Mold and Mold Inspections

We have compiled this information so you may have a good understanding of mold and it's effects on your family and your home.Please remember the first step,A visual inspection is the most important initial step in identifying a possible contamination problem. The extent of any water damage and mold growth should be visually assessed. This assessment is important in determining remedial strategies. Ventilation systems should also be visually checked, particularly for damp filters but also for damp conditions elsewhere in the system and overall cleanliness. Ceiling tiles, gypsum wallboard (Sheetrock), cardboard, paper, and other cellulose surfaces should be given careful attention during a visual inspection. The use of equipment such as a boroscope, to view spaces in ductwork or behind walls, or a moisture meter, to detect moisture in building materials,or a Infra Red Camera to see hidden moist area's,will  be helpful in identifying hidden sources of fungal growth and the extent of water damage.Below is a example of water problem on sheetrock left unrepaired areas like this will grow mold.

  




Introduction
 

Molds and fungi are found everywhere inside and outside. They can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. Molds when they reproduce make spores, which can be carried by air currents. When these spores land on a moist surface that is suitable for life, they begin to grow. Molds are essential to the natural breakdown of organic materials in the environment. Without molds we would be inundated with dead organic matter. It has been estimated that 40 percent of United States homes have some form of mold problem.

Mold is normally found indoors at levels that do not affect most healthy individuals. When these levels become abnormally high as determined by indoor air quality testing or a mold inspection, remediation is recommended to be carried out by a professional remediation company.

 


 

 Health effects

The problems with mold usually stem from the symptoms and health effects resulting from indoor mold exposure. There is public awareness that exposure to mold can cause adverse health effects, symptoms, and possible allergic reactions. Health professionals are often tasked with the investigation and/or assessment of these health effects on employees and/or the public.

The most common form of a Reaction is caused by the direct exposure to inhaled mold spores that can be dead or alive or hyphal fragments which can lead to allergic asthma or allergic rhinitis. The most common effects are Rhinorrhea (runny nose), watery eyes, coughing and asthma attacks. Another form of a reaction  is hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). This is usually the direct result of inhaled large spores or fragments in an occupational setting.About 5% of individuals are predicted to have some allergic airway symptoms from molds over their lifetime.

Toxic effects from mold are produced by exposure to the mycotoxins of some mold species, such as Stachybotrys chartarum (S. chartarum). These are often referred to as “Toxic molds” These toxic molds are often implicated as a potential cause of Sick Building Syndrome. A 1993-94 case study based on cases of pulmonary hemorrhage in infants in Cleveland, Ohio originally concluded there was no causal relationship between the exposure and the disease. The investigators revisited the cases and established a link to the exposure to S. chartrum and the infants in their homes. This relationship was later disproved by a different panel and re-evaluation.

 


 

 Causes / Growing conditions

Because common building materials are capable of sustaining mold growth, and mold spores are ubiquitous, mold growth in an indoor environment is typically related to an indoor water or moisture problem. Leaky roofs, building maintenance problems, or indoor plumbing problems can lead to mold growth inside homes, schools, or office buildings. Another common source of mold growth is flooding.

For significant mold growth to occur, there must be a source of water (which could be invisible humidity), a source of food, and a substrate capable of sustaining growth. Common building materials, such as plywood, drywall, furring strips, carpets, and carpet padding are food for molds. In carpet, invisible dust and cellulose are the food sources. After a single incident of water damage occurs in a building, molds grow inside walls and then become dormant until a subsequent incident of high humidity; this illustrates how mold can appear to be a sudden problem, long after a previous flood or water incident that did not produce a mold-related problem. The right conditions re-activate mold. Studies also show that mycotoxins levels are perceptibly higher in buildings that have once had a water incident.

Although this home suffered only minor exterior damage from Hurricane Katrina, small leaks and inadequate air flow permitted this mold infestation.

Although this home suffered only minor exterior damage from Hurricane Katrina, small leaks and inadequate air flow permitted this mold infestation.

Both our indoor and outdoor environment have mold spores present. There is no such thing as a mold free environment in the Earth's biosphere.

Spores need three things to grow into mold:

  • Nutrients: Food for spores in an indoor environment is organic matter, often cellulose.
  • Moisture: Moisture is required to begin the decaying process caused by the mold.
  • Time: Mold growth begins between 24 hours and 10 days from the provision of the growing conditions. There is no known way to date mold.

Mold colonies can grow inside building structures. The main problem with the presence of mold in buildings is the inhalation of mycotoxins. Molds may produce an identifiable smell. Growth is fostered by moisture. After a flood or major leak, mycotoxins levels are higher in the building even after it has dried out.

