Mold and Moisture

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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. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Other molds are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Several types of mold can be found together at a site. The proportions of these competing species change continuously over time so there is seldom value in testing to find out which species of mold predominate at a particular point in time. Testing is expensive and diverts resources from solving the mold problem. There will always be mold spores floating in all air, even in homes that do not have a mold problem. What is important, is to determine where mold has grown and to determine the health significance of the mold growth. Some mold can be hidden and requires a highly experienced professional to detect its presence.

Sometimes it is necessary to remediate or clean up mold to protect the health of the occupants. In most cases, chemically killing mold in place is not desirable or practical. Dead mold is still allergenic and these toxic chemicals present their own additional health hazards. Effective remediation requires the removal of moldy building components or the cleansing of mold from surfaces. Special precautions must be taken to prevent the contamination of the rest of the building during mold removal. Workers must be trained and equipped with personal protective equipment by a mold professional. Mold will not grow in a home or other building without a moisture source. The key to controlling mold is to identify and then to control the moisture sources that caused the mold. Mold will come back after being cleaned up if the moisture causes are not brought under control.

For over 38 years, Steven E. Rice Environmental Inspections has provided mold and moisture evaluations as a Registered Sanitarian/Environmental Health Specialist under Kentucky License #000434 following “the best practice guidance” established by the EPA. The typical mold and moisture evaluation includes:

• Identification of where mold has grown and whether it is actively growing or dormant
• Characterization of the potential health hazard and the structural damage from the mold
• Design of a mold remediation plan when needed
• Identification of the moisture sources that caused the mold
• Design of cost-effective corrective measures to control the moisture sources
• Guidance for the prevention of future mold problems