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By Joel Christensen
Rainbow Intl. Restoration/Owner
For owners in Sioux Falls, SD, as well as throughout the nation, mold needs to be respected, but it doesn’t have to be feared. Thanks to attorneys, media and the Internet, mold has gotten a lot of recent hype. Mold has been around since biblical times (Leviticus 34). Mold is a fungi and is ubiquitous (ie, it is everywhere and anywhere; in your house and/or business). Let’s begin with Mold 101 and then review the restoration process.
There are 100,000 varieties of mold; less than 500 are pathogenic to humans. People are regularly exposed to background levels of mold, but problems can occur when they are exposed to atypical levels of mold or to people who are more sensitive to mold (e.g., allergic-type reactions or respiratory problems).
Four conditions must exist for mold growth: proper temperature (ideal 45-85 F), stagnant air, an organic food source, and moisture (high humidity or water). Mold emits an MVOC or mycotoxins as it consumes organic material. Mycotoxins are generally the “musty” odor we associate with mold. Mold spores can elicit negative health effects whether they are dead or alive. People at higher risk include the immune-compromised, elderly, very young or chronically ill.
Water intrusion always invites the possibility of mold growth. The restoration industry’s key axiom is “control the moisture and you control the mold.”
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC or The Clean Trust) standards should be followed for both water extraction/drying (S500) and mold remediation (S520). The IICRC sets guidelines, standards and benchmarks or best practices that are endorsed by insurance companies. They also administer education and certification programs for restoration industry professionals/technicians. Use of IICRC standards and effective use of moisture measurement devices can reduce liability exposure and eliminate chance for microbial growth.
Mold conditions are rated 1 – 3 (no visual to visible mold growth). The main concern with mold is airborne exposure. Airborne mold is not visible to the naked eye and may require testing and assessment by an independent third-party. Proper remediation requires containment or critical barriers to control secondary damage and limit cross-contamination. It also requires Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which includes full body protection, eye protection, gloves and a respirator with HEPA filtration.
In conclusion, remember these three key points when it comes to Mold: 1) Controlling moisture is the best method for controlling mold, 2) Adherence to IICRC standards will protect against litigation as their standards are accepted as “Best Practices” and 3) Mold remediation can be hazardous, time-consuming and expensive. Talk to an expert to learn all your options. Real Property Management Express in Sioux Falls, SD, partners with excellent mold-remediation companies and is a great resource if you have mold-related questions.
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