Stachybotrys chartarum? Yes, no, maybe so?
July 28, 2008 8:15 AM   Subscribe

Is this black mold? If not, what could it be, and should I be worried?

To backtrack a bit... about 3 months ago, I discovered a leak in my bathroom - it seemed to be coming from behind the medicine cabinet, above the sink. There also appeared to be water spots coming from the ceiling to the right of the sink - which is where the shower/bathtub combo is. I called my apartment maintenance, and after some examination in my apartment and the one above, they corrected the problem (I was not home at the time, and received no indication about the origin of the leak, just that it was fixed).

The medicine cabinet is still functional, but is definitely warped and damaged by the water leakage. Since I'm not responsible for the damages, I haven't been too concerned.

But last week or so, I noticed that a black powder seemed to be falling from behind the medicine cabinet onto the tiles and toothbrush holder a few inches below (see pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4 -- sorry for the terrible quality). You can see some trails of the water stains from a few months back. I've lived in this apartment for a year, and have never noticed it before. It's pitch black, powdery, and when wiped/cleaned away, will fall again upon subsequent opening/closing of the medicine cabinet. Could this be residue from dried black mold (from the moisture behind the medicine cabinet)? What else could it be? It's definitely new, and most likely related to the leak a few months ago. I've called maintenance, and while they're good about problems, are a few days behind - so probably won't be around till Wednesday I'm guessing.

My Boston area building is old (100+ years), so I don't expect everything to be in tip top condition, but should I be worried?
posted by jalebi to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Best answer: Certainly looks similar to a mold problem I had a few years ago at another apartment complex. They had my wife and I move to another apartment, the damage was so extensive. They had to rip out the wall tile and completely rebuild the bathroom in that particular apartment. This is probably worst case scenario, but if they tell you it IS Black Mold, don't settle for them offering anything less.
posted by alcoth at 8:41 AM on July 28, 2008

Best answer: Well, if it's not black mold, it's mold that's black. Notify your landlord regardless. They are required by very strict laws to take care of this kind of thing.
posted by cmoj at 7:07 PM on July 28, 2008

Oh, and yes you perhaps should be worried. Black mold is very nasty stuff.
posted by cmoj at 7:07 PM on July 28, 2008

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