Food sources for molds in buildings include cellulose-based materials, such as wood, cardboard, and the paper facing on both sides of drywall, and all other kinds of organic matter, such as soap, dust and fabrics. Carpet contains dust made of organic matter such as skin cells. If a house has mold, the moisture may be from the basement or crawl space, a leaking roof, or a leak in plumbing pipes behind the walls. Insufficient ventilation can further enable moisture build-up. The more people in a space, the more humidity builds up. This is from normal breathing and perspiring. Visible mold colonies may form where ventilation is poorest, and on perimeter walls, because they are coolest, thus closest to the dew point.

If there are mold problems in a house only during certain times of the year, then it is probably either too air-tight, or too drafty. Mold problems occur in airtight homes more frequently in the warmer months (when humidity reaches high levels inside the house, and moisture is trapped), and occur in drafty homes more frequently in the colder months (when warm air escapes from the living area into unconditioned space, and condenses). If a house is artificially humidified during the winter, this can create conditions favorable to mold. Moving air may prevent mold from growing since it has the same desiccating effect as lowering humidity. Keeping indoor air temperature higher than 74 degrees also has an inhibiting effect on mold growth.

 


 

Assessment

The first step in an assessment is to determine if mold is present. This is done by visually examining the premises. If mold is growing and visible this helps determine the level of remediation that is necessary. If mold is actively growing and is visibly confirmed the need for sampling for specific species of mold is unnecessary.

Another assessment method is to determine if the premise smells of mold, often described as an earthy or musty odor. However, not all molds produce the telltale mold odors.

These methods are considered to be non-intrusive and only visible and odor causing molds will be found. Sometimes more intrusive methods are needed to assess the level of mold contamination. This would include moving furniture, lifting and/or removing carpets, checking behind wallpaper or paneling, checking in ventilation duct work, opening and exposing wall cavities, etc.

Careful detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems needing correction. Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of liquid moisture or water vapor (humidity) or where moisture problems are suspected. The investigation goals should be to locate indoor mold growth to determine how to correct the moisture problem and remove contamination safely and effectively.

The basic goals of any mold investigation are always twofold: 1) find the locations of mold growth, and 2) determine the sources of the moisture. If these can be answered by simpler or more cost-effective methods, mold testing is probably not a wise use of resources.

The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.

 Mold Inspections should be performed by a party licensed or certified as a

  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Certified Mold Inspector
  • Indoor Air Quality Technician

 



 Sampling

In general the EPA does not recommend sampling unless an occupant of the space is symptomatic. When sampling is necessary it should be performed by a trained professional who has specific experience in designing mold-sampling protocols, sampling methods, and the interpretation of findings. Sampling should only be conducted to answer a pertinent question: examples "what is the spore concentration in the air"," or is a particular species of fungi present in the building." The additional question should be asked before sampling "what action can or should a person take upon obtaining data."

The sampling and analysis should follow the recommendations of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). Most importantly, when a sample is taken the proper chain of custody should be adhered to. And only a Lab qualified in mold analysts should be used.In New Hampshire information can be found at- http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/ard/documents/ard-iaq_r-1.pdf

Three types of air sampling include but are not limited to:

  • Air sampling: the most common form of sampling to asses the level of mold. Sampling of the inside and outdoor air is conducted and the results to the level of mold spores inside the premises and outside are compared. Often, air sampling will provide positive identification of the existence of non-visible mold.
  • Surface samples: sampling the amount of mold spores deposited on indoor surfaces (swab, tape, and dust samples)
  • Bulk samples: the removal of materials from the contaminated area to identify and determine the concentration of mold in the sample.

When sampling is conducted, all three types is recommended by the AIHA, as each sample method alone has specific limitations. For example, air samples will not provide proof a hidden source of mold. Nor would a swab sample provide the level of contamination in the air.

 Air sampling following mold remediation is usually the best way to ascertain efficacy of remediation, when conduct by a qualified third party.

 


 

 Remediation

Improper methods for cleaning mold include exposure to high heat, dry air, sunlight (particularly UV light), ozone, and application of fungicides. These methods may render the mold non-viable, however, the mold and its by-products can still elicit health effects. As noted in following sections, the only proper way to clean mold is to use detergent solutions that physically remove mold. Many commercially available detergents marketed for mold clean-up also include an anti-fungal agent. The most effective way at this point is formal Mold Remediation.

The goal of remediation is to remove or clean contaminated materials in a way that prevents the emission of fungi and dust contaminated with fungi from leaving a work area and entering an occupied or non-abatement area, while protecting the health of workers performing the abatement. For information on Remediation in New Hampshire visit:
http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/publications/ard/documents/mold.pdf
 


 

 Cleanup and removal methods

The purpose of the clean-up process is to eliminate the mold and fungal growth and to remove contaminated materials. As a general rule, simply killing the mold with a biocide is not enough. The mold must be removed since the chemicals and proteins, which cause a reaction in humans, are still present even in dead mold.

