Air Detectives Information Series
Useful information on a variety of topics that affect the quality of the air you breathe.
AIR CONDITIONING DUCTS
ASBESTOS IN BUILDINGS
DRY ICE BLASTING
ICYNENE INSULATION SYSTEM ®
MOULD ON WINDOW SURFACES
MOULD REMEDIATION GUIDELINES
TOXIC MOULD PROTOCOL
See more links below.
If you would like more information on any of these topics please contact us.
"GIVE YA THE BUSINESS"
Did you know that there are 100,000 references on the Internet about mould? And probably if you read all of those articles, you still would not get a definitive answer to your questions.
From what sector where the article is posted would you most likely believe?
Who said you needed an air quality test? If you can see it or smell it - you have it.
Mould is in the news. People are talking about its potential health and economic impact. But what are the real risks and issues?
The available science is incomplete and sometimes controversial. Although there are several guidance documents available, there is no accepted national standard. Validated methods to measure contamination are still in their infancy, and even when measurement techniques are available, there are no clear benchmarks or standard values to compare the results against. Similar scientific uncertainties exist in the medical diagnosis of some mould-related health effects.
The scientific complexities alone would be a huge challenge, but the truth is that other difficulties dwarf them. The intense public and media attention on this topic often creates emotionally charged circumstances that make scientific judgment and reasoned dialogue difficult. In some instances, building owners tend to ignore or dismiss potentially serious problems. In other instances, building occupants or public officials can react with excessive alarm to perceived potential threats, complicating the scientific component of the evaluation and making risk communication very difficult.
If You Can't See It But Smell It - You Will Need To Have A "MouldTesting."
The easy part is removing the visible mould. If you have mould, get rid of it! But when mould is hidden, a "Mould Inspection" using various types of equipment will locate it so it can be removed.
If You Have A Mould Infestation - Why Do You Have It? MOULD TESTING TELLS US WHAT WE CAN'T SEE AND MOULD INSPECTIONS TELL US WHAT WE CAN SEE
With no standards, how do I interpret my sampling results? A useful method for interpreting microbiological results is to compare the kinds and levels of organisms detected in different environments. Usual comparisons are indoors to outdoors or complaint areas to noncompliant areas. Specifically, in buildings without mould problems, the qualitative diversity (types) of airborne fungi indoors and outdoors should be similar. Conversely, the dominating presence of one or two kinds of fungi indoors and the absence of the same kind outdoors may indicate a moisture problem and degraded air quality.
Also, the consistent presence of certain fungi such as Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus versicolor, or various Penicillium species over and beyond background concentrations may indicate the occurrence of a moisture problem and a potential atypical exposure. Generally, indoor mould types should be similar and levels should be no greater than outdoor and noncompliant areas. Analytical results from bulk material or dust samples may also be compared to results of similar samples collected from reasonable comparison areas.
Comparisons of total bacterial levels indoors versus outdoors may not be as useful as with fungi, since natural bacteria reservoirs exist in both places. Comparisons of the specific types of bacteria present, excluding those of known human origin, can help determine building-related sources.
How Do I Know When The Mould Clean Up Is Finished?
"The mould cleanup is finished when there is no visible mould remaining and there is no dust or dirt remaining that could contain large amounts of mould and mould spores. Routine clearance testing for mould is not necessary. Leaving a few mould spores behind is not a problem if the underlying moisture problem has been corrected. Remember that mould spores are virtually everywhere. Even if all mould and mould spores are removed as part of the cleanup, spores from outside will re-enter that space. The spores won't be able to grow unless water is also present." Some groups say no need to test for mould after remediation. Aren't mould spores invisible? Did you get enough? Or should I say that after spending money for a "Mould Remediation" company to get rid of the mould, did they?
SCAMS, CHEATS AND RIP OFFS
In a perfect world you could trust everyone..... But it's not a perfect world. If you have a mould problem, this information will help you avoid being taken advantage of and save you thousands of dollars.
Like any other industry, the mould business has its share of scams, cons and rip-off artists who seek to profit from your lack of knowledge about mould.
The worst perpetrators of mould scams are mould removal contractors who also offer mould inspections and mould testing services. Their scam is creating non-existent mould problems and charging you thousands of dollars to fix them. If you encounter a mould inspector who also does mould removals (or visa-versa) just say NO THANKS. There's plenty of quality contractors available that don't do both. And especially watch out for contractors who offer "FREE" inspections. That's a major red flag!
Many contractors offer "FREE" clearance testing, (which is equivalent to grading their own homework). Don't fall for it! Clearance testing is crucial to the mould remediation process and should never be performed by a mould removal contractor waiting to get paid for his work.
AVOID BEING SCAMMED
The best way to avoid getting scammed this way is to avoid using mould removal contractors for mould inspections. AIR DETECTIVES is not in the mould removal business and therefore we have no vested interest in how your inspection and testing comes out. Our position is always unbiased and neutral.
OTHER COMMON MOULD SCAMS
The standard rate for remodeling or reconstruction work that involves mould remediation is approximately three times higher that the exact same remodel without mould remediation. That means, by hiring one contractor to do the entire job, you are paying triple the regular rate for the reconstruction work that takes place after the mould is removed. As rule, you save a lot of money by hiring a remediation contractor to remove the mould, then having a remodeling contractor come in to do the reconstruction. Some remediation contractors will insist on doing all the work or none at all. Just remember, there's more where they came from. Furthermore, be sure to have a post-remediation clearance test done before you pay your remediation contractor. If you agree to make progress payments, make sure the final payment is a significant percentage of the total job price so the contractor is motivated to finish the job correctly.
Many remediation contractors will offer to provide FREE clearance testing after they're work is complete. Nice gesture, but don't fall for it. The reason they do that is so they pass their own work and get paid. Also, they more than likely quoted you a firm price in order to get the work in the first place and if a third party inspector fails his post-remediation clearance test, he has to keep coming back until he gets it right. A "free" clearance test from a contractor offering to pass his own work is not a good deal for you. Always insist on third party post-remediation clearance testing and make sure your agreement with the contractor states that he will come back and correct his work if it fails. And don't settle the account until you see the clearance report in writing.
Some mould removal contractors include a process they call " "encapsulating"" or "encapsulation". Plainly stated, it means they paint over mould, (often with a stain killing paint called KILZ, sold in most Home Depot stores). This practice is not recognized by the EPA or any other legitimate authority on mould remediation. The EPA guidelines for mould abatement is very clear, REMOVE IT. If the mould is removed, there is no need for encapsulation. Unless mould is removed, it is still there. "Encapsulating" mould by painting over it is just a way to cover up any mould that was not removed. Are you starting to get it? Encapsulation is a scam. Ask your contractor before he begins if he does encapsulation. If he says yes, find another contractor.
The following are useful links for further reading on the topic of Mould and the air we breathe.
OSHA Fact Sheet on Natural Disaster Recovery: Fungi
National Center for Environmental Health: Mold Page
EPA Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response: Protect Yourself from Mold
NCEH Prevention and Remediation Strategies for the Control and Removal of Fungal Growth
EPA IAQ Mold Resources
Flood Clean-up Resources
EPA Fact Sheet: Flood Cleanup - Avoiding Indoor Air Quality Problems
OSHA Fact Sheet on Natural Disaster Recovery: Cleanup Hazard
OSHA Flood Clean-up Alerts
American Lung Association Flood Clean-up Fact Sheet
NIOSH Update: NIOSH Warns of Hazards of Flood Cleanup Work
Federal Emergency Management Agency Home Page
NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Storm and Flood Cleanup