What is the concern for Stachybotrys?

Author: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC   Date: 26-Dec-2013.   Category: Mold   Add to Favorites  Stachybotrys Chartarum (Aka: The Toxic Indoor Black Mold):  A genus of molds which derives from the Greek words “stachy” & “botrys”. “Stachy” (progeny/descendants), “Botrys” (cluster or bunch of grapes). Most famous species of this mold include: S. Chartarum and Chlorochalonata which are also known as “black mold” or “toxic black mold”. These are linked with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials (plywood, wallpaper, drywall & carpet). Stachybotrys has also been associated with “Sick Building Syndrome”. 


Where S. Chartarum Occurs Indoors

The spores of S. chartarum are in the soil and are introduced along with flood waters or the dust and dirt entering with the water incursion. Also, building materials at the time of construction can have a coating of dust or dirt that
contains S. chartarum. The fungus is most commonly found in homes or buildings which have sustained flooding or water damage from broken pipes, roof, wall or floor leaks, condensation, etc. Wet conditions are required to initiate and maintain growth. It is most common on the paper covering of gypsum wall board, but can be found on wallpaper, cellulose based ceiling tiles, paper products, carpets with natural fibers, paper covering on insulated pipes, in insulation material, on wood and wood paneling, and on general organic debris. The paper covering on fiberglass insulation is another area for growth. The fungus can be hidden in the ceiling, walls or floors with no or little visible evidence within the interior of the room. The spores, however, can contaminate the interior of the room through holes and cracks in the building materials (aided by negative pressure) or be transported via the air handling system. It can also be found growing in ducts if there is organic debris. Condensation due to poor design or faulty heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can promote growth of the fungus. The fungus will usually produce large amounts of conidiophores and conidia giving the substrate a black appearance that can be slightly shiny when fresh and powdery when dry. I have observed the fungus growing profusely on the paper covering of gypsum wall board within a week after flood water was drained from a building. 
Health Effects: Mild-Nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing & skin irritation. Severe-Fever, shortness of breath, fungal ling infections. Extreme-Can and do occur to those with immune-mediated conditions.
Please contact your local public health department, the CDC, or the EPA for advice on these related issues.