What is Black Mold (Stachybotrys)?
Let’s begin by explaining that mold is a type of multicellular fungi that produces long tube‐like structures called hyphae or mycelium (roots) and spores. Spores are released by wind into the environment & these spores & hyphae land on surfaces and under the right conditions, when enough moisture is present, they begin to grow, developing into visible masses known as “colonies.” Colonies of mold can have a wide variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and colors.
Depending on the type of food source, nutrients, temperature, humidity and available moisture present, different types of molds can begin to germinate. Your initial primary colonizers can begin to grow within 24-48 hours with fully developed visible colonies within 3 days. The longer the moisture is available, in come your secondary colonizers and finally the tertiaries, the big boys, the heavy hitters, most notably Stachybotrys & Chaetomium.
Stachybotrys is a species of toxic mold (black mold) that is usually accompanied by others including, but not limited to, Cladosporium, Aspergillus & Penicillium, Trichoderma, Fusarium,
What Does Black Mold Look Like?
Most people know what mold looks like because of its color, but for the average person, determining if mold is in fact Black Mold (Stachybotrys Chartarum) by your eyes alone is not easy. For a professional mold expert, it is easier to identify a mold such as Stachybotrys because of its distinguishable slimy black & dark green appearance in its mature state and based on the building material and the moisture involved that caused the mold.
Inspection & Testing for Black Mold
A qualified and experienced professional mold inspector knows how to properly identify all of the places where black mold grows and have the knowledge and background identity of the cause. An experienced New York State Mold Assessor or Licensed Mold Inspector knows black mold also understands that this mold is not easily airborne unless its disturbed, which is why surface sampling (not just air sampling) should be done when visible growth is present, to ascertain whether Black Mold it is present. In some cases, the only way for us to say with certainty that a specific mold is in fact black mold, is for us to take a sample for laboratory confirmation. H.N.S.T. suggests you have mold testing performed after remediation to ensure the mold problem was handled properly and the indoor environment is in its normal state.
Although today, there is no set governmental standards for mold levels in the indoor environment; it is a universal accepted within the industry that any amount of Stachybotrys that is found in air or surface sample tests is cause for a failed post mold remediation verification air test, or on an initial assessment can indicate the need that professional mold remediation be carried out due to potential health risks. (post remediation inspection link)
Where can you find Stachybotrys?
Stachybotrys is found in cellulose rich materials that have been saturated such as from a flood or water damage. Stachybotrys is a hydrophilic (water loving) mold, is a tertiary colonizer and can take weeks to germinate.
It is important to note that Stachybotrys mold is also found growing in the natural environment in soil, manure, leaves, seeds & decaying plant matter such as hay & straw.
Examples of materials rich in cellulose & places Stachybotrys can germinate in the indoor environment include:
• Sheetrock/Gypsum Board
• Cellulose Ceiling Tiles
• Paper products
• Water Damaged Cardboard