Practical Information to Help Homeowners Understand and Deal with Mould / Mold

HIP staff regularly teach prospective clients the difference between what is minor surface mould and what is indicative of a wider issue and is requiring professional attention. Below, HIP is offering some helpful information to help homeowners understand the type and depth of mould issue with which they are dealing:

1. Mould has made its way into the media with ferocity over the last ten years and it now carries with it similar fears to what asbestos did before it. Colloquial language like black mold, toxic mold, (and worst) deadly mold has some fearing for their very lives over the places where they live and work.

2. Some fear-assuaging clarifications are in order: there is only one type of mould (stachybotrys) that can be characterized as deadly and the only time you may encounter this is in a situation with standing water, as with a flood or leak where the building material does not get dried out within 24-48 hours.

3. “Stachybotrys produces mycotoxins referred to as trichothecene. They inhibit protein synthesis. It infects every organ of the body from your toes to the top of your head,” states Dr. Thrasher, PhD in cell biology from the UCLA School of Medicine (quote source: Dr. Mercola website).

4. The other types of mould most frequently found within a building look black to the naked eye, but are not what is referred to in the media as black mould and the like. These blackish moulds are aspergillus, cladosporium, penicillium and alternarium, and they are absolutely recognized as allergens, but do not require immediate evacuation. Symptoms are typical of any overload of a substance that the body is not equipped to host: respiratory issues, skin rashes, and other inflammatory reactions. Where these moulds are found, there will always be an indoor environment characterized by more moisture than the existing ventilation system is capable of managing.

When mould growth is found indoors, two things need to happen:

1. The moisture-ventilation imbalance needs to be rectified, and

2. The mould and its spores need to be killed, so that the corrected ventilation system or protocol will not be blowing existing mould around.

Mould that is minor enough to be treated oneself vs. that requiring professional help:

1. For mould found on a non-porous surfaces such as painted walls -- a mask, googles, rubber gloves, soap and water may be all one needs.

2. In the case of a basement or attic found to be covered in mould, this should be taken care of expediently by a mould remediation contractor who:

-is fully insured with coverage that is specific to mould remediation; -can provide third-party air quality tests proving the effectiveness of their work; and, -offers a meaningful guarantee.

See Comparison of Mould Treatments for further information.

If you do reside in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA):

The HIP process employs best practices in building science, health & environmental safety, and mycotoxicology. HIP has a warm and professional team that works exceedingly well within the public health & housing sector to provide solutions that keep people living and working in healthy indoor environments. HIP regularly provides support to ensure those in residential and professional settings feel comfortable with the HIP process, feel well informed about the cause and nature of the mould with which they are dealing, and know they can feel safe in their environment once HIP is leaving.

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