The Dangers of Black Mold, Prevention and Elimination

Black mold spores are very dangerous for anyone to breathe, and if you're not vigilant, it can make its home in your home. People with COPD and asthma, as well as other types of chronic lung conditions and immunity issues, are more sensitive to any mold spore in the air, but the black molds that can grow indoors are especially harmful. If you have COPD or asthma, having black mold somewhere in your home can cause recurring exacerbations. If you keep having these exacerbations and you can't figure out why you might want to check your home for black mold.

Black mold has been known to make its home anywhere that is dark and moist, even inside a human or an animals lungs. If you happen to breathe in enough of the airborne spores of the mold known as Aspergillus fumigatus, they can begin growing inside your lungs and cause pneumonia symptoms. These types of infections, if not treated quickly enough, can be hard to get rid of.

Other types of molds that can grow in your home are all known as “mycotoxins,” and they are extremely dangerous because they specifically target existing health problems. If you have a lung condition, immune deficiency or any other kind of deficiency, these molds can be deadly. Prolonged exposure to otherwise healthy people can cause symptoms of asthma and respiratory infections.

How can black mold get into my home?

Mold spores are everywhere but usually become airborne during the spring, summer or fall, and least likely during the winter when conditions are usually too dry. They can be brought into the home on your clothing, or an animal can bring in spores on its fur. They will begin growing and thriving if they land in a spot that is mostly dark and damp, and they will attach themselves to any surface. Molds will start to eat away at drywall, wood and particle board.

How can I prevent black mold?

The first step is to prevent the build-up of moisture and condensation. This usually happens around windows, water pipes, water tanks concrete walls. Basements are the most commonplace in the home for molds to thrive, as well as underneath and around kitchen and bathroom sinks. To prevent condensation around pipes, wrap them with pipe insulation. If you have a wet, leaky basement or if you live in a moist climate, use a dehumidifier in your basement.

Clean your home often, especially in these areas. Wipe regularly around windows and doors with a cloth that has been soaked in vinegar to help prevent the growth of mold. You can also put vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use it to clean around water pipes, water tank, around and underneath sinks. Be sure to wipe these areas down and dry them thoroughly.

How do I remove black mold?

If you find black mold in your home, the first thing you should do is protect yourself and your loved ones by taking them somewhere else while the mold is being removed. If the infected mold area is less than 10 feet in diameter, you can try removing it yourself. If the area is larger than that, you will need to call in a professional.

Put on a face mask, a pair of safety goggles, rubber gloves, and clothes that cover your whole body. Spray the mold with a mold-killing detergent and scrub well with a plastic scrub brush. Rinse the area well with water and then dowse with a water and vinegar solution. Make sure the area is thoroughly dried and use a fan pointing out of a window to ventilate the area for a few hours. Immediately wash the clothes you were wearing in hot water and dispose of the rubber gloves, mask and scrub brush.

Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only.

Page last updated: October 9, 2018

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

12 thoughts on “The Dangers of Black Mold, Prevention and Elimination”

  • joseph

    I have been a light smoker (less than 7 cigarettes per day) and have been living in a very old home that my landlord rented me a "TEARDOWN" house (Her words-not mine) and, I have had bronchitis at least 5 times in 3 years. The roof of the house has leaked for at least 2 and a half years of the 3 since I have lived there and I wonder if the mold in the bedrooms and bathroom that was showing up could of given me C.O.P.D. Please help me to figure this out.

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Joseph. We recommend speaking to a doctor immediately regarding your health related concerns. A doctor will be able to best assist you in diagnosing your health related concerns. Additionally, as mentioned in the blog post, it can often be hazardous to continually breathe any form of mold and would be best to eradicate the source of the mold, if possible, as soon as you are able.

      Reply
  • Terry.gallegos ii
    Terry.gallegos ii December 24, 2017 at 2:55 am

    I live in a old home l see black mold I have copd and my husband has asthma and he thinks it's not mold and it has a funny smell and my daughter says it smells and she says it is mold and we both get sick a lot and we need help but he thinks noting.

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Terry. If you suspect you have black mold, we suggest calling a specialist to eradicate the source of mold as soon as possible. Professional Mold Testing and or removal services will be able to assure you that what you are seeing is or is not hazardous and will be able to assist you in providing the best course of action to remedy the situation.

      Reply
  • Edie Hardesty

    Yes I just found out my oxygen unit I use at night has black mold growing on the internal filter that I have been breathing in Lord knows how long The filter has not been changed since Feb 2016 nor has the machine been serviced since then and I just found out is suppose to be changed every 6 months

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason

      Thank you for your comment, Edie. What machine are you currently using and were you able to clean or replace your filter? Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or need any replacements 877-774-9271.

      Reply
    • Karen Miller

      I have the same problem as Edie Hardesty from Feb12,2018! This problem is slowly killing me. I can't seem to order new filters fast enough as the mold grows in just one to two weeks. I develope severe infections that require antibiotics over and over again for the last six or more years. I can never be well for very long after taking antibiotics until I am right back to the same problem. I have the Invacare platinum 10 home fill and concentrator. Can you help me?

      Reply
      • Margaret Goodman
        Margaret Goodman April 26, 2018 at 9:19 am

        Thank you for your inquiry. I have passed along your information to a specialist who will reach out regarding your request. For more immediate assistance feel free to give our specialists a call at 888-360-9628 or if you prefer email [email protected]

        Reply
  • Sharon

    I have copd. For a few months my smyptoms have been really bad. Very short of breath. I dont understand why it continues to get worse. I did notice today that their is black mold inside my window air conditioner in my bedroom. Its been blowing in my face for along time. Its in air vents under sinks. It is really scaring me. What are the smyptoms of mold toxicity?

    Reply
    • Danielle Jason
      Danielle Jason March 1, 2018 at 1:07 am

      Thank you for your inquiry, Sharon. We are not versed in mold toxicity and would suggest consulting your doctor, immediately, regarding your situation.

      Reply
  • Tina Love

    I have COPD and emphysema I cannot get my landlord to fix around my windows I know there is black mold once they covered it up with buddy but cannot get them to come and fix it I would love to be able to test for mold but I don’t know how my breathing is so bad I’m to the point of asking my doctor about oxygen

    Reply
    • Margaret Goodman
      Margaret Goodman October 12, 2018 at 10:57 am

      Tina, I would do some research on at home black mold kits. I know that there are some out there that you can purchase online and do some testing of your own. I would also recommend speaking to your doctor about your concerns about being exposed to black mold. They may also be able to test you for this exposure.

      Reply

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