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Blog posts tagged with 'mold remediation'

Hurricane recovery and the added dangers of black mold

In the short time that Hurricane Sandy flooded out many of the homes along the east coast. Sandy survivors were confronted with a multitude of serious issues such as low temperatures, damage to their homes and many other obstacles that is making recovery efforts a major uphill battle. One major issue many of them are being forced to contend with is rapid mold growth in their homes.

The health department states that they are closely monitoring emergency room visits and the hospitalization of those who are suffering respiratory illnesses as a key to determine if the threat of mold infestation is serious enough to warrant aggressive recovery action but is willing to admit there are no set guidelines to follow in the case of evacuating a region hard hit by mold infestation.

It’s important to understand mold reproduction starts when mature mold growth releases spores into the atmosphere. These spores are suspended in the air and are a part of the natural are we breathe on a daily basis and are the common cause of many of the allergies. Local weather stations will often include a mold count on their daily broadcast. The higher the number, the more likely there will be allergy sufferers.

Removing mold spores from any structure is almost impossible to control since the air outside will always find a way to get inside. Air conditioning filters and air purifiers can dramatically reduce the mold count in the environment; however it is almost impossible to completely be mold free.

The big problems with mold inside a building begin with water. Any area inside a structure that is always damp or has standing water is a prime setting for mold spores to collect and proliferate. Once mold spores locate a water source they will settle in and begin to grow. Mold growth can be very rapid in prime conditions therefore it is important at this stage to remove the mold infestation and dry out the infected area and most importantly, remove or bring under control the source of water that allowed the mold to grow. Without removing the source of water, mold will most certainly return.

Since last year, there are about 75,000 scientifically identifiable species of mold with a projection that there may be as many as 1 million fungal species that have yet to be identified. Not all mold species are harmful. Some are even beneficial such as those varieties that produce truffles and the various types that produce edible mushrooms. There is even a species of mold that has been proven capable of devouring toxic petroleum products and leaving behind a completely safe, environmentally friendly growth in its place. It use is currently being considered as a go to answer for cleaning oil spills. Some companies are even looking at mold to produce products such as toilet paper. Go figure.

Identification of a mold species is mostly dependent on costly DNA testing. AdVnt Biotechnologies as developed a black mold test that uses the genetic identifiers of black mold species to help identify toxic black mold from most common mold infestations. The INFORMANT 15-minute black mold test uses licensed antibodies to positively tag black mold spores for positive identification, therefore making sure that it does not show a positive result for more common mold varieties.

Toxic black mold is a species of mold, that if allowed to proliferate can produce a toxic substance known as mycotoxin. It is this substance derived from black mold growth that has been shown to be fatal to humans, especially those who suffer with compromised immune systems. There are to date, 3 known species that are known to produce this toxicity and can become a serious health hazard if left unchecked. Stachybotrys, Aspergillius and its close cousin Penicillium are the three species known to produce mycotoxins. The second requirement for mold growth is oxygen. Where conditions for mold growth are ripe, mycotoxins are produced as the mold expands and spreads into colonies releasing the toxic byproduct into the air. It is import to understand that mycotoxins as a result of growth of black mold is viewed differently than those cases of mycotoxins exposure that causes harm through the ingestion of misidentified mushrooms. In the case of toxicity to humans through mold growth, the victim is often not aware of the hazard until it causes some harm.

AdVnt Biotechnologies INFORMANT 15-Minute black mold detection test was specifically designed to test mold growth found in homes for this highly dangerous species. Each test kit with the items required to run two complete tests. The easy to follow step by step instruction sheet allows users to quickly identify if the mold growth in their homes is of the toxic variety. Waiting days for lab results is now a thing of the past. The INFORMANT 15-Minute black mold detection test can be purchased from our website at www.advnt.org. The INFORMANT Black Mold Detection Test is not available in stores.

