Toxic mold, a definition of toxic mold
The term toxic mold is used to describe species of fungi capable of producing toxins, or specifically mycotoxins. The term is not often used by the scientific community as the toxic effects from airborne exposure to mold is not well documented. The medical community also does not typically recognize the term ‘toxic mold’, instead focusing on the well established connection between the allergenic effects of mold and the human body.
Stachybotrys Chartarum, a type of mold, if often referred to as the toxic black mold. This association is deceptive as many other species of mold are black in color and produce mycotoxins. Without the assistance of microscopic investigation, the exact species of mold spore cannot be determined.
Toxic mold has been implicated with Sick Building Syndrome, however it is unclear the role mycotoxins play in the problem.
Mycotoxins are produced by certain molds. These molds require specific conditions for the production or release of mycotoxins. For example, Stachybotrys, a common toxic mold, only produces mycotoxins under specific water activity levels. Recent research correlates the health problems associated with toxic molds with an activation of the immune system rather than the toxins themselves.
Nearly every known occurrence of human illness due to fungal toxins is due to ingestion rather than airborne exposure. Examples of this include aflatoxins produced by Aspergillus flavus and Claviceps purpurea. Linking toxic mold to negative health affects through airborne exposure is extremely difficult. Mold toxins are rarely introduced into the air in sufficient quantities to affect human health.
Regardless of a mold's toxicity, mold growth is an indication of building failure and therefore must be removed. Please see our Remediation Guidelines.