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Mold cleanup job mistakes: cross contamination. Here we explain how as relying on bleach to kill mold is by itself an unreliable mold remediation procedure that is not recommended. The proper objectives of an effective mold remediation job are to remove moldy materials that can't be cleaned and to clean surfaces that can be cleaned. .
USING BLEACH - Bleach as a "Mold Medicine" to try to kill mold or prevent mold in buildings
Bleach, diluted bleach, or bleach sprays used in cleaning may be appealing but they are unnecessary,
potentially dangerous (if you get bleach in your eyes), and the use of bleach tends to lead to improper and
inadequate cleaning - if you substitute "spraying bleach" for actually cleaning or removing the mold your cleanup will
not be successful.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Leaks at the window (photo at left) led to mold growth behind wallpaper as well as in the wall cavity. Surface cleaning of the wall was ineffective and occupant complaints continued in this building.
The object of mold remediation is to clean, or remove, the majority of the mold particles
(spores, conidiophores, hyphae, mycelia) from the target surface. The operative word to fix in mind is to "clean" or
"remove" the problem mold.
"Killing" the mold is not the object
first of all because our lab work shows that you're
unlikely to kill all of the mold on a surface using bleach, unless you use it at a concentration and duration which is so
strong that you're likely to completely destroy the "bleached" material, and
second of all because even if you could
"kill" every mold spore, you are at risk of leaving toxic or allergenic particles in place - they may be dead but still
Our photo (left) shows nice healthy black Stachybotrys chartarum spores collected from a "mold-killing bleach" treated surface in a building.
Finally, "mold removal" only works if you're cleaning a relatively hard, non-porous surface such as finished
wood, painted metal, or plastic.
Soft materials like Sheetrock™ or drywall which have become moldy generally should be
removed, the exposed surfaces cleaned, and then new drywall can be installed (after you've also corrected the reason for
the mold growth in the first place).
Spraying anything if spraying of fungicides or sealants is to be used in place of actual cleaning or removal of mold
is an improper and inadequate practice which risks leaving a reservoir of toxic or allergenic particles in the building.
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto, have provided us with (and we recommend) Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates' Technical Reference Guide to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
Associations: Sick House, Sick Building, SBS - Air Quality, Government, Private Associations and Information Resources
Atlas of Clinical Fungi, 2nd Ed., GS deHoog, J Guarro, J Gene, & MJ Figueras, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, 2000, ISBN 90-70351-43-9 (you can buy this book at Amazon) - The Atlas of Clinical Fungi is also available on CD ROM
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
Ozone Warnings - Use of Ozone as a "mold" remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous.
Rot concerns in buildings-some building mold such as Meruliporia incrassata "Poria" risks serious rot and hidden structural damage
US EPA: Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold
cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.
Rodents, Mice, Squirrel Control - I find high levels of mouse and rodent dander, fecal dust, and urine-contaminated dust in some buildings,
and high levels of these materials in building insulation in those locations. If you have a mouse problem, particularly if mice and their waste (fecals or urine) are contaminating
the building HVAC or building insulation, may need both steps to clean up or remove infected materials and steps to stop an ongoing
rodent problem. If squirrels are a problem, the cleanup needs to include closing off entry openings into the building. Get some
help from a licensed pest control expert.