Mold Remediation: How Complex Should It Be?
Although mold growth in buildings has long been considered unsanitary, exposure control measures have been included in the cleanup process only recently. Current approaches to mold remediation vary substantially, ranging from investigators treating it as a hazardous material and to those who assign it a relatively low maintenance priority. While detailed guidelines for mold remediation are now available, their cost-effectiveness has never been evaluated.
The need for formal planning, detailed oversight, specialized personnel, and stringent project controls should depend on the extent of contamination, potential exposure, and occupant sensitivity. Where the repair of moisture sources or mold growth is not feasible, remediation may be delayed or reduced in scope where alternative control measures are considered. During the remediation process, some migration of airborne mold can be expected even under full containment. With spatial containment, occupant exposure can be avoided by temporary relocation and detailed cleaning of the area.
Although attention to indoor air quality increased in the 1980’s, control measures for mold remained general. A 1984 publication recommended repairing leaks, maintaining relative humidity below 70%, carefully discarding contaminated items, wearing respirators during cleanup, and HEPA vacuuming followed by disinfection
At the present time, mold remediation practice is polarized across the U.S., with some practitioners treating building mold as a hazardous material (implementing extremely stringent procedures to eliminate “toxic mold”) while others continue to assign it a low priority and take no specific precautions. Specifications for mold cleanup are ideally based on exposure control objectives, the extent of contamination, and site-specific logistics
Some common objectives of remediation projects are:
Restore building conditions (repair water damage, control musty odor, etc.)
Establish conditions acceptable for the general population (minimize minor allergic reactions, etc.)
Protect extremely sensitive individuals (e.g., minimize the potential for fungal infection in immuno-compromised individuals).
Mold Inspection Checklist
Mold is a growing issue and has been linked to many health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, 93% of Chronic Sinus Infections have been attributed to mold.
Before moving into any home, condo or apartment, be sure to give it a thorough inspection to save yourself thousands of dollars and frustration in the future.
Here’s a quick checklist to make sure that you can perform a basic check to ensure a mold-free environment. If you do end up buying your house, then we would suggest getting an inspector in. If you’re renting the place, then these simple checks may just be enough for you.
In order to fully investigate hidden mold problems, sometimes it may involve disturbing potential mold areas (eg. unpeeling a section of wallpaper). Doing so can release massive amounts of spores into the environment and cause spreading into other areas of the household. Please be respectful and do this with caution!
People with severe asthma, compromised immune systems, elderly, infant, or otherwise at extra high risk of mold or other illnesses should be on higher alert as prolonged exposure to mold growth has been known to cause respiratory illnesses
When visiting a house or apartment, be prepared and bring a flashlight. Mold doesn’t require sunlight to live and grow – in fact they thrive in dark areas where it’s usually more moist. A flashlight will help you examine those dark areas such as in corners, crevices and cabinets.
A Comprehensive Guide to Mold Inspection and Testing
Walls, books, carpets, clothes, ceiling – molds can grow anywhere if there is moisture. It is a type of fungus that may develop indoors or outdoors, especially in places where sunlight does not reach. Most of the houses will have mold growth in damp places such as kitchen, bathroom, laundry rooms, etc.
When it grows outdoors, it plays a role in nature by breaking down dead leaves. While it grows indoors, the mold spores get released to the air which you breathe in. Thus it can turn harmful for your health as well as the structure.
Molds are most likely harmless when it is in small quantities. However, you cannot leave the molds to proliferate. In fact, you should be proactive in initiating the mold remediation task. And failing to do so may increase the cost and affects your health as some types of molds are dangerous.
Is Mold Testing a Scam?
Let us start from here. As you know, mold remediation has grown into a big business in recent years. Subsequently, the mold remediation industry includes a good number of scammers who pretend to be house mold removal specialists
Some of them use scare tactics to increase their business as well. These fake mold experts not only make the mold inspection a scam but also may break your bank in order in the pretext of mold remediation.
Any building that has suffered from water damage or problems with excess moisture is at risk of mold growth. There are thousands of different types of mold found outdoors and indoors. All present potential risks and become problematic when they start actively growing. If you find that your home or business has begun to show signs of mold damage, it’s important to act as quickly as possible to have it treated and remediated to reduce long-term risks to your property and improve air quality.
When mold damage is discovered in your property, there are many questions that may spring to mind. For example:
Is mold dangerous?
What can breathing in mold do?
What kills black mold?
How much does mold removal cost?
Without the correct assessment and remediation, mold can become dangerous and affect the structural integrity and air quality of your property. As mold specialists, we’ve put together some useful guides on mold damage to help you understand and identify the risks before acting to remove mold.
Understanding exactly what mold is, how it can become a problem in your property, and spotting the early signs of a mold problem is the first step to preventing mold damage. There are thousands of types of mold that you may come across in your daily life and being able to identify the problematic types is key in avoiding danger and preventing larger problems.
The Removal and Remediation of Mold
If your business or home has been affected by mold, it’s important to ensure that it is quickly and effectively removed before it can cause further damage to property. Mold removal and remediation is about much more than simply washing away the visible traces and requires an expert, professional removal and remediation plan
More recently, mold has garnered media attention again. However, the headlines are of a very different kind. Beware: Toxic Mold warns Time magazine; Toxic Mold: A Hidden Health Hazard reports Newsweek.
In fact, mold is not a single substance but a very large group of plant-like organisms (a type of fungus). They require little to survive—only moisture and a food source—and, under the right conditions, can grow quickly. Although individual organisms are so small they can only be seen through a microscope, when growth is heavy mold becomes visible.
Molds also spread rapidly. They produce tiny spores that act like seeds; the spores travel through the air, forming new mold growth wherever they find a suitable place to settle.
Because they grow and spread so easily, molds (and mold spores) can be found virtually everywhere. Outdoors, molds play an important role in the breakdown and recycling of organic material like leaves and other foliage. Indoors, however, they serve no particular purpose and can actually be destructive. Heavy indoor mold growth can cause physical damage to the dwelling and health problems for its occupants.
Although molds have been accused of causing a wide array of medical problems—everything from headaches and asthma to moodiness and rashes—there is evidence to substantiate only a few of these allegations.