The health dangers and damage to property caused by water incursions of all kinds or excess humidity or condensation are typically characterized as fungal infestation. When this unsightly and unhealthy problem occurs, it can be advisable to research techniques or specialist companies dedicated to Mold Remediation. It is important to realize that many varieties of this problem exist, and that there are only a few rare occasions when extremely hazardous growths will develop in your home or workplace; for all minor incidents the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends that the occupants themselves can treat the problem safely and effectively without calling in expensive experts.
DIY removal should involve more than the use of chlorine bleach. A typical bleach might kill the cultures, but will not eradicate the mycotoxins which some molds produce. The Center for Disease Control states that molds themselves are not poisonous and that it is rare for toxigenic molds to cause memory loss or pulmonary hemorrhaging. Other health problems such as coughing and shortness of breath can be caused by indoor exposure to the material and is more dangerous to those suffering from respiratory tract disorders or asthma.
Widespread incursions in business premises and public buildings can demand the attentions of a remediation company, not least to avoid the danger of litigation. Proper assessment of the growth development, sampling and analysis should conform to relevant national guidelines outlined by agencies such as the EPA, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) or AIHA (American Industrial Health Association). The AIHA sets out recommended chain of custody procedures and lists accredited test laboratories.
Three kinds of sampling are suggested as necessary by the AIHA: air samples, surface samples and bulk samples. If all three are not carried out, some molds may go undetected. A further, third party air sample tested after remediation procedures have been carried out ensures that the cure has been successful.
Simple steps can help to alleviate most of these problems. Exposure to sunlight and proper ventilation can remedy minor damp issues. Household cleansers and dehumidifiers can also help tackle small outbreaks.
Correct ventilation backed up by the use of air scrubbers or other air filtration devices will stop the dispersal of spores that have been released into the air. The next stage of the clear-up process involves cleaning, disinfecting and disposing of all infected materials. When this has been taken care of, fungicides, moldicides and biocides should be applied. Now is the time to address the humidity and moisture issues that caused the outbreak and to apply an encapsulant to prevent re-occurrence.
Leaking roofs, problems with indoor plumbing and flooding are common causes for it to start growing. Condensation can also be a factor. Moisture vapour can penetrate most common building materials and then condense on surfaces that are cooler than the air. This process can be exacerbated by central heating and air conditioning.
The growth is a living entity and needs to feed. Carpets, pads, plywood and drywalls can supply the cellulose that it thrives on. Wallpaper is another ideal breeding ground for this particular problem. Molds can bring on allergic reactions and irritations when inhaled or touched. Symptoms include nasal congestion or runny noses; watery, red, irritated eyes; headaches; throat or skin irritations; breathing problems; coughing, wheezing or sneezing. The health effects of such exposure vary according to the sensitivity of the individual.
When deciding upon hiring a contractor to alleviate mold it is essential to ensure that they have the relevant experience and expertise. Professional service providers, like those at Restoration 1 of Portland who handle mold remediation and water damage restoration should be able to produce independent references asserting their compliance with regulations supplied by the ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists), the EPA or other relevant government or professional bodies. Specialists should also be consulted if you have valuable items or items with special sentimental value that need renovation because of an infestation on the premises. Always try to use an expert who is affiliated with credible professional institutions.
The aim of remediation processes is the safe removal and cleaning of contamination using methods that avert the possible emission of fungi into previously uncontaminated areas whilst securing the well- being of occupants and abatement workers. Health can be protected by the wearing of N-95 respirators that use detachable cartridges to catch airborne spores. The EPA also recommends that long gloves are worn to avoid contact between the skin of the hands and the moldy materials. When using strong chemical solutions, it is desirable to wear neoprene, PVC or rubber gloves. Goggles without holes for ventilation are also advocated attire to avoid spores getting into the eyes.
Preventative measures include regular and thorough cleaning of guttering, ensuring that foundations stay dry by sloping the ground down away from the building and keeping interior humidity under 60%. The drip pans and drain lines of air conditioning units should be kept clean, dry and free from obstructions.
Tumble dryers, gas or kerosene heaters and stoves all produce water vapor. All such appliances should have external vents fitted. Showers also add to indoor humidity; the use of a bathroom extractor fan can reduce their impact.
The key to any remediation process is rapid reaction. Whether tackling the problem alone or calling on the skills of a recognized expert, it is essential to act quickly, because the material will begin to grow within 24 to 28 hours of water penetration. Water-damaged areas should be dried out promptly to prevent the spread of spores.
There are many more problems currently than was the case 20 years ago. A lot of this is a result of government pressure on energy efficient constructions. Modern buildings are more airtight than older structures and this leads to problems of humidity and condensation because buildings cannot “breathe”.
Studies suggest that many remediation companies use health scares to overplay the problem of mold. Reputable firms will give more accurate information about potential health risks. A trustworthy business will have all samples independently tested rather than using its own assessments to generate superfluous work at the property owner’s expense.