The media is reporting on what they are calling a black slime that has been found on the Washington memorials. But when you read the details of many of these same articles, you will find out that it is simply black mold attacking these structures.

This mold has been found on the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery and the worst is at the Jefferson Memorial, where the white dome is now completely covered with black mold. It is now turning black from the mold infestation.


Even the monument of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, is turning black, and this isn’t the first time there has been a mold problem. Repairs to correct the moisture and mold problem were done in the past with the most recent being in 2009. However, previous repairs have been unsuccessful thus far.

CBS News had reported:

The substance is actually biofilm, made up of a thousand different bacteria, mold and other species that adhere themselves to stone surfaces.

“It’s called slime, but when you touch it, it’s dry; it doesn’t come off on your fingers,” Albert said.

“Correct. And again, the slime, the secretions, the sugar strands — all microscopic, nothing that we’re going to pick up with the naked eye or even be able to clean from the touch,” Litterst said.

That makes it even more difficult to clean. Litterst said experts don’t know where the biofilm came from or how to get rid of it.

It’s also now in Arlington National Cemetery and on the Washington Monument. But it’s by far the worst at the Jefferson Memorial, where the white dome is now covered in patches of black.

“We have absolutely no intention of allowing nature to take its course and cover a gloriously white marble rotunda with a blackened biofilm,” Litterst said.

So the park service is going on the offensive, experimenting in test labs right on the side of the memorial. The park service went public with the slime mystery this month, after people kept confusing the blackness with dirt and complained that the agency wasn’t keeping the memorials clean.

Seeing the black ooze was a shock to the Stiles family of New Hampshire.

“We were a little taken back by it because we expect them to be crystal clean,” said Kristin Stiles. “And we loved visiting the memorials; we did think it was awesome, but we did notice it on a lot of them.”

The park service has now posted signs letting people know about the battle and has received at least 100 cleaning tips from the public — including Jane Weber of Florida, who suggests water.

“It needs to come off,” Weber said. “It’s kind of ugly. We’ve got to clean it.”

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