FAQs: Toxic Mold Lawyers in Texas

Q: What is mold?

A: Mold is a type of fungus that is a normal and natural component of indoor and outdoor air. Problems arise when mold grows and produces large amounts of spores. When the spores find damp areas they will grow, even if you can’t see it (particularly in kitchens, bathrooms, or on drywall behind the wall that you see). Since the construction of homes became more airtight beginning in the 1970’s, there has been a rise in concerns about elevated mold spores indoors. The mold growth can be controlled by controlling the moisture level in your home and using products designed to prevent or limit mold growth, such as ventilation fans, HardiBacker cement board in bathrooms, or other anti-mold and mildew products. There have been cases in the past decade where it was shown that elevated levels of mold in indoor environments lead to adverse health effects, including respiratory problems.

Q: What molds are considered "toxic" mold?

A: Toxic mold causes problems because it may produce mycotoxins. These discourage the growth of other microorganisms and usually cause health problems in people. One of the most common molds that produce mycotoxins is a black mold called Stachybotrys chartarum. This type of mold usually requires a lot of moisture to grow and commonly grows on water damaged building materials that have a low nitrogen and high fiber content. Indoors, it can be found on wallboard, wallpaper, wood, or jute. Outdoors, it can be found in rotting haystacks, leaf debris, or soil.

Q: Is it possible to have the amount of mold measured in a home?

A: The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has guidelines for mold removal and remediation. There are many companies in the mold remediation business, particularly to address mold issues after some type of flooding in your house. They can measure for levels of mold if it is hidden and also dispose of or replace materials that have visible mold on them. Any cleanup of mold should be approached with precautions and appropriate masks to prevent any spore inhalation as well as knowledge of proper disposal techniques. If the damage is extensive or if you suspect hidden mold, it is wise to hire a professional mold remediation company.

Q: Are all types of molds harmful to my health?

A: Not necessarily, unless you are severely allergic. Certain molds have a greater potential to be harmful than others, these are often called black mold or toxic mold. There are common types of indoor mold (non-toxic, but still irritating to many people) which include: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Mucor, and Penicillium. Research studies have shown that exposure to mold (by touch or inhalation) can be an allergy trigger that can cause severe reactions in some people. Asthma and other respiratory problems can also be a reaction. These respiratory and allergic reactions are the familiar symptoms of difficulty breathing and shortness of breath (also called wheezing); nasal and sinus congestion; irritated eyes; dry and hacking cough; irritated nose or throat; and skin rashes, itching, or irritation.

Q: Have there been any successful toxic mold lawsuits?

A: There have been several homeowners that experienced significant damage to their health and homes who received favorable jury verdicts and settlements, some in the million-dollar range. One example was in Delaware where a landlord was held liable because he negligently did not fix water leaks in the apartment, which resulted in the growth of toxic mold and health problems for tenants. He was required to pay more than a million dollars. There have been cases in California and Texas where a contractor's poor construction caused water leaks that contributed to the growth of mold, causing serious health problems for the homeowners and their friends and families. The verdicts range between several hundred thousand and a million dollars. There tend to be more limits on homeowner insurance claims in recent years.

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