To understand traditional mold remediation, it is important to understand Mold History. Mold has been an issue for centuries. You can read about the challenges of mold in homes even in Biblical times. Even before science began to link mold exposure to human illnesses, people knew that mold was problematic. In Leviticus, Moses and Aaron received instruction on steps to take if mold shows up in a home. Fast forward to early America and the Salem witch trials.
Many scholars have now linked the neurological breakdowns of these people to mold in the area. Again, 1920’s in the Ukraine, horses began falling ill with a mysterious illness. It wasn’t until nearly two decades later and thousands of horse deaths that scientists finally linked the mysterious illness to moldy feed. In the 1940’s, this deadly fungus received a name- Stachybotrys. And it was another 30 years after that, that the toxin produced by Stachybotrys was identified as Tricothecenes. The science that figured this mold and associated toxins also became widely used in warfare. Southeast Asia, in the form of Yellow Rain, and in the Iran-Iraq war the nerve gas was known and used under the title T2. Along with that, many celebrities have documented cases of moldy homes, and the illnesses associated.
So why is mold seemingly a much worse problem in the 21st century than ever before?
A couple of reasons:
- Sheetrock became more popular replacing plaster in walls of homes in the 1950’s to present day. Sheetrock absorbs moisture, and the paper lining on the outside of sheetrock is a perfect food source for Stachybotrys.
- In the 1970’s, with the energy shortages, long gas lines, and general panic relative to energy supplies, there became an enormous effort to reduce energy usage in homes. This changed building codes nationwide, and inevitably lead to homes being “stuffed” with insulation, wrapped with Tyvex or like material, and insulation companies going the extra step using plastic stapled to the studs essentially locking the insulation between the studs and virtually eliminating any air “leakage” within the framework of the home. Adding to this homes that are becoming more and more of an architectural masterpiece utilizing changing rooflines, stucco, lofts, overhangs, etc. making it very complicated and sometimes impossible for water to drain off of the home. All of these things are paradis to a mold spore. The unintentional consequences of these seemingly unrelated and innocent changes created a perfect storm for mold and mold related illness. We can now comfortably say that we have given mold plenty of food and water. When the home does have water intrusion, we have made it very difficult to “dry out”. Couple that with the obvious concentration of mold and toxins now lingering in the home longer, unable to escape since the home is so air tight.
Studies by the Mayo Clinic now show that almost all sinus infections are related to indoor mold, and Asthma rates have skyrocketed in this country since the 1980’s. Now consider present day mold remediation. It has actually become an insurance company’s nightmare, with almost all of them now claiming that they will cover a flood, but run away from claims for mold remediation.
Here is a typical scenario for a flooded home. The homeowner returns after a vacation and discovers the hose has been running for a week, non stop, and has completely saturated the ground around the foundation, the foundation itself, and water has now found its way into the basement and soaked walls flooring and carpeting. The obvious next step to this scenario is to call the insurance company who will dispatch a “dry-out and contain team”. This team will hang some plastic in an attempt to contain the problem area. They will drill holes into the walls, or cut the wall out and run fans for a few days to “dry out” the area. Next comes the rebuild team that will, maintain the plastic confinement area, and rebuild walls, lay new carpet or hardwood, paint, etc. This same group will swap out the fans for hepa vacuums. They will run the hepa vacuums for a few days, then sometimes, (but not always) do an air quality test within the confined area. The home is now declared safe.
Here are some valid concerns with these well intentioned processes:
- Mold is throughout the home unless you were able to dry out the area in less than 24 hours. Studies show that mold will find the moisture almost immediately and begin to propagate within 24 hours.
- By employing fans to the wet area, you are essentially blowing spores throughout the home. A typical mold spore is 20 microns in size. You cannot contain mold by haphazardly putting up a plastic wall with duct tape all the while workers are walking into the area and back out.
- Depending on the history of the home, and past water intrusion incidents, the home probably had moderate amounts of mold before the incident. It is estimated that over 50 percent of homes have an excessive mold spore population. Spores float around faster than you can smell bacon cooking somewhere in the home. So the incident involving the flood just added to the total mold count.
- The whole home is likely sick, from the totality of the history of the home and the most recent incidence. You will notice that traditional mold remediators do NOT take an air quality test outside of the confinement area. They only test within the confinement area and do this only after they have ran hepa vacuums for a few days. It really is a very senseless, low tech solution to a very serious problem.
In conclusion, Pure Maintenance of Washington recognizes that the entire home needs to be addressed. This has become more and more obvious over the years as a good portion of our business has come from customers who had water intrusion in the past, and used traditional mold remediators. We have noted over and over again for over 10 years, that it is likely that someone in the home will be sick in the months to come after traditional remediation. We also have treated homes of literally hundreds of patients of healthcare practitioners who have recognized that they are sick from the mold in the home. Pure Maintenance of Washington is has recognized that the entire home needs to be addressed, and has a patented, effective, affordable solution.