1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

September 17, 2008

:261 Physically Removing Mold

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:261 EcoTip: There has been a lot of confusion about using biocide to kill mold after it has grown in buildings. In part this is because there are many chemicals being marketed for mold. The key consideration is the material on which the mold has grown. If you have mold in the bathroom tile grout or other hard non-porous surfaces – then mold cleaners can be effective (although frequently quite toxic). If mold has grown on gypsum wall board, insulation or other porous surfaces – the use of biocide is a waste of time and money, and may make things worse by providing a false sense of security and making the environment more toxic.

For cleaning hard non-porous surfaces with mold – I like H2 Orange2 cleaner. It is hydrogen peroxide based and has a Green Seal certification as an environmentally responsible cleaning product. 

For porous materials they should be physically removed. The IICRC(see EcoTip :259) has published the S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remedaition. This is the standard of care for the mold remediation industry.

EPA also has excellent information at www.epa.gov/iaq/molds

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :256, :257, :258, :259, :260

This is the sixth in a series of EcoTips about protecting oneself when remodeling and working around buildings when participating in disaster recovery such as occurred with hurricane Katrina and is going on now with Ike. This information is timely since 2008 is the most active hurricane season since 2005 and many buildings are being damaged.

According to the EPA in Mold Remedaition in Schools and Commercial Buildings

The purpose of mold remediation is to remove the mold to prevent human exposure and damage to building materials and furnishings. It is necessary to clean up mold contamination, not just to kill the mold. Dead mold is still allergenic, and some dead molds are potentially toxic. The use of a biocide, such as chlorine bleach, is not recommended as a routine practice during mold remediation

 

 

 

 

So why do the Red Cross and FEMA advocate the use of chlorine bleach after flood losses? Its for the bacteria – and that is perfectly appropriate. The problem is people assume it will help with the mold -but as stated above the goal with mold isn’t killing it – its physical removal.

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