FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
* What is mold and should I be concerned?
* Why is mold growing in my home/building?
* How can I prevent Mold growth?
* Can Mold be toxic?
* What is Black Mold?
* Why are we concerned about Mold?
* How do Molds affect people?
* Who is affected by exposure to Mold?
* What should I do if I see or smell Mold
in my house/building?
* Should I test my building/house for Mold?
* Who do I call to deal with extensive Mold
growth in a building?
* Can I remediate the problem myself?
*What is VOC/MVOC?
*Should I test for VOCs?
*Will the lab reports be understandable?
*How long will the on-premises test take?
*What do I need to do with regard to test preparation?
*Can your test tell me where the off gassing is coming from?
*Who is affected by VOCs?
*What is the cost?
Ozone Odor Elimination/Mitigation
* What is ozone?
* Is ozone safe?
* Will ozone kill odors, spores, bacteria
* How does Ozone work?
*What is the process of Ozone treatment in my home or building?
What is Mold and should I be concerned?
Most likely everyone has experienced indoor mold in our world, from
bread and cheese mold to mold growing in that forgotten jar at the rear
of our refrigerator. It is a common occurrence and not something to
get overly alarmed about. What we need instead of fear is caution, living
in the knowledge that molds can be dangerous in the right concentration
and combination. We all know of the Ballard House in Texas and the Ed
McMahon stories where the houses made the inhabitants sick. Michael
Jordan had a suit in progress for mold in his Illinois mansion.
With a bit of knowledge we can protect ourselves and be ever cautions
of moisture on nutrient sources, i.e., almost any material in the modern
building (wood, metal, fuel, concrete, drywall, carpet, anything carbon
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Why is Mold growing in my home/building?
It is important to stress that mold spores are everywhere, on all surfaces.
When the factors are right, they will grow and form colonies. Add moisture
and nutrients and mold will grow. Different types of mold will grow
in a variety of conditions. Most likely there is a moisture source in
your building that needs to be remedied. Sometimes the building structure
was wet during construction. Moisture intrusion (from swamp coolers)
may push the building envelope over the 60% mark. Mold spores will grow
and propagate (multiply) on a variety of surfaces when moisture requirements
are met. Common sources of indoor moisture that can cause mold problems
include flooding, roof and plumbing leaks, damp basement or crawl spaces,
or anywhere moist air condenses on cold surfaces.
How can I prevent Mold growth?
Controlling excess moisture is the key to preventing and stopping indoor
mold growth. Keeping susceptible areas in the home clean and dry is
very important. Ventilate or use exhaust fans (to the outdoors) to remove
moisture where it accumulates: bathrooms: kitchens: and laundry areas.
Be sure the clothes dryer vents to outside the house. Repair water leaks
promptly, and either dry out and clean or replace any water-damaged
materials. Materials that stay wet for longer that 48 hours are likely
to produce mold growth. Lowering the humidity in the home also helps
prevent condensation problems. To lower humidity during humid weather,
air conditioners and dehumidifiers may be used. Proper exterior wall
insulation helps prevent condensation inside the home during cold weather
that could cause mold growth.
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Can Mold be toxic?
Some molds can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. Airborne
mycotoxins have not been shown to cause health problems to occupants
in residential or commercial buildings. The health effects of breathing
mycotoxins are not well understood and are currently under study.
High or chronic airborne exposures, typically associated with certain
occupations like agricultural work, have been associated with illnesses,
although these are rare. More is known about eating mycotoxins (from
humans and animals consuming moldy foods or feed) and the resulting
health effects than is known about breathing mycotoxins.
What is "Black Mold"?
The news media often refer to "black mold" or "toxic
black mold". It has usually been associated with the mod Stachybotrys
chartarum, a type of greenish-black mold commonly associated with heavy
water damage. Known health effects are similar to other common molds.
It has been inconclusively associated with more severe helth effects
in some people. While there are only a few molds that are truly black,
many can appear black. Not all mold that appears to be black is Stachybotrus.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), this mold is responsible
for over "100 cases of lung disorders".
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Why are we concerned about Mold?
Small amounts of mold growth in workplaces or homes (such as mildew
on a shower curtain) or workplaces are not a major concern, but no mold
should be permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When molds are present
in large quantities, they may cause nuisance odors and health problems
for some people. Mold can damage building materials, finishes and home
furnishings. Some molds can cause structural damage to wood.
How do Molds affect people?
