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Guidelines for mold remediation with Mold Growth Caused by Clean Water

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Guidelines for mold remediation with Mold Growth Caused by Clean Water

Guidelines_for_mold_remediation_with_mold_growth_caused_by_clean_water

 

Use professional judgment to determine prudent levels of Personal Protective Equipment and containment for each situation, particularly as the remediation site size increases and the potential for exposure and health effects rises. Assess the need for increased Personal Protective Equipment, if, during the remediation, more extensive contamination is encountered than was expected.

These guidelines are for damage caused by clean water. If you know or suspect that the water source is contaminated with sewage, or chemical or biological pollutants, then the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires PPE and containment. An experienced remediation professional should be consulted immediately.

Select method most appropriate to your situation. Since molds gradually decompose the organic materials they feed on, if mold growth is not addressed promptly, some items may be damaged such that cleaning will not restore their original appearance. If mold growth is heavy and items are valuable or important, you may wish to consult with us or another restoration/water damage/remediation expert. Please note that these are guidelines; other cleaning methods may be preferred by some professionals.

Cleanup Methods

Method 1: Wet vacuum (in the case of porous materials, some mold spores/fragments will remain in the material but will not grow if the material is completely dried). Steam cleaning may be an alternative for carpets and some upholstered furniture.

Method 2: Damp-wipe surfaces with plain water or with water and detergent solution (except wood—use wood floor cleaner); scrub as needed.

Method 3: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum after the material has been thoroughly dried. Dispose of the contents of the HEPA vacuum in well-sealed plastic bags.

Method 4: Discard – remove water-damaged materials and seal in plastic bags while inside of containment, if present. Dispose of as normal waste. HEPA vacuum area after it is dried.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

Minimum: Gloves, N-95 respirator, goggles/eye protection

Limited: Gloves, P-100 respirator or half-face respirator with HEPA filter, disposable overalls, goggles/eye protection

Full: Gloves, disposable full body clothing, head gear, foot coverings, full-face powered respirator with HEPA filter

Containment

Limited: Use6mil  polyethylene sheeting ceiling to floor around affected area with a slit entry and covering flap; we prefer double that with zippers but you must maintain area under negative pressure with HEPA-filtered fan unit. Block supply and return air vents within containment area.

Full: Use two layers of fire-retardant polyethylene sheeting with one airlock chamber. Maintain area under negative pressure with HEPA-filtered fan exhausted outside of building. Block supply and return air vents within containment area.

A variety of mold cleanup methods are available for remediating damage to building materials and furnishings caused by moisture control problems and mold growth. The specific method or group of methods used will depend on the type of material affected, as presented in Table 2. Please note that professional remediation may use some methods not covered in these guidelines; absence of a method in the mold remediation guidelines does not necessarily mean that it is not useful

Method 1: Wet Vacuum

Wet vacuums are vacuum designed to collect water. They can be used to remove water from floors, carpets, and hard surfaces where water has accumulated. They should not be used to vacuum porous materials such as gypsum board. They should be used only when materials are still wet—wet vacuums may spread spores if sufficient liquid is not present. The tanks, hoses, and attachments of these vacuums should be thoroughly cleaned and dried after use since mold and mold spores may stick to the surfaces.

Method 2: Old fashion Damp Wipe

Whether dead or alive, mold is allergenic, and some molds may be toxic. Mold can generally be removed from non-porous (hard) surfaces by wiping or scrubbing with water, or water and detergent. It is important to dry these surfaces quickly and thoroughly to discourage further mold growth. Instructions for cleaning surfaces, as listed on product labels, should always be read and followed. Porous materials that are wet and have mold growing on them may have to be discarded. Since molds will infiltrate porous substances and grow on or fill in empty spaces or crevices, the mold can be difficult or impossible to remove completely.

Method 3: By HEPA Vacuum

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums are recommended for final cleanup of remediation areas after materials have been thoroughly dried and contaminated materials removed. HEPA vacuums are also recommended for cleanup of dust that may have settled on surfaces outside the remediation area. Care must be taken to ensure that the filter is properly seated in the vacuum so that all the air must pass through the filter. When changing the vacuum filter, remediators should wear PPE to prevent exposure to the mold that has been captured. The filter and contents of the HEPA vacuum must be disposed of in well-sealed plastic bags.

