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Mold Removal
Mold Shower

I found mold in the shower caulking – what should I do?

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I found mold in the shower/bathtub caulking – what should I do?

If mold is visible on the caulking in the shower or bath tub, then that immediately tells us that the wrong type of caulking was used.

Caulking is for baseboards and interior doors – not for bathrooms or kitchens where moisture is present.

Bathrooms and showers will always have moisture due to their nature, and therefore require 100% silicone to be used instead of caulking. Silicone is not organic and therefore is not a food source for mold. Caulking on the other hand is a food source for mold.

Silicone is mold and mildew proof and most manufacturers guarantee it. Here is one product we recommend.

So what is the solution?

We recommend removing the caulking and replacing it with silicone. This is a relatively simple process and we do not recommend hiring a mold removal company to do this. In fact, here is a simple step-by-step guide that will show you how to do this:

What you should not do

  • Paint over it- giving more moisture and food for mold to grow
  • Bleach it- does not kill embedded mold just discolours the surface of it
  • Use vinegar- does not kill just discolour it
  • Not do anything- this is the worst option of them all! Mold will continue to grow and possibly spread to other areas of the bathroom.
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Mold Windows

I found Mold on my windows – what should I do?

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I found Mold on my windows – what should I do?

This is a common question we get. Unless you have wood windows, mold does not grow on vinyl or fiberglass windows. Mold is growing on the dust and fed by moisture. Condensation (sweating) of the windows due to the extreme difference of temperatures (-10°C outside versus +18°C inside), paired with the lack of ventilation and humidity inside is usually the cause of the mold growth on the windows.

To prevent moisture and mold from developing on the windows, you must ensure that:

  1. Your humidity inside the house is below 50% and clean the dust regularly. You can measure the humidity using a hygrometer.
  2. You must ensure that the window is getting enough ventilation from the HVAC registers. Do not completely cover the windows or block the HVAC registers to ensure proper air flow – especially on the very cold days.

How do I remove the mold from the windows?

Since this is a relatively minor issue, you can remove the mold by yourself using a product called Concrobium Mold Control. It is available at many big box chains such as Home Depot and Canadian Tire. Make sure you follow the manufacturer instructions (read the label). Concrobium will leave a residue that does not allow mold to grow and that is the main reason we recommend it versus many other products.

If you have wood windows you must sand the affected areas to completely remove it.

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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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Simple Steps for Preventing and Removing Mould in Your Home

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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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Common Mold Removal Questions

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More and more often, we are seeing customers with these kind of questions so we decided to put together some answers here.

Are some molds more hazardous than others?

Some types of molds can produce mycotoxins. These molds are common, and are sometimes referred to as black toxic mold. There are a few reports that toxic molds inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions and of course it also depends on exposure and your immunity to it. If you think you have a mold problem in your home, you do not need to find out what type of mold you may have.

All molds should be treated the same way when it comes to health risks and removal.

All indoor mold growth should be removed promptly, no matter what type of mold is present, or whether or not it can produce mycotoxins. All Health and responsible organizations agree on the fact there is no need to find out the type of mold since they all must be removed.

Here is some food for thought: Do you need to test your moldy bread to find out if it’s OK for you?.

What is black mold or Stachybotrys ?

Stachybotrys chartarum or atra is a greenish-black mold that can grow on materials such as drywall or sheetrock, when they become moist or water damaged.  It requires quite a bit of moisture that’s  why is associated with wet building syndrome (70% or higher on materials). Not all greenish-black molds are Stachybotrys chartarum however.

Some strains of Stachybotrys chartarum can produce mycotoxins.Whether a mold produces mycotoxins depends on what the mold is growing on and conditions such as humidity , temperature or other factors. When mycotoxins are present, they occur in both living and dead mold spores, and may be present in materials that have become contaminated with mold.

While Stachybotrys is growing, usually a wet slime layer covers its spores, preventing them from becoming airborne. When the mold dies and dries up, hvac disburtion or physical handling can cause spores to become airborne exacerbating the problem.

So if everyone agrees on removing all molds regardless, how can I do it safely?

Mold should be cleaned as soon as it appears. Persons who clean the mold should be free of immune compromised symptoms and allergies. Small areas of mold can be cleaned using a fungicide. We now know and tested that bleach or vinegar do not kill fungus in fact they just discolor it; and disinfectant just makes it to safe levels for human and do not completely eliminate it, you need a “cide” ( complete kill). Personal protection should be worn during the cleaning process. The cleaned area should then be dried quickly.

