What Is Toxic Mold?
Ask ten people about toxic mold, and it won’t be surprising to get ten different responses. No matter who you ask, though, one of the things they would agree on is that toxic mold is not the most desirable thing they would want to have around – and for good reasons. But the question lingers: What are toxic mold?
Toxic mold, also known by the name black mold, is actually a name given by lawyers and the media to Stachybotrys chartarum, also called Stachybotrys atra, Stachybotrys alternans. For simplicity, we’ll just stick to the media name.
This mold is known as black mold for its black appearance. It is one of the over 100,000 species of mold that those who study molds (mycologists) have identified and described so far. Many believe there are much more, with estimates going as high as 1.5 million.
Mold is not an evil alien creature with the sole purpose of destroying your life and everything you love. Actually, it is not even a plant or an animal at all. It is a very small organism from the fungi kingdom which acts like the nature’s garbage disposal. Its purpose is to dissolve all organic material that falls to the earth.
Without the help of mold and bacteria, every organic material that drops down, from leaves and branches to dead animal bodies, would pile up. Within a short period the whole earth would be a mess without them. It is organisms like mold that help break them down and dissolve them.
Through their work, many other living organisms can get access to what they need to survive. For example, by breaking down dead leaves and animal bodies, the living plants get access to compost that supplies them with essential nutrients to keep growing. Molds are essential part of life. As you can see, they are just doing their jobs.
Unfortunately, not all fungi are safe for human. And molds are not always man’s best friend. This unfriendly mold is called toxic mold, and can be hazardous to health. Just like other molds, it secretes compounds known as mycotoxins. These toxins can be toxic to humans and other organisms.
Mycologists believe these toxins are produced as a protection against competing organisms. The problem is, humans have to bear the brunt of this defense mechanism. Some of these mycotoxins are so hazardous; mycologists have advised humans to reduce their exposure to it to the barest minimum possible.
People with allergies, asthma and other lung diseases or similar health issues usually find themselves at an increased risk of being adversely affected by the effects of mycotoxins. Even for those who are otherwise healthy but sensitive to mycotoxins, they may also develop symptoms of upper-respiratory tract problems.
Even if you yourself seem unaffected, you cannot speak for your family members. Because our immune systems are different, the ways they respond vary as well. What one person’s immune system might successfully ward off might breach someone else’s immune system walls, breaking into the body and bringing about various damages.
The hazard can range from allergic reactions to irritation in the mucous membranes. It could even be life threatening. Because the behaviors of this organism vary and its effects differ from one individual together, it is so easy to mistake its symptoms for those noticed during many other health conditions.
Apart from respiratory difficulties like wheezing, other symptoms they can cause include headaches, fever, sore throat, skin problems, nasal congestion and chronic fatigue. They can also be responsible for more serious allergic reactions.
Take, for example, Aspergillosis (also called Farmers Lung) This is a potentially fatal lung disease that toxics mold can cause. The symptoms are cough, chest pain fever. It is easy to dismiss the symptoms as just some other condition, until it becomes more serious. This is why it is important to kill their growth in our homes and wherever we are.
Molds are found everywhere, but they can be effectively controlled. The solution is simple, really, keep your house “Clean and Dry” So the most important things to note if you want to keep the growth and spread of toxic molds in check is to have the adequate knowledge of the conditions that aid its growth.
Below are four elements that all mold needs to survive and even thrive in the house. If these elements are taken care of, you can greatly inhibit the growth and spread of toxic mold.
If these four elements are well managed, you can greatly increase your chance of inhibiting the growth of toxic molds. But then, it is always easier said than done. Toxic molds can be tough to remove if you as a homeowner want to do it yourself. The good news is, you don’t have to.
At Alabama mold, we help you get rid of toxic molds and restore your house to its beautiful, healthy state. We are not just experienced professionals with proven scientific procedures for getting our job done, we are also humans and do care about you and your home.
Feel free to place a call across to us and let’s discuss how to make your home safe again.
Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC
MOLD REMEDIATION PROCESS
When mold is detected in a house, it is always recommended that the homeowner informs a professional mold removal company. This is because there are usually a good number of steps that have to be taken, to make sure the mold is completely removed and the cause fixed.
When a mold removal company is invited to inspect a house, the experts come in with the necessary equipment for thorough inspection. For example, the inspector may come with an infrared camera with several different kinds of moisture meters.
While a flashlight would only detect a sign of moisture if it is visible on the outside part of the wall, this equipment can even see if there's water in a wall, even though it's dry to the touch. Air sampling can be done as well, if necessary.
After the initial Inspection, if the home is found to be contaminated by mold, a protocol is written and all involved parties informed about the sequence of events, the expected results and an estimated cost. With these out of the way, the mold remediation can begin.
The next step would be to set up containment. This is done so that the contaminated area is isolated from unaffected areas. Also the containment is used so that a negative air pressure system can be set up. Air scrubbers and HEPA filters are used to accomplish this air pressure system. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate arrestor. This air exchanges 4x‟s per hour.
