Mold Remediation & Indoor Air Quality
During the past decade, there has been an increased awareness that the growth of molds/fungi inside a building is a major source of indoor air pollution and one of the contributing factors behind Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and Building Related Illness (BRI). The adverse health effects associated with exposure to toxic molds/fungi have been well documented. As we spend almost 75-90% of our time indoor (home, office, schools etc.), Indoor Air Quality plays major role in our lives. Combination of temperature, humidity and nutrient source promote growth of molds/fungi. Moisture and poorly ventilated area are a major reason for their growth.
Several species of mold/fungi have been found to be human pathogens (i.e., organisms capable of causing disease). The spores may become a threat to the respiratory system and/or generate other forms of infection if their airborne concentration reaches a certain level specific to the individual species and variety. When the spore count for a species exceeds this critical level of human pathogenesis, it becomes a health hazard. Some fungi genera and species of notoriety (a.k.a. toxic molds), include Aspergillus, Fusarium, Wallemia sebi, and Stachybotrys chatarum. These produce a wide variety of non-volatile compounds commonly known as mycotoxins that can produce adverse health effects including skin irritation, immune disorders, neurological damage and cancers. Fungi, in general, also produce a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOC) characterized by musty or moldy smells that people associate with fungal growth in a building. If mold can be seen or smelled, it is a problem. Even non viable mold spores (not alive/or reproducing), are health hazard and after they dried and turned to airborne dust, when inhaled could begin to colonize in sinuses and throughout the body, after period of time. It is essential that cleanup process must be thoroughly performed.
ASPEN, INC. is a professional Mold Remediation firm and member of American Indoor Air Quality Council, with a staff drawn from the environmental science and industrial fields. We can provide realistic property and building assessment with concise and easy to understand recommendations. We are also featured on the NJ DOH recommendation list.
The first step in controlling the problem is to conduct an assessment of the severity of the fungal growth in the building. This is accomplished by a walk-through physical inspection in conjunction with targeted sampling. Sampling may include both air and bulk/swab sampling. While air sampling can indicate the number and species of an organism or organisms that exist in the environment and determine the stage of development, a bulk/swab sample may help in identifying the source of the mold growth. Samples are allways analysed by independent and accredited third party.
Actual removal and cleanup (remediation), is done almost exactly the way Asbestos and Mercury projects are done. ASPEN, INC. has great advantage over many other contractors, since our staff is also licensed either for Asbestos or Mercury abatement. This entire process is performed in four stages:
Preparation of the work (contaminated) area
Contaminated area is isolated from other clean areas by building a tent/enclosure, using 6 mil. plastic (polyethylene) sheeting. HEPA filtration units " Air Scrubbers" are than placed inside the enclosed area with exhaust tube to a nearest window/opening for the duration of the project. Typical air exchange is about every 15 minutes. Workers have their own entrance (clean room), also built and attached to enclosed area, to change into disposable suits and proper respirators. Beside the tools placed inside, they also have portable HEPA vacuums, necessary to complete the project (following and exceeding EPA guidelines). Disinfectants, Biocides and anti-microbial coating is applied on hard, contaminated surfaces, after and during wire brushing and vacuuming. Other contaminated and porous surfaces (sheetrock, paneling, ceiling tiles etc.), are completely removed, double bagged and properly disposed of. First cleanup is the most important phase, especially when disinfectants are applied on hard surfaces (foundation walls, bricks, cement etc.), to closely monitor fungal reaction even after all visible contamination is already abated. Fogging technique is used on hard to reach surfaces. Only EPA registered biocides, disinfectants or fungicides are used on all of our projects. Typically, 24 hours is needed between first and final cleanup following the air clearance (if any is scheduled). Final cleanup also includes collapsing the enclosure and thoroughly cleaning surrounding areas.
We welcome post remediation air or other sampling methods conducted by the third party, to be compared with the previous pre-remediation analytical data (if any exist). Visual inspections by the owners, owners representative or independent third party are also valid and in most cases sufficient.
Once contracted for mold remediation project we do not collect any kind of sampling other than for our own purposes (as needed), as it would pose a conflict of interest.
UV LIGHT DISINFECTION
Perhaps the most innovative service we offer is a deployment of Portable Ultra Violet Disinfection Units that disinfect and sanitize any size room/area or an entire floor. This service is a part of our Preventative Maintenance program but could be use as a standalone service according to specific needs. It could also be combined with deployment of Negative Pressure Air Scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to clean and prepare the "work" area prior UV Units deployment.
The same cleaning technique is already in use on some of some of our environmental projects and it is based on daily, weekly, monthly, or annual service contract. Best of all, this type of service is very affordable and it could be coordinated with the existing maintenance/janitorial contractor.
UV Lights have been in use in all of the water treatment plants and more recently in most commercial grade HVAC units for decades. The effect of the units we use (254 NM Wavelength) is well documented to cause Photochemical destruction of microorganism via absorption of it, destroying their DNA and rendering it no more pathogenic. This type of service is especially useful and almost necessary in:
Food Processing Factories
Preventative or predictive maintenance, basically means that we are looking for early signs of moisture intrusion or even already visible mold spores and preventing them to further colonize. While in same time improving the Indoor Air Quality and performing periodical interior and exterior inspections, for possible source of moisture or water intrusion.
Very often we prevent costly and lengthy remediation projects by simply acting on regular basis and by deploying our equipment in scheduled intervals.
Many professional buildings for instance, are built around lakes, rivers and even swamps. Very rarely anybody checks for discoloration around the exterior perimeter or possible signs of fungal growth that can eventually make its way inside the building. Even old sprinkler systems, leaky HVAC systems, fountain etc. could be potential breading ground for most type of mold spores.
This type of service would assure building and property owners that their workplace is mold free environment and huge Indoor Air Quality improvement, which is noticeable even after first professional HEPA cleanup.