Toxic mold or black mold may sound like something out of a horror film, but people see and hear about it in the media all the time. These strains of mold cause health problems to homeowners, building occupants and workers. Victims may not even be aware of the situation at first, but it can grow for years, impacting the occupants’ health and productivity.
People come in contact with mold spores as part of our natural environment. But spores also enter our human-made environments through doors, windows, and via people. Once the spores enter the human-made structure, it can flourish in areas where it is warm, humid and damp with minimal airflow.
Why does this happen now?
Considered a building defect, toxic mold is a growing problem in the construction industry and led to a surge in lawsuits. The causes for mold vary, but they include:
- Efforts to make buildings more airtight
- Faster building practices
- Erroneous building practices
- Faulty building materials
- Increasingly complex building designs
What are the warning signs?
It is best to bring in an expert to determine if there is a mold problem, but the average person can check for the following clues:
- Water stains on interior-facing and exterior-facing walls and ceilings
- Visible mold (toxic mold is dark black)
- Areas with standing water or remnants of it
- Condensation on walls, windowsills or floors
- A musty or moldy odor
What can you do?
Black mold can seriously impact the value of a home or building. Hiring experts to remove it is often necessary for severe cases. They will wear protective gear as they remove and safely dispose of the toxic fungus. There will also need to be design changes to prevent the mold from returning.
Removal can be a massive job in a commercial space, but it can be expensive in residential homes. Those looking to hold the builder or other parties responsible will likely need to file a lawsuit. There may be a limited time to file a claim, particularly if the mold is in a recently built building.