FIVE Common Misconceptions About Mold

November 21, 2016 High Tech Carpet Cleaning Comments Off on FIVE Common Misconceptions About Mold
  1. This isn’t mold, its just mildew. Or this mold isn’t the toxic mold. Mold and mildew are the same thing. Mildew is often the term used for mold growth on clothing or fabric.
  2. If the mold is not Stachybotrys, it is safe to clean it myself. When doing any kind of mold abatement, it is necessary to take steps to limit exposure, no matter what type of mold it is. This includes wearing gloves, coveralls, and respiratory protection. Mold levels can increase up to 10 to 100,000 times background levels during mold clean up resulting in acute exposure. For large areas of mold it is recommended that individuals properly trained in the handling of hazardous materials complete the clean up. It is also important to ensure that all infected materials are properly treated or removed so the mold does not return.
  3. If you have Stachybotrys in your home you have to get rid of all your personal belongings. When Stachybotrys is present there is a risk of cross contamination of spores to clean areas because the Stachybotrys spores are sticky and may stick to the surfaces of furniture and other belongings. If Stachybotrys contamination is extensive in a home it may be safer and more cost effective to throw away the personal belongings rather than treat them and risk bringing the mold spores into a new residence. If Stachybotrys is growing on wall or other surfaces in a home, it can release spores into the air that will settle on the surface of furniture and other belongings. As long as there is no moisture on those surfaces the spores will not form active growth. Since the spores are primarily just on the surface of the furniture, they can be treated and removed.
  4. I want to make sure that my house is free of mold. No house is completely free of mold. Molds are very common outside, so some mold spores will always be present in the air indoors as well. We are exposed to the outdoor or background levels of molds every time we go outside, and in most cases will not experience any adverse reactions, with the exception of hay fever or allergy like symptoms in some sensitive individuals when outdoor levels are high. Mold growth inside a building is not normal, though. If mold is growing on a surface inside a home, it will create indoor levels of spores that are higher than what the body is normally used to, which can overwhelm our natural defenses to mold spores and cause adverse reactions. When a home is tested for mold, it is checked to make sure that the levels of molds indoors is comparative to the background levels, and that mold is not actively growing inside.
  5. I cleaned the mold with bleach, so I have fixed the problem. Bleach is not effective at killing mold, especially if the mold is present on a porous or fibrous material, like wood or sheet rock. If mold growth is significant, it is better to remove the impacted material, rather than treat it. For some surfaces that are harder to remove, like wood framing in homes, it may be necessary to complete multiple treatments with an anti-microbial. Cleaning the mold also does not fix the underlying moisture problem that is allowing the mold to grow. Mold should not grow without a moisture source, so if mold is growing on a wall, there may be a hidden leak somewhere or there may be a problem with water intrusion from outside. If mold is growing on sheet rock, there may be a larger, hidden problem inside the wall space, which is not accessible without removing the sheet rock.

TEN Things You Should Know About Mold

  1. Exposure to elevated levels of molds can cause serious health problems, such as respiratory problems and sinus problems, cold and flu-like symptoms, headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and memory loss. Those most susceptible include young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and other sensitive individuals.
  2. There are many molds that have the potential to cause health problems including Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys. (Just because you can’t pronounce it doesn’t mean it can’t harm you.)
  3. Mold spores can cause health problems even if the spores are dead.
  4. Mold requires an organic food source, such as cloth, sheet rock, or wood, and a moisture source to grow. Mold can begin to grow on any organic material that remains wet for more than 48 hours. The way to control mold growth indoors, is to control moisture indoors.
  5. Mold spores are very common outdoors and there is no practical way to eliminate all mold spores indoors.
  6. Molds can grow undetected inside wall spaces, under carpet, and inside HVAC systems.
  7. Mold growth can often be the visible sign of a structural defect that allows moisture to intrude into a building.
  8. When doing mold abatement, it is first necessary to find and eliminate the moisture source. If the moisture problem is not resolved, the mold growth will return.
  9. Cleanup of large areas of mold growth can cause airborne levels of spores to increase up to 10,000 times that of background levels, resulting in acute exposure to those doing the cleanup if personal protective equipment is not worn.
  10. The best way to abate mold growth indoors is to remove the impacted materials. Cleaning the surface of a material with mold growth, may not always kill the mold, especially if mold is growing on porous materials like sheet rock or wood.
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