Mold Remediation Options

Different levels of mold remediation are performed depending on the scope of a mold problem.  Mold can be a minor nuisance or it can be quite destructive depending on its extent and location within the home. Visual inspections may suffice but sometimes further probing is also required, with remediation technicians needing to remove paneling and carpeting, or having to look into walls and ductwork.

Because mold needs food and water, and its food sources can be drywall, wood, cardboard, and other organic materials, given the right conditions mold can develop in any home. Mold exists inside buildings and in the outdoor environment.  Reproducing via spores dispersed through the air, when mold finds a digestible surface with sufficient moisture, there can be the right conditions for growth. Oftentimes, mold begins to grow in flooring and within walls after significant exposure to water such as from floods or broken pipes. Mold grows best with warmth but some types can grow in cooler temperatures as well.

Mold is not necessarily toxic just because it is dark or stinky.  The toxic molds are certain species of mold that produce mycotoxins, which when inhaled can cause illness, neurological problems, and sometimes can even cause death.  Simple mold exposure, like other allergic reactions, can manifest in symptoms such as sneezing, itchy and running nose and eyes, scratchy throat, headaches, and coughing and wheezing.  Mold allergy may lead to asthma.

Do-it-yourself mold removal may be accomplished with bleach, baking soda, ammonia, white distilled vinegar, borax, grapefruit seed extract, detergent, hydrogen peroxide, and tea tree oil if the mold is not growing on a porous surface.  DO NOT MIX CHEMICALS TOGETHER and NEVER MIX BLEACH OR BLEACH-CONTAINING DETERGENTS WITH AMMONIA. When on a porous surface, mold will grow “roots” and will return to the surface eventually.  Professional mold remediation may be required at that point.

Companies that perform mold remediation may take a sample of the mold if someone living or working within the building in question is showing symptoms of exposure to mold. The samples are taken in accordance with the regulations of several Federal organizations including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA).  Samples taken will likely be from surfaces, the air, and will sometimes involve taking a physical sample in the form of a piece of affected drywall, etc.

Improving ventilation and airflow, repairing leaks, utilization of dehumidifiers, elimination of condensation, and replacing affected materials that cannot be sufficiently cleaned with detergents are among the methods used for mold remediation.  Unfortunately, in some circumstances, the only way to effectively deal with severe mold is to raze the building.

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