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What Should I Expect from Toxic Mold Testing?

Article Details
  • Written By: Cheryl L. Likins
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 17 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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If the presence of toxic mold is suspected, or if its presence has been already been determined, it is critical to know the appropriate course of action. Toxic mold testing can identify where the mold is in your home, and may be able to identify why it is growing where it is. It is not only unsightly, but toxic mold exposure can cause respiratory problems, allergies, headaches and fatigue. At greatest risk are those with compromised immune systems, the young and the elderly.

Mold poses significant health risks, so your goal should be to eliminate it and present its recurrence. The key to successfully doing so involves recognizing not only what mold is, but also how it develops. Molds or fungi naturally occur and provide a useful function by breaking down organic material in the environment. Mold spores are present both indoors and outdoors; however, they can thrive and grow into molds in water or damp areas.

Sewage; contaminated water; leaky plumbing, roofs and windows; and seepage between walls are other likely sites where mold can flourish. Hidden mold is not uncommon and can cause the same problems as visible mold. Unless leaks are fixed, water problems will continue, as will the mold. Therefore, successful remediation must address both aspects. Moreover, it is a good idea to take seriously the presence of toxic mold and remove it promptly.

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People have often used chlorine bleach to eliminate mold; however, this is not an effective strategy. Instead, professionals use biocides and other remediation techniques. It is advisable to consult a professional for toxic mold testing and to implement a strategy to correct the environment.

Decontamination experts may conduct toxic mold testing to determine the degree to which mold is present. In the US, the use of an American Industrial Hygiene (AIHA) lab that is accredited by the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program (EMLAP) is recommended. Clients should be aware that the dwelling may require evacuation while mold is removed. Further, water-soaked, mold-contaminated wallpaper, rugs, furniture, and even walls may need to be replaced. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts should be cleaned by professionals using formulas registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for equipment disinfection.

Another option for toxic mold removal is dry ice blasting, which clears both the mold and the spores without damaging mechanical parts or electrical wires. Once the mold has been cleared using whatever means deemed appropriate by remediation professionals, the area should be vacuumed using a HEPA filter unit. Workers should be wearing protective clothing and masks during the process, and debris should be stored in containers or non-porous bags for safe disposal. Clients should expect this level of care from hired professional remediation experts, as accurate toxic mold testing and remediation are serious matters.

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