The term “mold” or “mould” refers to the wide variety of fungi that can be found in almost every environment on the planet and the term remediation refers to finding remedies for mold infestation and dealing with the problem. Molds can grow and develop on any substance as long as there is some kind of organic material for them to consume and as long as they have moisture and oxygen. They spread by means of spores (generally microscopic) released into the atmosphere and they can quickly colonize entire buildings unless prevented. In Canada more than 270 types of mold have been found living in buildings and Health Canada “. . . considers that mould growth in residential buildings may pose a health hazard.” [Source]
Meanwhile in the United States the Environmental Protection Agency has gone even further and has announced that:
All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. [Source]
A World of Molds
Worldwide there are more than 100,000 species of molds that have been identified but of those only about 100 are suspected to be dangerous to humans. In truth none of the molds themselves are dangerous; instead their waste products can contain mycotoxins which can do massive damage to health. Some of the molds that produce dangerous mycotoxins include Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus parasiticus, Chaetomium, the Fusarium family of molds, Penicillium, Stachybotrys aspergillus and Stachybotrys chartarum. Some studies have linked molds with cancer, chronic fatigue, eye and skin irritations, immune system suppression, internal bleeding, and respiratory illnesses.
There are many theories why mold has become a greater problem in recent years in Canadian homes and businesses. One explanation might be that the increase in temperatures around the world due to Global Warming has encouraged the spread of molds and other fungi. Also new homes are designed to be more energy efficient which has involved reducing air flow; this creates dead air spaces which encourage the growth of molds. In addition the improper installation of insulation has resulted in pockets of moisture being allowed to build up inside the walls of buildings resulting in mold-friendly environments.
Molds are notoriously difficult to deal with. Some are thermo tolerant and adapt to a wide variety of temperatures, others are xerophillic and can thrive in very dry temperatures. In general however all they need is oxygen, moisture and organic material and they will grow. Destroying them is also difficult, for example the spores of Stachybotrys have survived fires with a temperature of 260 degrees Celsius (paper burns at 233 C, water boils at 100 C).
Symptoms of mold-related illnesses vary but according to the 1999 article by E. Johanning and P. Landsbergis titled “Clinical Findings Related to Indoor Fungal Exposure — Review of Clinic Data of Specialty Clinic” the symptoms can include:
- Nasal irritation (possibly including bloody nasal discharge)
- Throat irritation
- Severe headaches (possibly including concentration problems, irritability and fatigue)
- Blurry vision
- Skin rash
- Flu-like symptoms
Home Safe Home Mold Remediation Process
At Home Safe Home mold remediation is a problem we take very seriously! Our approach involves the following steps:
- First, we secure the site
- Second, we prevent spore dispersion
- Third, we remove the source and the infected materials
- Fourth, we disinfect the area
- Fifth, we advise on preventative measures
- Sixth, we rebuild the space to the correct specifications to prevent the mold from reoccurring
The end result is a healthier, mold-free home.