A Cleaner Image NY State Licensed Mold Inspection, Assessment & Remediation Services
Mold Inspection & Remediation
- Biological Growth Sampling & Accredited Lab Results
- Damage Restoration
- Indoor Air Quality Testing
- Odor Abatement
- Odor Control
A Cleaner Image is committed to the highest standards in mold identification, moisture and odor management, and overall indoor air quality in your home or business. We uphold the highest moral and ethical standards in serving our clients and community while keeping the process simple.
Our technology and proprietary process allows us to deliver pricing and effectiveness that is far superior to traditional remediation methods, while surpassing the current safety standards in our industry. We achieve restoration and remediation in days, not weeks. Our products are green, safe, non-toxic, biodegradable and EPA Certified for use in residential, commercial and industrial facilities.
We also provide customers with a written guarantee on projects related to the specific original source of contamination and original serviced areas.
WHAT IS MOLD?
Molds are organisms that may be found indoors and outdoors. They are part of the natural environment and play an important role in the environment by breaking down and digesting organic material, such as dead leaves. Also, called fungi or mildew, molds are neither plants nor animals; they are part of the kingdom Fungi. Molds can multiply by producing microscopic spores (2 - 100 microns [µm] in diameter), similar to the seeds produced by plants. Many spores are so small they easily float through the air and can be carried for great distances by even the gentlest breezes. The number of mold spores suspended in indoor and outdoor air fluctuates from season to season, day to day, and even hour to hour. Mold spores are ubiquitous; they are found both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores cannot be eliminated from indoor environments. Some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in settled dust; however, they will not grow if moisture is not present. Mold is not usually a problem indoors—unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. As molds grow they digest whatever they are growing on. Unchecked mold growth can damage buildings and furnishings; molds can rot wood, damage drywall, and eventually cause structural damage to buildings. Mold can cause cosmetic damage, such as stains, to furnishings. The potential human health effects of mold are also a concern. It is important, therefore, to prevent mold from growing indoors.
UNDERSTANDING THE NYS BILL NUMBER: S3667D
Understanding How NYS Bill S3667D Affects You Requires the licensure of mold inspection, assessment and remediation specialists and sets minimum work standards for mold inspection, assessment and remediation specialists As of January 1, 2016, New York State has put into effect Bill S3667D. What does this new law mean to you?
This law requires the licensing of mold inspection, mold remediation companies and workers.
It sets minimum work standards for the conduct of mold assessments and remediation by NY State licensed persons.
No licensee shall perform both mold assessment and mold remediation on the same property. The mold “assessor” cannot work for the mold remediation company and must be independent of the mold remediation company. The mold assessor’s license was created by New York State in an effort to have an independent analysis of the suspected mold.
It is the responsibility of the mold assessor to “clear” the project and determine if the mold has been properly remediated.
WHAT MOLD NEEDS TO GROW INDOORS?
Mold needs moisture and food. Moisture is the most important factor influencing mold growth indoors. Controlling indoor moisture helps limit mold growth.
MOISTURE CONTROL IS THE KEY TO MOLD CONTROL
Mold does not need a lot of water to grow. A little condensation, in a bathroom or around a window sill, for example, can be enough. Common sites for indoor mold growth include bathroom tile and grout, basement walls, and areas around windows, near leaky water fountains, and around sinks. Common sources of water or moisture include roof leaks, condensation due to high humidity or cold spots in a building, slow leaks in plumbing fixtures, humidification systems, sprinkler systems, and floods. * Besides moisture, mold needs nutrients, or food, to grow. Mold can grow on virtually any organic substance. Most buildings are full of organic materials that mold can use as food, including paper, cloth, wood, plant material, and even soil. In most cases, temperature is not
Besides moisture, mold needs nutrients, or food, to grow. Mold can grow on virtually any organic substance. Most buildings are full of organic materials that mold can use as food, including paper, cloth, wood, plant material, and even soil. In most cases, temperature is not Page 11 an issue; some molds grow in warm areas, while others prefer cool locations such as bread stored in a refrigerator. Often, more than one type of mold can be found growing in the same area, although conditions such as moisture, light, and temperature may favor one species of mold over another. *Floods Buildings that have been heavily damaged by flood waters should be assessed for structural integrity and remediated by experienced professionals. Please note that the guidelines covered in this course were developed for damage caused by clean water (not flood water, sewage, or other contaminated water). See the EPA Resource List, which includes the EPA Fact Sheet: Flood Cleanup - Avoiding Indoor Air Quality Problems, for more information.
