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 Cleaning up Mold

Mold Health Effects  Mold Sources

  Do not disturb mold. Dry mold spores aerosolize more easily than wet ones. Prior to cleaning up mold an appropriate mold remediation protocol should be established. The protocol is a written document that includes the scope of mold contamination and what precautions need to be taken to prevent spreading mold spores to non-contaminated locations. Healthy Living Spaces have Certified Microbial Consultants who perform this service.  


  There are specific protocols designed to facilitate removal of moldy building materials, minimize dissemination of mold spores and dust during restoration, protect workers, and restore the effected areas to an acceptable conditions. If protocol is not followed correctly, it is possible to cross-contaminate other areas of a building and make the extent of contamination worse. It is highly recommended that anyone performing mold remediation obtain a copy of  the IICRC Standard for Professional Mold Remediation S520. This document describes the procedures to be followed and the precautions to be taken when performing mold remediation. The EPA publication Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings is also recommended reading. Link to these documents can be found on our Links page.  
  Removing mold from your home or office may be a job better left for a professional who has the proper equipment and training. If, however, you decide that you yourself or regular building maintenance staff is going to clean up mold,  remember to protect yourself and fellow workers. Eyes and lungs must be protected from aerosol exposure. Clean-up crews should wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment. At a minimum, this includes an N-95 respirator, goggles and disposable gloves. Air filtration using a HEPA air cleaner such as the IQAir Health Pro Plus is recommended during mold cleaning activities and afterwards to purify the air and may be used to establish negative pressure containment in the work area.  
  We can investigate a mold problem and assess the level of contamination present, determine how far mold spores have spread through a building, and provide a written report that details how the identified contamination should be cleaned up. Contact us toll free (877) 992-9904 or in New Mexico (505) 992-9904.  


  Do not use bleach to clean up mold. Bleach does not "kill" mold. Bleach fumes can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and bleach is not effective for microbial remediation. A mold spore is like a seed or acorn. “Dead” mold spores are still allergenic and potentially toxic. While bleach may kill some spores on contact, the majority of organisms are left unaffected and those that have been killed are still capable of eliciting an allergic response, as the toxins in the dead cell walls have not been de-natured. To reduce the potential negative health affects due to mold, the mold must be removed and this is accomplished by effective cleaning. Applying bleach or other biocides to mold may actually induce the mold to produce toxins as part of its last fight to survive.  
  Use soap and water as a surfactant in cleaning. Dr’ Bronner’s Peppermint soap is the recommended alternative as it has natural antimicrobial properties. Hydrogen peroxide is another substitute for bleach. If you must use Chlorine bleach use a 10% solution or 1 cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Rags used must make only one pass over surfaces before being laundered or discarded.  
  The work area may need to be contained depending on the level of mold contamination present. An assessment in required to develop a protocol. High efficient HEPA vacuums and HEPA air cleaners may also be recommended.   


  Studies have shown that ozone can not be generated in sufficient concentrations to kill or even suppress microbials on most structural surfaces, including wood and drywall  Ozone has been shown to increase submicron particles and adversely react with many compounds as well as cause damage to many types of artifacts (Reference IICRC S520).  
  Ozone is also a respiratory irritant and has been found to cause lung scarring in laboratory rats. The EPA web site on ozone states that  ozone, when inhaled, can damage the lungs” and “at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone has little potential to remove indoor air contaminants”.   
  Many people have reported adverse reactions to ozone generating devices. Possible adverse effects include headache, migraines, runny nose or eyes, throat irritation, respiratory problems and hospitalization. Nicholas Siciliano, attorney for Masry & Vititoe, is currently investigating ozone victim claims for the Ionic Breeze, Living Air Classic, Biozone, Friedrich, Blueair and Mitsubishi Plasma Pure. A class action lawsuit has been filed against The Sharper Image in regards to the sale of Ionic Breeze air purifiers.  
  The IQAir Health Pro Plus is the most effective air purifier on the market for removing mold spores and allergens and it does not produce any ozone. It is the sole air cleaner used in hospitals to control the SARS virus.  

UV Ultra-violet light

  Most Ultra-Violet light units have a dosage of approximately 10,000 micro-watts per second per square centimeter. It requires as much as 100,000 uw-sec/cm2 to “kill” species of mold such as Aspergillius. Even then, the resulting non-viable spores are still allergenic and will still contain any toxins they had prior to being exposed to UV light.   
  UV light is effective in killing bacteria. However, pathogenic bacteria are not present in residential living spaces. Using UV light to treat the air in a residential living space is not necessary. Hospitals claim it UV light makes no difference in air quality.  
  The IQAir Health Pro Plus was used in hospitals to contain the SARS virus. IQAir does not use UV light because UV light breaks down the paper used in  HEPA filters. HEPA filters are required because the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria contain endotoxins. Thus the fragments of bacteria cells must be captured using a HEPA filter. Other wise people may get sick when they breath them, even if they are "dead".  

Painting Over Mold

  Paint is food for mold! Mold will grow through KillZ. There is an anti-microbial chemical in some of these products, but if you read the label you will notice it is only intended to prohibit mold growth on the surface of the paint film itself, not surfaces under the paint.   
  There is only one water-based, non-toxic product on the market that may be applied directly over mold, does not contain pesticides, and has been tested to verify that mold will not grow through it or on it's surface. The product is made by SAFE Encasement Systems. It has passed the ASTM test and Federal specifications for Mold and Mildew resistance with out the use of pesticides or insecticides, ASTM D-3273, D3274.  It is mold and mildew resistant, flexible and very cohesive. SAFE Encasement Systems are used in schools, commercial buildings and government institutions.   
  It retails for $399 for a 5-gallon bucket. We are an authorized dealer that sells it in one-gallon quantities. We find homeowners and small business appreciate being able to buy it in smaller quantities. We also sell it in 5-gallon bucket. This is often a much cheaper option than removing mold effected building materials per the EPA and IICRC guidelines. It is especially useful on bathroom ceilings to prevent mildew and comes in an acrylic, semi-gloss white color that many people find attractive. To place an order, call toll-free 877-992-9904. There is a link to Safe Encasement Systems in our Link section.  
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  Copyright  2014 Healthy Living Spaces LLC.  All rights reserved.   877-992-9904
Revised: February 10, 2014.

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