Most people will have no reaction at all when exposed to molds. Allergic
reactions, similar to common pollen or animal allergies, are the most
common health effects for individuals sensitive to molds. Flu-like symptoms
and skin rash may occur. Molds may also aggravate asthma. Fungal infections
from building-associated molds may occur in people with serious immune
disease but this is very rare. Most symptoms are temporary and eliminated
by correcting the mold problem in the home.
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Who is affected by exposure to mold?
For those who are affected by mold exposure, there can be a wide variation
in how they react. People who may be affected more severely and quickly
than others include:
* infants and children
* elderly people
* individuals with respiratory conditions or allergies and asthma
* persons with weakened immune systems (for example, people with HIV
infection, chemotherapy patients, or organ or bone marrow transplant
recipients, autoimmune diseases.)
Those with special health concerns should consult their doctor if they
are concerned about mold exposure. The symptoms that may seem to occur
from mold exposure can also be due to other causes such as bacterial
or viral infections, or other allergies.
What should I do if I see or smell mold in
The most important step in solving a mold problem is to identify and
fix the moisture sources that caused the mold growth. For small mold
problems, use detergent and water to wash mold off hard surfaces and
dry completely. Porous or absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles,
wallboard and carpeting) that become moldy should be replaced. If you
do not see mold growth, but notice a musty odor, mold may be growing
behind water-damaged materials, such as walls, carpeting or wallpaper.
Persons cleaning mold should wear gloves, eye protection and a dust
mask or respirator to protect against breathing airborne spores (an
N95 dust mask or respirator may be purchased in hardware stores). If
you have health concerns, you should consult your doctor before doing
any mold cleanup. Back
Should I test my home for mold?
Probably not. It should not be your first step. Your first step should
be to inspect your home for any evidence of water damage and any visible
mold growth. Testing for mold is expensive, and you should have a clear
reason for doing so. In most cases, it is not economically practical
or useful to test for mold growth on surfaces or for airborne spores
in the home. Testing also tells you little about where mold is located
and how to clean it up. In addition, there are no standards for 'acceptable'
levels of mold in buildings, so when testing is done, it is usually
to compare the levels and types of mold spores found inside the home
with those found outside the home. If you know you have a mold problem,
it is more important to spend time and resources to get rid of the mold
and solve the moisture problem causing the moldy conditions rather than
to test for the mold problem.
Who do I call to deal with extensive mold growth
in a building?
A professional experienced in mold cleanup may need to be hired to address
extensive mold growth in a building. It is important to correct large
mold problems as soon as possible by first fixing the source of the
moisture problem, then cleaning the surfaces, and finally by drying
the area completely. If you use outside contractors or professionals,
make sure they have experience cleaning up mold, check their references,
and have them follow the recommendations and guidelines as outlined
by the IESO (Indoor Environmental Standards Organization).
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Can I remediate the mold myself?
Spores from dried mold are very dangerous and should be cleaned with
caution. You should never scrape or scratch at dried mold as the spores
would then be released into the air and pose an inhalation risk. A respiratory
mask and eye protection are necessary and adequate clothing to prevent
skin contact is recommended.
If the problem is more internal such as on insulation or throughout
a carpet, the only solution is to remove and replace the items. An infested
area of over 2 feet is considered a "heavily infested" area
and professional help should be consulted. Mold problems resulting from
flooding should also be managed professionally to avoid possible health
What is VOC/MVOC?
VOC stands for volatile organic compound. MVOC stands for mold volatile organic compound.
VOC is a chemical compound and is best thought of as off gassing particles from paints, varnishes, glues, perfumes, household cleaning agents, etc. All buildings and furnishings off gas their chemical components. Think of a new car smell or a library smell or that of a freshly painted room.
MVOC is an indication of mold colony off gassing. Often used in conjunction with a mold ambient air test for airborne spores or surface samples, this test can provide additional confirmation of the presence of mold.
Should I test for VOCs?
It depends. If you think there may be something amiss with the indoor air in your building, then perhaps it will affirm your suspicion. Typically, homeowners or office dwellers cannot identify the source of their concern. The testing equipment used by Prism Analytical is highly sensitive and measures to the nanogram (one billionth of a gram). As always, sometimes the absence of elevated VOCs is as instructive as the presence, giving you assurance that your home or office is not an issue.
Will the lab reports be understandable?
In my opinion they are, but I am familiar with them. I always provide a written report synopsizing the results. Any questions or clarification needed is welcomed. Feel free to call. More information and sample reports.
