Indoor Air Quality and health as the days get colder.

Indoor Air Quality and health as the days get colder.

September is already more than half gone, the leaves are changing colour, the cool fall nights are upon us.  We want to remind our followers of what to prepare for with the upcoming months ahead. As the leaves around your home or office building fall, they tend to land in the eaves troughs and clog up the flow. Once the leaves have all fallen, make sure to clean out your eaves to allow proper water flow for the fall rains and of course the snow melting during and after winter. Make sure that all downspouts are at least six feet away from the house, and that they are not clogged.

Now is a great time to have your attic inspected to make sure you have enough insulation and that it is spread evenly with adequate ventilation. Having proper insulation and air flow in your attic will help to prevent ice damming.

Our busiest time of year for mold inquiries is always the last quarter as people start spending more time in their home with the windows closed and the furnace blowing warm air around. All mold needs water to grow however, some mold is water loving and needs lots of water to stay healthy and some mold is non water loving and needs very little water to be healthy.

Some types of mold produce an odour typically described as musty, earthy, urine like and most commonly, like Grandmas old basement. As the rain stops falling and the basement or other affected area starts to dry out the water loving mold begins to starve and releases spores into the air in an effort to find better living conditions. When certain water loving mold types are starving they not only release spores into the air but also a microbial volatile organic compound (MVOC), which excretes an odour. This also works vice versa, when a non water loving mold is fed too much moisture, it will also produce MVOC’s along with an odour.

Having a fall mould inspection performed should be one of the first things to consider as the cold winter months will require you turn on your furnace and potentially cause cross contamination of blowing up mold spores that could be in the basement or other areas of the home.

Better Health

Unfortunately, when Fall and Winter arrive, many blame health issues on colds and the flu. However, what most people do not realize is that mold spores can cause many of the symptoms we experience when we think we have a cold or flu:

  1. The sudden onset of allergic symptoms involving the respiratory system such as cough, congestion, sinus infection, asthma, and bronchitis.
  2. Unexplained headaches, decrease in attention span or memory, difficulty concentrating, or dizziness.
  3. Other physical symptoms of mold could include skin rash, itchy eyes, fatigue, and a general unwell feeling that disappears when you have been out of the house for periods of time.

Many of the symptoms above would be diagnosed as cold or flu symptoms by a Doctor. As our toxic mold survivor interviews show, this is a common occurrence simply because most Doctors are not trained to identify sickness caused by mold.

In the 1990s the Mayo Clinic published findings from a study that suggests that NEARLY ALL chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the membranes of your nose and sinus cavities) is caused by mold, but blamed on bacteria—then mistreated using antibiotics. In fact, according to their study, 96% of the people who suffer from chronic sinusitis are “fungal sensitized,” which means that they have an immune response that is triggered by inhaling fungal organisms.

The incidence of chronic sinusitis has been increasing because most physicians still believe that bacteria and not mold is the cause. As a result, Doctors prescribe antibiotics which do not provide long term relief.

If you suffer from a chronic sinus infection, you may want to have your home inspected for mold, which is probably the root cause of the problem.

If you experience these symptoms soon after turning on your furnace, then you likely have mold spores circulating in your home.

Peace of Mind

Trained mold inspectors follow a step by step protocol to determine if there is a mold problem. They will do visual inspections; ask questions to get a better idea of the building history to find out about leaks, floods, etc. any indication of past moisture issues; measure the moisture levels; and may recommend that tape, swab, or air quality tests be done to determine the type of mold and the spore count in the home.

The relative cost of a mold inspection compared to the potential health issues and eventual structural issues that mold can cause in a property is minor and should give you a significant amount of peace of mind knowing that you have had a professional inspection performed.

Bottom line, if you suspect that you have any mold concerns, we strongly recommend that you have a professional examine the problem so that you can prevent the spread of the mold throughout your home when you turn on your furnace.

 

Mold vs Mildew: What’s the difference?

Many people don’t know that there is actually a difference between mold and mildew. A fungi is a fungi right? Well, although that may be typically accurate, there are more then a million species in the mold families. All of which are different sources of organic compounds found in our every day environments.

