The importance of quality control

   

 

Mold comes in all colors.
Some mold can even change color depending on what it is feeding on. What you see on walls or ceiling is only the tip of the iceberg.

ARTICLES ON MOLD

Excerpt from MOLD MATTERS - Solutions and Prevention
Playing Hide and Seek with Mold
10 Problems associated with mold assessment
How to minimize mold growth following water damage suffered from hurricanes
Are you covered for mold?
Beware, the EPA mold scale ERMI is misleading!
Good Intentions In Building Green Could Lead To Disaster

 
 
    Picture of mold on ceiling 1     Picture of mold in A/C     Picture of mold on ceiling 2     Picture of mold on ceiling 3  
 
    Picture of mold on wall 1     Picture of pink mold     Picture of mold on wall 2     Picture of mold on popcorn ceiling  
 
   

 

 

Picture of mold on rotten wood

 

 


Charles Dobbs,
Mold detection expert
and
author of
MOLD MATTERS -
Solutions and Prevention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

EXCERPT FROM OUR BOOK:

MOLD MATTERS - Solutions and Prevention

by Charles and Danielle Dobbs,
Mold Detection Experts

The Mayo Clinic, a renowned research institution has pioneered several studies on chronic sinusitis to determine whether mold spore exposure and inhalation played a part in the disease. A research conducted in 1999 indicated a link between chronic sinusitis infections and fungus (mold) in 93% of the subjects.

According to a recent survey by the National Center for Health Statistics 14.1% of the population suffers from chronic rhinosinusitis. This means that 1 in 7 people suffer from the disease.

In 2005 researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that fungi plays a large role in chronic rhinosinusitis. In fact, the findings indicates that chronic rhinosinusitis is a result of a fungal driven inflammation rather than a bacterial infection.

Something must be said about mold in schools and how it affects students and teachers. The following statistics were published in February 2, 2005 by the IEQ Review:

-- One in five schools in America have indoor air quality problems.

-- Asthma accounts for 14 million missed school days each year.

-- The rate of asthma in young children has risen by 160 percent in the past 15 years.

-- One out of every 13 school-age children has asthma.

The Center for Indoor Environments and Health at the University of Connecticut states “the most common types of illnesses directly related to mold are type I responses of allergic rhinitis and asthma.” They go on to say “… allergic inflammation can trigger bronchospasm, chest tightness, and shortness of breath, leading to either new onset of asthma or asthma exacerbation in sensitized individuals.”

Poor maintenance in schools and lack of money are often cited as excuses for mold problems, but little is done about it. This does not only pertain to public schools; some private schools are just as bad. Many university dorms, regardless of school prestige, are in poor condition and some harbor mold. Students accept these conditions as status quo and fail to complain. This situation does not have to be. If money can be found to modernize a gym and re-sod the school lawn, money can be found to maintain buildings properly. Air quality should be a priority of any institution and parents and teachers should demand it.

Many apartment buildings have mold problems and maintenance personnel know little or nothing about mold. Their lack of knowledge can sometimes cause them to wipe and paint over a contaminated area in hopes that the problem will go away. Predictably within a few months mold will reappear. This is because the hyphae (the root system) are still embedded in the wall. Unless the source of moisture is corrected and the contaminated area physically removed, mold will continue to grow.

Sometimes, people are not aware that a mold problem exists in their home or workplace, and when they develop allergy-like symptoms they seek the help of an allergist. If medical tests are negative or inconclusive, allergy specialists should recommend having the home or workplace tested for mold. If the levels of mold spores are elevated, the problem can be found and fixed, and with luck the person will regain his or her health without suffering permanent damage.

In regards to toxic mold, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states:

"Molds can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. Some mycotoxins cling to the surface of mold spores; others may be found within spores. More than 200 mycotoxins have been identified from common molds, and many more remain to be identified. Some of the molds that are known to produce mycotoxins are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings. Exposure pathways for mycotoxins can include inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. Although some mycotoxins are well known to affect humans and have been shown to be responsible for human health effects, for many mycotoxins, little information is available.

Aflatoxin B1 is perhaps the most well known and studied mycotoxin. It can be produced by the molds Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus and is one of the most potent carcinogens known. Ingestion of aflatoxin B1 can cause liver cancer. There is also some evidence that inhalation of aflatoxin B1 can cause lung cancer. Aflatoxin B1 has been found on contaminated grains, peanuts, and other human and animal foodstuffs. However, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus are not commonly found on building materials or in indoor environments.

Much of the information on the human health effects of inhalation exposure to mycotoxins comes from studies done in the workplace and some case studies or case reports. Many symptoms and human health effects attributed to inhalation of mycotoxins have been reported including: mucous membrane irritation, skin rash, nausea, immune system suppression, acute or chronic liver damage, acute or chronic central nervous system damage, endocrine effects, and cancer. More studies are needed to get a clear picture of the health effects related to most mycotoxins. However, it is clearly prudent to avoid exposure to molds and mycotoxins.

Some molds can produce several toxins, and some molds produce mycotoxins only under certain environmental conditions. The presence of mold in a building does not necessarily mean that mycotoxins are present or that they are present in large quantities."

The Internet has a wealth of information on the subject of mold. One can find cases claiming that mold has caused irreversible and permanent damage in humans. If you have concerns or questions relating to your health, do not try to diagnose your health problems with information found on the Internet or information contained in this book - see your doctor. If you want to ascertain whether a mold problem exists in your home, get it tested by a professional mold inspector.

 
 
   

HIDDEN MOLD
From the EPA

SUSPICION OF HIDDEN MOLD

You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).

INVESTIGATING HIDDEN MOLD PROBLEMS

Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional.

CLEANUPS AND BIOCIDES

Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain - these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.


Please note:
Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.

   

TIPS FROM THE EPA


MOISTURE AND MOLD PREVENTION AND CONTROL TIPS:

Moisture control is the key to mold control, so when water leaks or spills occur indoors - ACT QUICKLY.  If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.

  •  Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source.  Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.


ACTIONS THAT WILL HELP REDUCE HUMIDITY:

  • Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible.  (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
  • Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
  • Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering.  Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.



ACTIONS THAT WILL HELP PREVENT CONDENSATION:

  • Reduce the humidity (see above).
  • Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical.  Use fans as needed.
  • Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
  • Increase air temperature. 
 
 
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