Written by Howard Raphaelson, Raphaelson Levine Law Firm
Who Is Responsible For The Mold In My Home
Black mold is a toxic fungus that often appears black or dark green in hue, but can be other colors too. Its presence is usually accompanied by a musty, damp, or mildewy odor. If you have the toxic form of mold in your home, you may notice symptoms appear when you enter the room it’s growing in, because it’s releasing toxic spores and mycotoxins into the air.
Effects of Back Mold on the Body
The effects of dangerous mold on the body can be serious for anyone exposed to it for extended periods of time, especially for people who suffer from other health conditions or weakened immune systems. Children are also at higher risk of developing serious illnesses from mold exposure. Different symptoms can emerge in the human body, but some general signs a person may show they’ve been exposed to dangerous mold conditions include:
- Stuffy and runny nose
- Coughing and wheezing
- Difficulty in breathing
- Skin itchiness
- Red, itchy eyes
- Sore or scratchy throat
Many people mistake mold poisoning as an upper respiratory tract infection, the flu, or a cold since symptoms can be similar. People who suffer from conditions, such as asthma or COPD, can experience heightened symptoms. In other severe or long-exposure cases, a person may experience headaches, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty in concentrating, or memory loss. In the event your family is being exposed to mold, it’s important to eliminate the mold as soon as possible.
How to Look for Toxic and Dangerous Mold
If you suspect mold is the cause behind illness in your family, it’s important to find and identify the source of the mold. Black mold thrives in moist, warm conditions. It can be visible in damp places, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, or it can be hidden. Places black mold may lurk are behind walls, under floors/carpets, between wall layers, in ceiling tiles, or other spaces. It often appears in areas that are continuously damp or may begin to grow after a situation, such as flooding from heavy rains or a pipe burst, occurs. Mold-related illness can be confirmed by a blood or skin prick test can at a health care facility.
How to Treat/Dispose of Mold
To treat and dispose of the mold, you’ll want to first determine if your black mold is indeed toxic since not all dark-colored mold is dangerous. The first step is to test to see if mold is present (if you can’t find it) or if the mold you do see is toxic. Once you’ve identified the mold in your house is the dangerous kind, you should do the following.
- Look for moist areas in your home.
- Remove all items not affected by mold out of the room, toss out items affected by mold.
- Seal the contaminated room with plastic sheets.
- Scrub the mold with a cleaning solution made of bleach; always wear protective gear and cover your eyes and mouth when performing treatments.
- Clean all vents, ducts, and filters to ensure they are clean and free of moisture.
- Carefully cut away any drywall, flooring, ceiling tile, or other areas affected by mold and replace.
- Ventilate and thoroughly dry out the affected rooms.
If a heavy amount of mold is present, hire a professional, to ensure safety. While not all mold is harmful to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry, always take precautions. Once you eliminate the mold, be sure to routinely keep mold-prone areas clean and dry at all times. If your bathroom tends to collect mold, be sure to open a window when showering or install a good exhaust fan. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners in your home to reduce the presence of moisture. Ensure gutters are cleared and that no water is seeping into the house in unseen spaces. Routinely check your home for leaks or other signs of mold so you can eliminate the problem before it manifests into a serious issue.
Legal Responsibility of Sellers and Landlords Regarding Mold
Sellers and landlords ethically have a responsibility to disclose any sort of mold before turning over the keys to a buyer or renter. That being said, every state has its own laws regarding toxic mold. Unfortunately, mold laws are not clearly outlined across the board and only a handful of states have actually enacted mold-related laws.
Tenants and Landlords
Although, sellers and landlords can still be held accountable for not cleaning up or disclosing a mold problem. They are responsible for providing safe and livable housing and most people do have legal options if their seller or landlord hasn’t complied with this requirement (i.e. a landlord refused or neglected to fix a leaky pipe, damaged roof, or broken window that led to mold or a seller sold the home without disclosing they knew about the mold). Many victims have sued – and won – cases regarding unhealthy mold conditions.
As a tenant, you also have an ethical responsibility (and possibly legal if included in your lease) to inform your landlord of any problems that can lead to moist and humid conditions. Also, you should always be proactive and do your part in preventing any mold that may grow due to your activities – be sure to ventilate and keep humidity down in your home.
Mold is an unsightly problem and, in some cases, not a hazardous situation. However, in many instances, the spores mold releases are very toxic and you want to avoid putting yourself, your family, your roommates, and even your pets, in danger. While there is some dispute in the scientific community about the hazards associated with mold, more and more studies are proving its presence can lead to serious health issues. It’s a good rule of thumb to always be proactive and very cautious when it comes to any mold or weird odors you find because you don’t want to allow a mold problem to manifest and become serious.
Written by Howard Raphaelson
Courtesy Raphaelson Levine Law Firm