Health Effects That May Be Caused by Inhaling Mold or Mold Spores Inhalation exposure to mold indoors can cause health effects in some people. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances or chemicals (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Mold does not have to be alive to cause an allergic reaction. Dead or alive, mold can cause allergic reactions in some people. Allergic Reactions, Asthma Attacks, Irritant Effects Allergic reactions to mold are common and can be immediate or delayed. Repeated or single exposure to mold, mold spores, or m old fragments may cause non-sensitive individuals to become sensitive to mold, and repeated exposure has the potential to increase sensitivity. Allergic responses include hay fever-like symptoms such as headache, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Molds can cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, molds can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of individuals whether or not they are allergic to mold. Other Health Effects Breathing in mold may also cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an uncommon disease that resembles bacterial pneumonia. In addition, mold exposure may result in opportunistic infections in persons whose immune systems are weakened or suppressed. When mold grows indoors, the occupants of a building may begin to report odors and a variety of symptoms including headaches, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and aggravated asthma symptoms. These and other symptoms may be associated with exposure to mold. But all of these symptoms may be caused by other exposures or conditions unrelated to mold growth. Therefore, it is important not to assume that, whenever any of these symptoms occurs, mold is the cause. For more detailed information on mold and its health effects, consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.
As molds grow, some (but not all) of them may produce potentially toxic byproducts called mycotoxins under some conditions. Some of these molds are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings. More than 200 mycotoxins from common molds have been identified, and many more remain to be identified d. The amount and types of mycotoxins produced by a particular mold depends on many environmental and genetic factors. No one can tell whether a mold is producing mycotoxins just by looking at it. Some mycotoxins are known to affect people, but for many mycotoxins little health information is available. Research on mycotoxins is ongoing. Exposure to mycotoxins can occur from inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact. It is prudent to avoid unnecessary inhalation exposure to mold.
A building must be properly designed for climate, site location, and use, and its design must be accurately followed during construction or the building may have moisture-control problems. Delayed or insufficient maintenance can lead to moisture problems in buildings. Undiscovered or ignored moisture problems can create an environment in which mold can grow. Moisture problems in temporary structures, such as portable classrooms, are also frequently associated with mold problems. Common moisture problems include:
Leaking or condensing water pipes, especially pipes inside wall cavities or pipe chases
Leaking fire-protection sprinkler systems
Landscaping, gutters, and down spouts that direct water into or under a building
High humidity (> 60% relative humidity)
Unvented combustion appliances such as clothes dryers vented into a garage. (Clothes dryers and other combustion appliances should be vented to the outside.) Some moisture problems are not easy to see. For example, the inside of walls where pipes and wires are run (pipe chases and utility tunnels) are common sites of mold growth. Mold is frequently found on walls in cold corners behind furniture where condensation forms.
