Life Cycle Of Indoor Black Molds and Associated Health Problems

General Article

Molds are invisible organisms that reproduce by spreading spores. Molds, often called as mildew, are parts of environment and they play crucial role in maintaining the balance of ecosystem. Molds decompose organic materials to form simpler compounds and elements. They grow on dead leaves, trees, wood and collect their nutrition from these matters thus enabling recycling of nutrients around the ecosystem. Molds and mildews are the lowest level members of Food Pyramid.

Molds are practically everywhere inside and outside your home. Being microscopic organisms, molds are not visible to human eyes unless they colonize. Molds grow on almost any surface including uncovered food, dead organic matters etc. Water and humidity are necessary for molds to grow and amplify.

Lifecycle of Molds:

Spores get spread with air, dust particles, or any other container and start growing as soon as they get humid surface, food and right temperature. The Hyphae, a threadlike structure, secretes enzymes that decompose the contaminated organic material to obtain nutrition. Then the molds start growing mycelium – the main part of mold body.

Under suitable environmental conditions like light, air, water and nutrition black mold starts growing spores within the hyphael cells. The spores, after reaching maturity, are released in the air. Mold spores can remain inactive for years and wait for suitable environmental condition to grow.

When these spores start invading your home and spore count in air becomes higher than that of outdoor, chances of forming mold colony inside home become higher. Even if the spores get a small open watery surface in any dark place, they stuck on it, germinate and mold formation begins. Unlike spores and single mold body, mold colonies are visible to naked eye. Molds when infect a surface leave black stains and that is the reason molds are often referred as black mold.

Apart from the spots and discoloration of the surface, one can recognize the presence of molds from its pungent odor. This odor helps people spot the Molds if they had chosen a hidden place to grow in. Inspect places close to water source or where water can leak out making the surface wet.

Possible Health problems and remedies:

Living in a room with black molds could lead to health problems to human beings and pets. Higher spore count in the air cause breathing trouble, asthma and more serious health threats. Some species of molds are toxic; they produce mycotoxins which have adverse effects to human health. Both adults and children can suffer from various health problems including nausea, headache, fatigue, watery eyes, excessive sneezing, irritation of skin, eyes, lungs etc. Even dead mold bodies may lead to difficulties in breathing and skin rash.

The quantity of black molds and mildew that leads to health issues varies for different individuals. Being ubiquitous, molds are everywhere. But when they spread in great number inside a covered space problems begin. Black dots on walls, carpet, drywall and the typical musty odor signal considerable mold growth which can be removed with the help of mold cleaners.

The very first step is to open the windows and let air flow inside the rooms so that spores are taken out with air current. With adequate sunlight humidity decreases and the growth of molds is arrested. If the condition is worse, consult an inspector and professional mold controllers.