When mold is found in the home, chances are that some of the molds may be the toxic type ?that jeopardize the health of the inhabitants and cause symptoms of black mold sickness. There are times when the symptoms of toxic mold can trigger an emergency that requires immediate action such as:
- When several occupants of the building experience breathing difficulties
- Flooding that dampens carpets and causes widespread mold growth
- One or more residents having a life-threatening health condition
In emergency situations, it is very important to take appropriate actions without delay. You can take the following steps according to urgency of the situation:
- Call the emergency telephone number and request assistance
- Provide extra ventilation using fans
- Evacuate the building
- Communicate the problem to other residents and parents of young children
To hire or not to hire
When residents of a home or apartment block begin to show symptoms of mold sickness, the help of a building expert to conduct a thorough indoor air quality (IAQ) assessment may be necessary. The following checklist will help decide when to hire an IAQ professional:
- Visible mold infestation of large areas
- Complaints of poor air quality following a flood
- Symptoms of mold exposure in a large number of occupants
- A physician has detected mold illness symptoms in an occupant of the building
Testing or Inspection
Mold testing and mold inspection are two different operations. When the presence of mold is known, testing is done to determine the extent of infestation and find out whether it is toxic mold that causes health symptoms. Air samples, surface swabs or culture plate samples may be taken and sent for laboratory analysis. Even self-testing kits are available.
When toxic mold growth is suspected, but the source is not identified, a thorough inspection of the building should be done by an experienced mold inspector. Often, it is a musty odor, or symptoms of mold exposure such as allergic reactions that appear only inside the building, which arouses suspicion. Mold inspection ideally includes locating the source and determining the cause.
Avoiding conflict of interest
When toxic black mold growth is found to be confined to small areas less than 30 sq ft., self-cleaning is an option. For larger areas professional help is required.
It is very important that the person conducting the inspection and evaluating the work should not have any association with the company undertaking the remediation project. After completing mold remediation an independent inspector should do the certification.
Pest control operators or HVAC contractors might offer to do toxic mold clean up as an additional service. But black mold remediation is a professional job to be done by well-trained and experienced experts only.
Temporary measures or permanent solution
Installing a mold barrier with polythene sheets, painting over toxic mold growth or spraying sealants are just temporary measures. They are employed when the occupants for some reason cannot move out of the affected building, but they do not fix the problem.
A complete solution to toxic black mold exposure includes
- Recognizing the problem
- Finding the source
- Detecting the cause
- Removing the cause
More often than not it may be necessary for residents with mold sickness symptoms to stay away from a toxic mold-infested building during the time of mold remediation and restoration, especially if there is extensive damage. The objects from the building, including clothes and furnishings, should be cleaned thoroughly before they are moved into the new location.