Other possible locations of hidden moisture, resulting in hidden mold growth are:
Poorly draining condensate drain pains inside air handling units
Porous thermal or acoustic liners inside duct work
Roof materials above ceiling tiles
The back side of drywall (also known as gypsum board, wallboard, or SHEETROCK®), paneling, and wallpaper
The underside of carpets and pads. You may suspect mold, even if you can't see it, if a building smells moldy. You may also suspect hidden mold if you know there has been a water problem in the building and its occupants are reporting health problems
Sometimes, humidity or dampness (water vapor) in the air can supply enough moisture for mold growth. Indoor relative humidity (RH) should be kept below 60 percent — ideally between 30 percent and 50 percent, if possible. Low humidity may also discourage pests (such as cockroaches) and dust mites. Humidity levels can rise in a building as a result of the use of humidifiers, steam radiators, moisture-generating appliances such as dryers, and combustion appliances such as stoves. Cooking and showering also can add to indoor humidity. HVAC System One function of the building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is to remove moisture from the air before the air is distributed throughout the building. If the HVAC system is turned off during or shortly after major cleaning efforts that involve a lot of water, Page 15 such as mopping and carpet shampooing or cleaning, the humidity may rise greatly, and moisture or mold problems may develop. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity. When warm, humid air contacts a cold surface, condensation may form. (To see this, remove a cold bottle of water from a refrigerator and take it outside on a hot day. Typically, condensation will form on the outside of the bottle.) Humidity can be measured with a humidity gauge or meter; models that can monitor both temperature and humidity are generally available for less than $50 at hardware stores or on the Internet. Where to Look for Mold Contamination Mold can grow in wet or damp spots in a building, or where humidity is high. Therefore, it is important to look for indoor areas where moisture is a concern. Chapter 2 lists a number of factors that may contribute to indoor humidity and moisture problems. Reports of any of these problems should be investigated. If there has been a leaking pipe in the basement, for example, items such as carpets, paneling, and drywall there should be checked for water damage or mold growth. It is important to dry items quickly to prevent mold growth; in most cases, items dried within 24-48 hours will not become moldy. Carpet backing or padding must be dried in addition to the carpet or mold will likely result. Look for mold in wet or damp places and in places that smell moldy or musty. Indoor mold growth should be cleaned up. Remember that mold comes in many colors, not just black. Hidden Mold Growth In some cases, indoor mold growth may not be obvious. Mold does not need light to grow: it can grow in dark areas and on hidden surfaces, such as the backside of drywall, wallpaper, and paneling; the top side of ceiling tiles; and the underside of carpets and pads. Possible locations of hidden mold also include damp areas behind walls and in crawlspaces, inside pipe chases and utility tunnels (areas in walls where water and other pipes are run), on acoustic liners in ventilation ducts, and on roof materials above ceiling tiles. Investigating hidden mold can be difficult and may require a professional with experience investigating water- and mold-damaged buildings. Specialized equipment such as borescopes and moisture meters, and in some cases special sampling techniques, may be helpful in locating and identifying hidden mold areas. Investigating hidden mold requires caution since disturbing moldy areas may spread mold throughout the building. Opening and closing air handlers, for example, can send high levels of dust and mold into the air. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is not always needed when looking for mold, but it should always be available. If mold might be released into the air, investigators should use PPE to reduce exposure.
Mold Sampling may help locate the source of mold contamination, identify some of the mold species present, and differentiate between mold and soot or dirt. Surface sampling may be useful in determining if an area has been adequately cleaned or re mediated. After remediation, the types and concentrations of mold in indoor air samples should be similar to those in the local outdoor air. There are no EPA or other federal standards for airborne mold or mold spores, however, so sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with federal mold standards because there are none. Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting the results. Several problems can occur when sampling. For example, there may be too few samples, sampling protocols may not be followed consistently, samples may become contaminated, outdoor control samples may be omitted, and since sampling can be expensive, sufficient funds may not be available to sample and to fix the water/mold problem. Samples should be analyzed according to the analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional guidelines. Types of samples include air samples, surface samples, bulk samples (chunks of carpet, insulation, wall board, etc.), and water samples from condensate drain pans or cooling towers. Keep in mind that air sampling for mold provides information only for the moment when the sampling took place. For someone without experience, sampling results will be difficult to interpret. Experience in interpreting results is essential. Some inexpensive and quick tests can be conducted if mold is suspected. In the case of carpets, a small portion of the suspect material can be submitted to a laboratory for identification. Most microbiology laboratories need only a little of the suspected mold on a clear strip of sticky tape to determine, using a microscope, whether it is actually mold or something that looks like mold.