Stachybotrys is easily the mold of greatest concern when it comes to our clients. This is what people usually refer to as 'black mold' or 'toxic mold'. Stachybotrys Chartarum is considered one of the more detrimental indoor molds and is most prosaic in bathrooms.
Stachybotrys is currently being studied rather extensively to better understand the mycotoxins* that are produced from the mold-which potentially impact human health neurologically, physically and oncologically (i.e. cancer).
In a relatively recent research paper conducted by Platt et al. (333), the authors extrapolated that there were more reports of subjective complaints from tenants in buildings which were damp and moldy. Stachybotrys tends to be one of the more common culprits in these types of complaints. I always cover the contingencies that exist with mold and what facilitates the growth and spread of mold (temperature, moisture, humidity etc.) with my clients.
Stachybotrys is more common in bathrooms since this type of mold tends to develop within a relative humidity range of 93% (we recommend keeping humidity below 60% within a structure, generally) and a temperature of 77 degrees fahrenheit (Kuhn et Ghannoum, 2003).
Further into the profile of Stachybotrys, this genus is known to be in existence worldwide, which reinforces the ubiquitous nature of it; Stachybotrys was identified in the US during the 1940s and then initiated a media craze later on, which is where the terms 'black mold' and 'toxic mold' derived. Stachybotrys is found in soils and is also known to be found in various strata that are rich in cellulose (a la straw, hemp, plants and plant debris, wood, paper etc.).
Stachybotrys is a borderline extremophile, only to die once a temperature exceeds 140 degrees fahrenheit; also being persistent during winter months and living from years to decades. This gives the reader an idea of the amount of resilience involved in this mold and why it is of concern.
The potential health effects of Stachybotrys have a multitude of determinations and are variable from person to person based on the concentrated levels, the person's own immune system, their levels of exposure, etc. As far as preventative measures go, we always stress upon maintenance such as routine maintenance of HVAC systems, humidity regulation within a structure, immediate repairs of any active leaks-whilst still in their infancy, constant general cleaning of dust/dirt/stains in the house, carpet cleaning and general mindfulness in extremely susceptible areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
*As quoted from the academic journal by (Kuhn et Ghannoum, 2003),
"Mycotoxins are diverse secondary metabolites produced by fungi growing on a variety of foodstuffs consumed by both animals and humans. Clinical toxicological syndromes caused by ingestion of large amounts of mycotoxins have been well characterized in animals and range from acute mortality to slow growth and reduced reproductive efficiency. The effects on humans are much less well characterized."
Read further into various pieces of academic research into Stachybotrys (black and toxic mold).
The author of our microbial blog is Fareed Nazaryfar. He holds a Master's degree in Environmental and Petroleum Geochemistry from Newcastle University (United Kingdom). He is also a Certified Mold Inspector, as well as an Environmental Manager-holding an ISO 14001 certification in Environmental Management.
MOLD HEALTH EFFECTS BLOG AND RESEARCH