Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys Chartarum, is a greenish black mold that flourishes in wet, warm or humid conditions. It can be found growing on any high cellulose surface, such as wood, drywall, wallpaper, insulation backing and cardboard boxes. Often when black mold is discovered in a home or office, it is the result of moisture from plumbing, roof or foundation leaks or water condensation from poor ventilation and temperature control.
Typically wet and slimy to the touch, Stachybotrys can also appear sooty, or even like grayish white depending on the amount of moisture available and the length of time it has been growing. Although it needs moisture to begin its growth, it can continue spreading even after the moisture has dried up. Stachybotrys is slow growing, but hardy, and will eventually crowd out other mold growths.
Easily confused with other common indoor molds, including Cladosporium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria, testing would be needed to confirm a Stachybotris growth. Although, regardless of which of these molds you found growing in your home or office, they are all toxic to humans and animals and need to be removed and remediated properly.
Much like its counterparts, Stachybotrys emits a mycotoxin which can cause a host of physical ailments in humans. These include cold and flu symptoms, memory loss, muscle aches, sore throats, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, dermatitis, intermittent local hair loss, cancer, generalized malaise, and if prolonged exposure continues, even death. For more information about health effects of black mold, please refer to our Black Mold Symptoms section.