The serious issues of black mold growth in the regions hit by hurricane Sandy are not ones to be taken with a grain of salt. Identifying and removing mold infestations are often tied in with a homeowners struggle to obtain the necessary funding in order to properly eradicate the infestation. The longer it takes for relief funding the more serious the situation can become. Complicated paperwork to get federal relief and slow moving insurers and politicians on the take is just a few of the many hurdles the victims of this tragic event will have to face in order to win back their homes and their peace of mind.

New Study Shows Proof How Mold Targets Asthma Sufferers

According to an article in Indoor Environment Connections, vol. 11, issue 10 dated August 2010, a new scientific study shows a greater link between black mold and asthma. The study, which was conducted by Harvard researchers, says “There is a more definitive link then previously thought between mold in homes and the risk of severe asthma”. The study, which was originally published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care examined homes that contained high amounts of black mold and found children living in these environments, had “severe exacerbations of asthma that often included emergency room visits and hospitalization…” When studies such as these use words like “exacerbations” you can be sure the findings are not going to be good. The EPA places in-home mold threats on the same level as second hand smoke. The new study out of Harvard is now able to show that there is a more precise connection to mold and asthma then had been previously known. It is precisely for this reason that researchers at AdVnt Biotechnologies have worked to develop an in-home black mold detection test called ‘The Informant”. Inexpensive and easy to use, this remarkable test can determine the presence of black mold in 15-minutes or less with out the hassle of sending the results to a lab for further analysis. With this information, occupants of suspected mold infested homes will be armed with positive proof that action in mold remediation needs to be taken to prevent future long-term damage to their health and well-being.

Ann Wu of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute in Boston who conducted this new mold study explains that enzymes called chitinases that breakdown chitin found in cell walls of mold, causes asthma inflammation. “Our results support increasing evidence that CHIT1, which is primarily released in the lung, plays an important role in the patho-physiology of asthma in the proper environmental context of exposure to chitin, which was approximated by mold levels.” say Wu.

Homes that were used for this study were measured as having greater or less then 25,000 mold colonies per gram of household dust. Though this level is high for most homes, buildings that have problems with dampness, or water saturation in construction materials could have levels that easily reach these numbers. Often times homes that had sustained water damage in the past but had failed to completely remove all damaged materials, such as drywall, carpeting, vinyl floor coverings or wood could give rise to colonies that go undetected years before health problems occur. Click on the following link to see an article and video about one families horrific ordeal near Denver Colorado. http://www.9news.com/seenon9news/article.aspx?storyid=156994&catid=509. Testing for black mold in these environments becomes crucial and could mean the difference between better living or constant high cost visits to a hospital or emergency room. The ‘Informant 15-Minute Black-Mold Detection Test is highly accurate and can detect below 105 or 100,000 spores per ml of three of the most dangerous species of black mold listed by the Center for Disease Control.

As a result of this new study, people who have been pushing for tougher laws and regulations control and clean up of unsafe indoor environments now have documented, scientific evidence to back them up. One citizen, also in Denver CO. decided not to wait for the law to come a knocking chose to do the right thing. His heroic story can be found here… http://www.denverpost.com/entertainment/ci_16281174.

Low-income neighborhoods are at a greater risk for mold problems and asthma is a huge public health concern in these disadvantaged areas that are the hardest hit. Since many buildings at these locations are usually older and have long-standing repair issues in terms of wear and drainage damage, the probability of long-standing plumbing and moisture problems is much greater. Add to that the easily controlled, but seldom dealt with issues of slumlords who are able to slip through the cracks of a legal system that is often to overwhelm to adequately pursue such matters until the problem of black mold demands that they take action, the issues challenging low-income neighborhoods increase. Now with the help of the ‘Informant’ 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test, occupants have a simple and easy to use instrument ready to help them make their case and take the steps that will be needed to reclaim their homes. See the article in the Phoenx Business Journal on AdVnt’s new “Infomant 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test.

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