Mold is a naturally occurring fungus which is present everywhere in nature including your home. It serves as nature’s recycler, breaking down dead materials. Molds produce by creating tiny microscopic cells called spores, which can be transmitted through the air. These spores act like seeds, forming new growths called colonies when they find moisture, nutrients and a suitable place to grow. The key factors for the growth of mold are temperature, moisture, and any organic source materials.
Many people do not realize that wood, drywall, vinyl flooring, insulation, and laminate are all potential food sources for the growth of mold. There is always mold present in the environment. When the normal levels become out of balance health issues and structural decay may result.
Some people are more sensitive to mold than others but prolonged exposure is unhealthy for nearly everyone. Exposure to elevated levels of mold can trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks, lower resistance to illness, and have debilitating effects such as headaches and loss of memory or mental functioning. Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.
Black mold, also called Stachybotrys alternans or Stilbospora chartarum, is a black colored mold that produces its conidia in slime heads. It is sometimes found in soil and grain, but the mold is most often detected in celluose-rich building materials from damp or water-damaged buildings. Many mold types are black in color so not all molds are “black mold”.
When mold is either found through testing or visible, a set of guidelines or protocols for its removal should be developed before any remediation process is initiated. Such a set of guidelines should include the following:
gloves, goggles, and an N-95 rated respirator should all employed during remediation
Since mold travels via air flow, it is vital that the area being remediated be contained (with 6mm plastic) and that negative air flow is maintained to make sure spores do not travel to other portions of the structure.
Porous, moldy, or sewage contaminated materials should be removed, placed in plastic bags, and thrown away. Proper documentation should be made of any materials for potential insurance claims. Carpet padding should never be reinstalled after becoming wet. Drywall and insulation may also have to be removed.
The remaining non porous materials need to be thoroughly sanitized and disinfected. Cleaning should REMOVE spores and not just kill them because even dead spores can cause health problems.
HEPA Filtration should be employed. In order for filters to qualify as HEPA by US government standards, an air filter must remove 99.97% of all particles greater than 0.3 micrometers from the air that passes through. All surfaces should be cleaned and HEPA vacuumed.
If required or requested post clearance testing should be performed by an independent third party industrial hygienist and NOT the company which performed the remediation.
1. Do not use bleach or other biocides to remove mold without consulting a professional.
2. Do not paint or caulk over moldly surfaces.
3. Avoid breathing air in confined areas where mold is present without an N-95 rated respirator.
4. Avoid touching mold with bare hands or touching eyes after mold is present on your hands.
5. Do not disturb the mold or structural materials containing mold without a source of negative air pressure. Spores could travel to other areas of the building if disturbed.
6. Do not turn on ceiling fans or other air movement where mold may be present.
7. Do not turn on your HVAC system when mold is present.
1. Fix the water or moisture problem.
2. Consult a health professional as appropriate throughout process.
3. Select a remediation manager.
4. Assess the size of the mold problem and note type of mold-damaged materials.
5. Communicate with building occupants throughout process as appropriate to the situation.
6. Identify the source or cause of water or moisture problem.
7. Plan remediation, adapt guidelines to fit situation.
8. Select personal protective equipment (PPE).
9. Select containment equipment.
10. Select remediation personnel or team.
11. Choose between outside expertise or in-house expertise.
12. Remediate-may include removal of wet or mold structural materials such as ceiling tiles, carpet, vinyl flooring, or drywall.
13. Clean and dry moldy materials.
14. Discard moldy items that can't be cleaned-always document with photos before disposing items.
15. Dry non-moldy items within 48 hours.
16. Check for return of moisture and mold problem.
17. If hidden mold is discovered, reevaluate plan and obtain post clearance testing via a certified industrial hygienist or independent testing company- NEVER USE THE SAME COMPANY THAT REMEDIATED THE MOLD TO TEST FOR CLEARANCE