Toxic Black Mold

Toxic Terminology the semantics of mold

If you’re going to be talking about mold, then you need to get this concept of black mold right. All mold is not toxigenic. Some molds make mycotoxins which are toxigenic, but NOT ALL mold is toxic, and technically the term TOXIC BLACK MOLD is a complete misnomer.

Black mold may be black but it isn’t necessarily toxic. You might be allergic to it, however. You might see symptoms like breathing difficulties, memory and hearing loss, dizziness, and flu-like symptoms if you’re inhaling mold spores you’re allergic to.

Toxins, on the other hand, affect everyone.

There are different types of MYCOTOXINS toxic chemical products born of mold.


Aflatoxins are a mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus like A. flavus and A. parasiticus.) Aflatoxins are carcinogenic in most mammals. When you see the USDA announcements of massive quantities of peanuts and corn being recalled, it is frequently because of a deadly mycotoxin contamination. Some forms have been proven related to liver cancer.


No relation to okra, regardless of the name. Ochratoxin is produced by Penicillium and Aspergillus and there are different forms (A, B and C known as OTA, OTB and OTC) OTA is a carcinogen linked to tumors.


Citrinin is an acutely toxic mycotoxin, the cause of Japan’s “Yellow Rice Disease.” It is a Nephrotoxic mycotoxin capable of inducing mitochondrial permeability transition.

Ergot Alkaloids

This is a toxic mixture of alkaloids found in Claviceps which are pathogens of various species of grasses, such as RYE. Ergot hallucinations were responsible for some of the events of the Salem witch trials, and cause ergotism historically known as St. Anthony’s Fire. Ergotamines are mycotoxins which cause the constriction of blood vessels which can result in tissue death, nerve damage and gangrene.

Fusarium toxins
The 50 species of Fusarium produce Fusarium toxins which infect grain and can infect those who eat infected grain.

Ironically, pharmaceutical companies use these same mycotoxins in various drugs. But when they’re growing on your walls, making you sick, they are certainly not medicinal.

Just remember this: the toxic Black Mold that you hear spoken about so glibly and frequently may be something else entirely. The term toxic black mold is simply an easy term people use when they aren’t going to bother taking the time and expense of sampling of every type of mold encountered to the lab to determine the actual taxonomy.

If this is your situation too, and you’re in California, you might want to give us a call and see about getting an assessment from Byebyemold.

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