Mold is a type of fungus that feeds off of moisture to grow and spread. While some types of mold are harmless, black mold produces toxins that can cause illness and even death. Depending on where black mold exposure occurs, victims may be entitled to compensation for resulting illness. Black mold lawsuits may become complicated, however, so it is important for victims to find experienced black mold attorneys when pursuing legal action.
What is Black Mold?
Black mold is the common name for stachybotrys chartarum. Black mold is characterized by its coloration, which is greenish-black. While not all mold that is black or dark green in color is stachybotrys chartarum, all mold should be treated as though it is toxic to avoid health complications. Black mold requires constant moisture to continue to grow. Black mold grows best on material that has high cellulose content and low nitrogen content, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Materials that are most conducive to the growth of black mold include:
- Gypsum board
- Cotton products
Detecting Black Mold in Florida
While most types of mold carry a distinctive smell, black mold does not. This makes black mold more difficult to detect when it is not in a visible area. As black mold spreads, it may begin to cause staining on ceilings, floors, or walls. Building occupants may also notice respiratory complications. If black mold growth is suspected, a professional mold inspector may be able to confirm the presence of black mold.
Black Mold Side Effects
The toxins that are released from black mold are called mycotoxins. These toxins are released from the mold after it dries and circulate through the air in buildings. Mycotoxins may also be brought into homes from outside on clothing and shoes. The toxins are inhaled by people and animals, causing side effects to manifest.
Side effects that may become noticeable after black mold exposure include:
- Trouble breathing
- Sinus infections
- Persistent illness
- Eventual organ failure
- Eventual brain damage
Certain factors may make individuals more susceptible to serious illnesses or death as a result of black mold exposure. Children and elderly individuals may face increased vulnerability to black mold side effects. Those with a compromised immune system may also be more susceptible to serious side effects from exposure to mycotoxins.
Black Mold Prevention and Removal
Since black mold needs constant moisture to grow, moisture control is the most effective way to prevent the growth of black mold. Moisture can be controlled within the home by fixing leaks immediately, using a dehumidifier or ventilation system, and ensuring proper insulation. If black mold is found, it should be removed by professionals to prevent harmful side effects.
Black Mold Liability
If a home is rented, it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the health and safety of tenants. If a home is purchased, the seller is responsible for ensuring that there is no black mold inside of the home prior to sale. In workplaces, the employer is accountable for keeping employees safe from the damaging side effects of black mold. If a mold inspector was hired and failed to detect black mold, the inspector or the agency may be held responsible for injuries suffered due to the failure to detect the mold or inform the building occupants of the risks.
Black Mold Lawsuits in Florida
Black mold lawsuits may vary from case to case and encompass several different areas of law. Employment laws, construction laws, housing laws, personal injury laws, and toxic torts laws may all have an effect on the ruling in a black mold lawsuit. Black mold attorneys should be well-versed in all of these areas of law in order to increase the chances of pursuing a successful lawsuit for black mold exposure side effects. Medical records, repair receipts for mold damage, and photographs of the mold damage may all be helpful when filing a black mold lawsuit. Black mold attorneys may be able to provide patients with advice and assistance in compiling this documentation.
“Black Mold.” Clean Water Partners. Clean Water Partners, 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cleanwaterpartners.org/mold/black-mold.html>
“Facts about Stachybotrys Chartarum and Other Molds.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm>
“Mold Resources.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 19 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2014. <http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html>