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Prepared with the assistance of the USEPA Indoor Environment National Laboratory and Leif Albertson – UAF Fairbanks An Introduction to Mold.

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Presentation on theme: "Prepared with the assistance of the USEPA Indoor Environment National Laboratory and Leif Albertson – UAF Fairbanks An Introduction to Mold."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prepared with the assistance of the USEPA Indoor Environment National Laboratory and Leif Albertson – UAF Fairbanks An Introduction to Mold

2 2 Topics I. Overview II. Indicators III. Health Effects IV. Investigation V. Remediation VI. Prevention

3 I. Overview Key information Types of molds Factors contributing to mold growth

4 4 Types of Molds What are molds? Part of class of biological contaminants that includes bacteria, mildew, viruses, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, pollens Part of Fungi kingdom that includes molds, yeasts, mushrooms, rusts Microscopic organisms that form and colonize through airborne spores Under a microscope

5 5 Types of Molds (continued) Over 100,000 different types; about 10 different species common indoors

6 6 Factors Contributing to Mold Growth What do molds need to grow? 1. Food supply 2. Warm temperatures, and… 3. Moisture

7 7 Factors Contributing to Mold Growth (cont.) #1 - Food Sources Organic sources Soils, food, plant matter Human and animal hair and dander Clothing and fabric fibers Fibers from floor coverings, insulation, building materials Building materials Certain materials –particleboard, LP siding, OSB, expanded styrene, cellulose insulation – all better food sources, absorb and hold moisture

8 8 Factors Contributing to Mold Growth (cont.) #2 - Heat sources Higher indoor temperatures common from unregulated sources – woodstoves and fireplaces Inadequate ventilation and overcrowded spaces also contribute Warm air holds more moisture than cold air = higher temperatures in homes = higher humidity levels

9 9 #3 – Moisture and vapor sources Moisture sources Building envelope leaks Plumbing leaks Factors Contributing to Mold Growth (cont.) (dishwashers, toilets, plumbing fittings, washing machines, water heaters)

10 10 Optimum Relative Humidity

11 11 Factors Contributing to Mold Growth (cont.) Water vapor sources Moisture often results not from water intrusion but from high relative humidity (RH) in home Damp soil & basements (vapor flows from high RH to low RH) Occupant activities (breathing, showering, cooking, dishwashing, laundry, plants…average of 2.91 gal/day (Tsongas, 1999) Condensation happens in cold spots

12 Source Health and Energy Testing Services, NE http//

13 II. Indicators Key information Recognizing indicators of potential mold infestation Finding sources of information

14 14 Recognizing Indicators 1. Known or suspected water damage Occupants may know of leak, flood, water intrusion (helpful to know extent, length, actions taken) Visible signs of water damage – may be clearly evident Less visible signs require further visual investigation behind wallpaper, baseboards, cabinets; in crawlspaces, on building exteriors, rust, drywall staining

15 15 Recognizing Indicators 2. Reports from maintenance or custodial staff Know building history, repairs, structural issues May be first to report occupant complaints 3. Musty/mildew odors Indicator of bacterial growth; may not be visible

16 16 Recognizing Indicators 4. Visible mold Appearance of spores not only indicator Range of colors (all black molds are not toxic, though proceed with caution) Growth patterns vary, depending on point of moisture contact



19 19 II. Indicators 5. Reported health problems Clear links allergy/respiratory Possible flu-like symptoms, repeated viral infections, fatigue, frequent ER visits/hospitalizations

20 III. Health Impacts Key information Types of impacts Who is at most at risk

21 21 Health Impacts Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Health impacts vary widely and are individual in impact. Health issues can result from a variety of environmental issues and it can be difficult to identify specific causes.