If the mold returns, it could mean you have an underlying problem, such as a water leak. Any water intrusions must first be fixed when solving mold problems. If there is a lot of mold growth don’t take a chance on spreading it all over your house and give us a call. The best thing to do is to use saran wrap or plastic and isolate it or cover until a professional can inspect the area

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The Ultimate Mold Inspection Checklist

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MoldInspectionChecklist-Banner_smallThe Ultimate Mold Inspection Checklist

Mold growth can be a serious issue in your home if it’s not handled properly. Recovering from such damages can cost anywhere from $1500 for a small remediation project, to tens of thousands of dollars for widespread mold issues. This is definitely something every homeowner wants to have checked out before committing to any purchase.

Having a mold inspector come in and check every house you visit can be costly and impractical. For that reason, we’ve created a list of items that every home buyer or renter can examine for themselves. This checklist covers:

  1. Introduction – Mold Growth facts and statistics
  2. Home Exterior examination
  3. Home Interior examination

The checklist can also be found in PDF format so it can be quickly pulled up on your Mobile device for quick reference.

Take a look at the checklist here to see if your house is affected.

P.S. If you enjoyed this, please share it with your friends!

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Mold Health Problems

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Can mold exposure lead to health problems?

mold exposure

Most of us usually don’t think about mold exposure and its effects on our and our family’s health. Mold is usually unseen, but its effects on a person’s health can be devastating if left unchecked.

A common problem caused by exposure to mold is mold illness, which should not be confused with mold allergies. Mold illness is more dangerous, and its detrimental effects can range from weight gain to over fatigue and breathing problems.

Mold illness is a subcategory of a biotoxin illness called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, or CIRS, which is acquired after exposure to the interiors of a water-damaged building which has toxigenic organisms. The symptoms of mold illness are usually a result of an irritant reaction to substances released by certain types of mold, called endotoxins.

What are endotoxins?

Basically, endotoxins are harmful substances which weaken your immune system and it is usually very difficult for your body to deal with them. If you’re interested in the science, read on, otherwise skip on to the next section.

“Endotoxin” is a term coined by Nats Umangay in order to distinguish toxins which are released into the environment only after the bacterial cell wall is destroyed from “exotoxins”, which are toxins immediately released by bacteria into the environment. The term endotoxin is most commonly associated with lipopolysaccharides, or LPS, which are found in the outer membrane of different kinds of gram-negative bacteria. LPS is an important component of the bacteria’s ability to cause disease, as was discovered in an experiment where human volunteers were injected with small amounts of endotoxins. The human subjects experienced a drastic drop in their blood pressure, inflammation, blood coagulation, and fever. LPS and other endotoxins in gram-negative bacteria have also been scientifically associated with diseases like meningococcemia, meningitis, and Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome.

Endotoxins attack specific receptors in human cells, weakening a person’s immune system. Human antibodies are generally unable to prevent endotoxins from wreaking havoc on a person’s body, which is why the best way to deal with endotoxins is to minimize your exposure to endotoxins and the molds that release them, specifically, black mold.

What is black mold?

Black mold, which is commonly found in water-damaged buildings, is a leading source of endotoxins. Water-damaged buildings also host fungi and other types of bacteria which can further weaken your immune system. The chances of such microbes getting into your system increase drastically if the building is improperly ventilated.

coughWhat are the symptoms of mold illness?

Mold illness affects different parts of the body, which is why there is a variety of symptoms. Mold illness can affect your muscles and joints, causing aches, muscle cramps, joint pain, weakness, or overfatigue. You may also develop a cough, experience shortness of breath, or have difficulty breathing.

You may also have symptoms related to your brain. Headaches and memory problems are common symptoms, as are difficulty with concentration and word recollection. Decreased learning, confusion, and disorientation are also very common among those who suffer from mold illness. Erratic mood swings have also been observed in some patients.

Mold illness has also been reported to cause light sensitivity, blurred vision, and red eyes. Other symptoms are skin sensitivity, diarrhea, increased urination, and sweats.

What are the effects of mold illness?

Mold illness manifests itself gradually in a person. If you have mold illness, you may find that your health has been steadily worsening. This is because your exposure to black mold has put your immune system on a constant fight against endotoxins. The constant battle between your immune system’s antigens and the endotoxins from the environment will cause inflammation, which will gradually lead to a chronic illness and to the occurrence of any of the aforementioned symptoms.

What can I do to avoid mold illness?

As the old cliché goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Now that you know that one of the common causes of mold illness is exposure to endotoxins released by molds, specifically, by black molds, the most practically way to prevent mold illness is to cut off mold exposure.

Feel free to contact us for help and information. We offer a wide variety of services, such as a preliminary mold inspection, mold testing, and an indoor air quality test. The results of the indoor air quality test will help us determine if there is black mold in your home or office. We can also determine if you will require black mold removal or mold remediation.

Mold illness caused by mold exposure can be easily prevented, and now that you are equipped with this information, you should take concrete steps to protect not only your health, but the health of your family and friends, as well.

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Got Mold in basement?

