

  • Turn off HVAC system to avoid spreading spores
  • Open windows to increase ventilation
  • Wear protective gear like goggles, gloves, and mask

Step 2: Contain and Eliminate Growth

  • First, fix any moisture problems like leaks to prevent regrowth
  • Carefully scrape or sand affected drywall/wood
  • Use antimicrobial cleaners or bleach to kill remaining spores

Step 3: Properly Dispose of Contaminated Materials

  • Seal mouldy materials in plastic bags for disposal
  • Clean any tools/equipment used in contaminated areas
  • Wash exposed clothing separately with detergent and hot water

Step 4: Allow Area to Dry Thoroughly

  • Use dehumidifiers, fans, and open windows to dry area completely
  • Check moisture levels with meter, remediating until acceptable

Preventing Black Mould Growth

Removing the toxic black mould made my home safer, but I also wanted to prevent it from recurring. Here are proactive prevention measures I now take:

  • Regularly check for water leaks and moisture
  • Use dehumidifier and improve ventilation
  • Clean bathrooms/basements with anti-mould products
  • Discard clutter like cardboard which may harbor mould

Proper prevention helps keep my home free of black mould. But if I ever suspect new growth, I will act quickly to test and safely remediate any infestation.

When To Seek Professional Help

While I was able to successfully remove the black mould myself, larger infestations may require professional remediation. Seek help in these instances:

  • If mould growth covers over 100 square feet
  • If you have health conditions like asthma or a weakened immune system
  • If mould growth is in hard to reach places like behind walls or under materials

Remediation experts use specialized containment and air filtration techniques to remove mould safely. They can also test spore levels to ensure remediation is complete.

Though expensive, professional help provides peace of mind and health protection when dealing with a serious black mould problem.

Discovering black mould growth in my home was alarming. But by educating myself and taking the proper removal and prevention steps, I was able to protect my family from its dangerous health effects. Stay vigilant in monitoring your home environment to keep this toxic mould from making you sick.

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