Black Soot vs. Black Mold
It’s an unfortunate truth that people very often mistake soot stains for mold. Mind you, it’s not their fault. There are several other types of ‘growth’ and staining that essentially masquerade as your everyday mold. This is why you always need to take the time to confirm that what you are looking at is actually mold and not just some mold look-alike.
Introducing Black Mold
The type of mold that causes the most consternation is known as black mold. Also known as Stachybotrys chartarum (S. atra), toxic black mold produces a toxin known as mycotoxin. Persistent exposure to mycotoxin can lead to the following conditions:
Allergic Reactions, Asthma Attacks, Respiratory Conditions, Headaches, Irregular Heartbeats, Heart Inflammation, Low Blood Pressure, Internal Bleeding, Vomiting, Nausea, Pulmonary Hemorrhaging, Skin Rashes, Liver Damage, Central Nervous System Damage, Cancer, Blurry Vision, Bloodshot Eyes, Jaundice, Infertility, Miscarriages, Impotence, Fetal Development Problems.
People who live in a home that contains black mold get exposed to mycotoxins. At first, the mycotoxins create a sensation of irritating and burning in the residents’ air passages. As the exposure increases, so do its effects. Often, the mycotoxins wind up lodged in people’s lungs, thus leading to even more problems.
The simple truth is that black mold is no joke, and as a result, it must be handled with great care. Mold colonies tend to be granular, leathery and glassy.
Introducing Black Soot
Black soot is the byproduct of smoke damage. It forms during a fire and exists as a sticky, clingy powdery-like substance. It usually manifests itself as patterned stripe and dots on walls, ceilings, appliances, etc. It tends to look more smudged-up when present on carpet.
One thing to understand is that soot is very unhealthy to breathe. It can in fact exacerbate the symptoms of asthma. An asthmatic who breathed in soot would respond similarly to someone allergic to cats being around cats for an extended period of time.
Excessive exposure to black soot can lead to serious lung problems in anybody, regardless of whether they happen to be asthmatic. In fact, soot is linked to a myriad of respiratory conditions and diseases.
Telling The Difference
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between mold and soot. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter, simply because both are DANGEROUS and must be dealt with accordingly. With that said, your best bet for dealing with either black soot or black mold is to hire a professional restoration company.
Restoration companies are trained to deal with water, fire, soot and mold damage. They possess the training, expertise and equipment needed to deal with such damage. More importantly, they also have the equipment needed to determine whether you’re dealing with black soot or black mold.
- Inspection: A restoration company will first use laboratory-grade equipment to test all parts of your home. Likely, your home will contain both mold and soot damage after a fire. The thing to understand is that both must be dealt with differently. As a result, it’s important that the restoration specialists identify which is what.
- Remediation: After identifying black soot and black mold damage, the restoration company will then remove both the soot and mold. This is a complicated process that can take several days. Using various tools and techniques, they’ll get rid of all dangerous toxins and elements that are present in your home.
- Cleanup/Restoration: Last but not least, the restoration specialists will restore any damaged materials. For instance, if the mold was on a wall, then the specialists will repair and/or replace the wall. Once the restorations are complete, the specialists will then clean up their mess and be on their way.
What To Do Next
If you believe black soot or black mold to be present in your home, you need to contact a specialist right away. Both are highly toxic and dangerous. In fact, you should not be residing in a home that contains either. You first need to have both removed by trained professionals. Remember, it’s never worth putting your or your family’s life in jeopardy!