Black Mucus – What Is It?

Black MucusNormally the lining of the respiratory system organs is coated by a small amount of clear mucus that is necessary to keep all tissues moisturized and protected from dust, allergens and environmental toxins.

As a response to a viral or bacterial infection, excessive mucus is being produced to trap and neutralize foreign particles. Respiratory system passages become swollen and filled with nasal and throat mucus that causes significant congestion and a sense of fullness. Normally clear mucus starts getting thick, abundant in nature and turns colors.

The color of phlegm can vary from opaque to black depending on the cause of irritation or infection. Brown phlegm could be the result of heavy smoking that causes chronic irritation of bronchi and lung passages leading to bouts of persistent cough and smoke particles being inhaled into the lungs. Bloody phlegm is a dangerous sign of a potentially deadly illness like lung cancer or tuberculoses that requires immediate doctor’s attention.

LiveStrong suggests that the causes of black mucus could be insignificant or serious depending on the accompanying symptoms and causes. Black mucus can take its color from environmental pollutants, hazardous work conditions and many other factors.

If you’ve been digging in the garden or sorting things in a dusty attic, you might notice some black dust or dirt being mixed with your normal mucus. Black mucus could also be present in the respiratory passages of people working in coal mines, automobile manufacturing plants, and road construction industry. This could lead to a dangerous black mucus disease called pneumoconiosis as Wikipedia explains. Also known as black lung disease, tiny particles of coal get trapped in the lung tissues triggering inflammation, chronic bronchitis accompanied with black mucus. As the disease progresses it can affect significant portions of lung tissues causing necrosis in worst cases. No treatment is available for this condition, putting on protective breathing gear might ward off developing black mucus in the long run. It’s estimated that about 5-10% of coalmine workers will develop this condition over approximately 20 years career span.

Smoke inhalation could also produce the symptoms of black mucus. This is sometimes observed in individuals surviving house fires that must be treated immediately as it’s considered a medical emergency. Firefighters might also experience coughing up black phlegm, especially after working in large fires for extended periods of time. Smoking tobacco in general does not produces black but brown mucus that could be tingled with black particles. However, smoking marijuana can potentially lead to black phlegm.

The most dangerous cause of experiencing black mucus is a pneumonia triggered by fungal organisms. These are very rare and mostly affect gravely ill individuals with weakened immune systems. Aspergillosis along with mucormycosis are two very serious fungal infections that can affect human respiratory system and produce these symptoms.

Another rather surprising reason for black mucus drainage is foreign objects that could be accidentally pushed into the noses of small children like black crayons, dirt or other pieces.

It’s very important to investigate the actual cause of developing black mucus and undergo the appropriate treatment.