Multiple Steps Required to Remediate Mold
If mold in your home is making you sick, it is critical to understand all the various elements in its removal. Removing mold from your home is complex and there are no “silver bullets” to completely eradicate this mold. Think of mold as if it were lice. It gets everywhere and it is a challenge to get rid of. In addition, everything needs to be remediated because it will grow back. Mold only needs to land on any organic material and combine with moisture to grow in colonies. Mold is involved in the organic decay of all materials. Once it has taken a foothold in any material and the decay process is started, it almost always has to be completely removed. This means that there is no magic treatment or product to stop the decay. Removing the source of moisture can leave mold dormant. In that form, it is not harmful; however, if it meets moisture in the air or a water source, it will become active.
About Mold in General
The words mold and fungi can be used interchangeably but there are subtle differences. Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae (similar to the roots of plants). In contrast, fungi that can adopt a single-celled growth habit are called yeasts. Molds are a large number of fungal species in which the growth of hyphae that feeds on organic material and moisture leads to the decay of organic matter. The discoloration and decay you see on walls, carpets, and drywall is the result.
Mold spores are the reproductive unit of molds. They grow outwardly when mold reproduces forming colonies. Mold spores are a fraction of the width of a human hair and can drift in the air unnoticeably.
Mold or fungi, are the most widely distributed elements on earth and are of immense medical and environmental importance. Mold is ubiquitous. That means it exists everywhere and is constantly encountered. There are approximately 100,000 known species of fungi that live in all temporal conditions. Some scientists estimate that there are 2-5 billion species that share the earth with us. We breathe in most mold spores harmlessly.
Mold spores vary in size and color; however, most mold spores are as small as bacteria, less than 4 microns in size – so small that as many as 250,000 spores can fit on a pin head. A person can inhale as many as 750,000 of these spores per minute. If the mold is visible, it comes in a variety of colors. If you can visually see mold damage, the spore count is an order of magnitude higher than the examples above and is at dangerous levels. Also, if the musty smell of mold is strong, it is likely at dangerous levels.
We share the planet with fungi; and fungi are necessary for life on our planet. They perform many important roles:
- Fertilization of soil for plant growth;
- Fungi are present in our own gut microflora. It Interacts with “good bacteria” in our gut microbiome to help us break down and digest food;
- Mold metabolites created some of the first antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents;
- Specific mold species are used in the creation of many life-saving medicines including synthesized human protein therapeutics such as insulin, human growth hormone, and many other life-saving medicines that have been introduced over the past few decades.
Mold is utilized daily to create some of the most common foods we eat. Mold is used to make of breads and cheese. Fermentation is used to produce alcohol, wine, and beer. Mushrooms and truffles are examples of fungi that people enjoy eating.
The study of molds, mycology, is still in the relatively early stages of science. Prior to the gene sequencing technologies developed in the 90s, the study of molds was limited to fungi that could be cultured and studied under a microscope. Only recently has the cost of technology decreased to where genetic exploration of mold allows us to learn more about the roles of fungi and its potential importance to many elements of human life.
Four Types of Mold Impact on Human Health
- Allergenic molds can cause an allergic reaction in some people, especially those with existing allergy sensitivities or asthma. These molds are inhaled and trigger allergic reactions in humans.
- Pathogenic molds are types of molds that can cause infections, especially in those with a suppressed immune system. Fungal overgrowth occurs in fungal sinusitis where fungus reproduces into “fungal balls” in sinuses that have to be removed by endoscopic surgery.
- Toxigenic molds, such as black mold, are the molds that can pose toxic secondary metabolites called mycotoxins. These pose serious health threats and have been linked to diseases such as respiratory disease (asthma), neurological problems, extreme fatigue, and cancer.
- Candida or yeast overgrowth. Our bodys’ natural microflora contain yeasts that can over-reproduce leading to yeast infections. Oral thrush, vaginal yeast infections, and toenail fungus are common conditions caused by yeast overgrowth in our bodies.