Mold and mildew are types of fungi; typically, mold is black or green, and mildew is gray or white (but not always). Mold tends to grow on organic surfaces, whereas mildew is an issue on damp surfaces, like bathroom walls, basement walls, or fabrics. Mold grows in the form of multicellular filaments or hyphae, while mildew has flat growth. Mildew is often referred to as a kind of mold that is in one general area and isn’t growing or spreading. Mold can contaminate your indoor environment and spread rapidly though spores in the air.

Appearance & Identification:

Without a proper sample it is hard to determine the species of fungi you are dealing with and is best left to the professionals. Visual inspections of the fungi can vary and be hard to determine without proper examination.
Mildew: could be downy or powdery: Downy mildew starts as yellow spots that first become brighter in appearance and then the color changes to brown. Powdery mildew is whitish in color and that slowly turn yellowish brown and then black. This is why it is important to remember that not all black molds are a toxic black mold. Analysis is needed to determine this, and hiring a professional to take the samples so you don’t disrupt the surface and the spores is best.
Mold: has a fuzzy appearance and can be an orange, green, black, brown, pink or purple in color. Can be found in several shapes. Mold tends to grow and spread through out the damp surfaces and will find other damp or wet areas in the home. Mold can travel through the air and contaminate adjacent areas of your home from moving furniture, furnaces, air conditioners, fans and dehumidifiers. If your home has mold or mildew in it, it is best to get everything sampled before preparing the removal process.

Prevention

To prevent mildew at home, keep all the areas moisture-free. There are mildew removers available at stores to eliminate mildew. To protect crops from mildew use mildew-resistant seeds, remove infested plants, avoid overhead heating.

To prevent mold in your home, you need to keep all the areas dry and moisture-free. Check the humidity levels inside the house and take measures to control it. Finish perishable food within 3-4 days.

Prolonged exposure to mold spores can cause health problems such as allergic reactions and respiratory problems, due to the toxins (mycotoxins) it produces.

Mildew can cause damage to crops and other plants it infests. Inhalation of mildew can cause coughing, headache, scratchy throat and lung problems. Mildew can also start growing in lungs and cause other serious health problems.

If you’re concerned about mold in your home, fill out the form to the right or call 1-888-909-6653 to talk to one of our mold experts!

Use Caution If Using Sprays to Remove Mold

 

Use Caution If Using Sprays to Remove Mold

Don’t misinterpret the mass of information available to consumers regarding mold and how to get rid of it. Mold awareness and its potential impact on indoor air quality has given rise to a growing increasing list of so-called mold remedies and mold remediation strategies.  In the last few years for example, anti-microbial sprays such as Concrobium have received attention as a good way to kill mold. The reality is, there will always be various options and opinions on what product to use and where to use it, but what is not disputed is that visible mold growth occupying an area larger than 10 square feet needs to be dealt with by either a professional or at the very least by someone following the advice of a professional. Proper remediation of mold may have less to do with the product than the technique used in conjunction with the product.
But don’t be mislead, mistakes can be made by selecting the wrong product as well. For example, when consulted about proper product and technique in a large crawlspace, Dr. Jackson Kung’u, a well respected Microbiologist had this to say:

“For removal of extensive mold growth from floor joists in the crawlspace, I would personally recommend dry ice blasting for the following reasons:

  1. Unlike use of biocides, dry ice blasting does not add moisture to the wood and it’s non-toxic and therefore poses no health risks to the operators and the occupants.
  2. Dry ice blasting does not damage the wood at all, but it removes and kills the mold at the same time.
  3. Blasting does not stain the wood.”
When consulted about proper technique in a smaller area, Dr. Kung’u said:
“If the mold growth is not extensive and deeply embedded into the wood, you may spray an anti-microbial and let it set for a few hours. After the antimicrobial kills the mold then you physically go back with HEPA vacuums, and rags, and brushes, and wipe the wood. This is a more tedious process if cleaning big areas … and may not be cost effective.”
Interestingly, even “less toxic” bio sprays need to be used with full safety considerations.  Appropriate personal protective equipment is required for application of antimicrobials, including a chemical- resistant suit, heavy gloves and full-face respirator with OVR cartridges.  Moreover, the area in which the mold is being treated requires a complete industry standard protocol of containment, air management, removal process, cleaning process, drying process and finally, post remediation, lab verified clearance testing to make sure the job was actually completed with the results intended.

