Mold Remediation – FAQ
What is mold?
Mold is a microscopic member of the fungi kingdom. It lacks chlorophyll and therefore must feed on plant and animal matter. Mold comprises twenty-five percent of Earth’s biomass and has been in existence for millions of years. Over 1000 different species of mold have been found in United States homes.
How dangerous is “toxic mold” ?
The term “toxic mold” is a misnomer. Molds can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), however molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Molds are found everywhere, in the air and on surfaces. Although there have been cases where toxigenic molds were found inside homes and occupants suffered health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss, such cases are rare. A causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these health conditions has not been sufficiently established.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2004 issued a report stating that there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.
A common-sense approach should be used for any mold contamination existing inside buildings and homes. The common health concerns from molds include hay fever-like allergic symptoms. Certain individuals with chronic respiratory disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma) may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression may be at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment. For the most part, one should take routine measures to prevent mold growth in the home.
Connecticut residents for a free mold investigation consultation or mold removal consultation contact us today.
How common is mold, including Stachybotrys chartarum (also known by its synonym Stachybotrys atra) in buildings?
Molds are very common in buildings and homes and will grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture. The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. How often Stachybotrys chart arum (also known as black mold) is found in buildings and homes has not been determined. While Stachybotrys is less common than other mold species, it is not rare.
How do molds infiltrate the indoor environment and how do they grow?
Mold spores exist in indoor and outdoor environments. Mold spores can enter a house from the outside by travelling through open doorways, windows, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with outdoor air intakes. Spores in the air outside also attach themselves to people and animals, making clothing, shoes, bags, and pets convenient vehicles for carrying mold indoors.
When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.
What is Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra)?
Stachybotrys chartarum (also known by its synonym Stachybotrys atra) sometimes referred to as “black mold” is a greenish-black mold. It can grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth. It is not necessary, however, to determine what type of mold you may have. All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.
When should people vacate a home or other building because of mold contamination?
These decisions have to be made on a case by case basis. If someone believes they are ill because of exposure to mold in a building, a physician should be contacted immediately to determine the appropriate course of action. For a free mold investigation consultation or mold removal consultation contact us today.
Who are the people who are most at risk for health problems associated with exposure to mold?
People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds.
How do you know if you have a mold problem?
Large mold contamination can usually be seen and/or smelled. Musty odors can range from slight to very strong. An active or previous moisture problem can be a sign of a potential mold problem. Further investigation is recommended.
Does Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) cause acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants?
To date, a possible association between acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants and Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) has not been proved. Further studies are needed to determine what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage.
What if a child has acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage?
Parents should ensure that their children get proper medical treatment.
What are the potential health effects of mold in buildings and homes?
Mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors. However some people are sensitive to molds. These people may experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to molds. Some people may have more severe reactions to molds. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Immunocompromised persons and persons with chronic lung diseases like COPD are at increased risk for opportunistic infections and may develop fungal infections in their lungs.
How do you get the molds out of buildings, including homes, schools, and places of employment?
In most cases mold can be removed from hard surfaces by a thorough cleaning with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Absorbent or porous materials like ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. If you have an extensive amount of mold and you do not think you can manage the cleanup on your own, you may want to contact a professional who has experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes. It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
- If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types. You can get it by going to the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
What should people to do if they determine they have “black mold” or Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) in their buildings or homes?
Mold growing in homes and buildings, whether it is Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) or other molds, indicates that there is a problem with water intrusion. Water intrusion needs to be addressed first (prior to initiating remediation). Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Mold in or under carpets typically requires that the carpets be removed. Once mold starts to grow in insulation or wallboard, the only way to deal with the problem is by removal and replacement. We do not believe that one needs to take any different precautions with Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), than with other molds. In areas where flooding has occurred, prompt drying out of materials and cleaning of walls and other flood-damaged items with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water is necessary to prevent mold growth. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. If a home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage. Moldy items should be removed from living areas.
What is the typical mold remediation cost or mold removal cost?
A typical mold remediation cost or mold removal cost does not exist. A detailed scope of work is usually required to provide an accurate mold removal cost. A number of factors dictate the cost including the extent of the contamination, locations and level of difficulty to access the mold contamination, building substrates impacted, size and type of containment to be built and type of equipment needed for the job.