A 1994 Harvard University School of Public Health study of 10,000 homes in the United States and Canada found that half had “conditions of water damage and mold associated with a 50 to 100% increase in respiratory symptoms.”
Don’s Power Vac provides the following mold treatment services:
Step 1: Testing
The first step in mold remediation is to test to see if mold is actually present. If mold is detected, Don’s will determine the type of mold and the amount present (expressed as CFU (colony forming units).
Step 2: Remediation Plan
If significant amounts of toxic mold are found, Don’s will develop a treatment plan and provide a quote for mold removal services.
Step 3: Prevention
Once mold removal is complete, follow-through options, like UV light placement, can be implemented to prevent recontamination.
WHAT IS MOLD, AND HOW CAN IT HARM YOU?
Mold is a microorganism. There are several strains of mold, from the more benign Cladosporium, Penicillium and Alternaria, to highly toxic molds like Stachybotrys atra, Memnoniella, and Aspergillus versicolor.
Stachybotrys (pronounced Stack-ee-bot-ris) and the other toxic molds produce airborne toxins, called mycotoxins, that can cause serious breathing difficulties, memory and hearing loss, dizziness, flulike symptoms, and bleeding in the lungs. Studies show that people with prolonged low-level exposure to mycotoxins from molds and fungi can experience chronic fatigue, loss of balance, irritability, memory loss and difficulty speaking.
The milder, more common molds like Cladosporium can also cause health problems, including chronic sinus and respiratory infections and asthma. A 1999 Mayo Clinic study linked nearly all the chronic sinus infections afflicting 37 million Americans to molds. Recent studies have also linked molds to the tripling of the asthma rate over the past two years.
HOW MOLD CONTAMINATION OCCURS
Mold grows where it’s dark, humid, and warm. Over the last 20 years, as modern home designs have focused on energy efficiency, our buildings have become more airtight. In this kind of closed, sealed environment, moisture can easily collect in warm, dark places. Once this happens, mold can grow.
Some modern building materials can actually promote mold growth. Fake stucco is a great mold food when wet. Insulation can trap moisture behind walls. Once mold has begun to grow in a sealed building, the air conditioning and heating systems will begin to recirculate the contaminated air.
New buildings are more prone to mold problems than older buildings, but a bad leak anywhere in any building can cause a mold problem if not properly taken care of. Buildings that have roof leaks or that have been flooded are especially prone to mold growth. Any time there is dark, moisture, and warmth, molds can grow.
High-risk locations for mold growth are: behind walls, under floors, above ceiling tiles, and behind shower walls – places where there are wet cellulose materials like wood, ceiling tiles, plasterboard, or accumulations of organic material that molds can feed on.
A buildup of pet danger, dust mite debris, and other organic material inside air conditioning and heating systems is another favorite location for mold.
Water is the key. Without it, molds can’t get started. If you can keep critical areas dry, you can avoid mold growth.
But if water is left to sit for even 24 hours, common molds can take hold. If water continues to sit and areas become completely saturated, that’s when a more lethal mold, such as Stachybotrys, can move in.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT MOLD CONTAMINATION
In August, 2002, a Stony Plain, Alberta family burned down its family home, complete with contents. The home was so contaminated with a toxic mold, identified by the University of Alberta as stachybotrys chartarum, that everyone in the family was chronically ill. When the family moved to a temporary apartment, all their symptoms disappeared. Unable to decontaminate the home, insure it, or sell it, they had no choice but to destroy it.
Fortunately, most mold contamination problems have less drastic solutions. If you suspect a mold problem, look for the following signs:
- water – drips, leaks, or damp areas
- discoloration of walls, ceiling, or anything made of wood or paper. Mold growth can be almost any color: white, black, green, or fluorescent. Look behind cabinets or pictures placed against outside walls, where condensation can occur.
- stagnant water around air handling units (air conditioner, furnaces)
- odors. Mildew has been described as pungent, or “aromatic”.
- mold-related illness. Symptoms of mold sensitivity can range from chronic sinus infections and asthma to nosebleeds, extreme fatigue, severe headaches, dizziness, rashes and central nervous system problems. If symptoms get better when you go on vacation, but worse when you come back, it’s a tipoff that your home is the culprit.
If you suspect a mold contamination problem, do what you can to start drying dry out the area, and call Don’s Power Vac for mold testing and advice on your decontamination options.