Air Contamination Becomes Growing Concern in High River, Alberta

Air Contamination Becomes Growing Concern in High River, Alberta
As more and more concerns begin to surface in terms of how safe remediation processes really are, one big concern that is coming into play is air contamination. After the recent devastation, homes that were left for long periods of time sitting in stagnant water are now at risk of mold contamination, which can also lead to serious air contamination.(Kassidy Christensen, Reporter for the High River Times)
Recently, the High River Times aired a story-Air contamination becomes growing concern during remediation and recovery process-to explain the potential air quality hazards created during the clean up process.
Christensen interviewed our founder and President, James C. Watson, because of his expertise and the work that our teams are doing in High River. According to Watson:
Basically what happens is when people go into the basements of course they want to get everything out right away,…but they’re not taking any precautions as to whether there is asbestos or mold contamination….If there was a large mold contamination and it’s been disturbed, that mold will give off a mycotoxin. That’s when you run into musty odour, earthy urine-like odours….[With respect to asbestos] it is a very tiny fibre that has a fish hook resemblance, so when it gets into the lung, it locks itself in and doesn’t come out then causes an infection and the next thing you know cancers start to grow. With asbestos, we all know that it’s lethal, and usually takes around 20 years to set in before someone actually gets sick from it.
Before re-occupying a home after clean up and to avoid potential health complications from poor air quality caused by mold and asbestos, Watson recommends air quality tests be done:
When reoccupying the home, what people should be doing is contacting a professional company to come out and do an assessment to test the air for mold and asbestos fibres then send that off to a lab and get that information.
An air quality test will determine if there are asbestos or mold concerns. This is important because if mold spores or asbestos fibres have been disturbed, they will settle in other parts of the home. As stated by Watson:
(In the future) every time someone starts the vacuum or walk across the carpet the spores go back into the air, then you’re breathing it in, and the problem is you can’t see the spores that can cause future problems.
Air quality tests for mold are important because they will compare the spore count inside of the house with the spore count outside of the house. For instance, when one house was tested, outdoor mold spore contamination was at a level of roughly 3,800 spores/m3, and in comparison, indoor levels of the contaminated home reached roughly 107,500 spores/m3. Such a high spore count is not healthy.
With respect to asbestos, any home built before 1990 should be tested for air borne asbestos fibres. Friable fibres in the air are a serious hazard to one’s health. To learn more about why asbestos is hazardous, watch the video below prepared by WorkSafe BC.

According to Watson, the results of the air quality test will give the property owner the right information to determine if it is safe to re-occupy the house. If the results prove there is evidence of mold or asbestos, then Watson recommends that professionals be hired to abate the issues because reputable restoration companies use specific procedures to prevent cross contamination and specialized equipment to clean the air.
In addition, Watson believes that the key to preventing future mold issues is to ensure that the home is completely dried out before any reconstruction begins. This is vitally important because if moisture is trapped between insulation and drywall, mold will grow again. In the words of Watson, “drywall is a buffet for mold.” Not only will future mold growth causes health concerns, but it will also impact the structural integrity of the property.
We just want to make sure that the air quality is safe when reoccupying the home. And if it has already been reoccupied, then lets put that stamp of approval on it
Well stated Mr. Watson. If you are planning to re-occupy your home and want to ensure that the air quality is safe, contact us. In addition, if you recently had your home remediated for mold and/or abated for asbestos and want to ensure that the contractor you hired did a proper job, contact us for Post-Remediation Verification, to ensure that the work was done right.