The organisms we call mold and mildew that appear usually as black, gray, or green spots on roofs, walls, ceilings, and floors are members of a large, diverse group called the “Fungi Kingdom”. There are more than 100,000 known species of fungi found thriving under various environmental conditions worldwide and anticipated millions more that are not known or identified. These organisms, in order to thrive, need only a nutrient source (wood, metal, fuel, concrete, “anything carbon-based”) and moisture. Do not be scared - be Informed! The fungi kingdom lives in harmony with humans, the animal kingdom when in a controlled state, each having their own place in this world.
Mold (fungi) is part of our natural environment. Outdoors -mold plays a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees and all other carbon-based elements, but indoors- mold does exist, but elevated growth should be avoided. Mold reproduces by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye (microscopic) and float with indoors and outdoors air. Mold may begin growing indoors if the building structure was wet when constructed (building products with high moisture content, not protected from natural causes such as rain), poorly ventilated, subject to other elements such as excessive shade (not enough sunlight), other causes of water intrusion and areas that possess a Relative Humidity (RH) of 60% or greater. Mold spores (shell protecting the organism inside) will disintegrate with water, and the organism will attach itself to a food source and begin forming a colony and multiply on a variety of surfaces when moisture requirements are met.
It is impossible to get rid of all molds and mold spores. It is also dangerous for the property owner to use chemicals as bleach on visible mold colonies. Why? Because there is always a balance in nature, both mold and bacteria. When a product such as bleach is used, it kills only those species vulnerable to bleach leaving the other species of mold and bacteria without competition and hence, out-of-control. According to science, mold spores are designed to live an undetermined period of time until just the right conditions (moisture and nutrient source) are available to them. Then, the mold spore shell breaks down, and it begins to grow and colonize with and fights against other species of fungus and other organisms. For these reasons, it is very important for the property owner to employ a mold service that is certified in mold inspection and remediation using the most advanced methods and controls that will reduce mold levels and, at the same time, not endanger their workers or occupants of the property.
A common term used today is “black mold”. “Black mold” is a term used by the media, not science. The notorious black mold identified to cause health problems is Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra). This mold requires a lot of water or moisture to grow; when found, it indicates a significant moisture presence. Normally, it grows on materials with high-fiber and high nitrogen content, such as paper (including wallpaper, and the paper covering gypsum wallboard), and wood or jute (frequently used for the backing of older carpet types). In the outdoors environment, it is typically found in soil, rotting hay, and leaf debris. Stachybotrys chartarum, along with other molds, produce mycotoxins (chemicals) that discourage the growth of other molds and are known to cause health problems in vertebrates (animals and humans).
Some fungus types (mold types) produce metabolic products called mycotoxins (myco=fungal, toxin=poison) that discourage bacteria or other fungi from growing in the same area. When these are present in abundance, they may cause health problems in animals or humans. Thus, mycotoxins are natural products from the mold that cause a toxic response in vertebrates when sufficient amounts are eaten, inhaled or touched. Some fungi that are capable of generating toxins (called “toxigenic molds”) do not always produce toxins in every situation. Scientists believe that certain very specific conditions must be present for a toxigenic mold to actually produce toxins, such as the right combination of temperature, moisture, type of material the mold is using as food, and perhaps, competition from other microorganisms.
You may suspect the presence of hidden mold if a building smells moldy, or an acid-like smell or metallic taste even though you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems or symptoms. Mold may be hidden in places such as the backside of drywall, wallpaper, or paneling; the top side of ceiling tiles; or underside of carpets and pads; etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside wall cavities, around pipes (leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind or underneath furniture, inside ductwork and HVAC air handler and ducts (where condensation forms), and in roof materials, above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation or insufficient ventilation). Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper, or a sudden decrease in humidity can lead to a massive release of spores if mold is growing on the underside of the paper.
Mold has the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins, see FAQ #5). Inhaling or ingesting mold chemicals or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to molds are common. These reactions can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Sadly, symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. This simple response provides a brief overview and does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. Please consult your health professional or personal physician if you have questions. Other web sites such as Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control-Mold Resource Page, may further assist you with your health questions.
