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Black Mold Removal
Many people suffer from allergies and excessive dust and particulates in the air and need to do something to improve their indoor air quality. We can help.
Toxic Black Mold Removal
First, a better understanding. Not all black mold is the black mold. Typically, the toxic black mold that most people are referring to is Stachybotrys Chartarum but many types of mold can appear black or dark brown, dark gray, dark blue or dark red. In addition to the species, the color of mold is determined by its food, age, and the environment. Additionally, no mold is toxic, however, some molds produce mycotoxins. They are considered metabolites of mold. Some mycotoxins are more poisonous than others, but prolonged exposure to lower toxicity can be just as unhealthy as a shorter exposure to high toxicity level. Molds will produce more mycotoxins when threatened by diminishing food, water, or other species of mold as a kind of germ warfare. The three ways you can be affected by mycotoxins is breathing, eating, and through the skin. While people with low immune systems are more likely to be affected by mold’s allergenic properties, all people, regardless of their level of health, will be affected by mycotoxins. The degree to which people are affected depends on the level of toxicity of the mycotoxin, the length of exposure, and the concentration of the exposure. Mycotoxicosis symptoms can include anything from skin rashes to organ and brain disease to possible death.
How To Remove Black Mold
Now that you are scared out of your wits, let me put this in perspective. Exposure to mycotoxins is pretty rare. With improved handling and storage of grains and legumes, aflatoxin exposure has greatly diminished. Aw, (water activity) necessary to grow to grow Stachybotrys is .94-.98, meaning a cellulosic material (wood, drywall, fabric, etc) has to get and stay saturated for a prolonged period of time. Meaning there has to be a continuous leak in a cavity or behind a vapor barrier with no air flow with an abundance of food for a very long time. So, it’s rare, but it can happen.
What Does Black Mold Look Like?
Usually, Stachybotrys will be hidden and you will never see it until you remove whatever is concealing it. It will be slimy with a pungent odor, instead of fluffy or furry with just a musty odor. Testing from a qualified professional is the best way to identify contamination. Be aware that Stachybotrys spores are big, wet, and heavy, so they are unlikely to show up in an air sample. Many times suspect areas will have to be uncovered to reveal active growth. Always contain the suspect area before any exploratory efforts to prevent cross contamination.
How To Remove Black Mold
Removal of any mold, especially when it is potentially toxigenic, should be done under controlled conditions by qualified professionals. Containment (plastic walls) should be installed in the work area. The contained area should be put under negative air pressure by exhausting to the outside through HEPA filtered fans. Anyone entering or working in the area should wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Any contaminated material removed from the containment should be bagged to prevent cross contamination. The remaining structural surfaces should be HEPA vacuumed and treated with an antimicrobial solution. The negatively pressurized containment should remain intact until a 3rd party inspector conducts a post remediation verification (PRV) as recommended in the S520 Standard and Guideline for Mold Remediation. This is not a DYI project.
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