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Jeff Chester
Jeff Chester is president and owner of ACT Inc. Advance Catastrophe Technologies Incorporated. Jeff has written training materials and procedures pertaining to the many facets of restoration including mold, fire, water, and smoke damage. Jeff is a member of The Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration, Inc., The National Institute of Disaster Restoration, The Mechanical Systems Hygiene Institute and The Water Loss Institute. Jeff can be contacted at his office at (316) 262-9992 or you can e-mail him at act@actcat.com
Carpet Cleaning & Restoration
2002-09-01 13:33:00
What exactly is mold?
Jeff Chester Question: What exactly is mold? Is it always visible? How dangerous is it? How do you get rid of it?Answer:  This month's question is one that will be hard to answer in one article but we will go over the basics.  Next month we will finish.Mold is a fungi and can come in different sizes and colors. There are numerous species and types of molds, some of the most common are Aspergillus, Penicilliun, Fusarium, Trichoderma, Memnoniella and Stachybotrys chartarum.Fungal contamination is not always visible. The next part of the question is how dangerous is it and how do we get rid of it. Much of the following information comes from the City of New York Department of Health.On May 7, 1993, the New York City Department of Health, the New York City Human Resources Administration, and the Mt. Sinai Occupational Health Clinic convened an expert panel on Stachybotrys atra in Indoor Environments. The original guidelines were developed because of mold growth problems in several New York City buildings in the early 1990's. The following excerpts are from that report.Many fungi can produce potent mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that have been identified as toxic agents. People performing renovations/cleaning of widespread fungal contamination may be at risk for developing Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS) or Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP). ODTS may occur after a single heavy exposure to dust contaminated with fungi and produces flu-like symptoms. It differs from HP in that it is not an immune-mediated disease and does not require repeated exposures to the same causative agent. A variety of biological agents may cause ODTS including common species of fungi. HP may occur after repeated exposures to an allergen and can result in permanent lung damage.Fungi can cause allergic reactions. The most common symptoms are runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma. There have been reports linking health effects in office workers to offices contaminated with moldy surfaces and in residents of homes contaminated with fungal growth. Symptoms, such as fatigue, respiratory ailments, and eye irritation were typically observed in these cases.Fungi in buildings may cause or exacerbate symptoms of allergies (such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, and eye irritation), especially in persons who have a history of allergic diseases (such as asthma and rhinitis). Individuals with persistent health problems that appear to be related to fungi or other bioaerosol exposure should see their physicians for a referral to practitioners who are trained in occupational/environmental medicine or related specialties and are knowledgeable about these types of exposures. Decisions about removing individuals from an affected area must be based on the results of such medical evaluation, and be made on a case-by-case basis. Except in cases of widespread fungal contamination that are linked to illnesses throughout a building, building-wide evacuation is not indicated.
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