Current Florida laws, Florida Statute 468 Mold Assessment and Mold Remediation. There is no state requirement for an inspection.
(1) Source of the problem
(2) Origin of the problem
(3) A written protocol to cure the issue
(4) Equipment that should be used
It is very important to know the health of your living environment. Certified mold inspections by Mold Control Solutions and Indoor Air Care (MCSIAC) provide qualitative and quantitative laboratory data, visible inspection findings, and forensic findings using the latest validated instruments. Thermal Imaging is also employed. Thermal Imaging allows a properly trained technician to image objects by temperature differentials on surfaces walls, ceiling, etc. These techniques will not only indicate the presence of elevated mold, but MCSAIC will also tell you the areas mold growth has contaminated and where it has not contaminated in your indoor environment, total mold concentration, total mold concentration by fungus types, and suggestions for proper procedures to remediate the mold problem.
Unit pricing is available. Pricing varies on the size of the property, number of floors, number of A/C units, and other factors that will demand the amount of work to be performed. Mold inspection by MCSIAC is not just a visible assessment. Mold-like structures and spores cannot be identified by the naked eye. Mold inspection is a scientific procedure ensuring the integrity of the specimens taken from your property and analyses by an accredited laboratory specializing in microorganisms. Laboratory accreditations are very important! Cross-contamination is prevented, and chain-of-custody control is required. MCSIAC inspectors are trained and certified by Mold Free Corp. Dr Gary Rosen. Do not let the cost deter you from having a mold inspection. Ask for a free estimate on the phone. Please inquire about our pricing by calling (904) 887-0272.
No, but advisable. We believe that you should know as much as possible about the health of your property. MCSIAC mold inspection protocol will require that no one be present in the room when air samples are taken. Please follow the inspector’s instructions to prevent contamination of samples. Our inspectors are knowledgeable and are happy to entertain your questions.
Mold Control Solutions will provide its clients with a written report interpreting the laboratory analysis and include suggestions for mold control. Interpretation of the data is provided in accordance with the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist (ACGIH) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA); and other major laboratory guidelines. If problems are identified, MCSIAC will recommend prevention and remedial procedures. Also, if mold remediation is required, MCSIAC will offer its services to ‘CLEAR’ or ‘POST TEST’ the remediated area, providing assurance that the remediation was effective.
Mold Control Solutions and Indoor Air Care (MCSIAC) adheres to strict protocols and standards approved by the ACGIH and AIHA. MCSIAC inspection is thorough and complete providing the client important information to protect their property and health.
A Mold Inspection may include one or more of the following methods.
a) A visible examination of all surfaces of the property.
1. Walls, floors, ceilings, roof, attic space, crawlspace and HVAC system(s).
b) Digital moisture readings to pinpoint general areas of water intrusion.
c) Infrared Thermal Imaging to specifically determine the source or sources of water intrusion. Here, pictures and videos (if necessary) are taken to document building system failures and/or determine the whys and wherefores of the Initiating Event [An event such as water leak, water intrusion, high moisture, and high Relative Humidity] that caused supported elevated mold growth and determine what resolutions might be taken to stop water intrusion, excessive moisture and higher than normal relative humidity.
d) Photographic documentation of all areas suspected of supporting accelerated mold growth.
e) Sample air, surface or bulk and provide to a 3rd party accredited party laboratory for analysis.
f) Final Written Report that includes:
1. Determination of an initiating event such as roof or water pipe leak, HVAC duct penetration, HVAC condensation issues, or inadequate ventilation and high moisture areas, to name a few.
2. Laboratory factors and quantitative data on mold spore concentrations and/or Formed Colony Unit (FCU) growth.
3. Identify areas in your living envelope that contain high levels of biological contamination and if the air quality is compromised with high levels of biological contamination.
4. Protocol: Suggestions on correcting an Initiating Event and clean-up of biological contamination, if any.
5. Follow-up actions that will ensure successful remediation.