What Is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Molds cause biodegradation of natural materials, which is unwanted when it becomes damage to property. They also play important roles in biotechnology and food science in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and enzymes. Some diseases of animals and humans can be caused by certain molds: disease may result from allergic sensitivity to mold spores, from growth of pathogenic molds within the body, or from the effects of ingested or inhaled toxic compounds (mycotoxins) produced by molds.
There are thousands of known species of molds, all of which require moisture for growth. Like all fungi, molds derive energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they live, utilizing heterotrophy. Typically, molds secrete hydrolytic enzymes, mainly from the hyphal tips. These enzymes degrade complex biopolymers such as starch, cellulose and lignin into simpler substances which can be absorbed by the hyphae.
Mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust; however, when mold spores are present in large quantities (e.g.: higher inside levels than outside levels), they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. Some studies claim that exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems. Prolonged exposure may be particularly harmful. Research on the health impacts of mold has not been conclusive. The term "toxic mold" refers to molds that produce mycotoxins, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, and not to all molds in general. Symptoms caused by mold allergy are watery, itchy eyes; chronic cough; headaches or migraines; difficulty breathing; rashes; tiredness; sinus problems; nasal blockage; and frequent sneezing.
Click HERE to view the ERAtech Environmental Mold Glossary to learn about some of the most common types of mold found locally! (Link will open in a new window!)
Indoor Air-Quality Assessments
The indoor environment in a building can result from a complex interaction between the building system, construction techniques, and various contaminant sources (originating inside or outside). Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) problems may arise from any one of these sources.
ERAtech's consultants will assess the subject structure via thorough walkthrough inspection, which may include: a thorough moisture assessment using Fluke thermal imaging technology (see next section) to discover potential moisture sources, specialized meters to measure moisture within building material, humidity monitoring, as well as helping to identify potential pollutant sources.
If further testing is recommended, ERAtech will collect air and surface samples to determine if microbial/fungal growth is an issue. Recommendations and suggestions will then be made for the successful mitigation of any IAQ problems found during our investigation.
Can I Just Clean My Mold With Bleach?
NO! Do not EVER use bleach to kill mold. If you search the internet regarding bleach and mold, you'll see some people/officials say "yes", and you'll equally see other people/officials say "no". The correct answer is, NEVER use bleach! Most people incorrectly believe that bleach kills on contact, which is a myth. Consumer bleach is approx. 5.25% - 6% sodium hypochlorite. Whatever it doesn't kill before the sodium hypochlorite evaporates out will leave additional water to aide in re-growth. Also, another HUGE issue regarding bleach is that several types of mold (such as Aspergillus/Penicillium) will actually sporeate (explode) into the air as a defensive mechanism. This is verifiable via air sampling, both before and after bleach use, with simple air-o-cell cassette air sampling. So, the people who use bleach are inhaling the toxic chlorine fumes, and at the same time likely getting a face full of mold spores. Those airborne spores are now going to get inhaled by you and anyone nearby, as well as find a new spot to grow. You might get lucky with bleach IF it's only on the surface, but anything beneath the surface (like on a porous surface) will not be treated. Bleach is not able to penetrate porous material (such as wood and drywall) and as such will leave a large amount of surface growth untreated. Whatever isn't treated below the surface will likely grow back, since you have now given it more water (as mentioned above). This is why surface growth usually returns over time.
Stand-Alone Moisture Assessments
A thorough moisture assessment using Fluke thermal imaging technology can be utilized to discover potential moisture sources, such as hidden leaks in water pipes, roof leaks, foundation leaks, etc. ERAtech then follows-up with specialized meters to measure moisture within building materials, as well as measuring humidity.
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Biological Cleanup Verification (Using ATP Testing)
ATP testing produces immediate and accurate results that will allow you to determine if the cleaning and sanitation efforts by you, your staff, or your contractor have been properly and successfully completed.
ATP testing is a process of rapidly measuring actively growing microorganisms through detection of Adenosine Tri-Phosphate, or ATP. Adenosine Tri-Phosphate is a molecule found only in and around living cells, and as such it gives a direct measure of biological concentration and health.
The consultants at ERAtech can perform state-of-the-art testing on-site to give you results in real-time - NO WAIT!
Post-Remediation Verification (a.k.a. "Clearance") Testing
Independent, third-party testing to give you peace of mind that remediation in your home or business has successfully been completed by your remediation contractor. Many mold remediation companies use ERAtech for PRV clearance testing.