How long will the on-premises test take?
Two hours for the VOC/MVOC. Twenty minutes for the formaldehyde.
What do I need to do with regard to test preparation?
I will go over the protocol with you before the test. Essentially we do not want the building 'aired out' before the test as we do not want any VOCs diluted with fresh air. Heavy cooking or frying or house cleaning is also discouraged so we can obtain accurate results.
Can your test tell me where the off gassing is coming from?
No, not specifically. But the report is ingenious as it will link certain compounds with certain products. From there you can deduce what may be the culprit.
Who is affected by VOCs?
It is more an issue of sensitivity to VOCs rather than being affected by them, and sensitivity can manifest differently among individuals. We can all be adversely affected by a chemical if there is undue exposure. Certain exposure guidelines are included in the VOC/MVOC reports. In the report you will be able to gauge what is 'normal' or acceptable.
What is the cost?
$495 for the initial test, then $395 for each additional test.
What is Ozone?
Ozone is an oxygen molecule with an additional oxygen atom weakly attached to it and is produced naturally by lightning or when highly energetic solar radiation strikes oxygent in the atmosphere. Commercially, it is produced by coronal discharge or ultraviolet light generators. The O3 molecule is highly unstable as the extra oxygen easily transfers to organic matter and most metals (rust, corrosion). The process is widely referred to as oxidation. Ozone is known as a trace gas, meaning there is very little of it in the atmosphere.
Is Ozone safe?
Ozone is safe in low doses, but at more than 100 parts per billion, ozone can be damaging to animal life by causing irritation to the mucus and respiratory tissues of animals, and even plants. For this reason, pleaole, plants and pets must be removed when treating an area. Exposure to high levels of ozone is uncomfortable, and anyone encountering it will have the same reatcion as to heavy chlorine bleach smell.
Ozone is highly unstable, and a room saturated with it will return to normal air in about 30 minutes after the machine is stopped. The preferred method of ozone use is to use high levels for short periods of time. The operator uses a timer for machine shut down and then waits for the proper amount of time to elapse before re-entry. Should re-entry be required earlier, a full face respirator is highly recommended. The process is safe, but an educated operator is essential for smooth operation.
Will Ozone kill odors, spores, bacteria
Yes, most definitely. Ozone has been a known gas since 1840. Years later (1906) in Nice, France, the first drinking water treatment plant was installed. Subsequent research into toxic gasses led to the use of chlorine, which is still preferred over Ozone for water treatment. However, the discovery of trihalomethanes (THM) as a harmful disinfection byproduct has led scientists to look for alternatives. Another problem was that micro-organisms (such as Cryptosporidium) develop resistance to disinfectants. Finally, there has been progress in the abolishment of shortcomings in ozone management. See www.lenntech.com/library/ozone/history/ozone-history.htm#ixzz29gmXcflE.
How does Ozone kill odors, spores, bacteria and viruses?
By the power of oxidation. We have all witnessed rotting or decaying plant or animal matter. This is the process of oxidation, where natural oxygen is used decomposition. The opposite process, absence of oxygen, led Napoleon's scientists to discover the process of canning food.
Ozone kills bacteria, viruses and spores by destroying the outer membrance of the organism. Smells are oxidized in the same manner by rapidly accelerating their decomposition.
Besides Ozone, our ozone generators also contain a negative ion generator. Tests have shown marked increased mortality of micro-organisms when a combination of ozone and negative ions are used. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2672.2002.01683.x/full Back
What is the process of ozone shocking in my home or building?
Foremost is the 3-P rule. No People, Pets or Plants inside the area being treated. If there is some concern over expensive paintings or electronics, they should either be removed or covered with plastic. The general rule for these last items is that short exposure will not harm them. We will always aim for high concentration of ozone with short time duration.
The processing time varies according to the square footage of the building and also the degree of smell. Minor smells (noticeable, probably non-toxic, unpleasant at most, moderate cigarette smoke), medium smells (obvious and striking, unpleasant, not comforable to live in, mold, MVOCs) and extreme smells (potential health risk, impossible to be inside, extreme odor such as decay, vomit, urine, strong chemical smells, VOCs) all factor in with regard to time.
The best method for ozone shocking is to saturate the space in as short of time as possible, so a 500sf space might take 2-3.5 hours, depending on how strong the smell is. 1500sf might take 3-5 hours. We need to let the ozone dissipate after that, usually about 30 minutes.
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