Toxic mold is an oft use term, but it is somewhat misleading as under the right circumstances virtually any mold can be considered toxic. Literally speaking there is no such thing as a toxic mold. Instead, there are molds that are capable of producing mycotoxins. These mycotoxins are spread via the mold spores and if inhaled or ingested in sufficient quantities they can become toxic to humans.
While mold is virtually everywhere, the molds that are capable of producing mycotoxins are not as common as that. The two most well known toxic molds are:
Stachybotrys chartarum Also known as black mold or toxic black mold, this is a slimy black mold that grows in very moist environments. It is very common in flood damaged buildings and often grows hidden behind walls, above ceilings, and under carpets. It has been linked to the incidence of lung and liver cancer, memory loss, and lung hemorrhaging.
Aspergillis This is not a single mold, but rather a family of molds. The mycotoxins produced by Aspergillis are far less toxic than those produced by Stachybotrys, but because Aspergillis is far more common it is more likely that your home can become contaminated with Aspergillis mold.
How to Get Rid of Mold
Any building has some amount of mold, and in most cases this is not dangerous to the occupants. In cases where an extensive mold infestation has been discovered it is usually necessary to remove the mold through mold remediation. This is true whether or not the mold is considered to be toxic.
In cases where mold has grown on hard surfaces, it can be removed with special cleaning methods or mold cleaning protocols that have been developed to specifically target mold removal on hard surfaces. It is critical that these procedures are followed properly, otherwise mold spores can be released and spread the infestation.
When mold has grown on porous surfaces the only solution is the removal of the infested surfaces. This is the case with drywall, carpets, ceiling tiles, wallpaper and many other interior materials. When the mold has gotten behind walls and above ceilings extensive remediation and renovations may be necessary.
Mold remediation can be a costly and involved project. Because it is important to avoid releasing mold spores during removal and cleanup it is usually best to hire a professional mold remediation company. Otherwise the possibility of the mold spores entering the ventilation system and spreading through the entire home or building exists. This is true whether cleaning mold from hard surfaces or replacing porous surfaces.