Mold Remediation >> Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. This document presents guidelines for the remediation/cleanup of mold and moisture problems in schools and commercial buildings; these guidelines include measures designed to protect the health of building occupants Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and remediators. 

It has been designed primarily for building managers, custodians, and others who are responsible for commercial building Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and school maintenance. It should serve as a reference for potential mold and moisture remediators. Using this document, individuals with little or no experience with mold remediation should be able to make a reasonable judgment as to whether the situation can be handled in-house. 

It will help those in charge of  Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation maintenance to evaluate an in-house remediation plan or a remediation plan submitted by an outside contractor 1. Contractors and other professionals who respond to mold and moisture situations in commercial buildings and schools may also want to refer to these guidelines.

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.

It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors. http://www.epa.gov/mold/images/photo2_sm.jpg
Extensive mold contamination of ceiling and walls. Click on the image for a larger version 

Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on. Many types of molds exist.

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 Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to moisture buildup. 

Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and unvented combustion appliances. Delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings. 

Moisture problems in portable classrooms (see IAQ Design Tools for Schools-Portable Classrooms for more information) and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems. When mold growth occurs in buildings, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation adverse health problems may be reported by some building occupants, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems. 

Remediators should avoid exposing themselves Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and others to mold-laden dusts as they conduct their cleanup activities. Caution should be used to prevent mold and mold spores from being dispersed throughout the air where they can be inhaled by building occupants. Prevention The key to mold control is moisture control. 

Solve moisture problems before they become mold problems! Mold Prevention Tips Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible. Watch for condensation Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible. Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). 

To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid). Keep heating, ventilation, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed. 

Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible. Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation if possible. Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled. Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours. Don't let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.

Safety Tips While Investigating Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and Evaluating Mold and Moisture Problems Do not touch mold or moldy items with bare hands. Do not get mold or mold spores in your eyes. Do not breathe in mold or mold spores. Consult Table 2 and text for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and containment guidelines. Consider using PPE when disturbing mold. 

The minimum PPE is an N-95 respirator, gloves, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation and eye protection. Mold Remediation - Key Steps Key Steps Flowchart key steps flow chart Click on the image for a larger version. JPG version(48 K, JPG)PDF Version(PDF, 1 page, 168 K,about PDF) Consult health professional as appropriate throughout process Select remediation manager 

Assess size of mold problem and note type of mold-damaged materials Communicate with building occupants throughout process as appropriate to situation Identify source Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation or cause of water or moisture problem Plan remediation, adapt guidelines to fit situation, seeTable 1&Table 2 Select personal protective equipment (PPE) 

Select containment equipment Select remediation personnel or team Choose between outside expertise Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation or in-house expertise Remediate Fix water or moisture problem Clean and dry moldy materials SeeTable 2 Discard moldy items that can't be cleaned Dry non-moldy items within 48 hours SeeTable 1 Check for return of moisture and mold problem 

If hidden mold is discovered, Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation reevaluate plan Plan the Remediation Before Starting the Work Remediation Plan Questions to Consider Before Remediating Are there existing moisture problems in the building? Have building materials been wet more than 48 hours? (See Table 2 and text) Are there hidden sources of water or is the humidity too high (high enough to cause condensation)? 

Are building occupants reporting musty or moldy odors? Are building occupants reporting health problems? Are building materials or furnishings visibly damaged? Has maintenance been delayed Toxic Mold Decontamination & Remediation or the maintenance plan been altered? Has the building been recently remodeled or has building use changed? Is consultation with medical or health professionals indicated?

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