Identifying Black Mold
Identifying black mold is not an easy task. Mold symptoms are sometimes the first sign of its existence. Homes that are not properly maintained can have mold hiding in walls, ceilings and other areas such as attics for long periods of time without ever being detected.
It can also occur when improper construction techniques or materials are used.
If materials containing mold are used in the construction or renovating of a home, they will continue to be active until they are eradicated.
Even if they dry out, the spores will become dormant and can remain that way indefinitely. They will become active again if moisture presents itself again.
Mold is caused by water or moisture penetration into the home. Common causes are roof, plumbing and HVAC leaks as well as elevated humidity levels in the living spaces.
Be sure your contractor is purchasing material from reputable sources and is selective in what material he will use on your project.
Dangers of black mold include these symptoms and health risks:
- Itchy eyes and headaches
- Sinus problems including congestion and runny or bloody nose.
- Skin irritation including rashes and sores
- Respiratory problems and chronic coughing.
- Memory loss and not being able to think clearly
- Chronic fatigue
Testings, Inspections and Samplings
Although sampling is not necessary if the mold is visible, it is necessary if you suspect mold but can’t see it. As said earlier identifying black mold is a difficult task.
Testing and inspections should be done by licensed professional contractors. Kits are available for self-testing, but just keep in mind that a qualified professional is more likely to find conditions that you might not recognize.
If you choose to do the testing yourself, be sure to follow all instructions completely and send it off to the lab immediately.
Cleaning Up Toxic Black Mold
Once the source of moisture has been found and corrected, clean up of toxic black mold is easy on hard surfaces. It can be cleaned simply by using a detergent and water and then dried off completely.
More porous and absorbent surfaces like drywall, ceiling tiles and carpeting may not be able to be cleaned up they may have to be replaced. If you are unsure or are having trouble identifying black mold areas, contact a professional.
If you plan to do the clean up yourself, always wear gloves and disposable clothing or coveralls; that will eliminate skin contact with the mold. A respirator is recommended for medium to large clean up jobs to avoid breathing in fumes.
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