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6/7/2017 (Permalink)

Mold in your home, school, or workplace is a serious concern for your health, since up to 40 percent of American Schools and 25 percent of homes have mod infestations. Mold can cause several serious health problems that you may not realize are related to mold exposure. SERVPRO wants you to be able recognize a mold problem as well as the symptoms of systemic mycotoxicosis (debilitating symptoms caused by mycotoxins.) Mycotoxicins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which you then unwittingly inhale, ingest, or touch. These mold toxins are extremely potent and can cause adverse health effects. 

Mold’s Favorite Places in Your Home

Fungi grow by releasing reproductive cells (spores) into the air, just like plants reproduce by spreading seeds. These airborne spores are invisible to the naked eye; it is not uncommon to find hundreds or even thousands of mold spores per cubic foot of indoor airspace. Spore are extremely small. 20 million would fit on a single postage stamp. Spores can survive harsh environmental conditions. In fact, they can lie dormant for decades until favorable conditions all them to spring back to life.

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, provided moisture and oxygen are present. The most common indoor places for mold to take hold are damp areas, such as:

  • Bathrooms and kitchens, especially under sinks – particularly leaking ones
  • Behind or under appliances that hide sloe plumbing leaks (refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.)
  • Roof leaks
  • Around windows where condensation collects
  • High humidity areas for your home, such as basements

Often, the first sign of a mold problem is a “musty” odor. You are probably familiar with the smell of mildew-mildew is simply a variety of mold.

Know Your Molds

Mold is a type of fungus, like mushrooms and yeast. There are 100,000 to 400,000 types of fungi, with more than 1,000 types of mold that grow inside houses across America. 

The five most common indoor mold varieties are:

  • Alternaria: Commonly found in your nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract;
  • Aspergillus: Usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant house dust; produces mycotoxins; 
  • Cladosporium: This very common outdoor fungus can find its way indoors to grow on textiles. Wood, and other damp, porous materials;
  • Penicillium: Very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation; some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
  • Chaetomium: Chaetomium is a dangerous mold that little about which is known. This species of mold is characterized by a strong musty odor while thriving in water damaged drywall. Exposure to chaetomium results in classic mold related symptoms 
  • Stachybotrys: Extremely toxic “black Mold’ that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious health problems; thankfully, less common in homes that the other four, but not rare; found on wood or paper (cellulose products), but NOT on concrete, linoleum or tile.

Established That Mold Is a Problem

Mold spores are very difficult to destroy, even with cleaning agents, such as hot water or bleach (which is itself toxic). First and foremost, you want to get away from the problematic area – which means move if you have to. But come on, moving just isn’t an option for most. If you can’t move, there are some remedial steps you need to take to address the mold problem:

  • Get a high-quality air purifier to control mold toxins. In addition to the mold itself, you need to make sure you get rid of any mold toxins. When a mold breaks down, it disintegrates, and every little particle may contain mycotoxins that have the capability of making you very sick. One option is a photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) unit. These unit can cover the whole house (up to 3000SF), they require little maintenance, and are relatively inexpensive. Please understand, no air filter in the world will take care of a mold issue until you have the humidity under control and the mold has been properly cleaned from your home.
  • Get professional Mold Remediation. If your mold problem is sizable, or if you have black mold, your best bet is to hire a professional mold remediation company, like us here at SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale. Mold remediation is treaty and complicated and should always be done by a professional. Unless proper precautions are make, trying to remove black mold on your own is just as hazardous as doing nothing at all. Once mold is disturbed, spores are then stirred up and become airborne, affecting other areas that may not have been affected before. Professional mold remediation may not be cheap, but it is better than the alternative, and when it comes to your health, and the heath of your family, you can’t put a price on that.

When it comes to choosing a mold remediation company, it is always best to choose a contractor that is certified. SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale is an IICRC (Institution of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification) Certified firm. Our technicians are trained in the proper techniques to successfully remove mold from a home. We are also preferred contractors with several insurance companies, if the mold remediation is covered by your insurance.

The Process of Mold Remediation

            Once an indoor air quality hygienist (IAQH) has completed the mold testing and verified the mold types, the severity of the infestation and what areas are affected, remediation can begin. It is important, depending on the severity of the mold, to consider relocating.  When remediation begins, the removal of drywall, carpet, wallpaper, etc. can release massive amounts of mold spores. While containment is set to contain the work area from the unaffected spaces, if that containment is breached, those spores will be released and will affected the remaining spaces. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should always be worn while in the affected work area. This results in an exposure to a massive amount of spores all at once. This is especially dangerous when handling Stachybotrys or Chaetomium. Frequently, visible mold only accounts for a fraction of the actual mold infestation. Many species can penetrate beneath the surface, therefore making it nearly impossible to remediate without full removal and replacement. A dehumidifier is important to stabilize the environment and keeping the moisture level of the air at a minimum during the remediation. All affected materials should be removed; the remaining areas should be scrubbed clean with an antimicrobial solution and then sealed to prevent any re-infestations. Special equipment is placed in the affected areas to further remove any remain mold spores from the air. The area is to remain closed and contained until the IAQH has performed the post-test and the results confirm the area is clean and safe. Testing should always be performed by a third party to ensure the integrity of the results.

If you are experiences any of these listed health issues or expect that your home or place of business has mold, call us at 248-246-0790. We will walk to through this process and discuss your options. Please remember, never try to removed mold on your own, you’re doing more harm than good. Let SERVPRO of Oak Park/Ferndale take care of this for you, it’s what we do.

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