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«Copyright 2010 by Professional Certification Institute National Highway, Mabinay 6207, Negros Oriental, Phil. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 1 Table of ...»

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Mold Prevention,





by Phillip Fry

Certified Mold Inspector

Certified Environmental Inspector

Certified Mold Contractor

Copyright 2010 by Professional Certification Institute

National Highway, Mabinay 6207, Negros Oriental, Phil.



Table of Chapters

Chapter One Mold Prevention

Chapter Two Mold Inspection

Chapter Three Mold Testing

Chapter Four Mold Remediation Chapter Five Frequently Asked Questions Chapter Six Workplace Mold Appendix 1 Indoor Air Quality Inspection Form Appendix 2 Mold Inspection and Testing Agreement Appendix 3 Mold Awareness Inspection Appendix 4 Self-Analysis and Interpretation 2 Chapter One Mold Prevention Prevention is the best way to battle molds in your home! Airborne mold spores from live indoor plants can travel in air currents to cause health problems for occupants and possible toxic mold growth in the home through mold cross-contamination.

“The most important means for avoiding adverse health effects is the prevention (or minimization) of persistent dampness and microbial growth on interior surfaces and in building structures. The presence of many biological agents in the indoor environment is due to dampness and inadequate ventilation.

Excess moisture on almost all indoor materials leads to growth of microbes, such as mould, fungi and bacteria, which subsequently emit spores, cells, fragments and volatile organic compounds into indoor air. Moreover, dampness initiates chemical or biological degradation of materials, which also pollutes indoor air. Dampness has therefore been suggested to be a strong, consistent indicator of risk of asthma and respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough and wheeze). The health risks of biological contaminants of indoor air could thus be addressed by considering dampness as the risk indicator. Health hazards result from a complex chain of events that link penetration of water indoors, excessive moisture to biological growth, physical and chemical degradation, and emission of hazardous biological and chemical agents.” recommended the World Health Organization in its report WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould, published July 16, 2009.

The “toxic mold” term refers to any mold that produces mycotoxins in its spores. Mycotoxins are generally recognized to be cytoxic, meaning they have the capacity to pass through the human cellular wall and disrupt certain cellular processes. Stachybotrys “black mold”, Cladosporium, Penicillium and Aspergillus are the four most dangerous indoor toxic molds --- frequently found to be growing in homes and workplaces.

Ninety four percent (94%) of all respiratory ailments are caused by polluted air according to the American Medical Association, which also reported that one-third of our national health bill is for causes directly attributable to indoor air pollution.

The U.S. Government Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns people that "Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health but may not know that indoor air pollution can also have significant effects. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2-5 times, and occasion more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern because it is estimated that most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by EPA and its Science Advisory Board (SAB) have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health."

How Mold Grows by William B. Rose, in his book Water In Buildings: An Architect’s Guide to Moisture and Mold, pp. 236-237 Mold spores are the principal means of mold reproduction. Most mold spores are transported in the air, in order to find new sites for colonization. Spores may carry toxins capable of disposing of previous colonizing organisms. Penicillium mold, for example, may poison bacteria in the neighborhood with penicillin. Stachybotrys spores may…contain toxins such as tricothecenes to wipe out the indigenous local bacteria or simpler fungi.

All organisms digest food; mold does its digestion outside the organism itself. It excretes enzymes capable of breaking down long-chain hydrocarbons. Those enzymes need to travel by diffusion in a thin water film to the food molecules, 3 which they break down into simpler sugars and starches. These water-soluble simpler compounds then diffuse outward from the site where they were created, and some of them migrate back to the hungry mold organism. Mold relies to a great extent on having a thin film of water several molecules thick that can transport the enzymes outward, but not too far, and transport the broken-down compounds back to the organism. The film, of course, is nothing like a flat membrane because the surface of materials at the microscopic level is mountainous and cavernous. The mold organism grows hyphae, which are thin strands the tips of which are capable of conducting the same reactions where they touch the upholstery (or other cellulose-based surfaces) on which the organism resides. The strands of hyphae form a mat called a mycelium. The mycelium creates a buffer that helps to regulate the wetness of the surface. It retards evaporation of the surface, helping to guarantee a stable moisture film necessary for digestion. Mold needs an edible substrate, air, and a multi-molecular film at the surface.

The conditions for initial mold growth on a surface may be quite different from the conditions under which growth continues,, or under which growth recurs on affected but scrubbed surfaces. Generally, initial growth requires higher

levels of moisture than is required for continued growth. Mold continues to grow on surfaces:

►Where the moisture content of the substrate provides a dependable water source.

►Where the air humidity is high. This ensures that the water film is thick enough to permit diffusion of enzymes outward and simple hydrocarbons back to the organism.

►Where there is no water flow on the surface.

►Where sufficient food can be found.

►Where there are no significant inhibiting chemicals or treatments.

Different (mold) organisms require different thicknesses of films. The phylloplane (leaf-inhabiting) fungi, such as Penicillium and Cladosporium, get by with rather thin films. They can thrive where the relative humidity in the air is 80% or greater. Stachybotrys requires more water and a thicker film; it requires a surface relative humidity around 95% or greater.

