We recently came across a small area of mold found behind a watercooler in an office. It was a very limited case found. So I thought it would be a great idea to educate everyone on mold, the effects of mold, and how to handle it. Often times mold is unseen and can silently affect offices, retail shoppes, and healthcare facilities. So let's dive in!
What is Mold? Well Mold is a fungus that grows in wet or damp environments. In fact Mold has over 1000 species of fungus in the US alone. Mold is technically found everywhere. Ever had rotten or spoiled food?
Mold/Mildew can be found growing on the side of a house giving a discolored appearance. Typically outside is not an issue. That changes when inside a building. Typically mold produces allergens, and irritants to the average person. Some people are more sensitive to mold, and it can even produce toxic substances. It is important to remediate the mold before it becomes an issue.
Instead of talking about the hundreds of thousand types of mold lets talk about what is the main cause. Moisture, water, and dampness found in wet environments breeds mold. This is the most important key. If any moisture is found the cause must the eliminated immediately. If the cause such as a water leak, damp/humid bathrooms, or other causes are not remedied mold will develop again.
When cleaning up the mold a trained building technician can handle any remediation under 10 sf. This translates to roughly a 3 ft x 3 ft area. Anything over 10 sf requires a different approach, and for this instance we are going to focus on the standard 3 ft x 3 ft areas.
When cleaning up a 3 ft x 3 ft area it is important to focus on containment, and preventing spreading any spores. First and foremost it is important to wear gloves, a N95 respirator, and eye protection before remediating any mold as it can cause allergic reactions to some people. To help preventing spreading spores through the air, be sure to setup an air scrubber to filter the air in the vicinity.
After putting on the P.P.E. make sure you the working area will be unoccupied. It is ok to perform the remediation with an adjacent occupied area, but it need not recommended as it is important to limit the disturbance of the mold spores.
Most people like to use bleach or other strong chemicals, but a standard detergent will be effective enough. To ensure stopping spreading the spores, it is important to wet down the surface contaminated with water. Then using the detergent scrub the surface to help remove the mold and wipe off the surface.
The above mentioned process works well on non-porous surfaces. However, surfaces like unpainted drywall, wallpaper, or carpet are very porous and will have roots on the mold. The correct way it to remove the damaged areas and replace. Any damaged items should be bagged immediately as to ensure proper containment.
Below links are for the EPA, OSHA, and CDC.
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