THE SHORT ANSWER
Many Types of Black Mold
While there are many types of mold that are black in color, there are two "black molds" in particular that you should be most concerned about: Stachybotrys and Chaetomium.
There are other molds that are a black color but are more benign and cause mild health symptoms. The most toxic and dangerous of these black molds that you need to watch out for,and are linked to serious health issues are Stachybotrys and Chaetomium
A MORE IN-DEPTH ANSWER
So, you've found mold in your home - what do you do now? The first thing we like to do is to identify what type of mold you have. There are many different types of mold and different effects these molds can have on the human body. Some are common and non-toxic while others can make you extremely sick. But how can you tell the difference?
One mistake many customers make is to assume that because a mold is black in color that it is toxic black mold. These two are not always synonymous. There are many forms of mold (Cladosporium being one example of this) that are black in color but are commonly found and are not reported to be toxic in nature. Therefore, air quality or swab testing is almost always encouraged before beginning mold remediation. Knowing the genes of the mold, its possible toxicity, and the spore count is helpful in determining the best procedure to take in its removal.
What kind of mold should you be really concerned about? The two toxic black molds that are most commonly found are Stachybotrys and Chaetomium. They grow on materials with a high cellulose content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, and paper. Growth occurs when there is excessive moisture from water damage, water leaks, condensation, or flooding. They need constant moisture to continue their growth cycle. It is important to report water leaks and water damage as soon as it is noticed. There is a noticeably short window of time from when these building materials become wet where you can still dry them out in a place with little to no risk of toxic black mold growth. Reporting a leak or water loss immediately will often protect you in the event that you decide to put forth a homeowners insurance claim to pay for the damages.
Finding Stachybotrys or Chaetomium in your home should be taken very seriously and should be remediated with extreme prejudice. If you believe you have found toxic black mold in your home the first step is to call a licensed remediation company to access the damage via a mold inspection. Once your company of choice determines the extent of the damage, an estimate will be written, and work can begin to properly remediate the mold. Even if it is just a little bit of mold on the surface, it is likely a much larger issue underneath. Mold tends to grow in places that you cannot see it like behind walls or tiles. It is not worth your health and safety to try and save a little bit of money. Hiring a licensed company that specializes in mold remediation will protect your home, your health, and, in the long run, your wallet.