Read More:
https://www.gotmold.ca/2012/09/dont-spray-mold/

Twelve Things You Must Know About Mold

Having an understanding of indoor mold is critical when one is faced with mold problems. Here we bring you 12 things you must know about mold.

12 Things You Must Know About Mold

flooded carpet

Flooded carpet: Mold develops within 48 hrs.

  1. All molds are potentially a health hazard. Mold exposure symptoms include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints. Some of the indoor molds that have the potential to cause health problems including Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys (black mold).
  2. Reaction to mold varies from individual to individual. However, those most susceptible to mold exposure include young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and persons with pre-existing respiratory problems.
  3. Mold spores are everywhere and it’s practically impossible to eliminate all of them from indoors. The only way to control mold growth in the indoor environment is to control moisture.
  4. Mold can cause health problems even if it is dead. That is why mold removal is recommended instead of just killing it using chemicals and leaving it indoors.
  5. If mold is a problem in your home or office, you must have it removed and the moisture problem fixed.
  6. Reducing indoor humidity controls mold growth. EPA recommends reducing humidity by:
    • Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
    • Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
    • Increasing ventilation
    • Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
  7. Drying water damaged building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours prevents mold growth.
  8. Porous moldy materials such as ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpets cannot be effectively cleaned and therefore should be replaced after fixing the moisture problem. If the moisture problem is not resolved, the mold growth will return.
  9. Condensation on cold surfaces is a major cause of mold growth. Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  10. Molds can grow on virtually any organic substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, fabrics, leather and foods.
  11. Molds can grow undetected inside wall spaces, under carpet, and inside HVAC systems. Air sampling may help detect hidden mold.
  12. Cleanup of large areas of mold contamination can cause airborne spores to increase to levels resulting in acute mold exposure. Hiring a qualified mold removal company is recommended since they have the tools and experience required to prevent the spread of airborne mold spores throughout the house.

We can provide lab results within 24 hours

When customers call got mold? to have a mold or asbestos inspections and sampling, we take great pride in giving our customers fast and accurate reports so they can get the work done ASAP. The health of our customers is our number one priority and we want our customers to know that your health is important to us! We thrive on having happy and healthy customers that have healthy indoor air for their families or business. When you call got mold? our environmental professionals will assist you with the best coarse of action to take when it comes to the removal process, and what should happen with the contents surrounding the effected areas.

Sometimes circumstances require that results of sampling is an urgent matter. This is why we deal with only accredited laboratories that have microbiologists analyze the samples. If there are any questions or clarification is required we are in direct contact with the Principal Microbiologist Dr. Jackson Kung’u.

