HOW BAD IS IT?
Group 5: Katelyn Hall, Danielle Rope, Katie Lupo, Blythe Dollar, & Kirk Shamley
Background: What is black mold?
Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra)
grows on material with high cellulose and low
nitrogen content (fiberboard, gypsum board,
paper, dust, lint)
Occurs where there is water damage, excessive
Produces multiple mycotoxins that have potential
to become airborne
Public health risk for Stachybotrys chartarum is broken
down into three categories
Stachybotrys chartarum spores dyed blue.
Primarily due to the mycotoxin produced by the mold
Reported and identified in farm animals having consumed
affected feed, but rarely reported in humans
Ongoing risk is unlikely in view of moderate agricultural
methods and scrutiny of agricultural products.
Risk Characterization: 1. Ingestion
Direct infection, especially in immunocompromised
Plausible but rarely reported and unlikely with modern
Risk Characterization: 2. Topical
Allergic reaction and direct toxic effects to the lungs
No confirmed cases but remains theoretically possible
Risk Characterization: 3. Inhalation
Etiology yet to be elucidated
Role of Black mold remains theoretical but unproven
“Sick Building Syndrome”
Association of mold, including Stachybotrys, with is
biologically plausible but still theoretical
Hypothetically, black mold could be a surrogate marker for
poor and substandard housing, a known link to poor health
Risk is theoretical only
Potential for a large number of people to be affected would
appear to justify continued scrutiny
Lack of standardized method for describing mold burden
Stachybotrys rarely exists in isolation
Questionnaires, visual or engineering inspections
Sample air, dust or contaminated materials
Heavy mold burdens can usually be seen or smelled
Exposure Assessment Cont.
Air sampling is most common
Typically done for several hours
Determination of total spore counts
(generic, species usually not identified)
Unknown how well air samples represent a
Currently, reliable sampling of mold is costly
and no standard for interpretation of results
EPA recommends removing any mold that is
found regardless of species
Exposure Assessment Cont.
EPA recently developed metric called the Environmental Relative
Moldiness Index (ERMI)
DNA analysis called Mold Specific Quantitative PCR
Dust samples are collected and DNA from mold is analyzed
Sample is compared to the ERMI
Used only for research at this time, not yet validated for
routine public use
“There is no way to test for Stachybotrys in the body, nor
for poisoning after it has left the body.”
black mold blood tests - IgA (Immunoglobulins)
urine sample - mycotoxins
“According to respected scientific bodies like the Environmental
Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control, among
others, there is very little scientific evidence linking mold with
serious human illness, particularly considering the low levels
of exposure in most homes.”
Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure
Exposure to the mycotoxins present in specific types of mold
makes some people sick
Skin problems, flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue,
headaches, respiratory and heart problems, nose bleeding,
bronchitis, pulmonary hemorrhage
Learning disabilities, mental deficiencies, cancer, multiple
sclerosis, lupus,fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis
1994 - case of bleeding lung disease in children
10,000 pending cases in the United States
Just to be safe - get your house checked
out and remove mold!
Best prevention from adverse health effects from
exposure to Stachybotrys chartarum is to
REMOVE THE MOLD!!!
Can call a mold removal company to
assess and remove the mold
Can remove the mold yourself
Hazard Assessment: Mold Removal
If you decide to remove the mold yourself:
Open windows and doors in the area
Wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear
Wear a mask to prevent inhalation of mycotoxins
Wear protective clothing and do not have exposed skin
Hazard Assessment: Mold Removal
To remove mold from hard surfaces mix 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water and
clean the surface
Absorbent porous materials like drywall, ceiling tiles, or carpet should be thrown
away if contaminated with mold
1 Cup Bleach 1 Gallon Water
Hazard Assessment: Mold Removal
If the area to be cleaned is
larger than 10 square feet
consult the U.S.
Agency (EPA) guide titled
Mold Remediation in Schools
and Commercial Buildings
Or hire a professional
mold removal company
Personal Protective Equipment
Remediation in Schools & Commercial Buildings (EPA Guidelines)
Skin and Eye Protection
Properly fitted goggles or a full-face respirator with HEPA filter.
Small area affected by mold: N-95 respirator; covers the nose and mouth, will filter out 95% of
the particulates in the air, and is available in most hardware stores.
Limited PPE: half-face or full-face air purifying respirator equipped with a HEPA filter
cartridge; contain both inhalation and exhalation valves that filter the air and ensure that it is
free of mold particles.
High levels of airborne dust or mold spores are likely or when intense or long-term exposures
are expected: a full-face, powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) is recommended; HEPA-
filtered air is supplied to a mask that covers the entire face or a hood that covers the entire
Administrative Controls (i.e., Gaps in
Standards or Threshold Limit Values for airborne concentrations of mold have not been set. No regulations
or standards for airborne mold contaminants.
No standard for mold exposure. No enforcement directive for mold exposure.
Congress has failed several times to pass federal legislation requiring inspections and remediation of rental
properties and new homes sales, establishing EPA and HUD guidelines, establishing a FEMA catastrophic
loss program, and requiring Medicaid coverage for “mold victims”.
Most states have enacted legislation regarding mold, including California’s Toxic Mold Protection Act,
which establishes permissible exposure limits.
A surge in lawsuits in the early to mid 2000s awarded billions of dollars to plaintiffs claiming property
damage and health problems due to black mold.
Control potential water sources. To prevent mold growth, control the places where water can get in and cause
Temporary holes in roofing, walls, or siding during construction/renovation.
Leaking roofs, windows, siding, crawl spaces, etc.
Plumbing or washing machine leaks, dishwasher backups or pump failure, leaking icemaker water line to
refrigerators, toilet overflows, slow water pipe leaks inside walls, etc.
Bathing/showering areas, cooking areas, indoor plants, or pet urine.
Condensation from poorly insulated windows or cold surfaces.
Repair leaks quickly. Because mold and bacteria grow very rapidly, it is important to fix the source of water intrusion
immediately. If not fixed, the mold will simply grow back. Without moisture, microbes cannot grow and will not be a
health concern indoors.
Dry wet areas within 48 hours. Mold and bacteria grow quickly, so dry water-damaged areas within 48 hours.
Discard any building materials that have not been dried and can support mold and bacterial growth. Materials that
are not dried within 48 hours will grow mold, and the mold spores will remain in the material. Dead and dried mold
causes more health problems than moist.
Boulder County mold information and resources:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Protect Yourself
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