Are you concerned about mold in your home? You should be. Mold is present in every building on the planet. It’s in the air we breathe. This does not mean that every building has a mold problem or a high mold spore count. It’s common knowledge that mold can cause damage to a structure. It’s also common knowledge that mold can cause or aggravate asthma, allergies, and other breathing and respiratory problems. Some of these problems can last a lifetime. Fortunately indoor air quality and indoor mold growth can be controlled and effectively treated in a safe manner.
As President/CEO of a mold remediation company, we see many serious mold problems that were made worse because a home owner tried to eliminate a mold problem without educating themselves first, or because they relied on someone who wasn’t really qualified to handle a mold remediation job.
Once of the most common myths, in our industry, is that a bleach/water solution will effectively kill or eliminate a mold problem. Chlorine bleach will kill surface mold however, mold in a home is almost never only found on a surface. Chlorine bleach contains ions that will not allow it to penetrate the surface of even porous materials such as drywall. This means the best you can hope for with this solution is to kill surface mold. The water from this solution will penetrate most of the building material surfaces, adding to the problem. This adds to the problem because airborne mold spores, even inside the walls, are searching for sources of moisture to attach themselves to. This is an organic food source for these spores. This food source allows these spores to colonize and continue to spread. This hidden mold is the biggest part of any mold problem. The mold that you can’t see is the worst part.
Many people try to rely on products from your local stores that claim to “eliminate” mold. Fact is most of these products contain the same chemical makeup found in chlorine bleach. If eliminating and controlling indoor mold were that simple we wouldn’t have an entire industry devoted to mold remediation. Proper mold remediation can be a very expensive process but it doesn’t always have to be. When completing mold remediation, an EPA registered fungicide and/or moldicide should always be used. They are registered for a reason. Exposure to many of these products are completely safe for humans and pets. Homeowners have to keep in mind that killing mold spores is not enough. If mold spores are not killed and removed you have not eliminated the problem. Dead mold spores can be just as harmful to a persons health as live mold spores. This is the key reason why remediation is a process. Killing mold spores is a step in the process, not the complete process.
Many environmental and indoor air quality testing companies will tell the public that inspections and testing should be done by someone within their industry and mold remediation companies should not be relied upon to do the testing. They will try to convince the public that this would be a conflict of interest. This is to be expected because no one will tell you not to use their own services. Truth is that no one is more qualified to determine the severity of a problem than the person(s) responsible for correcting the problem. Any professional mold remediation company is going to have to complete a thorough inspection before they can put together a mold remediation plan. Many of these companies will also tell you that testing is always a required part of the remediation process. Many mold remediation companies have even been convinced of this. The fact is, testing is not always a required part of the process in residential environments. A thorough visual inspection is the most important part of the testing process. The only valuable information to come from the testing process is the species and spore count of the mold present. The CDC’s website will tell you that in a residential environment, it doesn’t matter what the species of mold present is, it needs to be taken care of. Testing will only add to the cost of fixing a problem when completed unnecessarily. There are times when testing is still required in a residential environment and your professional remediation company will know when this is a need.
Testing for the presence of mold is not always as reliable as the industry would have the public believe. Too many environmental companies rely only upon air samples. Air samples are the most inaccurate method of testing commonly performed. Airborne mold spore counts will change with the movement of the air. Samples can be taken in an area, then additional samples taken several hours later with completely different results. If you have testing completed, always insist on surface samples to be taken. Although there are currently standards in place by qualified professional organizations for testing and labs, there is currently no standard in place that is required. Interpreting lab results is not always easy because of the variations in analysis reports from lab to lab. The result is that laboratory test results and recommendations will vary depending on which lab your testing company submits samples to.
The most important things to remember about indoor mold are;
1. Homes should be inspected by a qualified professional annually, this will provide early detection and help to keep mold from becoming an expensive problem.
2. Individual mold spores are microscopic so if you see mold visibly present you already have a high spore count, even if contained to a small area.
3. Never assume that a small patch of mold indicates a small problem. Hidden mold will create the biggest and most expensive problem
4. Not all species of mold are harmful, many are actually helpful and needed.
5. Species of mold that are harmful and that release mycotoxins can cause or aggravate serious breathing and respiratory problems.
6. Never assume that mold is not harmful to your living environment because you are not sensitive to mold. Others in your family can be very sensitive even if you are not.
7. Most people that are not sensitive to mold can become sensitive if living with continual exposure even to lower and medium level spore counts.
8. All indoor mold concerns should be taken very seriously, but don’t over react. We try to educate people on mold issues, not install fear in them.
9. Annual inspections are more important in homes with newborns, infants, small children, pregnant women, elderly residents, and anyone with an immune deficiency or under developed immune system.
10. If you or someone you know is pregnant, have the home inspected for mold prior to bring home a newborn. The presence of a mold problem or indoor air quality problem in a home, even unseen mold, is a primary cause of breathing and respiratory problems in newborns. Have problems taken care of before exposing a new born to this environment.
Although this article is not designed to make the reader a mold expert, I hope it is helpful in educating the reader somewhat. You can find more information on mold and the health effects on the Fungus Fighters web site.
Post time: 04-19-2017