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This article is the follow-up to our previous post on mold sensitivity- what it is, how it develops, and what symptoms to look out for if you suspect you are experiencing it. In this article we will explain more about why mold remediation- the process of removing mold and creating a safe, clean environment afterward- is vital to those who have a mold sensitivity and some of the factors that may make a remediation more complicated.

As we explained previously, mold sensitivity often comes as a consequence of improper mold remediation, which makes it even more vital to deal with it properly. Most of the work done to develop mold remediation procedures focuses on creating a suitable environment for the average person, but even when these are carried out to the industry standard, they still may not be enough for those who are sensitive to mold. So what’s the problem?

The largest issue with an “average” mold remediation project is the narrow scope they take. There are more factors that need to be considered for someone sensitive to mold than these projects cover, namely secondary contamination. Secondary contamination is the places that mold can travel to that are not as visible as the immediate site of the project, like HVAC systems, which leads to further spread despite the surfaces seeming to be unscathed. In some cases, it may even be necessary to rebuild parts of the house that are damaged to fully eradicate the mold, and although this presents a significant challenge, it’s more than worth it in the end.

After the initial source of the mold has been removed, the HVAC systems have been cleaned, and any contaminated contents within the building have been either thoroughly cleaned or removed, there is a final important step: a full structure cleaning. This is often necessary to remove any residual mold contamination that the first steps have not removed, and the cleaning must be of the highest standard, beyond the typical industry cleaning techniques. It may sound like overkill, but for someone suffering from the symptoms of mold allergies and sensitivity, it’s well worth it.

When the work is finished, there is one more crucial step to ensure the safety and satisfaction of mold sensitized individuals: properly evaluating the levels of mold spores and the overall cleanliness of the area. There are multiple methods that can be used to do so, including:

Air samples:

  • Particle counter
  • Culture plates that collect spores by impaction or settling
  • Spore trap using different types of cassettes
  • Electronic instruments that actually categorize mold spores as compared to dust (such as Instascope)

Surface samples:

  • Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI)
  • Tape lift

Personal samples:

  • Nasal swabs for viable spores
  • Urine samples for Mycotoxins

Although not all companies are aware of mold sensitivity and the challenges it can pose, it’s important to educate yourself before dealing with any major mold issues, and ensure that whoever is remediating the problem is well aware of the deeper issues mold can cause. The Flood Medix are always here for any questions you may have- don’t be afraid to reach out!

Another important factor that should not be overlooked is that a quick glance at the chart reinforces the importance of developing the team approach in addressing the multiple problems of the client. Too often, the contractor who wants to help, and shows some competence in this specialized area, becomes “the answer” for the client.

That quickly will put the restoration contractor in the dangerous position of trying to answer questions that should be addressed by medical professionals, assessors, and even a banker.

A small subset of mold remediation assessors and contractors have figured out how to be successful in the specialty market of mold remediation for sensitized individuals. Rather than just being frustrated by the mold situation that is often described as involving a “crazy” person, these assessors and remediators have built on the standard remediation protocols to make them more effective for individuals who are physically unable to tolerate even small amounts of fungal contamination.

There are many sampling options that can be used for projects with sensitized individuals. Regardless of the inspection/sampling technique, clear endpoints have to be established and communicated before work begins.

Air samples can include:

  • Particle counter
  • Culture plates that collect spores by impaction or settling
  • Spore trap using different types of cassettes
  • Electronic instruments that actually categorize mold spores as compared to dust (such as Instascope)

Surface samples can include:

  • Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI)
  • Tape lift

Surface samples can include:

  • Nasal swabs for viable spores
  • Urine samples for Mycotoxins