5 Health Risks from Exposure to Black Mold 

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Your home is your haven. It is the place to unwind, kick off your shoes, sink into the sofa, turn on the TV, and take a deep breath of… mold-infested air!

Yep. The air inside your home or office is more polluted than outdoor air.

Black mold exposure

Indoor Air is Polluted

Several studies conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “indicate that the levels of many air pollutants may be two to five times higher in indoor air than outdoor air. In some cases, indoor air pollutants may even be 100 times higher than outdoors.”

These numbers are alarming because outdoor air quality in the U.S. is nothing to cheer about.

The American Lung Association estimates that 125 million Americans, or 38.9 percent of the population, live in counties with “unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution.” Eleven of these highly polluted counties are in New Jersey, including Monmouth County.

Distressing! But if indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air, why doesn’t it seem like so?

The indoor air feels cleaner because we are more aware of the pollutants in the outdoor air. We can see smoke coming out of automobiles and detect putrid smells when we are outside, but indoor air pollutants do not get noticed easily because “health effects may show up either [several] years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure,” according to the U.S. EPA.

Mold is a Common Source of Indoor Pollution

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) lists these six possible sources of indoor air pollution:

  1. Asbestos
  2. Biologic agents
  3. Building materials
  4. Radon
  5. Tobacco smoke
  6. Heating devices

Mold is a biologic agent and a source of indoor pollution with several side-effects. Your home is not as safe as think. As you are reading this in your home or office, you may also be risking your health in more than one way by getting exposed to black mold spores.

What Black Mold Is

Black mold is a fungus. It smells like mildew and appears greenish-black bordered by strips of white and gray.

Mold is present in minuscule quantities in most homes and offices but becomes a health concern when it grows. The rate of growth can leave anyone dumbstruck.

Mold can grow from barely noticeable to an eyesore in less than three days. However, the effects on health begin long before the mold is visible.

Black mold may be making you and your loved ones unwell. So if you, or someone in your family, are experiencing any of these five health issues, call a Certified Mold Investigator for identification and remediation.

1. You Break Out in a Rash

Researchers estimate that nasal allergies affect about 50 million people a year in the United States, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Mold can make nasal allergies worse. Mold spores get into your nose and aggravate allergy symptoms. You can develop patches of irritation, red bumps, skin rashes, or anything that looks like hives.

2. Your Eyes Get Itchy or Irritated

Even if you aren’t allergic to black mold, you can still experience irritating symptoms from inhaling spores. Red, watery, irritated or itchier than usual eyes mean it’s time to check for and get rid of black mold.

3. You Develop Upper Respiratory Issues

A persistent cough that sounds and feels thick in the lungs, or develops into a wheezing sound, could be a sign of Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold) in your home or office.

4. You Get Achy Muscles and Fatigue

If your body feels heavy, muscles ache, or you feel constantly run down after being inside your home or office for prolonged time periods, then you should have your home checked for black mold.

5. You Develop Worse Symptoms

New symptoms, or symptoms that get worse over time, should be addressed. This is especially true for people with asthma or allergies, children, elderly, or people with compromised immune systems.


Experiencing daily these symptoms means it’s time to call in a Certified Mold Expert to check for black mold. GreenWorks investigators can help restore your peace of mind. They identify, remediate and certify your home or office healthy. So you can get back to resting, and breathing, safely.

Originally posted on: December 15, 2014
Updated on: September 4, 2018

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Victor Coppola

Victor Coppola is a Building Biologist with decades of diverse environmental experience spanning natural resource management and contaminated sites to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and building hygiene matters. He focuses on the three most prevalent issues degrading today's built environment: Moisture Odor & Mold (M.O.M.). Mr. Coppola and his Team are sought out by individuals and professionals concerned about IAQ to those actually suffering from Biotoxin Illness. His hybrid blend of environmental interests and services enable him to give a unique perspective into today's changing environment. Think your home is killing you, better call Victor and his Team at GreenWorks.
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Sutton Turner
Sutton Turner
6 years ago

I never knew that itchy and irritated eyes could be a sign you have black mold in your home. My parents recently found mold in our basement and are looking for a service to remediate the mold. I’m glad you explained all these symptoms and health risks of mold.

Penelope Smith
Penelope Smith
5 years ago

This is some really good information about mold and what it can do for your health. I wasn’t aware that you can get achy muscles. It is good to know that because it seems like a good symptom to know if are worried about mold.

Kit Hannigan
Kit Hannigan
5 years ago

Wow, I sure didn’t know that mold spores can aggravate allergy symptoms and makes it worse. My wife has periodic asthma attacks. Lately, she has noticed an increase in the frequency of her episodes. She has her inhaler with her at all times, but I still want to make sure that we don’t have any mold buildup that could be causing it. I’ll definitely reach out to residential mold removal services soon to have our property investigated.

William White
William White
5 years ago

I would say you need to remove the drywall higher than 1 foot, depending on how long the water was sitting. If it was over 1 week go for 1 1/2 foot above the water line. Also, do not forget the door jams. Many miss the jams themselves or the molding in the area or the window sills. It can get into those areas very quickly. Plus, it can get into cracks and show up in other places.

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