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Mold and Your Respiratory Health

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Mold and Your Respiratory Health | Orange County Hazardous Material Abatement

There are many species of mold, and they have been on earth since the beginning of life. Some molds are beneficial, such as the mold species from which the drug penicillin is derived. Other mold is an integral part of cheese making, but there are some species of mold which can cause serious ailments, including a variety of respiratory diseases, when the mold is growing inside a building.

Mold in Buildings Linked to Respiratory Disease

Molds found inside buildings develop where there is moisture. This means bathrooms, laundry areas, areas under the kitchen sink, hot tubs, and spa areas are the most likely places for developing a mold problem. Basements, crawl spaces, and garages are also common places for finding mold growth. Molds can also develop inside air conditioning systems and vents.

Molds produce spores for reproduction, and these dust-like spores become airborne as a means for the mold spreading itself to new locations. When these spores are inhaled or ingested, they can lead to respiratory ailments such as asthma and allergies, especially for some individuals.

Not everyone is affected in the same way when a mold is present in a home or other building, and the presence of mold is not always obvious or detectable by odor. Molds growing inside walls or under floors can still spread spores, even though the mold itself is not visible.

Some people do not experience any reaction to mold, but for other people, exposure to certain species of mold can cause wheezing, coughing, allergic reactions, fatigue, watery eyes, skin disorders, and bring on asthma attacks.

For children, early exposure to mold may make them more susceptible to asthma later in life. Elderly people and people with compromised immune systems are also especially vulnerable to the negative effects of mold growing in a building.

The best ways for preventing mold is by:

  • Having adequate ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry, and spa areas.
  • Quickly repairing leaks in water inlet pipes, drains, roofs, and around windows.
  • Making sure downspouts funnel rainwater away from the building and not allowing it to enter crawl spaces or basements.
  • Keeping indoor humidity at the correct level.

If you suspect mold inside a building is having an effect on your health, contact Tri Span Environmental for a consultation, and find out how you can eliminate mold and its health risks from your environment.

Problems with Mold and Mildew

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Problems with Mold and Mildew | Orange County Hazard Remediation

Mold and mildew are not exactly the same, and understanding the difference is important when remediation is needed.

Both mold and mildew can have serious consequences when they take up residence inside a home or other building. The problems they cause can affect the health and well-being of people, as well as the integrity of the building itself.

Is It Mildew or Mold?

Mildews and molds are different kinds of fungus, and both come in a variety of species. Both of these fungi grow quickly when conditions are humid or moist, which means they are often found in bathrooms, kitchens, and crawl spaces where moisture is present.

In most cases, mildew grows only on the surface of a wall, floor, or ceiling, while molds are capable of extending deeper into the material, making them harder to treat and potentially more harmful.

Mildew is usually white or light grey in color, and molds often appear dark green or black. Mold is what you find on old food in the refrigerator, and mildew more commonly appears only at the surface of whatever material it is growing on.

Because it is restricted to the surface, mildew is easier to get rid of than a mold problem. If the mildew is not extensive, it can often be remediated simply by applying a disinfecting agent to the area.

Molds, on the other hand, are more destructive and extensive in the damage they do, because they are capable of growing deeper into the building material. For example, mold which has gone untreated on framing members in a crawl space or as a result of a leaky drain pipe can destroy the integrity of flooring and framing materials, requiring the complete replacement of these structural elements.

While there are countless species of mold, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are five species commonly found causing problems in buildings. These are:

  • Aspergillus, usually found on walls and insulation materials and appearing in many colors,
  • Penicillium which often appears in areas with significant moisture,
  • Alternaria, the most common mold type found in showers, under basins and sinks, and on window frames,
  • Cladosporium, a mold which prefers colder environments,
  • Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as the toxic black mold because it releases a poisonous dust which can cause asthma, allergies, sinus infections, and other serious health problems.

Whatever type of mold or mildew problem you may have, effective solutions are available from Tri Span Environmental.

The First Step in Remediation at Tri Span Environmental

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The First Step in Remediation at Tri Span Environmental | Orange County Contractor

Tri Span Environmental is a leader among Southern California building remediation businesses. As experts in the field, Tri Span Environmental specialists know removal of hazardous materials from a building starts with complete containment of the toxic materials within the worksite area.

The Dangers of Contaminants

Containment of dust and debris is the first step in the complex process of removing asbestos, lead paint, mold, and fire-damaged components from a building. Protecting people from air-borne hazards and dust contamination during a remediation project is the highest priority for Tri Span Environmental on every job. In many situations, containment of dust and debris from the remediation area can be done while normal use goes on in other parts of the building.

Hazardous materials containment methods used by Tri Span Environmental in Los Angeles and Orange counties include setting up polyethylene barriers around the remediation site, closing vents and other openings with plastic sheeting and duct tape, and using HEPA filters and negative air pressure equipment for preventing dust infiltration into adjacent areas. Workers wear protective suits, gloves, and masks as needed and take steps to prevent hazardous dust and debris from entering living areas on shoes and when transporting debris off site for disposal.

Remediation & Cleanup Services

Inside the containment area on a remediation project, air filters and pumps keep fresh air moving in and hazardous dusts fibers from moving out. Once the remediation site is contained within a protective barrier, specialized vacuum cleaners designed for use with hazardous fibers and dust are used by Tri Span Environmental as part of the decontamination step.

Containment of hazardous materials is the foundation step in removal of asbestos, lead paint, and mold from any building. If not done correctly, dust and particles from the contaminated building materials can cause continuing problems and toxic exposure in the reconstructed building. Installing the proper hazardous material containment system is the first step on every Tri Span Environmental remediation project.

Health Effects of Black Mold

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Health Effects of Black Mold | Orange County Hazardous Waste Removal

Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys Chartarum to scientists, can become toxic when releasing its spores. The release of spores occurs when it feeds on organic materials including carpet, drywall, insulation, and subflooring that has received exposure to moisture. If these spores are inhaled or ingested, a myriad of unpleasant or dangerous symptoms could be the result. Continue reading “Health Effects of Black Mold” »