Here is an article taken from the EPA website, explaining the in-depth meaning of the term exposure


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An exposure pathway refers to the way in which a person may come into contact with a hazardous substance,

whether it is a chemical, biological or some other harmful substance. There are three basic exposure pathways:

inhalation, ingestion or direct contact. The degree or extent of exposure is determined by measuring the amount of the hazardous substance at the point of contact, whether that contact occurs in the lungs of someone who has breathed in the hazard, the stomach lining of someone who has eaten it, or the skin of someone who has touched it. Health and ecological hazards can result from such exposures. Some common ways in which people may become exposed to

hazardous substance include the following:

Groundwater and Surface Water. Exposure will occur if people drink contaminated groundwater or surface water, accidentally ingest it while swimming or if it comes into contact with their skin (e.g. in the shower, while swimming, etc.).

Soil, Sediment, Dust. People will be exposed to hazardous substances in soil, sediment, or dust if they accidentally ingest it (e.g. the contaminants land on their food), if they breathe it in (especially dust) or if their skin comes into direct contact with the contaminated materials. Because of their play habits, children are highly susceptible to exposure through these pathways.

Air. When the hazardous substance takes the form of vapors or is absorbed by particulate matter (e.g. dust) the simple act of breathing can expose people to contamination. In some cases, a person’s skin can absorb a hazardous substance in vapor form, although inhalation is considered the greater threat.

Food. Eating food that has been contaminated is another common exposure route. In some cases, food found on people’s plates may be contaminated as a result of direct exposure to the hazardous substance. In other cases, food

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From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website (http://www.epa.gov) "All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason." The U.S. EPA, March, 2001.

The top mold health symptoms are the following in alphabetical order. A mold victim may experience one or more symptoms, separately or simultaneously --

–  –  –

If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned health symptoms, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor. To know more on mold-related health problems, get your own copy of the Mold Health Guide E-book available from Mold Mart.

Water intrusion can happen in your home, condominium, apartment building, office or commercial building from many sources. Water can enter your home or building by leaking or by seeping through basement floors, walls, foundations and concrete floor slabs. Water can enter your home from bathroom showers or even cooking also adds moisture to the air in your home and thus, increases the relative indoor humidity inside your home.

Indoor humidity of 50 to 60% or more can easily support active mold growth through out your home or building. Indoor humidity of 30 to 40% discourages mold growth. You measure indoor humidity year-round with a digital hygrometer [Thermometer Department of Home Depot, Lowe’s, or at a hardware store]. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (e.g., drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture condensation can enable mold to grow on wet surfaces and increase humidity.

Water problems can also result from roof leaks from poorly-maintained or storm or weather-damaged roofs, from water supply line leaks, from sewer line breaks, from clogged condensation lines running from central air conditioning units on your roof or in your attic, from deteriorating or defective siding and from windows or doors that are not properly weather-sealed.

Mold prevention requires the prevention or prompt repair of water problems and moisture problems inside your home or other real estate property.

There are many ways to control moisture in your home:

Avoid having the following moisture-creators/mold-makers indoors in your home, apartment or office: fish aquariums, indoor plants, vaporizer, humidifier, hot tub continually full of water and other indoor water reservoirs;

Anything in your home that gets wet should be dried quickly because mold can grow after just 24 hours of continuous moisture;

Note that wallpaper is worse than paint for causing mold because it seals with water in the wall and provides food for mold;

–  –  –

Even the smallest of openings in a roof, wall or foundation can permit entry of water into the home, especially during times of heavy rain. For example, you may need to apply a waterproofing roof sealant over an older asphalt shingled roof in its entirety to be sure to seal against roof leakage. You may need a new roof;

Prevent mold by making your bathroom floors and walls out of glass blocks [set with non-wood-based rods which are sold with the blocks or in cement with adequate amounts of waterproofing compound];

An illustration of floors and walls made out of glass blocks. This type of construction materials are less susceptible to mold mildew growth and is easier to clean.

Prevent mold by making your bathroom floors and walls out of marble [set in cement with cement containing adequate amounts of waterproofing compound];

–  –  –

Put a plastic cover or heavy roofing paper on the ground over dirt crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. Be sure crawlspaces are well-ventilated. If possible, do not enclose the crawlspace. In extreme conditions, a fan or blower may be needed in the crawl space to move the humid air from under the building. You can purchase a programmable exhaust fan that turns on whenever the crawl space humidity exceeds 40%;

Replace cracked or defective mortar joints in foundations and basement walls;

For waterproofing concrete and other masonry walls above ground level, apply two coats of cement paint, tinted with mineral coloring if desired. Waterproofed coatings to seal absorbent brick and other outside surfaces;

To prevent dampness and future mold growth in your stairwell leading to your basement, install a good roof over the stairwell, with gutters to take roof rain away from the house. If you cannot stop the water intrusion, you will always have mold. If you have water penetration from the ground into the stairwell, stucco the sides of the stairwell with cement containing adequate amounts of waterproofing compound to make the stucco coating an effective barrier against water penetration.

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