How toxic is mold?
Any mold that produces mycotoxins—the “myco” refers to fungus—is toxic, and it can be quite poisonous. One of the more alarming varieties is Stachybotrys chartarum: Dense, black, and usually present where moisture has been a long-term, unresolved issue, like a damp basement or in an abandoned home, this fungus can trigger a suite of health issues, like persistent headaches, diarrhea, breathing trouble, and more. But other types can also cause issues, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.” These are the signs of mold that you should be looking out for. If you have mold, when should you call a pro?
Your Chimney Smells Weird
Chimney sweeps don’t only remove dangerous creosote buildup; they can clean out toxic mold too. Moisture can accumulate in the porous bricks and mortar of a chimney. Rusty chimney caps or flashing that needs repair allow rain and snow to seep in, creating an environment for mold to thrive. That may be the reason you smell something funky on days when the wind is blowing in a certain direction. Fix the cap and flashing and call the chimney sweep to extinguish the mold issues. Watch out for these other scary ways your fireplace could be toxic, too!