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ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
ACTIVITY of MOLD in BUILDINGS
AGE of MOLD, HOW OLD
AIR CLEANER PURIFIER TYPES
AIR FILTERS for HVAC SYSTEMS
AIR TEST SAMPLING CASSETTE STUDY
AIRBORNE MOLD COUNT NUMBER GUIDE
AIRBORNE PARTICLE ANALYSIS METHODS
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
BROWN HAIRY BATHROOM MOLD
BIBLIOGAPHY for ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, MOLD, IAQ
BLACK MOLD, HARMLESS COSMETIC
BLACK MOLD, TOXIC & ALLERGENIC
BLEACHING MOLD, Advice about
BOOK MOLD, CLEANING
BOOKSTORE - ENVIRONMENTAL
CACTUS FUNGI / MOLD
CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPET PADDING ASBESTOS, MOLD, ODORS
CARPET FUNGICIDAL SPRAY
CARPET STAIN DIAGNOSIS
CARPET & other STAIN TESTS
CARPET TEST PROCEDURE
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CHAIN OF CUSTODY - TEST SAMPLE
CLEARANCE INSPECTIONS - MOLD CLEANUP
DIRECTORY of MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS
DIRT FLOOR MOLD CONTAMINATION
DISINFECTANTS & SANITIZERS, SOURCES
DISINFECTING BUILDINGS with BLEACH
DO-IT-YOURSELF MOLD CLEANUP WARNINGS
DUST ANALYSIS for FIBERGLASS
DUST, HVAC CONTAMINATION STUDY
EFFLORESCENCE SALTS & WHITE DEPOSITS
FEAR of MOLD - MYCOPHOBIA
FIBERBOARD INSULATION SHEATHING MOLD
FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
FIND MOLD, ESSENTIAL STEPS
MOLD in BUILDINGS
FIRE DAMAGE vs MOLD DAMAGE
FLOODS in BUILDINGS, MOLD PREVENTION
FOXING STAINS on books & papers
FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE GUIDE
GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS & STANDARDS
GAS TEST PROCEDURES
HOUSE DUST ANALYSIS
HOUSE DUST COMPONENTS
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
LAB PROCEDURES MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES
LIGHT, GUIDE to FORENSIC USE
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MICROSCOPE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MICROSCOPE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
MILDEW ERRORS, IT's MOLD
MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOLD
MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE
MVOCs & MOLDY MUSTY ODORS
MYCOPHOBIA, STAINS MISTAKEN for MOLD
MYCOTOXIN EFFECTS of MOLD EXPOSURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
RENTERS GUIDE TO MOLD & IAQ
ROBIGUS & Wheat Rust Fungus
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
STAINS on & in BUILDINGS, CAUSES & CURES
THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
UV LIGHT BLACK LIGHT USES
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
VOCs VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
Mold cleanup job mistakes: cross contamination. One of the most common and most costly mistakes we hear about from readers are mold cleaning projects that blow moldy dust (or track sewage) throughout the otherwise un-affected areas of a building. Here we explain how an cross contamination by moldy dust or relying just on "mold sprays and paints" can end up costing unnecessarily when hiring a mold cleaning company.
This article series describes common mistakes people make when attempting to clean up mold. Photo at page top courtesy of Anabec systems.
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CROSS CONTAMINATION of MOLD - Be sure to protect from mold spore cross contamination of other building areas when cleaning up mold
Small mold cleanup projects (less than 30 sq.ft.) can normally be handled as a simple building cleaning or renovation project and without expensive negative air and dust containment barriers.
But during a "small project" you should remain alert for the discovery of a previously unrecognized large area of contaminated materials. If the small project discovers that it has become a large one, work should stop to permit set-up of proper dust and particle containment.
When a large building area (more than 30 sq.ft. of contiguous moldy material) is to be cleaned, use of negative air and dust containment are appropriate.
Our photo shows a typical use of plastic pipe frames to support a 6-mil poly dust barrier giving a passage through a building into the mold cleanup area. Our page top photo shows a typical two-barrier air-lock that provides entry and exit into the work area through the containment.
Protect the building areas outside or around the one being cleaned from mold contamination by following published mold remediation guidelines such as the NY City Mold Cleanup guidelines.
For large products (more than 30 sq.ft. of contaminated contiguous surface), the procedure involves tenting or sealing off the work area using plastic barriers, combined with establishing negative air pressure inside the work area so that particles and dust do not tend to escape the work area.
It is important that the mold contractor protect workers performing remediation using appropriate masks, clothing, etc. Occupants, particularly people at extra risk of mold-related illness should not perform nor be present during this work. We sometimes meet mold cleanup crews who do not understand English, have been given no instruction, and have not been giving any protective gear.
Don't spray or power-wash moldy wood or other moldy surfaces without proper containment as you may be simply spreading mold spores around the indoor environment where you will infect other materials.
Do not take down the mold demolition dust containment barrier before the building has successfully passed a mold remediation clearance inspection and test. If the cleanup was not complete, properly performed, and successful, early dust barrier removal risks cross-contamination into other building areas.
The result is invariably an increase in the ultimate mold remediation project cost when additional wiping and HEPA vacuuming have to be performed in areas not previously contaminated with mold.
Containment and Negative Air Errors at mold remediation projects include improper containment barrier construction that leaves holes and leaks, collapsing containment systems that simply don't stay in place, combined with workers who simply keep on with demolition even though the containment barrier has collapsed.
It's not too difficult to spot incompetent mold containment barriers (photo at left).
But some mold dust containment barrier setups are downright stupid.
At a New York City mold remediation project we found that the low-budget mold remediation company selected by our client hung plastic up like a shower curtain, (not reaching the ceiling) by suspending it using duct tape strips tied around the fire sprinkler heads along the ceiling!
Not only had the remediator taken down the containment barrier before the project had successfully passed a mold clearance inspection and test, they had left their duct tape plastic strips tied to the fire sprinklers (photo at left).
Luckily no one stumbled into the "shower curtain" containment system or the building would have had a new shower of its own, with new mold problems.
And luckily the building had not caught on fire - we don't know how the duct tape might have interfered with proper functioning of the sprinkler heads in the event of a fire.
Also ineffective is simply "air scrubbing", running power dryers, or power dehumidifiers in a moldy dusty area, without also performing the cleanup and fixing any ongoing water entry problems or water leaks.
The result may stir up and remove dust that is airborne, but an air scrubber is completely incapable of removing mold from building surfaces nor can it pick up debris on the floor across the room, any more than you can vacuum your living room carpet by standing in the kitchen and waving your vacuum cleaner wand in the air.
Our photo (left) shows a "post mold remediation" condition we observed while inspecting a property for a large homeowners' insurance provider. Things didn't look quite right:
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Technical Reviewers & References
Mold Contamination Testing, Cleanup, Prevention: references & products
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.