HHT Presentation: Mold


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Presentation on mold and mold prevention at the Maine Asthma Coalition's Healthy Homes Trainings. Presented by Mark Morehouse in Machias/Presque Isle; Nick Ferrala in Auburn/Waterville.

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HHT Presentation: Mold

  1. 1. Air Quality Management Services Discovering Solutions for Healthier Living Presented by: Nick Ferrala, B.A., CIEC Lewiston, Maine 207-657-7360 nick@aqmservices.com Based on a presentation by Jonathon Klane, KEITH Inc., at the 2004 Governors Conference on Affordable Housing,with contributions by Bob Stilwell (Maine DHHS) and Mark Morehouse (Environmental Safety Professionals) 1
  2. 2. Mold: Facts and Fallacies(and some other IAQ stuff, too) 2
  3. 3. True or False?...Mold as an indoorenvironmentalissue is growingrapidly andmaking things very“problematic” forprofessionals inmany disciplines. 3
  4. 4. TRUEFear of mold has increased dramatically.Much of this fear is based onmisinformation and ignorance.Now ‘everyone’ is afraid they have a moldproblem.Lawsuits!Fleeing insurance companiesKnee-jerk legislation 4
  5. 5. What is mold?Mold(s) include all species of microscopic fungithat grow in the form of filaments. Fungi that grow as single cells are called yeasts. Fungi that are not microscopic = mushrooms.Mildew: Many, many definitions exist for Mildew In it’s most common uses, Mildew is not a correct scientific term The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth Proper use: Mildews are Fungi that cause diseases in plants (Powdery Mildew and Downy Mildew) 5
  6. 6. Mold(s)Live in virtually any environment containingmoisture, proper temperature, oxygen and nutrients(food).Reproduce in several ways, one of which (common)results in large numbers of tiny spores that maybecome airborne.Found everywhere in our environment, indoor andout. “Generally speaking, people are exposed tomolds every day without adverse health effects”.
  7. 7. Relative size scale 7
  8. 8. Mold SporesVary in SizeSome are:  Very Small  Can be Very High DensityAnalogy –dandelions inthe wind
  9. 9. EcologyRole of Fungi – Nature’s RecyclerDegrade Dead Organic Material Important - Degradation of Resistant Materials Containing Cellulose & Lignin (Wood)Without Fungi, the Earth Would beCovered with Dead Plant Material
  10. 10. Benefits to MankindSoil Fertility – AgricultureFoods & Beverages Bread Wine & Beer CheesesAntibioticsBiotechnology Production of drugs and chemicals
  11. 11. ProblemsAdverse Health Effects for PeopleDegradation of Food & Agriculture Items e.g. 10-50% Loss of Fruit CropsDegradation of Other Items (Plastics,Papers, Clothing, etc.)Wood Degradation – Buildings &Structures
  12. 12. Mold Health EffectsInfections – rare environments andimmuno-compromised individuals.Allergic reactions and worsening ofasthma symptoms – sensitive and pre-disposed individualsOverall, it is very controversial (andunclear) whether or not mold causesserious health effects in otherwise healthyindividuals (in residential environments) 13
  13. 13. Controversial Health EffectsDoes Mold cause asthma?Sick Building symptoms – dizziness, memoryloss, many moreToxicosis – direct action of a Chemical orSubstance on the Body, Causing Damage orAltering Function  e.g. Carbon Monoxide – interferes with Oxygen Transport in the bodyPoor or no evidence – difficult to prove inpractical situations
  14. 14. True or False?...There is such athing as “toxicmold” technicallyspeaking. 15
  15. 15. FALSEMolds by themselves are not toxic.Molds produce mycotoxins, which are by-products of metabolism.Mycotoxins are large complex moleculesand are not readily volatile and therefore,exposure is only through direct contactsuch as ingestion or inhalation ofenormous amounts of mold spores orfragments. 16
  16. 16. True or False?...All mold speciesproduce “toxicmycotoxins” 17
  17. 17. FALSENot all molds produce toxins.Not all molds that produce toxins do so allthe timeDifferent mycotoxins are produceddepending on what the mold is growingon.Example: the mold used to make bleu (orblue) cheese, when grown on sheetrockinstead of in milk, can produce a toxin. 18