22 22 Types of Effects 1. Irritant Exposure can irritate eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, in allergic and non-allergic individuals Effect is dose-related, usually transient 2. Allergen Common symptoms runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, sore throat, nasal congestion, eczema, dermatitis In high concentrations, molds can trigger symptoms in individuals with no known allergies Long-term exposure can sensitize an individual, inducing allergies and airway-reactivity

23 23 Types of Effects (cont.) 3. Infectious Direct infection occurs when pathogens attack immune- compromised individuals E.g., Aspergillus fumigatus known to cause aspergillosis (ABPA) 4. Toxic (rare) Toxic molds produce chemicals called mycotoxins Certain species (e.g, stachybotrus, fusarium, trichoderma) are known carcinogens Mycotoxins readily absorbed by intestinal lining, airways, skin Presence of toxic molds usually associated with long-standing water problem

24 24 Who is most at risk? Individuals with lower-airway diseases Asthma, chronic bronchitis Molds directly tied to presence, persistence and increased severity of asthma episodes Young children (birth to age 2 – critical window) Allergic sensitization/genetic predisposition Incidence of RSV Elders Individuals with compromised immune systems Individuals with allergies (upper respiratory)

25 IV. Investigation Key information Objectives of investigation Types of sampling

26 26 Objectives of Investigation 1. Identify all moldy areas If occupant reports mold, search throughly (under sinks, in cabinets, behind toilets, behind furniture; sub-floor, drywall, crawl space) 2. Identify all possible causes Plumbing or appliance leaks? High humidity? Condensation? 3. Reduce exposure to occupants in home/building 4. Develop plan for clean-up/remediation 5. Ensure that maintenance staff and occupant are informed

27 27 Types of Samples When is sampling necessary? If legal action is being considered or there are serious health impacts that require specialized medical treatment. Is species identification necessary? Identifying species of mold or airborne sampling is not recommended for investigation or remediation Microscope can help confirm presence of mold No standards for exposure levels of mold / spores

28 V. Remediation

29 29 First Things First Mold clean-up is not effective until the source of moisture is addressed. Mold is a moisture problem

30 30 Mold Remediation Less than 10 sq ft PPE (minimum) N-95 respirator, gloves, goggles Containment: None required Between 10 sq ft and 100 sq ft PPE limited or full (use professional judgment) Respirator (N-95, half-face, full-face) Gloves, goggles, foot covering Disposable overalls/disposable full body clothing

31 31 Mold Remediation Continued Containment: Limited Polyethylene sheeting ceiling to floor around affected area, slit entry, covering flap Maintain area under negative pressure with HEPA filtered fan unit. Block supply and return air vents within containment area More than 100 sq ft Call in professionals / get training

32 32 Safety Guidelines & Resources To prevent exposure and assure containment, critical that maintenance staff employ safety guidelines… IICRC S520 – Standard Guide for Professional Mold Remediation Building Sciences Corporation - RR-0210 Mold Remediation in Occupied Homes

33 33 Safety Guidelines - Occupants Home-owner or tenant information Prevention and clean-up for small areas (cleaning non-porous surfaces and wood with detergent; repair moisture source; dry material, etc) Many people use bleach, which kills mold, but is not a good cleaning agent Bleach is a strong respiratory irritant Surfactant (soap) is better

34 VI. Prevention Key information Principles for existing homes & buildings Principles for new construction & renovations

35 35 Principles for Existing Homes Work with occupants, maintenance and custodial staff to focus on prevention practices 1. Keep it clean 2. Keep it dry 3. Keep it well ventilated 4. Keep it well maintained

36 36 1. Clean Control dust sources Regular cleaning Carpet removal where possible Use of walk-off mats Hepa-filter vacuuming Reduced clutter Shoes-off policy Principles for Existing Homes (cont.)

37 37 Principles for Existing Homes (cont.) 2. Dry & Ventilated Ventilation Install & use exhaust fans vented to outdoors in kitchens and bathrooms, clothes dryers–eliminate moisture that builds up from everyday activities Attic and crawl spaces – Keep humidity below 50% to prevent condensation on building materials Water damage Thoroughly clean & dry water-damaged carpets and building materials (within 24 hours, if possible) or Consider removal or replacement

38 38 New Construction & Renovation New homes and buildings Water damage costs up to 3X more to fix than to properly install, maintain moisture controls Employ mold-resistant construction products and practices Ensure contractors trained in installation of key moisture- abatement materials (specifically, vapor barriers) Install proper ventilation to ensure regulated temperatures and vapor/moisture reduction

39 Additional Resources on Mold Indoor Air Quality Association American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency New Residential Mold Guide http// http// U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mold Resources http// http//

40 Additional Resources on Mold Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, March 2001 http// http// U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Molds in the Environment http// http// Questions and Answers on Stachybotrys chartarum and other molds http// http// Managing Water Infiltration Into Buildings http// http//

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