Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MOLD: An Indoor Air Quality Nightmare

Respiratory difficulty. Allergies. Sick Building Syndrome. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Fibromyalgia. Cancer. Death.

Toxic mold can be responsible for serious conditions, illnesses and even death. In the 1930’s Stachybotrys Chartarum, or green mold, was responsible for the deaths of farm animals in Russia after it was found growing on wet grain used for feeding the animals.

In 2005, mold toxin made its way into pet food supply, which consequently led to the death of dozens of dogs.

Earlier that same year, after 2-year old Neveah Lair died, her mother along with 68 other apartment tenants filed a lawsuit, blaming the building for not addressing its mold problem.

There have been thousands upon thousands of other similar stories about the health consequences of mold.

Mold illness has become a controversial issue. Just as asbestos was the health nightmare of the 1980’s and 1990’s, buildings contaminated by mold biotoxins have become the scourge of the 21st century.

Mold spores may be found lying dormant on almost every surface. Unless large numbers of spores become airborne, there is usually little problem. However, when mold spores are on a surface with appropriate moisture content, nutrients, and temperature, the spores will germinate and mold will grow. Ideal breeding grounds for mold are kitchens, bathrooms, windows and basements, but virtually any place will do. In just 48 hours, a moist environment combined with room-temperature conditions and an organic food source can lead to mold growth.

Not all molds are dangerous for your health; indeed, one of the most well-know types of molds is penicillin, which has saved millions of lives. Black mold, however, also known as Stachybotrys Chartarum, is a toxic greenish-black fungi found worldwide that colonizes particularly well in high-cellulose material such as straw, hay, wet leaves, dry wall, carpet, wall paper, fiber-board, ceiling tiles, thermal insulation, etc. The fungus, before drying, is wet and slightly slimy to touch.

3 Signs of a Potential Mold Problem

1. High Humidity
If you live in a high-humidity area, then you should always be wary of mold. A relative humidity (RH) level of greater than 55% promotes the growth of mold and other fungi. Monitor the rooms of your home, and use a dehumidifier if need be.

2. Water Damage/Flooding
The more moisture mold is exposed to, the more it thrives. When water damage or flooding occurs, the damp environment is conducive to aggressive mold growth. If water damage remains hidden, or if it takes several days to dry out flooding damage, mold has ample opportunity to grow.

3. Musty/Mildew Smell
Mold often grows in areas that are unseen, like behind walls, in crawl spaces or beneath a carpet or flooring. If you smell a musty/mildew odor, it may be a sign you have a mold problem. Further investigation is recommended.

What Kind of Air Purifiers Best Combat Mold?
There are definite ways to combat mold. The best way is to control the amount of moisture in your home or business, thus avoiding a mold problem before it begins. That said, air purifiers offer an additional level of protection.

The ideal air purifier to combat mold will combine 3 essential technologies: HEPA, UV and a deep bed of carbon, with the most important focus being on the UV technology.

· The HEPA filters work to remove 99.97% of airborne mold particles
· The UV light then sterilizes any mold spores that are not trapped by the HEPA filter
· The deep carbon bed creates increased dwell time in the air purifier, which is key to adsorbing the strong odors and gases associated with mold

Best Unit Recommendations

The 5000 Exec with UV
· 18 lbs. of carbon, 2.5” carbon bed
· Medical-grade HEPA
· UV light

AirMedic+ with UV
· 18 lbs. of carbon, 2” carbon bed
· Medical-grade HEPA
· UV light
· The AirMedic series features 360-degree air intake which provides enhanced surface area contact, thus improving mold spore filtration

Source Removal
If a mold problem is present in a home or office, the source of the mold growth must be removed. An air purifier can work to remove the harmful effects of mold, but source removal is essential if the problem is to be resolved permanently.

1 comment:

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