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Got Mold in basement?

 Got Mold in basement?

Have you tested the air quality in your home recently?
 You will be surprised to know that 50% of respiratory illnesses are caused or provoked by polluted air and mould is the number 1 culprit on asthma. Your basement is the perfect place for molds to grow and release harmful vapors into the air that can cause you and your family serious harm.
Most basements are finished wrong, no time or money spent on proper ventilation, ever wonder why your bedroom never gets enough heat or cold? The guy that finished your basement never advised you because he doesn’t know.
If you spend any time in your basement or have air vents throughout your home, it is important that you get the air in your basement tested by a professional. There may be more than dust and darkness down there. Basements are the perfect breeding ground for harmful molds to grow. The dark and damp atmosphere of a basement encourages the growth of mold spores. Just one square inch of drywall can contain up to 10 million mold spores.
Improper ventilation is one of the main causes of poor indoor air quality.
Got Mold in basement?
Inspecting your basement for mold, both visible and hidden and then removing any mold discovered will keep you and your family out of harm’s way. Since mold can either be easily spotted or hidden it is important that you conduct mold testing as well as air quality testing in your basement. Mold removal is very dangerous because of the toxic properties that the mold possesses and release. You should hire a trained professional for mold removal; it is the safest and easiest way to eliminate mold problems in your basement. Mold in your basement is a serious problem and that is why we offer free mold inspection to save you time and money. Additional air quality testing is recommended to verify the presence and type of mold in your basement.
Allowing mold to grow and multiply can result in serious health problems for your family. With over 24 years of experience and certified professionals we can help you take back control over your basement.
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Case Study: Home Mold Remediation in Toronto

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Case Study: Home Mold Remediation in Toronto

homemoldremovalpicture

The picture above was from a home mold remediation project. It was found in a bathroom, and was not visible to the naked eye. Luckily our client had suspected it of water penetration and decided to give us a call to take a closer look.

We sent our team over a performed a free mold inspection. We diagnosed the problem and confirmed that the client, was in fact 100% right.

Not only was she right, but we also found more areas of molding than they had originally suspected. Fortunately, we were on site and were able to remove the mold and affected materials using a recommended type II procedure. If you are removing more than 10Sq/ Ft, I strongly recommend using a mold remediation contractor for in home mold removal.

The mold spores we deal with on a day-to-day basis are smaller than 10 microns, which is impossible to see with the naked eye. In the old days they use to burn the houses down, because they really didn’t know what to do. Then they moved on to cleaning it with bleach, however it kept coming back. After some serious research, today we know bleach does not kill them, just discolours them. We are now smarter and have better tools to eliminate and correct the problem permanently.

If you suspect anything like this in your home, call a mold remediation company right away to ensure that the home mold removal is corrected once for all.

How can we distinguish good contractors from bad ones?

Great question. There are indeed a lot of bad contractors out there, with little experience (we have over 24 years of experience). A quick way to separate the good from the bad is to ask them this:

What are the minimum pascals for a negative pressure machine with regards to home mold removal?

Answer: Provide a minimum negative pressure of 5 pascals (0.02 inches of water column) and a minimum of four air changes per hour.

If they don’t know that, thank them and walk away; it is one of the main questions on a mold course and every certified contractor will know this.

Home Mold Removal works as follows:

  1. Set up a containment area with 6ml plastic to avoid contamination to other areas.
  2. Install a negative machine with ducting exhausting out through a window with a minimum of 5 Pascals and 4 exchanges per hour.
  3. Use personal protection equipment (and yes I mean respirators, suit, boots etc.), spraying contaminated areas with anti- microbial before removal to minimize spore contamination.
  4. Remove all affected materials and bag them into a dirty area.
  5. Double bag and HEPA vacuum before bringing into clean area to allow disposal.
  6. Using a HEPA DOP tested vacuum, vacuum all areas and surfaces followed by a wet wiping with anti- microbial. Then HEPA vaccum again.
  7. Depending on the home mold removal we also protect with an anti- microbial coating all exposed surfaces to ensure no mold will ever grow.
  8. Always follow by additional hepa air scrubbing (cleaning the air) upon all procedures were completed for at least 48hrs.

There is a lot more details to follow but hopefully this gives you an idea of the process. We would really recommend however that you call a group of experienced and certified professionals who are both meticulous and experienced in mold removal.

As you now know, it takes specialized equipment, procedure and trained specialized workers to ensure the success with home mold removal.

Still want to try home mold removal by yourself?

Sure, we have a homeowner’s guide on home mold removal we’d be happy to send to you for FREE! Just contact us for your copy.

A Final thought
If your apple is moldy do you clean it with a mold cleaner and eat it?
Buyers beware – porous materials must be removed not cleaned, there are options to reduce costs but ask the experts.

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