SUBFLOORS (BUILDING STRUCTURE COMMONLY AFFECTED & UNNOTICED)

Most of the building materials affected by a clean water source water damage can be dry and the loss mitigated during (ASD) Applied Structural Drying Procedures. But in the water damage restoration industry the documentation of the loss is a "most do criteria". Here are some of the important factos to considers during the mitigation process for documentation.
  • Age of the building
  • Hazards (Lead & Asbestos Potential areas)
  • Category of the Water Damage
  • Source of loss
  • Moisture Content Levels
  • Invasive Inspections Inspection on Areas with air flow limitations like subfloors, conscrete or wood substrates, floors and ceiling joist, plaster materials on walls and floors, wood floor planks, parket floors, fire code walls, wood and "MDF" Medious density fiberboard moldings.
  • Pre existing Conditions
  • Pre existing Condition source and cross contamination potential.
  • Pre Existing Condition Growth Stage

SICK BUILDING SYNDROME INFORMATION

 

The original publication about pulmonary hemorrhage fueled concerns and speculation about the health effects of Stachybotrys chartarum, or "black mold". "Black mold" is indeed unsightly, but has not been identified as a cause of human illness.

"Toxic mold syndrome" is a legal construct, rather than a medical diagnosis, involving unidentified disease processes, a constellation of disparate symptoms, and reports of illness uncorroborated by a physical examination of the patients or a professional examination of their surroundings. Although "black mold" or "toxic mold" has been identified in litigation as a cause of human illness, there is no established cluster of symptoms or physical findings associated with this alleged disease. There are neither diagnostic criteria nor any valid scientific publications establishing Stachybotrys or other molds as a cause of these diverse symptoms.

The Environmental Protection Agency defines "sick building syndrome" as "situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified". Those effects might include headache, fatigue, and irritation of skin, eyes, or throat, among others. Most often, these symptoms are linked to indoor air quality problems when a building is insufficiently ventilated or maintained.

It is possible for mold to be an indoor air contaminant, for example in heating ducts or other areas where moisture can accumulate and stagnate. Any number of other contaminants may be responsible for symptoms, though; a lengthy list ranges from bacteria, to body odors, plumbing exhaust, copy machine fumes, cleaning agents, pesticides, bird droppings, carpeting, and furniture.

Preventing and eliminating indoor mold

Mold spores are literally everywhere; controlling moisture is the key to preventing their growth. Sources within homes, businesses, and schools include leaks through roofs, walls, and basements; condensation on windows and in bathrooms; standing water in drains, on floors, and in heating, cooling, and dehumidifying equipment; heating/cooling ducts; and wet floors and carpets. Preventing mold growth requires preventing leaks, removing standing water, venting areas prone to condensation (especially bathrooms and kitchens), and immediately drying or removing damp carpets and furniture. Mold-inhibiting paints can be used indoors, and air conditioners and dehumidifiers can be used in humid weather.

If mold is present or suspected, it is possible to assess the building for mold and mold spores. However, there are no nationwide standards for mold inspectors, testing methods, normal amounts of mold, or reporting formats. This makes it difficult to interpret test results and their potential implications.6,27 A process developed by EPA identifies DNA of some molds in indoor spaces, even if the mold is hidden; this testing method is being used experimentally.

If mold is clearly present, as determined by visual inspection or a reputable inspector, it should be removed because it can destroy the materials it grows on and is associated with human health problems. Small amounts of mold on hard surfaces can be removed with commercial mold and mildew removers, or with a solution of bleach and water (one cup bleach to one gallon water). Follow product instructions carefully to avoid breathing fumes, irritating skin, or splashing chemicals in the eyes.

Large amounts of mold require specialized removal techniques and personal protective equipment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency described the necessary steps in a document entitled "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings". However, this document is applicable to mold removal in homes as well.

Moisture is required for indoor mold to grow. Indoor mold damages or destroys whatever substances it grows on. That, plus associated odors, causes diminished quality of life in people who spend time in such spaces.29 There is considerable disagreement in the scientific community about whether adverse health effects are actually caused by indoor mold, though most seem to agree that spending time in damp/moist environments can contribute to such respiratory illnesses as allergy, asthma, cough, runny nose, and sinus conditions. Whether these illnesses are caused by mold, mold by-products, dust mites, chemicals emitted from deteriorating surfaces, or indoor air pollution, remains a subject for further research.

This may seem like scientific hair-splitting to an average person who simply wants to live and work in nuisance-free environments. Whether or not scientists agree on the cause of illnesses that might occur in damp places, or even the definition of dampness, there are abundant reasons to keep indoor environments clean and dry. This process begins with determining the source(s) of excess moisture, taking necessary steps to eliminate those sources, getting rid of mold that may already be in place, and keeping the area dry afterwards to minimize the potential for further growth of mold.

People who feel they are ill should seek medical care to establish a diagnosis and course of treatment, rather than relying on self-appointed "experts" who advertise unfounded "cures" on the internet.

Take-Home Messages:

Mold is a non-scientific term for many types of fungi - unwanted, unappealing patches of black, brown, yellow, pink, green, smelly, fuzzy growths. Countless species of mold are found both indoors and outdoors.

Although mold and its spores are literally everywhere, active mold growth requires moisture. Whether on visible surfaces or hiding behind drywall, in attics, or under carpets, indoor mold grows in the presence of excessive dampness or water. Also found in damp indoor environments are:

bacteria;

dust mites;

break-down products of bacteria and molds, such as proteins, cell-wall particles (glucans) and volatile organic compounds (the actual cause of the musty odor associated with mold);

airborne chemicals, gasses, and particulate matter caused by destruction of materials by growing molds.

Indoor mold may be unsightly and smelly, but the potential problems are more serious than that. By definition, actively-growing mold damages the material it lives on, thereby impairing structural integrity. In addition, mold is associated with some untoward health effects in humans, including allergies and infections. (Some health effects attributed to mold may in fact be caused by bacteria, dust mites, etc., found in mold-colonized environments. So-called "toxic mold" has been claimed as the cause of "toxic mold disease"; this syndrome remains undefined and "toxic mold" as a cause remains unproven. "Toxic mold" is also unproven as a cause of the various symptoms associated with "sick building syndrome".) Mold growth in homes, schools, and businesses should be eliminated for the sake of human health, structural integrity, and quality of life. Cleaning up small amounts of mold can be done by homeowners. Eliminating mold from large areas requires expertise and protection both for the removal specialists and occupants of the affected space.

The Environmental Protection Agency defines "sick building syndrome" as "situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified". Those effects might include headache, fatigue, and irritation of skin, eyes, or throat, among others. Most often, these symptoms are linked to indoor air quality problems when a building is insufficiently ventilated or maintained.

It is possible for mold to be an indoor air contaminant, for example in heating ducts or other areas where moisture can accumulate and stagnate. Any number of other contaminants may be responsible for symptoms, though; a lengthy list ranges from bacteria, to body odors, plumbing exhaust, copy machine fumes, cleaning agents, pesticides, bird droppings, carpeting, and furniture.

Professional Mold Testing in New York/ NEW YORK MOLD ASSESSORS INC.

 

 

 

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