Allan Snyder, mold expert witness and principal of AFC Forensic Consulting, answers Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is Stachybotrys Chartarum?
A: Stachybotrys Chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra) is a type of mold that has been associated with adverse health effects in humans. Stachybotrys is a greenish-black mold that can grow on materials with a high cellulose content, such as drywall, ceiling tiles, and carpeting/padding that become chronically moist, or water-damaged, due to water leaks, or flooding.
Q: How can you tell if Stachybotrys Chartarum is present in your home?
A: Many molds are black in appearance, but are not Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys can be positively identified only by specially trained professionals who prepare mold samples and send the samples to a laboratory for a microscopic exam, or culture.
Q: How can Stachybotrys Chartarum affect your health?
A: Health problems include allergic rhinitis (cold-like symptoms), dermatitis (rashes), sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and aggravation of asthma. Some related symptoms are more general, such as inability to concentrate and fatigue.
Q: What should you do if mold is present in your home or apartment?
A: Visible mold can be sampled by an environmental consultant and/or analyzed by a laboratory specializing in microbiology. However, there may be mold spores that are not visible. These spores can best be samples by air sampling and laboratory analysis of the media used to trap the mold spores during the sampling.
Q: How should mold be cleaned?
A: The New York City Health Department Guidelines that were published in 1993 recommend procedures for remediating mold.