Mold inside your home or your business can lead to adverse health conditions for whomever occupies the building. Removing mold can be a complicated multi-step process that at times require professionals and experts to intervene. Mold assessment and mold remediation are two vital parts of the multi-step process and are often confused with one another. However, although it is difficult to have one without the other, they are two separate processes that must be done to remove a mold issue.
Although mold is generally found in all buildings in some form, there are certain species that can be toxic, especially in large quantities. Because mold spores can spread on any type of surface, it can be found in areas normally invisible to homeowners or business owners. This is where a mold assessment would be necessary to determine if a building has a mold problem. However, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if the mold in a building is visible, testing or sampling is not necessary.
Whether you suspect mold in your house or business, or the mold is visible, it is still recommended to seek experts for a professional assessment. You should always seek a mold inspection if:
- Someone in the building is experiencing allergy symptoms and is not sure what the cause is, such as headaches, runny or stuffy nose, dry or teary eyes, etc.
- There is a strong, musty odor in areas of the building.
- Mold may be visible, but you are not exactly sure whether it is mold or not.
- The building has visible leaks in the plumbing and inside the house, such as a wet ceiling or floor.
- You are buying or selling a home or building and need to prove whether mold is still or is not present.
- You need to test the quality of air in your home or business, before or after a mold removal.
- You want to make sure the air quality in your home is safe for yourself and your family.
Mold assessment is used to determine if a home or business has a mold issue. It is a multi-step process that locates the source of the mold through visual and physical inspection, taking samples of surfaces, as well as air quality testing with the use of special equipment. A mold assessor also investigates what the mold is feeding off of to grow, as mold develops in dark and damp areas and need a source in order to grow.
Experts recommend seeking mold remediation if the mold infestation covers more than 10 square feet. Mold remediation involves all the processes that are required to remove mold, including mold assessment. It is much more than just removing mold; it is an extensive process that identifies the cause of the mold, removes the infestation, and returns the mold levels to safe and natural levels. What exactly is done during the remediation process differs from case to case, but the process of mold removal usually follows these steps:
- Mold assessment: Mold assessment or mold inspection is used to identify the mold problem in a home or business, and to what extent the mold growth is and its source. This is the first step in the remediation process and is necessary to determine the best way to approach removal.
- Containment: Professional mold remediators must contain the contaminated areas before beginning the removal process, because mold spores are microscopic and can move through the air while they are being removed.
- Cleaning: Mold spores can settle on all types of surfaces. Mold cleaning depends on the location of the mold itself and may require an air-filtration method. Some mold can be cleaned if they are on non-porous or semi-porous surfaces.
- Removal: When mold infects a porous or absorbent type of surface, cleaning may not completely remove the mold. This scenario requires disposal or removal of the mold and its’ source.
- Sanitization: Even with the disposal of objects and materials infested with mold requires a thorough sanitization of the area and items in the area, such as curtains, floors, or walls. The air quality is also cleaned through deodorization.
- Prevention: The prevention step includes recommendations by the remediator to prevent future mold growth at the location. This is followed by a clean-up inspection where the remediator verifies the mold removal was a success.
Mold in the Workplace
Many companies run their businesses in buildings where mold may be present. Mold can be dangerous to those that are exposed to it; with workers, not only is their health affected, but workers’ compensation and disability claims may rise, and productivity may decline. If mold is found or suspected at a business, employers must perform the necessary steps to remove the infestation for their workers’ safety.
It is important to recognize mold-exposure symptoms of workers. If workers complain of experiencing these symptoms, or someone detects a musty odor in the building, employers must alert the building owner and request an investigation right away. Symptoms of mold exposure include:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Ear, nose, or throat irritation
- Skin irritation
- Watery or dry eyes
Mold is caused by moisture and needs water and oxygen to grow. Water in a building, even at a minimal amount, can be just enough to allow mold to form and infest when the conditions are right. Some causes of water intrusion include:
- Excessive humidity
- Flooding or poor drainage
- Lack of maintenance
- Leaking windows, pipes, or doorways
- Poor building construction
- Poor plumbing
If you are an employer and suspect mold in your building, you must take action through mold remediation. Advise your employees of the steps you are taking with professional mold remediators. You may have to relocate employees and invest in repairs, removal, and cleaning.
The Plainfield Environmental Lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. Help Those Suffering from Illness or Injury Due to Mold Exposure
If you are suffering symptoms or illness from mold exposure, our experienced Plainfield environmental lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. are here to help you. Call us today at 908-647-1022 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. With our offices located in Warren, New Jersey, we proudly serve all clients in Warren, Plainfield, and throughout New Jersey.