What is Toxic Mold Remediation?

R. Anacan

Toxic mold remediation is the process of removing mold from a building and cleaning the areas where mold infestation has occurred to prevent the re-occurrence of an infestation. The specific process of toxic mold remediation can vary depending on the level of mold infestation. Smaller-scale mold infestations may be remediated with minimal work or disturbance, while large-scale mold issues may take an extended period of time to properly remediate.

An orange with mold on it.
An orange with mold on it.

While the terms toxic mold and mold infestation cause a great deal of concern for many, the truth is that mold are a type of fungi that are present almost everywhere. It would be nearly impossible to avoid exposure to some type of mold during everyday life. It would also be impossible to completely remove or prevent the presence of any and all mold in a building.

A bleach and water solution can be an important part of getting rid of mold.
A bleach and water solution can be an important part of getting rid of mold.

However mold that is allowed to grow unchecked in a building can cause potentially harmful health effects. Certain molds produce an allergen that can trigger a response or attack in those who are allergic to mold. Symptoms of exposure to toxic mold may include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Because of the potential health effects it is important to remove indoor mold when discovered.

Once a mold infestation is discovered, the first goal is to locate the source of the mold and the circumstances leading to the growth of mold. For example, if mold is detected on the ceiling of a room, the remediation process may include cutting a hole in the ceiling to look for the presence of a water leak or intrusion that could be fueling the growth of mold. Mold grows best in humid, damp environments, therefore it is critical to find and eliminate the source of moisture.

Once the source of moisture has been addressed, the next step of toxic mold remediation involves killing any toxic mold that may be present. Remediators will usually apply a solution of chlorine bleach and water or any number of commercial products, to the infested area to kill any mold present. After the area has been cleaned and treated, remediators will often spray a sealer on the affected area to prevent the re-growth of mold in the area.

The next step of the toxic mold remediation process is to thoroughly dry the infested area. This may include the use of fans, air blowers, wet-dry vacuums and dehumidifiers. If the damage is particularly severe, the whole or partial replacement of drywall, ceiling, and flooring may also be required.

Once remediation is completed, testing may be done to determine the amount of mold spores that are present on the inside of a room or building. This is to ensure that the mold has been thoroughly removed. Measurements of mold spore counts are taken inside the building and outside as well. The two samples are then compared to each other.

If the amount of mold spores measured on the inside greatly exceeds the amount of spores measured on the outside, a mold infestation problem may still remain and the toxic mold remediation process may need to continue. It should be noted that it is expected that the interior measurement of mold spores will generally exceed the exterior measurement. Therefore a slight increase of the interior mold spore measurement over the exterior measurement is not necessarily a sign that the mold infestation persists.

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