What Is Stachybotrys Mold
Stachybotrys is a family of mold that is present inside and outside of the home. Stachybotrys decays organic matter like leaves or dead plants. Just one type of Stachybotrys—Stachybotrys atra—grows indoor.
What Does Stachybotrys Mold Look Like?
Stachybotrys can be dark brown or black and can have a slimy, or sooty consistency. Depending on the level of moisture it grows in, it can have like grayish white strands. It also looks like plenty of other molds, so testing is essential for proper identification.
Also, like other molds, Stachybotrys needs the proper conditions to thrive—moisture, nutrients, temperature, and time are all necessary factors in its proliferation. Standing water or humidity of 90% or higher is essential for its spores to multiply. Unlike other molds Stachybotrys is hearty—it can continue to grow even if the water source dries up and humidity falls to 70%.
Stachybotrys makes its home in natural materials including hay, straw, and wood chips. Inside, it sets up shop in ceiling tile, drywall, wallpaper, insulation backing, cardboard boxes, and paper. It’s tough to kill and can survive a wide variation in temperatures.
While it starts its life slowly—it tends to crop up one to two weeks after moisture intrusion—it usually develops into the dominant mold, eventually taking over where other molds may have colonized first.
What Are The Ill Effects Of Stachybotrys Exposure?
Exposure to Stachybotrys can result in allergic reactions, infections, or toxic effects. People in buildings with active Stachybotrys growth experience symptoms that include irritation and watering of the eyes and nose. Coughing and skin irritation are also allergic reactions commonly associated with Stachybotrys exposure.
Even at low levels, Stachybotrys can suppress immunity. Exposure can lead to bacterial and viral infections, and the mold also produces a poison called trichothecenes.
When inhaled or ingested Stachybotrys can also cause health issues including a sore throat or hoarseness, cold and flu symptoms, nosebleeds, tingling or burning, chronic fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, memory loss, problems concentrating, personality changes such, tremors or other neurological disorders, hair loss, coughing up blood, bleeding lungs, and damage to internal organs including blood, liver, kidneys, and lungs.
Illness severity related to Stachybotrys depends on a person’s pre-existing health issues, exposure time, and the amount of mold in their surroundings. Mycotoxins produced by Stachybotrys can also vary and depend on the environmental conditions present at the growth site. Because of this, different people in the home may experience different symptoms and severities.
Stachybotrys exposure, even at low levels, suppresses the immune system. Exposed individuals are often susceptible to bacterial and viral infections such as the flu. Stachybotrys also produces a fungal poison named trichothecenes. When inhaled or ingested Stachybotrys can cause:
- Sore/hoarse throat
- Cold and flu symptoms (headaches, slight fever, and muscle aches)
- Tingling or burning of nose, mouth, and perspiration areas (under the arms or between the legs)
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory loss
- Attention deficit/concentration problems
- Personality changes such as irritability or depression
- Neurological disorders such as tremors
- Hair loss
- Coughing with blood
- Bleeding in the lungs (hemosiderosis)
- Damage to internal organs including blood, liver, kidneys, and lungs
How To Rid Your Home Of Stachybotrys Mold
If you chose to remove the Stachybotrys yourself, make sure to wear the proper gear, including disposable gloves and a mold protective face mask. Block the work area so mold spores can’t drift into clean areas, and dispose of contaminated materials by sealing them in heavy plastic bags before you carry them out. If you don’t feel comfortable doing the job, or if you have contamination of more than ten square feet in size, contact a mold remediation specialist regarding your Stachybotrys mold problem.