What Is Black Mold?


More commonly known as black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum is a toxigenic indoor mold linked to serious health problems. Like other indoor molds, black mold can grow in areas of the home that are warm, humid, and damp. When the mold reproduces via airborne spores, people living in surrounding areas may experience allergic reactions and other unpleasant symptoms.

How Does Black Mold Affect Human Health?

The most serious health concerns associated with black mold are pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding in the lungs), difficulty breathing, and memory loss. Less serious symptoms and health effects include:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Rashes
  • Fatigue

Black mold has also been linked to respiratory illnesses and infections, such as asthma and bronchitis. Exposure may be especially hard on young children and people with pre-existing immune suppression, underlying lung disease, or chronic respiratory diseases (asthma).

If you or a loved one experiences bleeding in the lungs or any of the symptoms of “black mold poisoning,” see a healthcare provider right away.

Where Does Black Mold Come From?

Mold reproduces by sending spores into the air. These spores land on surfaces and thrive under certain conditions. As such, there is always a little mold everywhere. Many molds are harmless, and because mold is a non-scientific term for fungi, we sometimes eat mold or use it for medicine (like in blue cheese, edible mushrooms, or penicillin).

Nevertheless, black mold is toxigenic, which means it produces mycotoxins that may lead to health concerns. Many molds, including black mold, tend to grow in the midst of leaks or water damage – or in damp rooms with poor ventilation, such as kitchens, basements, bathrooms, crawlspaces, and laundry rooms.

You can identify black mold by its dark, greenish-black color. The best way to prevent black mold (and other molds) is to control humidity levels in your home, fix leaks promptly, and ventilate the rooms where you shower, cook, and do laundry.

What If I Find Black Mold in My Home?

Don’t panic. The good news is that small amounts of black mold are relatively easy to clean. As long as you use the proper supplies and wear gloves and a mask, you can get rid of this mold on your own without suffering the associated health effects.

Still, large areas of mold require experts with safety equipment. If you own your house, your homeowner’s insurance may cover mold removal. If you recently bought your house, speak to your seller, as they may be responsible for removing the mold (especially if they failed to disclose a mold problem).

If you rent your home or live in a mobile home park, mold removal may be your landlord’s responsibility. Report the mold right away and ask them to remove it as soon as possible.

Any delay on your landlord’s part could create legal liability if your health suffers due to the mold infestation. Landlords may also be responsible for injury and illness if black mold grows because they failed to make a repair.

If your health suffers because of black mold, pursue the treatment you need, then contact an attorney.

As lawyers who handle both real estate law and personal injury claims, our team at Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP is uniquely qualified to handle your claim.

Call us at (888) 998-2031 or contact us online to learn more about your rights and schedule a consultation with our firm.