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Self Introduction: Newest MoldBlogger Writer

Dear Readers,

I’m proud to join my beautiful wife Joslyn today as the newest writer on MoldBlogger.com. With our wedding in May, things have been very busy these past few months and it’s been hard to find time to keep up with MoldBlogger.

Now that we’re settled in, though, things are looking brighter and you can expect more excellent content to be heading your way in the near future.

Look forward to our first product review in the very near future.

Jonathan
MoldBlogger.com Team

green molds

Top 3 Things Mold Needs to Grow

What Does Mold Need to Grow?

According to Michael Pugliese, author of The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold, there are three main necessities that mold spores need to grow and thrive:

  • Moisture

Mold spores need moist or damp areas to grow and reproduce. Watch for flooding, leaky pipes or windows, etc. Also excess moisture in the bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms are prime areas for mold growth.

  • Food

Mold spores need food – in the literal sense as well as other materials (i.e. cotton, leather, wood, paper products and others). The most dangerous materials mold loves to grow on, are porous materials (beds, couches etc). Its often impossible to remove mold growth from these items.

  • Optimum Temperatures

Mold spores thrive in temperatures 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures from about 70 – 90 degrees are the most conducive for mold growth. Chances of mold growth are heightened greatly between those temperatures. You may be wondering why mold can grow in your freezer. Mold doesn’t die when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, they lay dormant until temperatures raise, or they are set out to warm up.

Favorable Conditions for Mold

Michael Pugliese, author of the same book previously mentioned, also offers 5 tips describing favorable or unfavorable conditions for mold growth:

  • A relative Humidity of roughly 50% or higher

A good preventative measure would be to purchase a hygrometer to measure humidity levels in your home.

  • Damp or Dusty Conditions

Avoid developing piles of rags, clothing or other mold food sources.

  • Stagnant air

This explains why overly “tight” homes designed for energy efficiency can have mold problems.

Unfavorable Conditions for Mold

  • Ventilation

Good circulation throughout the home is important to eliminate dampness or potential moisture; especially in attics, basements, crawlspaces, laundry rooms.

  • Dry Air Indoors

Make sure to keep your home’s relative humidity down below 50%.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Pugliese, Michael. “The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold.” 4-5.

Results of Mold Exposure

A reader asked,

Question :

My wife, 7 month old son, and I moved into a rent house in October of 2007. By January, my son had developed congestion that just would not go away. In early February, my son had a febrile seizure and kept the congestion throughout the month. We saw multiple doctors and specialists, but none could seem to pinpoint a diagnosis.

Finally, my wife took our son to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. Our previous Pediatrician diagnosed my son with Pneumonia. After a 10 day supply of Suprax, is congestion showed no signs of altering. My son also had extreme diahrrea, and terrible diaper rash for which we took him to yet another doctor, and he diagnosed it as a fungus.

He perscribed a steriod/fungal fighting cream. That following day, we went out of town and the cream seemed to work tremendously and his diahrrea stopped. When we came back to the house, his symptoms re-occured. I decided to do a home mold test in his room, and the results were positive.

I immediately checked my family into a hotel and my son seemed to get better after a couple of days. A certified inspector came out and took an air sample from outside, the living room, and my son’s room. The results showed an elevated mold condition in my son’s room (200 outside, and 880 in room) for Penicillium and Aspergillus.

An allergist told me that it’s probably not allergies since he is only 1 year old and his immune system isn’t stablized enough yet to even have allergies. Can these symptoms be tied to the elevated mold problem?

Answer :

Without actually being there, from what you’re described, your son’s situation definitely seems to be a result of mold exposure – ESPECIALLY if he gets better in a different environment.

My advice would be to move your son as soon as you possibly can. In many situations it may be best to talk to your landlord and try to fix the problem by removing the mold and preventing further growth. However, because your son is so young and is experience pretty severe symptoms, it would be in his and your best interest to get out of that building – now.

You have the evidence by having such a high mold count in his room, and he is symptomatic – mold definitely looks like it’s the culprit.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Mold on Cups

Question :

A reader asked the following question through our “Ask a Mold Question” section of our site :

Can mold grow on plastic cups that have been washed and stacked together but not dried completely?

As long as either food or juice particles are not left in the cups, mold should not grow in the stacked cups.

However, it does start to smell if left stuck together like that for a while – mostly because the water gets stagnant, heats, and grows bacteria.

So even though it is not probable that mold will grow, stacking wet cups together creates the perfect habitat for bad bacterias.

And it warps plastic cups!

So overall, its best to stay away from stacking wet cups =]!

Answer :

How about mold growth when putting the flow control of a childrens sippy cup together when it comes out of the dish washer and it’s not completely dry? Would the same concerns follow it as well as the cups? I just wonder that since it makes a tighter seal if there is more concern of mold growth. I like to put them together when they come out of the dish washer so I don’t lose them. Thanks for your help!

Sippy cup pieces, you have to be really careful with.

The same thing applies as far as mold growth goes, though the chances that the inside of the piece will grow mold is much higher only because its a smaller area and juices etc go through the holes.

Watch for “souring” of the pieces, and make sure that all particles of juice or anything else are thoroughly cleansed.

A good idea would be to run one of those wirebrushes through each hole if its possible.

As far as drying it – as long as the pieces are not smelling “sour” or changing colors – they’re probably just fine. Just use your best judgement! =]

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Book Review: “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold..”

If you have existing problems with mold in your home, or if you suspect possible contamination – or just need to know how to prevent mold from growing in your home, Vicki Lankarge’s book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It” contains the information you need to get rid of mold and keep it out!