The basic problem with mold is that it can be hidden. Home inspectors are not mold remediation specialists and do not have the expertise required to identify potential mold issues. Home buyers are well advised to invest in both a home inspection and mold inspection before purchasing a home, particularly if there is any indication that there are potential moisture issues.
 (Buyer Beware! How Reliable is Your Home Inspection?)
Mold occurs normally in outdoor environments, serving as nature’s recycling center and breaking down the dead organic matter from animals or plants. Humans encounter mold and even inhale mold spores every day with no ill effects whatsoever. When mold occurs in an indoor environment, however, things change. Suddenly, mold and its accompanying spores (through which it reproduces) are encountered (and inhaled) in large concentrations. When you consider the job that mold is designed to do on organic matter, it becomes easy to see how it could become a serious health hazard. (No Shame In Mold)
Since mold can cause serious health and structural issues, and even negatively impact the health of your pets, then you should invest in a mold inspection and you may even want to consider a Thermal Imaging inspection as well.
A mold inspection is vitally important if you are planning to buy a home for three key reasons:
1. REAL ESTATE AGENTS DO NOT LIKE MOLD
Real estate agents know that the presence of mold can end a real estate transaction. Since legal requirements for disclosing mold problems is not universally mandatory, then it really is up to the seller to disclose such information. If this is not done, the buyer may never know a problem even exists.
2. MOLD REMEDIATION IS COSTLY
Mold remediation is the removal of mold from a home to make it safe and liveable. This process is costlybecause the materials contaminated with mold need to be removed. You can not simply spray mold with chemicals. The cost of remediation will depend on the area that is affected and the kind of materials. In addition, mold remediation specialists take special training and follow specific procedures to prevent mold from spreading. Their goal is not only to remove the mold, but to contain it and clean it.
3. HOME INSPECTORS ARE NOT MOLD EXPERTS
The problem with mold is that it can be hidden under baseboards, beneath carpet, and under a new paint job. Home inspectors will look for visual problems with the home, but may not necessarily be able to identify a mold problem. A credible home inspector may provide you with some warning signs that conditions exist to encourage mold growth:
1. Water stains
2.  Smelly basement
3.  Water seepage
4. Leaky roof
That being said, a home inspector will not verify the existence of mold and may not specify this in their report. It is also important to understand that many home inspectors rely on referals from real estate agents, which could cause potential conflict of interest issues.
According to CMHC and Health Canada:
“Asbestos poses health risks only when fibres are in the air that people breathe. Asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs, causing scarring that can ultimately lead to severely impaired lung function (asbestosis) and cancers of the lungs or lung cavity.”
If your home or commercial building was built prior to or during the 1980s, you may need to determine if you have asbestos and/or vermiculite insulation.
The environmental and financial risks associated with asbestos abatement requires expertise and commitment.
If you have asbestos, our professional teams will remove it.
To ensure “Peace of Mind”, we will ask a third party environmental consulting firm to take air quality samples that will be sent to an independent lab for analysis.
Our job will not be complete until the environmental consultant says that the property is fully cleared of the asbestos.
Further Reading about mold removal, health concerns and the inspection processes:
Flooded…But Denied Insurance? Don’t Lose Hope!Hurricane Sandy Causes Mold Risk for Flooded AreasSandy Leaves Behind the Threat of Asbestos Exposure, Flood Alert: Key Action Steps & Information!What Should I do if I Find Mold?Attention Saskatchewan Residents: PDAP Can Help!Don’t Spray Mold!What Causes a Basement to Smell Bad?Mold, Not Just a Health Problem, But a Structural One Too!Sewer Backups Part 1: Causes and PreventionSewer Backups Part 2: Action Steps Why Do We Need Sump Pumps? Flooded…But Denied Insurance? Don’t Lose Hope!What to Expect From a Mold InspectionMold Emerges As Problem From FloodingWhy is Mold a Growing Concern?Seven Tips To Detecting MoldMold in Your BasementDo You Know Where Your Water Main Valve Is Located?What to do when you’ve identified a mold concern?The Longer You Wait…The Worse It Gets!How Does Mold Get Indoors?What’s In Your Flood Water?What causes Mold growth?
Further Reading about asbestos removal, health concerns and the inspection processes:
Mandatory Saskatchewan Registry for Asbestos PassesWhy is Asbestos a Health Hazard?Can You Get Mesothelioma from Attending School?Why is a Shower Essential to Asbestos Abatement?What Percentage of Lung Cancers are Caused by Asbestos?Canadian Asbestos RegulationsHow Many People Die From Asbestos Each Year?10 Interesting Facts About Asbestos in the USA [Infographic]Renovating? Read This Message From Our President!10 Interesting Historical Facts About Asbestos [Infographic]ADAO – Asbestos Disease Awareness OrganizationBanAsbestos.usThe Asbestos Epidemic in America, WHO | Asbestos: elimination of asbestos-related diseasesThe Jig Is Up For The Asbestos Industry!Canada’s Asbestos Industry Could End!Elliot Lake, Ontario Residents Exposed to Asbestos DustShould I Be Concerned About Asbestos?The Politics of Asbestos: Canada’s Ugly SecretQuebec Pumps $58 Million into Certain DeathThe Asbestos Abatement ProcessWhy is Asbestos so Scary?Got Asbestos?Asbestos Removal and AbatementAsbestos Is The “Ideal Carcinogen”