MOLD ASSESSMENT AND CLEANUP

MOLD ASSESSMENT AND CLEANUP

MOLD ASSESSMENT AND CLEANUP

 

 

Mold assessment is the process of identifying the location and extent of the mold hazard in a structure, and mold remediation is the process of removal and/or cleanup of mold from an indoor environment.

 

If mold is extensive due to flooding or excessive amounts of water or moisture, serious consideration should be given to hiring the services of trained specialists.  Downriver Restoration located in southeastern Michigan is a professional restoration company with trained specialists in assessment, prevention and remediation of mold.

 

Assessment

The first step in an assessment is to determine if mold is present.  This is done by visually examining the premises.  If mold is growing and visible, this helps determine the level of remediation that is necessary.  If mold is actively growing and is visibly confirmed, sampling for specific species of mold is unnecessary.

 

These methods, considered non-intrusive, only detect visible and odor-causing molds.  Sometimes more intrusive methods are needed to assess the level of mold contamination.  This would include moving furniture, lifting and/or removing carpets, checking behind wallpaper or paneling, checking in ventilation duct work, and opening and exposing wall cavities to name but a few.

 

Careful, detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems needing correction.  Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of liquid moisture or water vapor (humidity) or where moisture problems are suspected.  The investigation goals should be to locate indoor mold growth to determine how to correct the moisture problem and remove contamination safely and effectively.

 

In general, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not recommend sampling unless an occupant of the space is symptomatic, relative to health issues.  When sampling is necessary, it is done by a trained professional who has specific experience in designing mold-sampling protocols, sampling methods, and the interpretation of findings.  Downriver Restoration located in Michigan, has access to such professionals as needed.  Sampling should only be conducted to answer pertinent questions such as:

 

  • What is the spore concentration in the air?
  • Is a particular species of fungi present in the home or building?
  • What action can or should a person take upon obtaining data?

 

The sampling and analysis should follow the recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the EPA. Most importantly, when a sample is taken, the proper chain of custody should be adhered to.  That is to say, only accredited laboratories should be used who adhere to the highest level of proficiency.

 

Three types of sampling include but are not limited to:

 

  • Air sampling – This is the most common form of sampling to assess the level of mold.  Samples of the air inside and outside the structure are taken and compared.  This is also often used where the mold is not visible.
  • Surface samples – Sampling the amount of mold spores deposited on indoor surfaces (tape and dust samples)
  • Bulk samples – The removal of materials from the contaminated area to identify and determine the concentration of mold in the sample.

 

When sampling is conducted, all three types are recommended as each sample method alone has specific limitations.  For example, air samples will not provide proof of a hidden source of mold nor would a tape sample provide the level of contamination in the air.

 

Though it may not be recommended, air sampling following mold remediation is usually the best way to ascertain how effective the remediation was, when conducted by a qualified third party such as Downriver Restoration located downriver in Wayne County, Michigan.

 

Remediation/Cleanup

The first step in solving an indoor mold problem is stopping the source of moisture.  Next is to remove the mold growth.  Common remedies for small occurrences of mold include:

 

  • Sunlight exposure
  • Ventilation
  • Wall insulation/Dry Wall
  • Non-porous building materials
  • Household cleansers
  • Dehumidifiers

 

Improper methods for cleaning mold include exposure to high heat, dry air, sunlight (particularly UV light), ozone, and application of fungicides.  These methods may render the mold non-viable,  however, the mold and its by-products can still elicit negative health effects.  The only proper way to clean mold is to use detergent solutions that physically remove mold.  Many commercially available detergents marketed for mold cleanup also include an anti-fungal agent.

 

The goal of remediation is to remove or clean contaminated materials.  This should be done in a way that prevents the emission of fungi and dust contaminated with fungi from leaving an area and entering an occupied or non-abatement area, while protecting the health of the workers performing the abatement.

 

The purpose of the cleanup process is to eliminate the mold and fungal growth and to remove contaminated materials.  As a general rule, simply killing the mold with a chemical substance (biocide) is not enough.  The mold must be removed since the chemicals and proteins, which cause a reaction in humans, are still present in dead mold.

 

The following cleaning recommendations should always be done by a trained professional.

 

  • Remove any object near the insulation system that may have been contaminated from floodwater. Properly dispose of the contaminated materials according to local, state of Michigan and Federal regulations.
  • Remove the contaminated HVAC filters to ensure the HVAC system is not bringing in contaminated air.
  • Disinfect all components of the HVAC system after turning it off.
  • Use fans to create filtration by blowing the contaminated air outdoors.
  • After cleaning with bleach, be sure to rinse with clean water.

 

When cleaning up mold, it is important to avoid breathing in mold or mold spores.  To avoid airborne mold exposure a respirator is usually worn.  A proper fit is important for the respirator to be effective.  Protective clothing should also be worn.  This includes the usage of gloves.  The gloves should be made of rubber, nitrile, polyurethane or neoprene so that mold or disinfectant materials cannot get through to the skin. Goggles should also be worn to keep mold spores from entering the eyes.

 

The following is a list of more ways to cleanup mold utilized by specially trained professionals.

 

  • Dry brushing
  • Dry ice blasting
  • Damp wiping
  • HEPA vacuuming

 

There are possibly more sophisticated but effective ways to remove mold.  Companies like Downriver Restoration located in Michigan are well educated and experienced in the best way to remediate and cleanup mold pursuant to your specific circumstances.  Contact the company today at www.downriverrestoration.com.