  18. 18. True or False?...Molds canproduce chemicalscalled “volatileorganiccompounds” or“VOCs”. 19
  19. 19. TRUEVOC’s are a by-product of fungalmetabolism.These are chemicals that can often bedetected as musty/moldy odors. Likemycotoxins, the types of VOC’s produceddepend on the substrate – the stuff themold is eating – as well as the species.VOC’s often cause odors and some arethought to cause some health effects. 20
  20. 20. True or False?...Mold causesmostly allergicreactions, triggersasthma, sinuscongestion, runnynoses, eyeirritation, nausea,and fatigue. 21
  21. 21. TRUEThe news stories about dire healthproblems caused by inhaled mold arebased on incomplete or faultyinvestigations.Much of our information of serious healtheffects from mold comes from extremeenvironments and extreme exposures E.g. agricultural, wastewater treatment Most residential situations come no where near these kinds of exposures 22
  22. 22. True or False?...Killing moldrenders itharmless.“I can just spray alittle bleach on it” 23
  23. 23. FALSEPeople’s reactions to mold are based onthe allergens (e.g. proteins) and chemicalsassociated with the spores and otherfragments.These reactions will be the same whetherthe mold spores are dead or alive.Soap and water does a better job ofcleaning and doesn’t introduce harmfulchemicals into the home. 24
  24. 24. True or False?...There are knownsafe and unsafelevels of moldand/or moldspores (similar toOSHA’s limits forchemicals). 25
  25. 25. FALSEThere are no known thresholdsdifferentiating harmful from harmlesslevels of mold.Everyone reacts differently, so the level ofmold that is acceptable to one person isnot acceptable to another.The only ‘safe’ level of mold in a residenceis when it’s not growing indoors.That means keep the water outside!Laws requiring standards won’t work. 26
  26. 26. True or False?...Only a spacewithout any moldspores is healthy. 27
  27. 27. FALSEThere are mold spores everywhere, all thetime. Even in winter.The goal is to eliminate the excessmoisture that allows the mold spores togrow.So - fix leaks in the building envelope andplumbing QUICKLY, and provide adequateventilation to remove moisture due tonormal occupancy. 28
  28. 28. True or False?...I should havesomeone do an airtest (or use a kiton my own) todetermine if thereis a mold issue. 29
  29. 29. FALSEThere are many mold tests.There is no standard guidance on when touse any of them.There are good and bad aspects to everytype of mold test.It is very difficult to interpret mold sampleresults even for the pros. 30
  30. 30. True or False?...Air tests are agood first step toevaluate my livingspace. 31
  31. 31. FALSEA thorough walk-through evaluation of aresidence is more informative than abattery of air tests.Locating possible sources and removingthem is better.Air tests may be used IN CONJUNCTIONwith a physical evaluation to answer somequestions, but should never be relied uponalone. 32
  32. 32. A Note on IAQ TestingExcept for radon, most indoor aircontaminants are the direct result ofsomething you can see/smell/identifywithout testing.“Air quality testing” is a useless termbecause there are so many things that canbe checked for in indoor air.There is no single “screening test” for allaspects of air quality. 33
  33. 33. IAQ testing- continued…The only “IAQ test” that you should everconsider on its own (without a walk-through evaluation) is a RADON TEST.Radon is a problem state wide.Radon is a proven cause of lung cancer.Each year, radon causes about 165 lungcancer cases in Maine. 34
  34. 34. So if Mold is Everywhere… What can we do about it? 35
  35. 35. Mold in Our EnvironmentMold is everywhere:  in soil  on plants and trees  suspended in outdoor air (airborne spores and other fragments) which will come indoors on air currentsSome people may be bothered by mold from theoutdoors, but…  Mold as an indoor air quality problem generally occurs when mold is growing indoors