Method 4: Discard – Remove Damaged Materials and Seal in Plastic Bags

Building materials and furnishings that are contaminated with mold growth and are not salvageable should be double-bagged using 6-mil polyethylene sheeting. These materials can then usually be discarded as ordinary construction waste. It is important to package mold-contaminated materials in sealed bags before removal from the containment area to minimize the dispersion of mold spores throughout the building. Large items that have heavy mold growth should be covered with polyethylene sheeting and sealed with duct tape before they are removed from the containment area.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The remediation work will disturb mold and mold spores become airborne, then the risk of respiratory exposure goes up. Actions like that will stir up mold include: breakup of moldy porous materials such as drywall; invasive procedures used to examine or remediate mold growth in a wall cavity; actively stripping or peeling wallpaper to remove it; and using fans to dry items.

The primary function of Personal Protective Equipment is to avoid inhaling mold and mold spores and to avoid mold contact especially with the skin or eyes. The following discuss the different types of PPE that can be used during remediation activities. Please note that all individuals using certain PPE equipment, such as half-face or full-face respirators, must be trained, must have medical clearance, and must be fit-tested by a trained professional. In addition, the use of respirators must follow a complete respiratory protection program as specified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Disposable Protective Clothing

Disposable clothing is recommended during a medium or large remediation project to prevent the transfer and spread of mold to clothing and to eliminate skin contact with mold.

Limited: Disposable overalls can be used.

Full: Mold-impervious disposable head and foot coverings, and a body suit made of a breathable material, such as TYVEK®, should be used. All gaps, such as those around ankles and wrists, should be sealed with duct tape.

Containment

The purpose of containment during remediation activities is to limit release of mold into the air and surroundings, in order to minimize the exposure of occupants to mold. Mold and moldy debris should not be allowed to spread to areas in the building beyond the contaminated site.

The two types of containment recommended in above are limited and full. The larger the area of affected materials , the greater the possibility of human exposure and the greater the need for containment. In general, the size of the area helps determine the level of containment. However, a heavy growth of mold in a relatively small area could release more spores than a lighter growth of mold in a relatively large area. Choice of containment

How Do You Know When You Have Finished Remediation/Cleanup?

  1. You must have completely fixed the water or moisture problem.
  2. You should have completed the mold removal process. Use professional judgment to determine if the cleanup is sufficient. Visible mold, mold-damaged materials, and moldy odors should not be present.
  3. If you have sampled, the kinds and concentrations of mold and mold spores in the building should be similar to those found outside, once cleanup activities have been completed.
  4. You should revisit the site shortly after remediation, and it should show no signs of water damage or mold growth.
  5. People should be able to occupy or re-occupy the space without health complaints or physical symptoms.
  6. There is no easy answer however it should be all resolved, all items and moisture issues solved and air quality testing results should indicate a successful mold remediation.

If you require any additional information or guidance you can call toll free 1-800-520-7443 and we will be happy to send you the information you need for your mold remediation

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Are you allergic to mold?

Posted by | allergies, Blog, home mold, Indoor air quality testing | No Comments

Are you Allergic to Mold?

mold allergies 1Our 25 years of experience in investigating, providing assessments and indoor air quality testing when mold is suspected has shown us that many people are unaware if they are highly allergic to mold or not.

The reason for this is simple – it takes years of exposure to become sensitized, so while you may not be allergic to mold now, you may be a few years down the line if your home or office has mold growing.

While everyone is concerned with the indoor air quality of their homes and offices, we do not associate the invisible connection until exposure is violent enough to almost pin point the exact location.

While you can become sensitized with inhalation of large amounts of toxic spores at one time, most often it’s the small systemic exposure that will cause symptoms that are often not associated with mold exposure.

mold itchy eyes nose

Mold is present in our environments, whether it’s inside or outside our home/office. Did you know though that some of the more toxic spores to us are generally not found in the air outside?

Stachybotrys – a Prime Example

stachybotrys mold on wallIn a clean home, mold, such as Stachybotrys, should not be detected in an indoor air quality test if all is well. Even small amounts found by indoor air quality testing indicate a mold problem within the area which could pose a potential future health risk.

Stachybotrys is found on water damaged building materials rich in carbon such as ceiling tiles, gypsum board, insulation paper backing, drywall and wallpaper. Stachybotrys requires a lot of moisture to appear (70% or more) most often associated with Type 1 hay fever, asthma symptoms reported and is known as one of the most toxigenic species of mold.