This Negative Air Pressure is important for two areas (1) The air exchange through the HEPA filters helps clean the air of the mold spores (2) The negative air system helps the mold spores from spreading through openings or through entrances and exits. This system stays in place for the duration of the mold remediation.
After the containment is built and the negative air system is in place, the next process in deconstruction. This includes removing anything that may block easy access to the surface of the building – things like sheet rock, carpet, carpet pads, and baseboards. In most cases what is left after this process is only the subsurface, the basic structure material.
Contents that are unsalvageable or more cost effective to replace are to be thrown away. The salvageable contents are then removed to a containment space to be held to clean till the rest of the home is clean. Material that is removed during this process is placed in large plastic bags and treated as hazardous material. Special precaution is used when removing this material from the house so that cross-contamination does not occur.
After all layers are removed the new surface is special HEPA vacuum. We HEPA vacuum all surfaces. A HEPA vacuum contains a filter the remove 99.97% of particulate 0.3 micrometers or larger in size. A normal vacuum cleaner can remove down to about 35 microns or larger in size.
One of the final steps of remediation will be treatment. After all contaminants are removed the antimicrobial mold inhibitor is applied. Another factor to be considered in this stage is to make sure there in not an excess of moisture. Sometimes it might be necessary at this stage to bring in dehumidifiers and fans.
The final step could be to use an encapsulant with is a prevention step in mold growth. Also called mold sealant or mold paint, encapsulation is the process of treating mold with a product that “glues” the mold in place so it cannot release any spores – rendering the mold powerless. This works to some extent, but encapsulation is not completely effective and should never be the sole means of remediation.
After this whole process, a clearance testing from a third party, such as Certified Industrial Hygienist, may ensure that the mold remediation is successful. This is known as post remediation verification, and is quite important because you're dealing with such microscopic mold spores.
Mold spores are so little that you can't see them. If you take a pen and make a dot on a piece of paper now, between seven and ten thousand mold spores could be on that one dot. They are that small. Mold spores are between 1 and 20 microns, (a micron is a millionth of a meter). They're so small that you can't just look at a surface and see if it is clean or not. It has to be tested.
Since it is an added expense many people who are not involved with litigation, or dealing with severe illness may forgo a third party inspection that may run into the thousands. Many will be happy with a visual inspection, or for extra insurance lab testing done by the remediator.
Remember, it is not possible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in the world. Some mold spores will always be found floating through the air and in house dust. Rest assured. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present.
Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then most likely, the mold problem will come back.
An important thing to remember is that if mold is disturbed it can spread. Mold has to be carefully handled. If handled carelessly, mold spores would spread from the mold throughout the room, thereby negating the earlier work. The idea is to bring the level to the lowest possible. This is one of the reasons why it is safer when the job is handled by a professional mold removal company.
One other thing they do is that they help dispose of the mold materials. You see, even dead mold can still be really toxic, and it is all some people need to develop allergies. A professional mold removal company will help to dispose them far away from the home.
At Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC, we are totally dedicated to keeping your home as mold free and safe as possible for your health and that of your family. Feel free to reach us anytime. We are eager to be of help.
Contact us at
Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC
Lee Ramey with Mold & Mildew Solutions wants to share his latest podcast with everyone. It is 50 mins long and answers the most common questions about mold and the health of your home.
Call us at 205-252-9506 if you have additional questions.
We hope this podcast is educational for you. Enjoy
Come to the 2018 Home Building & Remodeling Showcase 2/9 2/10 or 2/11
to have the chance to win an Austin Air Healthmate Plus, given away by Mold & Mildew Solutions.
Mold & Mildew Solutions are the experts in Birmingham, AL for cleaning, fixing and preventing smelly crawlsaces'. Some crawl spaces are more difficult than others and some have been a problem for a long time. We follow steps to fixing a crawl space where a musty smell may occur.
Here is a list of our top things to check & to do for each crawl space:
If odors persist, here are more extreme measures to take to try to eliminate them:
It's Candace at Mold & Mildew Solutions.
We hope all is well with the all who had rough weather last night in Central AL.
I can just imagine that there was a lot of wind driven rain thrown up against our houses and into crawlspaces.
If you have problems in the past with water intrusion problems, you definitely want to pay attention for changes inside the home he next few days. Things like: humidity deference's, musty odors, and water stains, headaches or rashes. All of things take a few days to develop .
If you feel like you need a professional please call me at Mold & Mildew Solutions, LLC 205-252-9506
Visit our website at alabamamold.com
Congratulations! to Lee Ramey of To The Rescue and Mold & Mildew Solutions, for being recognized by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification firm. He was awarded for being a Master in; Fire & Smoke Restoration, Water Restoration and in Textile Cleaning!
Lee Ramey has helped many in Birmingham, AL to have healthier homes.
Trust his company Mold & Mildew Solutions to improve Indoor Air Quality and remove mold from your home.