  36. 36. How Can Fungal Growth Be Limited? The leading factor in Fungal growth is the availability of sufficient Water or Moisture. To Control Fungal Growth – Control the Moisture  Temp, pH, Food Source, Oxygen, Water – We can only Control the WaterSTOP THE MOISTURE TO STOP THE FUNGUS
  37. 37. Common Moisture Sources Indoors Outdoors Humidifiers Flooding Cooking and Dishwashing Rain or Snowmelt Bathing/Showering Seasonal High Humidity Plumbing Leaks Ground Moisture Ice Dams / Roof Leaks Groundwater Infiltration Firewood Storage Indoors Wet Building Materials Unvented Clothes DryerImproper Venting of Combustion AppliancesFix Leaks / Resolve Issues to Prevent Moisture Impact and Mold Growth
  38. 38. Mold RemediationWhen you see it, fix it! 39
  39. 39. True or False?...If left alone, mold(on buildingmaterials) will goaway over time. 40
  40. 40. FALSE Mold will not go away by itself. It may go dormant for a long time, then die, but the filaments will last a long time after that. The spores last even longer. First, get rid of the moisture problem that allowed the mold to grow, then get rid of the mold.** NEVER MIX BLEACH WITH AMMONIA- BASED CLEANING PRODUCTS 41
  41. 41. True or False?...Mold growth isrelated directly tothe presence ofwater (moisture orhumidity). 42
  42. 42. TRUEMold spores are everywhere. The onlyreason mold doesn’t take over is lack ofmoisture.Control the moisture, and you control themold.MOLD IS A SYMPTOM OF ANUNCORRECTED WATER PROBLEM!Water + building materials = MOLD 43
  43. 43. True or False?...Water must bedried up within 24-48 hours toprevent or limitmold growth. 44
  44. 44. TRUEDry up water QUICKLYTake extra care to thoroughly dry porousmaterials (like carpeting)If you don’t, the mold will make you wishyou had!He who hesitates is lost. It doesn’t take much hesitation to lose the race with Mold. 45
  45. 45. True or False?...Ripping out themold usingstandardconstruction anddemolitionpractices willremove the moldand the problem. 46
  46. 46. FALSEStandard construction and demolitionmethods will usually disturb mold spores,causing them to become airborne anddispersed throughout the area.Clean mold from surfaces first, thenremove contaminated, porous materialsCould require a restoration company. Anyclean up must be done in a controlledmanner. 47
  47. 47. True or False?...Mold remediationand cleanupalways requiresprofessionalabatementpersonnel. 48
  48. 48. FALSEHowever…small to moderate mold cleanup must be done carefully, those involvedmust have protective equipment (N95respirator, goggles, gloves, clothes thatcan be laundered or disposed of). Handwashing is the most important protection.Controlled Manner = avoid dispersingspores to other areasBig clean ups should be left to the guys inthe moon suits. 49
  49. 49. True or False?...I know enoughabout mold to dealwith it in a prudentand reasonablemanner. 52
  50. 50. …Maybe…Be Informed: Maine Indoor Air Quality Council  www.maineindoorair.org, click on “Fact Sheets” CDC - Facts About Mold and Dampness  http://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm EPA - A Brief Guide to Mold and Moisture in Your Home  http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldguide.html EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings  www.epa.gov/iaq Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation  http://www.iicrc.org/index.shtml
  51. 51. Information provided to Tenants Instruction to contact the landlord(in writing) about the moistureproblem.CDC mold information.US EPA mold guide.If landlord won’t look into theissue:-Instruction to contactadministrator of funding source ifrent subsidized.- References to Maine legaldocuments if requested. 54
  52. 52. Maine law cites provided to tenantsLocal health officer authority-miscellaneous nuisance complaint (Title 22,section 454)-abatement authority (Title 17, section 2702)Implied warranty & covenant of habitability-(Title 14, section 6021) 55
  53. 53. Nick Ferrala 207-657-7360nick@aqmservices.com Air Quality Management Services Discovering Solutions for Healthier Living