MOLD – A General Overview:
IS MOLD AS SERIOUS AS MANY PEOPLE SAY IT IS…???
Probably Not!! But it can still be harmful!! Many people are over
reacting to the articles that have been written by many “mold
doomsdayers”. The reaction to mold by many people is similar
to the country’s initial reaction to germ warfare shortly
after the unfortunate terrorist attack on the buildings in New York
City. We have learned that germ warfare can be a very serious threat
and a problem but only under certain circumstances. But given the
opportunity to discuss mold with a CIAQT, CIE, CMR, CMRS, or CIH
professional one would soon learn that not all mold problems are
as large as some would like YOU to believe. Not everyone is going
to die due to mold! In fact, I keep looking in the daily paper to
see just who died that day of mold and I have yet to come across
a single case in my area. This does not mean that mold has not caused
some people in the area some health problems. What it does tell
me though is that some people are getting carried away without knowing
all the facts about mold. Hopefully, this site will help you to
learn more about mold and the problems associated with mold. Look
out for mold professionals that scare you with the term “toxic
mold”. Watch out for mold professionals who commonly
scare clients with the term "toxic mold" the price to
fix your problem probably just doubled.
WHAT IS MOLD ANYWAY?
Basically molds are very simple microscopic organisms that can be
found almost everywhere within our living environment. Molds can
be located on plants, trees, leather, leaves, food, hay and other
organic material like oriented stand board (personal favorite).
They have a very important function in our world as they are needed
for breaking down dead material. Mold spores are not visible in
the air. Our world cannot exist without mold but the existence of
too much mold within our personal environment can cause serious
exist mold basically needs:
a food source – such as starch (wood, hay, paper,
oriented strand board)
• moisture –
such as a leaking pipe, broken hot water heater, flood, leaky roof,
humidifier, shower steam, etc.
• oxygen –
found almost everywhere
in mind that mold is basically everywhere. Without a moisture source
mold is not likely to take hold and grow. Take mold and add moisture
and within 49 to 72 hours you will more than likely start to see
a mold colony growing.
IF I SEE MOLD, HOW MUCH NEEDS TO BE PRESENT TO MAKE ME SICK?
Well, according to the mold doomsdayers if you see any mold you
are probably going die and soon!! However, the reality of the situation
is that it depends upon your personal health situation. For some
people a small amount of colony forming mold can cause health problems.
For many of us it may take a lot of colony forming units of mold
to cause any health problems, while some people may never show any
reaction to mold.
is important to note that mold can cause health problems
for humans in three different ways.
While Growing: If you ingest mold while it is growing on a food
source it could cause some health problems. Horses who eat moldy
hay sometimes die. Humans who eat moldy foods could like wise develop
some health problems.
While Drying: Many mold studies suggest that molds start to put
off spores when the moisture source around them starts to dry out.
The spores of many molds have been found to cause allergy and other
While in Competition: Some people have the conception that all molds
are TOXIC. Well…
If this were the case I, and most of my staff, would all be in the
ground by now, very dead. What most experts now believe is that
many molds are toxigentic. That is they have the capabilities of
becoming toxic but are not always in the “toxic” “mold
doomdayers” mode. Many labs tell me that when certain molds
start to compete against other molds for the same food source they
can start to put out what are known as “mycotoxins”.
It is these mycotoxins that can lead to potential health problems
for some individuals. It is this situation that some people refer
to as a “toxic” condition.
WHO IS AT THE MOST RISK WHEN IT COMES TO MOLD?
Mold is not something that anyone "should" expose themselves to.
In fact, I have yet to find a group of college students who will
let me expose them to mold to find out who is the most likely to
get sick from mold exposure and who not get sick from mold. However,
within the industry actual case studies have shown that infants
and young children react badly to mold, the elderly no not do well
around mold, immune deficient individuals do not do well around
mold, pregnant women do not react well to mold and people with allergies
or asthma have a tough time around mold. The degree to which a person
reacts to mold will differ. It is important to note that mold appears
to effect different people in different ways. So, if you ask "Are
some molds a bigger problem that others?".. I would have to tell
you that would depend on the individual. Certain individuals do
tend to be more sensitive to certain mold spores than others. In
all the studies that have been done to date I have not seen any
studies that pin point any one mold as being more hazardous than
another. However, some molds do seem to cause more problems on a
consistent basis than others. It should be noted that the EPA in
their mold cleaning guidelines do not distinguish between the different
types of mold. They hold all molds growing within an indoor environment
as a negative - we agree.
The types of reactions or symptoms that have been
noted over time and that are a result of mold exposure whether in
the spore state or in the actual growth state are:
B. respiratory problems such as coughing and difficulty
C. burning, watery or reddened eyes
D. sore throat - sometimes combined with nose and
E. shortness of breath
F. central nervous system problems
G. loss of memory
H. constant headaches
I. skin rashes - skin irritation
SHOULD I GET MY DWELLING TESTED ? MAYBE???$$$$
If you can tell me what caused the moisture that allowed the mold
to grow and the problem is a simple one like a leaking bathroom
pipe then testing a probably not necessary. Jump to the EPA guidelines
on mold clean up, follow their mold clean up directions and be done.
However, some people might be concerned about whether the water
or moisture problems allowed mold to grow in to other areas where
it might not be visible. Under these circumstances testing might
be the thing to do. Keep in mind that the cost of testing equipment
and qualified labs are expensive. Testing is not cheap. The national
average for testing a complete home is $1300 to $4200 depending
upon who you call. Our price is from $395 - $525. You should always
ask your air quality specialist to give you an idea of what it is
going to cost to sample for the air quality problem that you believe
that you are having at this time. You should obtain bids from at
least 2 companies as prices for the same services vary a great deal.
HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY MOLD PROBLEM?
If you look at the end of this section Soul Environmental has provided
you with some links to other mold sites including the EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency). They have suggestions for properly remediating
small mold problems. If the problem is rather large then we suggest
that you call in a "Certified" mold contractor. This contractor
should be certified by either the AIAQC (American Indoor Air Quality
Association) as a Certified Microbial Remediator Supervisor or the
IAQA as a Certified Microbial Remediator.
the Portland, OR - Vancouver, WA area you can call Erik Viken 503-547-7251
(He is one of many CRM's in th Portland, Or area.) Vancouver 360-281-3777.
Other names provided on request.
In the Seattle/Bellevue, WA area, call Paul Davis
Restoration (Greg Thode at 1-425-471-2777). Other names provided
Please see the other links available on the Helpful
Resources page for other mold cleaning information.
USE OF ANTIMICROBIAL LIQUIDS AND BIOSIDES
If someone suggests the use of bleach, chlorine or anti-microbial
liquids as a method of cleaning up your mold problem please say
"so long" or have them justify why they want to use the bioside.
The use of biosides and anti microbials are not suggested by the
AIAQC or the IAQA. Biosides and anti microbials chemicals can cause
their own health problems. Not convinced? Take a look at he EPA
and New York City Guidelines on mold remediation. Convinced now?
No biosides or bleach please. No gimmicks… just good old hard work.
Stop the water problem when cleaning the mold using the AIAQC or
IAQA recommendations. Have a contractor who did not follow these
standards and now you think you still have a problem? Give me a
call … Now :) For future information please reference the book "BIOAREOSOLS
- ASSESSMENT AND CONTROL" put out by the ACGIH.
Call "Stuart McMullen" The Mold Man ~
We Work Weekends