 


 

 Vacuum

Wet vacuum cleaners are designed to remove water from floors, carpets and other hard surfaces where water has accumulated. Wet vacuuming should only be used on wet materials, as spores may be exhausted into the indoor environment if insufficient liquid is present. After use this equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and dried as spores can adhere to the inner surfaces of the tank, hoses, and other attachments.

 


 

 Damp wipe

Damp wipe is the removal of mold from non-porous surfaces by wiping or scrubbing with water and a biocide. Care must be exercised to make sure the material is allowed to quickly dry to discourage any further mold growth.

 


 

 HEPA vacuum

High Efficiency Particulate Air filtered vacuum cleaners are used in the final cleanup of remediation areas after materials have been thoroughly dried and all contaminated materials have been removed. HEPA vacuum cleaners are recommended for the cleanup of the outside areas surrounding the remediation area. During this process the workers wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent exposure to mold and other contaminants. The collected debris and dust should be stored in impervious bags or containers in a manner to prevent any release of debris.

 


 

 Disposal of debris and damaged materials

Building materials and furnishings contaminated with mold should be placed into impervious bags or closed containers while in the remediation area. These materials can usually be discarded as regular construction waste.

 


 

 Equipment

Several types of equipment may be used in the remediation process and may include:

  • Moisture meter: a tool that measures the moisture level in building materials. It can also be used to measure the progress of the drying of damaged materials. Moisture meters have a small probe that is inserted into the material, or pressed directly against the material's surface. Moisture meters can be used on carpet, wallboard, woods, brick, and other masonry.
  • Humidity gauge: measures the amount of humidity in the indoor environment. Often gauges are paired with a thermometer to measure the temperature.
  • Boroscope: a hand-held tool that allows the user to see potential mold problems inside walls, ceilings, crawl spaces, and other tight spaces. It consists of a camera on the end of a flexible “snake”. No major drilling or cutting of dry wall is required.
  • Digital camera: used to document findings during assessment.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): includes respirators, gloves, impervious suit, and eye protection. These items can be used during the assessment and remediation processes.
  • Thermo graphic camera : Infrared thermal imaging cameras are often used (and effective) in addition to moisture meters to double check moisture meter findings, and look at the broader picture. They help mainly in identifying auxiliary points of moisture intrusion.


 

 Protection levels

During the remediation process, the level of contamination dictates the level of protection for the remediation workers. The levels of contamination are described as Levels I, II, and III. Each has specific requirements for worker safety. The levels are as follows:

 

 Level I

Small Isolated Areas (10 sq. ft or less) for example, ceiling tiles, small areas on walls.

  • Remediation can be conducted by the regular building staff as long as they are trained on proper clean-up methods, personal protection, and potential hazards. This training can be performed as part of a program to comply with the requirements of OSHA Hazard Communication Standard ( 29 CFR 1910.1200).
  • Respiratory protection (for example, N-95 disposable respirator) is recommended. Respirators must be used in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should also be worn.
  • The work area should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary, but is recommended for infants (less than 12 months old), persons recovering from recent surgery, immune-suppressed, or people with respiratory diseases.
  • Containment of the work area is not necessary. However, misting and dust suppression is recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags and disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The work area/areas used by workers for access/egress should be cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free of from contamination and debris.

 

 Level II

Mid-sized Isolated Areas (10-30 sq. ft) – for example, individual wallboard panels.

  • Remediation can be conducted the regular building staff as long as they are trained as for Level I. Respiratory protection, occupation of the work and adjacent areas, and handling of contaminated materials are the same as for Level I.
  • Surfaces in the work area that could become contaminated should be covered with sheet(s) of plastic that are secured in place. This should be done prior to any remediation process to prevent further contamination.
  • Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surface prior to remediation, are recommended.
  • The work area/areas used by workers for access/egress should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent.
  • As with Level I, all areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

 

 Level III

Large Isolated Areas (30-100 sq. ft) – e.g., several wallboard panels

  • An Industrial hygienists, Certified Mold Inspector,or a IAQ Tech, should be consulted prior to remediation activities to provide oversight for the project.
  • It is recommended that personnel be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with respiratory protection (N-95 disposable respirator). Respirators must be used in accordance with OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134) Gloves and eye protection should also be worn.
  • Surfaces in the work area and areas directly adjacent that could become decontaminated should be covered with a secured plastics sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/debris and prevent further contamination.
  • Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.
  • The work area and areas directly adjacent should be unoccupied. Removing people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary, but is recommended for infants (less than 12 month old), persons recovering from recent surgery, immune-suppressed or people with respiratory diseases.
  • Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soakings) surface prior to remediation, are recommended.
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags and disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The work area/areas used by workers for access/egress should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a detergent.
  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

  Level III

 Level IV

Extensive Contamination (greater than 100 contiguous sq. ft in an area).