The presence of this fungus can be significant due to its ability to produce mycotoxins. Exposure to the toxins can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin exposure. Human toxicosis has been described; by dermatitis, cough, and rhinitis, itching or burning sensation in mouth, throat, nasal passages and eyes to name just a few. Additionally, Stachybotrys is associated with the development of sick building syndrome.

Most often we find it in previous leaks on drywall where the homeowner did not remove the affected porous wet materials and just let it dry or painted over without understanding the consequences. Small amounts over a long time of exposure could lead in to sensitivity and allergic reactions.

mold - wall leaks

A sign that there may be mold behind the drywall

mold - behind walls

Mold was indeed found behind – lots of it!

Fortunately there are ways we can find out if we are allergic or are becoming allergic to it.

mold itchy eyes noseMost people’s immune system removes the toxins in their blood on a daily basis, for some however will take a long time and continuous exposure will aggravate symptoms.

A comparison would be when two friends go out drinking and both have a great time and drink the same amount; unfortunately one of the two does not recover in time to go to work and stay in bed with the consequences and their reaction to it while the other one is ready at 6 am with no symptoms.

How much peanut butter do you have to ingest for a reaction if you allergic to it? How many cigarettes does it take to affect you?

These are some of the reasons that there are no exposure limits on mold; we just don’t have the scientific data and studies yet.

We recommend a visit to your doctor or allergist and ask to get a blood test for the detection of toxin levels; basically you just want to find out the level of toxins in your blood stream high or low.

High toxin count will indicate your immune system just can’t get rid of it that fast and the internal inflammation from the response of your immune system to the foreign substance will cause different reactions in different people.

allergens

Alternatively there are these tests online like the one from Claudia S Miller-MD, MS, is an allergist/immunologist and tenure professor at the University of Texas School of medicine in San Antonio. She researches the environmental causes of disease and teaches the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of environmentally – induced or exacerbated illness.  Her work led to the development of QEESI http://drclaudiamiller.com/QEESItest/

Or Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker MD, Ritchie Shoemaker, M. D., is a recognized leader in patient care, research and education pioneer in the field of biotoxin related illness. While illness acquired following exposure to the interior environment of water-damaged buildings and his online Visual Contrast Screening Test (VCS) http://www.survivingmold.com/

Of course there is no better way to ensure you do not have a problem on your home or office visible or not visible with our expert indoor air quality testing assessments, testing and investigations. http://cleanfirst.ca/indoor-air-quality-testing/

mold protection

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Simple Steps for Preventing and Removing Mould in Your Home

Posted by | Blog, home mold, Mold Removal, mould growth | One Comment

Simple Steps for Preventing and Removing Mould in Your Home

Health Canada produced a video not long ago with several simple steps on preventing and removing mould in your home.

We often get calls from customers who notice small amounts of mould in their home and aren’t sure what to do, so if that’s you, then check out this video.

Video

 

Written Transcript

Mould naturally grows in everyones home. This can affect the air quality, and for people who are sensitive to mould can consequently suffer from breathing problems, including asthma allergies and cold-like symptoms.

We’ll often find mould in areas of excessive moisture. One of the most common areas is the basement, because water drips down and settles there from flooding. The bathrooms and kitchens are also very common mould prone zones because of the exposure to leaky pipes and moisture. Finally, exterior walls and the roof can be problematic if not maintained properly.

Prevention

To prevent the issue, make sure to clear areas of water damage as quickly as possible.

Keep an eye on the humidity of your home – it should be kept at no more than 50% in the summer. 30-40% in the winter.no more than 50% in the summer. In the winter, it should be no more than 30-40%.no more than 30-40%.

You should also check to ensure that fans vent outside rather than into other rooms of your home.

Removal

Small areas of mold on non porous surfaces can be cleaned with dishsoap and water. You don’t need to use bleach, and in fact, this can stain your walls besides harming you.

For larger areas that have been exposed to significant water damage, you may need the help of a professional.

If you want more detailed steps, take a look at our mould inspection checklist.

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Mold in your Home – Causes, Prevention and Cleanup

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Mold in your Home – Causes, Prevention and Cleanup

This excellent video demonstrates in simple terms how every homeowner can protect themselves against mold. It gives a great explanation on the causes and how you can clean up a mold growth situation in your home if it ever occurs.
Take a few minutes to check out this video by the Northwest Clean Air Agency.

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