lots of mold (stachybotrys) on the ceiling of an abandoned house
Photo: infrogmation/Wiki Commons
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The Mold Stachybotrys

How it kills: It's definitely not a critter gone crazy infiltrating your house, but this particular species of mold—a greenish-black slime fond of growing on wood—produces airborne myotoxins suspected in a group of infant fatalities near Cleveland, Ohio, some 13 years ago. Though this link to the infants' bleeding lungs was never conclusive, stachbotrys myotoxins do travel through ducts and have caused difficulty breathing, nasal stuffiness, and eye and skin irritation when inhaled.

How to get it before it gets you: Luckily, stachybotrys is only found in about 2 to 5 percent of homes. But the best way to prevent any mold growth is to stop conditions favorable to it, including leaks, condensation, infiltration, or flooding. Cleanup depends on the surface where the mold is growing. Consult a professional if coverage is over 30 square feet. For nonporous surfaces: Use a nonammonia soap or detergent in hot water to scrub the affected area, rinse with water, and disinfect with bleach-and-water solution (½ cup of bleach per gallon of water). Let air dry to kill the mold.
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