  • Personnel trained in handling of hazardous materials and equipped with:
    • Full face respirators with HEPA cartridges
    • Disposable protective clothing covering the entire body including the head, shoes and hands
  • Containment of the affected area:
    • Complete isolation of the work area from occupied spaces using plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape ( including ventilation duct/grills, fixtures, and other openings
  • The use of an exhaust fan with a HEPA filter to generate negative pressurization, a decontamination room, and airlocks
  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in sealed impermeable plastic bags and disposed of as ordinary waste.
  • The contained area and decontamination room should be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp cloth or mopped with a detergent solution and be visibly clean prior to the removal of any isolation barrier.

In conclusion, after the moisture source has been eliminated and the mold growth removed, the premises should be revisited and the reevaluated to ensure the mold growth and the remediation process was successful. The premises should be free of any moldy smells or visible growth.

 


 

New Hampshire Environmental Services

http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/ehp/index.htm

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the NHDES Environmental Health Program is to protect, maintain and enhance the health of New Hampshire citizens through assessment, consultation and outreach activities designed to promote a healthy environment and prevent exposure to harmful levels of contaminants in our air, water, soil and built environment.

The primary objective of the Environmental Health Program is to promote health and quality of life in New Hampshire by investigating, preventing and reducing illnesses and diseases that are related to interactions between people and their environment. The specific focus areas within the Environmental Health Program include health risk assessment, air toxics, indoor air quality, radon, environmental toxicology, and chemical emergency preparedness. More information on these and other environmental health-related programs is provided below.


More Information...

* http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/ard/index.htm
* http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/hrap/documents/claremont20060930.pdf
* http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/publications/co/documents/cancer_environment.pdf
* http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/hrap/documents/chlor_alkali20070207.pdf
* http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/hrap/documents/suncook20070907.pdf
* http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/publications/wd/documents/womens_fish_brochure.pdf

The Air Toxics Control Program helps protect the health of New Hampshire residents and preserve our environment by working together with the US EPA to control and reduce hazardous air pollutant emissions and ambient air impacts of a number of toxic air pollutants likely to be emitted by businesses and industry in the state. For more information visit. http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/atp/index.htm

The Asbestos Program is responsible for developing and maintaining an asbestos notification and abatement program. The program includes licensing, inspections, compliance assistance, and outreach. For more information visit. http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/cb/ceps/ams/index.htm

The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is currently a program within the NH Department of Health and Human Services. For more information visit. http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/etp/index.htm

TheEnvironmental Health Tracking Program provides a vehicle for state-wide tracking and integration of environmental hazard, exposure, and health outcome data; improves access to state environmental and health information; and assists with data analysis and dissemination for the evaluation and improvement of environmental health practices in New Hampshire. For more information visit.http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/etp/index.htm

The Environmental Toxicology Program evaluates toxicological information for use in risk assessment and regulatory decision making. For more information visit.http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/etp/index.htm

The Health Risk Assessment Program performs technical risk assessments to evaluate the health risk associated with exposure to toxic chemicals released into the environment. The program issues state-wide health advisories on topics such as mercury in fish and provides health information summaries on various chemicals.For more information visit. http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/hrap/index.htm

Healthy School Environments DES, in conjunction with the NH Department of Health and Human Services, the NH Department of Education, the NH Partnership for High Performance Schools, municipal health departments, and others work together on various efforts to assess health and safety issues in school buildings to provide safe, healthy and productive learning environments. School environmental health issues can include indoor air quality problems, mold, radon, chemical releases, pesticide exposures, flaking lead paint, exhaust from idling school buses, outdoor air quality, and more.For more information visit. http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/p2au/pps/ppsp/index.htm

The Indoor Air Quality Program is responsible for disseminating information on indoor air quality issues such as mold in the home and second-hand smoke.For more information visit.http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/tsb/tps/msp/irc/index.htm

The Occupational Safety and Health Program provides free on-site health and safety services to eligible employers through its Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Service. Contact Steve Beyer, (603) 271-8590 or sbeyer@des.state.nh.us

The Radon Program is responsible for gathering information on indoor radon occurrence within the state and for disseminating information about where radon occurs throughout New Hampshire, the health effects associated with exposure to radon, and the various means of reducing radon concentrations in both indoor air and water supplies. For more information visit. http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/pehb/ehs/radon/index.htm

 

Helpful Links


 

 External links


http://des.nh.gov/

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