Aspergillus type mold (species not specified) was recently discovered at a children's hospital in Seattle.
The mold was discovered in the ventilation system, which spread to 14 rooms. With exposure to Aspergillus, symptoms resulting from certain species of this type of mold are referred to as Aspergillosis, which is a resulting infection.
Mold issues within the HVAC ventilation system command more attention since spores can be dispersed throughout a property within a system which should be enhancing the air quality, but is rather compromising the air quality in a property. Testing for airborne mold spores in each room in this event can help determine where the spores are spreading, as well as consulting for a mold inspection and an HVAC inspection by a licensed HVAC technician.
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The information in this article should not be take as medical advice and the author is not a medical doctor. If you're having health issues relating to mold in a property, consult with a medical professional.
Facts taken from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Healthy Homes Issues: Mold. Version 3
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) categorizes mold as being under a substandard living condition. As stated by the CDPH,
"CDPH has concluded that the presence of water damage, dampness, visible mold, or mold odor in schools, workplaces, residences, and other indoor environments is unhealthy."
Therefore, once mold has been documented and mold is registered via an inspection and relevant testing, it is paramount that remediation and restoration is performed in the pertinent property to ensure it is restored to an appropriate standard. The CDPH further added that,
"Beginning Jan 1, 2016, the presence of visible mold will be added to the list of conditions in the California Housing Code, already including dampness of habitable rooms, that make housing substandard (Cal. Health & Safety Code §17920.3)".
If you believe there is potentially mold in your property, or residual or active moisture from a current leak or previous leak, it is recommended reaching out to a local mold inspector, environmental health inspector or industrial hygienist to assess the area(s) of concern.
Often, clients will hear water restoration and mold remediation companies refer to "IICRC standards" or that their methods are "in accordance with IICRC". Understandably, the majority of people outside of this industry are baffled by the IICRC acronym and the implications behind it.
The IICRC, which is an acroynym for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, has certain guidelines that are followed by mold and water restoration remediators. Updated editions are often released that keep industry professionals apprised of the most pragmatic and efficient remediation tools and exercises.
In the 3rd edition, the s500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, there are references to the appropriate amount of drying equipment to use on a property, relative to the damage experienced. Various algorithms are used to calculate the appropriate amounts, which are delineated in the following classes:
Being familiar with this class system, prior to having work performed in your property, can help you understand what level of work is actually required if you experience a water damage restoration issue.
The appropriate drying method would be determined based off of an inspection. According to industry experts, the most common 'class' documented is Class 2. The following levels of drying are associated with each class:
This is a summation of the general drying techniques after an area has experienced water damage. It is recommended that, if one has experienced a great amount of water damage, they consult with an IICRC certified professional to have restoration work completed in the property.
Often, clients will express concern over various stains in a property, but will be unsure of the nature of the stain or if it is some type of mold growth.
This is where experience becomes paramount. Mold inspectors can typically deduce if the growth in question is a concern (based on how three dimensional it is, the color and the shape of growth), which would then segue into mold testing to see if there are toxic properties present, as well as if the mold is reproducing into the air.
The following considerations should be taken into account with potential mold growth:
1. Are the conditions conducive to mold growth? Mold requires nutrients (such as drywall), moisture and the right temperature to grow.
2. Is an odor present? When molds metabolize materials, they can produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is what people generally report as being a musty odor in the property.
3. Are there visible signs of mold growth? Mycelia or mold growth can be present in a plethora of colors, not just black and green as most people believe. These colors could include a blueish green, green yellow, black, brown, orange and white. Water stains can also indicate potential mold growth (such as in a wall cavity) since this indicates an ideal environment for mold.
4. Structural damage. This could include peeling of wallpaper or floor swelling, since this can indicate a moisture problem.
Finally, sometimes there may be efflorescence, which is the white/chalky calcium deposit left by water (such as in a crawlspace or one bricks), this can be distinguished from mold due to the chalky texture.
If you are unsure about potential growth, it is always best to check with a certified mold inspector to confirm whether or not there is further concern in your property.
MOLD HEALTH EFFECTS BLOG AND RESEARCH