She also provides good quality prevention methods to keep homes free of mold growth and contamination as well as remediation ideas for different parts of the home.

She begins by giving an informative background of mold, an a story which demonstrates – Anyone’s home can become contaminated with black mold – so don’t feel bad!

She gives important lessons on how to deal with water damage, moisture prevention, common places to look for mold, as well as legal damage claims to name a few.

I would advise anyone dealing with mold problems to read her book. Its short, its easy, and you can learn alot! I know I did.

Over the past several weeks and months we have featured some of the main topics discussed in her book. I’ve listed them below – take a look, and read Vicki Lankarge’s “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know about Mold and What to Do About It” to find out more!!

8 Posts Featuring Content from the Book

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Best of MoldBlogger Remodeled – Past 2 Years

MoldBlogger’s 2 Year Anniversary – Remodeled!

The Newly Remodeled Site is finally up and with that, we at MoldBlogger have decided to create a helpful post combining the exciting things that have happened over the past 2 years.

Why?

October of last year, 2007, marked MoldBlogger’s Second Annual Anniversary.

In celebration of the past 2 years and in light of the exciting new things we have planned for the new year at hand, we’re putting a close on the past and opening the way for the future by highlighting some of the very best of MoldBlogger.

MoldBlogger has 16 separate categories containing 184 informative posts as of February 17th, 2008, on various topics regarding mold.

Out of these 16 categories, we have carefully chosen 45 of the best, most informative posts we have here at MoldBlogger.

We hope you enjoy them and gather the information that you need.

Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll be happy to answer them!

The Best of MoldBlogger by Category :

Mold Testing :

Black Mold :

Mold Allergies :

Mold Information :

Mold Inspectors :

Mold Legal Information :

Mold News :

Mold Prevention :

Mold Removal :

Mold Stories :

Mold: Questions and Answers :

Toxic Mold :

Most Recent Miscellaneous

We hope our selected posts have been helpful and we wish you a Wonderful Year!

Jonathan & Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Moldy Ceiling

5 Levels of Mold Remediation

What are the 5 levels of Mold Remediation?

According to Vicki Lankarge in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It,” mold remediation can be broken up into 5 levels: level one being the least contamination, level four being the most, and level five HVAC and air conditioning systems.

When dealing with mold contamination in your home it can be difficult to decide when a mold remediator is needed or what you can take care of yourself.

In the following 5 levels, you will have a guideline to go by when removing mold from your home :

5 Levels of Mold Remediation

  • Level I (10 square feet or less)

Smaller infestations categorized in level I is mostly found on ceilings or baseboards. Level I mold contamination may be cleaned without hiring a mold remediator, but there are several important safety precautions that you need to know :

1. Do not attempt cleaning mold if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or immune disorders

2. Wear gloves, eye protection, and an N95 disposable respirator

3. Vacate from your work area any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.

4. Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from your home in a sealed plastic bag to prevent an infestation in another part of your home.

5. Clean your work area when you’re done with a damp cloth or mop.

6. Make sure all areas are left dry and visibly free of mold contamination.

  • Level II (10-30 square feet)

To remove mold from an area category the size of level II (probably one wall panel), the same precautions used in level I should be taken as well as the following :

1. Moldy materials should be covered with plastic sheets and sealed with tape before any handling or removal of materials. This will contain dust and debris. It may be wise to double wrap in plastic before escorting the moldy material from your home.

2. WHen the mold removal is finished, vacuum the work area with a HEPA vacujum. Clean the area with a damp cloth or mop.

  • Level III (30-100 square feet)

Mold contamination this size (patches of mold on several wall panels), should still be handled with the same precautions as level I and II as well as the following added measures :

1. Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.

2. Vacate everyone from your work area until work is completed. Further vacate adjacent work areas of any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as astma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.

  • Level IV (greater than 100 square feet)

An infestation depending on how much greater than 100 square feet may require the assistance of a mold remediator. If not, the same requirements should be followed as were needed in levels I, II, and III along with the following :

1. Every worker must be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with full face respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges, with disposable protective clothing covering both head and shoes.

2. Make sure workers completely isolate hteir work area from the rest of your home with sheeting sealed with duct tape, including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and any other openings.

3. Make sure workers set up and use a “decontamination room,” or a chamber taped off with plastic sheeting. The outside of sealed bags containing contaminated material should be wiped down with a damp cloth or HEPA vacuumed in the decontamination chamber prior to their removal.

4. Air monitoring should be conducted prior to moving back into your home to determine if it is fit to reoccupy.

  • Level V (Air Conditioners and HVAC Systems)

If there is a small area of mold growth beneath your air conditioning system it would be safe to apply precautions from levels I and II to remediate the mold contamination. However, all remediation procedures for air conditioning units and HVAC systems should be left to professionals. Procedures for level V remediation for areas larger than 10 square feet are the same for all previous levels with the following precautionary measures added :

1. Shut down the HVAC system prior to remediation.

2. Growth-supporting materials that are contaminated, such as the patper on the insulation of interior lined ducts and filters, should be removed and sealed in plastic bags.

3. A variety of biocides – broad spectrum antimicrobial agents designed to prevent the growth of microorganisms – are recommended by HVAC manufacturers for use with HVAC components, such as cooling coils and condensation pans. HVAC manufacturers should be consulted for the prodcuts they recommend for use in their systems.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Source: Lankarge, Vicki. “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It.” 52-58.

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