Mold Issues in the Home
Since mold exists everywhere, any moisture problem can lead to mold infestation in the home. Water leaks or intrusion into the home can expose virtually any organic material used to make home furnishings to mold overgrowth. This overgrowth leads to colonization. Flooding can expose any wood, carpet, carpet padding, and tack strips beneath to intense moisture that if not completely dried in 24-48 hours, can lead to mold growth. Leaks can expose drywall to water. Drywall, made primarily of gypsum and paper absorbs water and can sustain dampness for extended periods of time. Insulation in our attics and around ductwork can become moldy. Condensation from HVAC systems combined with dust can produce mold. In cases where HVAC systems are exposed to mold, mold will inevitably be distributed by the ventilation system throughout the home.
Multiple Actions are Required to Remove Mold Overgrowth from the Home
- The source of moisture must be identified and fixed. Even a pinhole leak in plumbing can cause extensive mold damage.
- If humidity in the air is above 50%, a dehumidifier must be used to remove moisture from the air and prevent further mold growth.
- Any materials that are visually mold contaminated must be removed safely from the home. Mold remediation often includes using certified mold remediation contractors to remove and replace drywall, carpet, and sometimes furniture that is too far infested to remediate.
- HVAC systems and ductwork may need to be properly cleaned to eliminate distribution of mold in the ventilation system.
- Mold in the air needs to be removed through filtration and/or treatment.
Addressing Fungal Air Counts and Mold on All Surfaces
There are several ways to remove mold from the general environment and air.
- Remediators should contain areas worked in and use negative air pressure and HEPA “Air Scrubbers” to remove the mold from the air.
- HEPA vacuums are used to remove mold spores and fragments from horizontal surfaces such as floors and counters, and also from upholstery.
- Surfaces must be cleaned with products that remove mold
o There are many chemical products that are sold to remove mold while cleaning everything in the home. Unfortunately, chemicals are pollutants themselves and have their own issues with human health for sensitive individuals;
o Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar can be used to wipe things down as a safer alternative;
- Fogging with a natural botanical is a means to reach large areas and all surfaces throughout the home. Fogging also provides the benefit of distributing microscopic particles into the air to reach airborne mold spores that settle on the ground for HEPA vacuuming to remove debris. This is extremely effective in reducing the fungal air count. Since most mold health issues are the result of inhalation, this method is extremely effective. Otherwise, homes must rely on air filtration in the HVAC system to remove the mold spores from the home, which is typically an insufficient strategy.
- Utilization of home HEPA Air Purifiers in rooms where you spend most of your time will remove mold spores in the air over a longer period of time.
Once a home is remediated, or if the air count is high enough to create symptoms, reducing the fungal count in the air will help individuals heal rather than continue to assault their immune system with continuous inhalation. This does not always eliminate the need for remediation; however, by reducing the air count to a minimum, residual mold will take time to gain a foothold and grow to the level where spores become airborne again. This is sometimes an effective “band aid” solution where fogging must be done regularly to keep fungal loads low. This is often the only option for renters and apartment dwellers who have little control on their landlord’s attentiveness. It is also often the only reasonable option for those who are unable to afford full remediation.
Bio-Balance Hot Fogging Solutions
These solutions will reach all areas of the home including corners and crevices to reduce the fungal air count dramatically, down to close to zero. These packages do not replace identifying the source of mold, removing it, and fixing it when possible! To earn more about Bio-Balance DIY Fogging solutions, click HERE.
- Fogging rooms with the BioBalance HavenFog Mini Kit (for <1000 sq. ft.)
- Fogging the entire home with BioBalance HavenFog Kit (for <4000 sq. ft)
Bio-Balance Cold Fogging Solutions
- Maintenance misting using a cold fogging solution that aerosolizes BioBalance HavenMist Solution diluted with distilled water is a quick and easy way to treat regularly to reduce fungal concentrations in the air and on the surfaces of the home.
- The BioBalance HavenMist Kit is an inexpensive way to spot fog rooms, furniture, carpets, cars, and closets. This fogger weighs less than 5 lb. so you can ably reach all areas including cabinets and above furnishings to fog your home.
- The HavenMist Large Kit can be used for large homes or regular maintenance fogging of commercial spaces. This fogger weighs less than 10 lb. and comes with a shoulder harness to carry the weight, with a delivery hose to allow for agile fogging throughout the area to be treated like the smaller fogger.