On this page you will find symptoms caused by the Stachybotrys chartarum species of mold, which is also called black mold or toxic black mold.
However not all mold that looks black is Stachybotrys and in fact most dark mold isn’t even toxic. For a list of symptoms that other molds can cause visit the Mold Symptoms page.
Types of Toxic Black Mold Symptoms
Toxic black mold causes serious symptoms and health problems such as mental impairment, breathing problems, damage to internal organs and sometimes even death. The main groups of symptoms toxic black mold causes are:
Mental and Neurological Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
The trichothecene mycotoxins produced by toxic black mold are neurotoxic. This means they can kill neurons in the brain and impair a person’s mental ability. They also cause nervous disorders such as tremors and can cause personality changes such as mood swings and irritability.
- Brain fog
- Shortened attention span
- Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
- Slowed reflexes
- Memory loss and memory problems
- Impaired learning ability
- Aggression and other personality changes
Respiratory Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
People living in homes with toxic black mold are exposed mainly through breathing in toxic black mold spores and mycotoxins. Toxic black mold mycotoxins create irritation and a burning feeling in a person’s air passages such as the nasal cavity, mouth and throat.
The mycotoxins can even become lodged in the mucus membranes, sinuses and the lungs which then causes a burning feeling, breathing problems and bleeding in the lungs.
- Difficulty breathing – breathlessness or shortness of breath
- Pulmonary edema – swelling of the lungs
- Pulmonary hemorrhage – bleeding in the lungs
- Sore throat
- Burning sensation of the mouth
- Bleeding gums
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose
- Stuffy, blocked nose
- Nose bleeds
Circulatory Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
Toxic black mold mycotoxins can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a person’s skin or eyes. Eventually the mycotoxins then find their way into the person’s blood. This leads to heart damage, problems with blood clotting and internal or external hemorrhaging.
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart inflammation
- Damage to heart
- Low blood pressure
- Bone marrow disruption
- Bleeding tendency
- Blood not clotting properly
- Hemorrhage – internal bleeding
- Vomiting up blood
- Bleeding in the brain and in other organs
Vision and Eye Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
Toxic black mold mycotoxins that are in the air can enter a person’s eyes. The mycotoxins are cytotoxic (toxic to cells) and when they come into contact with eye cells they cause inflamed and injured eyes and create vision problems.
- Eye inflammation and soreness
- Red or bloodshot eyes
- Eye damage
- Blurry vision and vision worsening
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes)
Skin Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
Through the skin is one of the three main ways that toxic black mold mycotoxins enter the human body. There have been cases in the past where people have handled hay contaminated with toxic black mold and developed severe rashes and skin problems on their body where they touched the hay, as well as on sweaty areas like the armpits.
- Crawling skin
- Dermatitis – skin inflammation, rash, blisters, itchiness
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
Immune System Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
Toxic black mold puts out chemicals which suppress the immune system. In fact many immunosuppressive drugs are actually created from toxic molds. A person who is immunocompromised from being around toxic black mold will more easily get infections and sicknesses.
- Immunosuppression – immune system not functioning properly
- Infections reoccurring
Reproductive System Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
Mycotoxins from toxic black mold are teratogenic. This means they can cause problems in the fetus during pregnancy which then leads to birth defects. Toxic black mold mycotoxins are also cytoxotic and mutagenic (cause cell mutations) and inhibit protein synthesis including DNA and RNA.
- Fetal development problems
Tiredness and Discomfort Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
When a person is around toxic black mold the immune system may release a sedative called Chloral Hydrate. This is used as a defense to try to slow down the effects of toxic black mold. But this also makes a person tired and causes fatigue. Toxic black mold can also cause soreness of the muscles and joints.
- Chronic fatigue
- Aches and pains
- Muscle pain
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Malaise – general discomfort
- Cold or flu type symptoms or recurring colds
Other Symptoms From Toxic Black Mold
- Hair loss
- Weight loss, anorexia
- Hearing loss
- Liver disease
Toxic Black Mold Causes Allergic Symptoms
Like other molds, toxic black mold is allergenic. The spores from toxic black mold cause allergic reactions such as breathing problems, sore eyes, runny nose, itchiness, sneezing and a sore throat.
For a more detailed list of allergic reactions caused by mold visit Mold Symptoms and Allergic Reactions.
Differing Toxic Black Mold Symptoms
Toxic black mold affects different people in different ways. Some people won’t experience symptoms as severe as what others experience. Children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are usually the worst affected by toxic black mold.
Toxic Black Mold and Cancer
Experts suspect that toxic black mold can cause cancer, although there still needs to be more research. Some other toxic molds, like Aspergillus for example, definitely cause cancer though. The aflatoxin mycotoxins which Aspergillus produce are among the most powerful carcinogens.
Are Toxic Black Mold Symptoms Permanent?
Once a person is no longer around toxic black mold most of their symptoms should gradually decrease. Some of the health problems caused by toxic black mold are permanent though. For example, after a person has lived with toxic black mold their immune system won’t be as strong as it used to be and they’ll be more sensitive to mold and mycotoxins in the future.