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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
2003-03-01 14:09:00
What’s up with mold?
ANSWER:  This is a question that I'm faced with on a daily basis.  As a certified mold remediator I am called upon to visit homes with mold issues, and more often than not the customer will ask me "What's the big deal about mold?"  Twenty or Thirty years ago if somebody had mold in their home the typical response would be to get out the Clorox wipe it off and get on with your life. Twenty or thirty years ago a lot of people smoked.  Over that time we have learned more about smoking and its effect on our bodies and in the same manor we have learned more about mold and its effects.The preoccupation with mold dates back to Old Testament times, in fact Leviticus 14:45 says "A house desecrated by mildew, mold or fungus would be a defiled place to live in so drastic measures had to be taken."  So it's clear that the Good Lord had a head start in mold remediation services.  Why is mold such a big deal today?  Several factors have contributed to this.  In Cleveland there were a couple of very high profile cases where infants arrived at an Emergency Room with respiratory complications all within the same time period.  The Doctor that handled the cases was unable to properly diagnose the problem.  What he did know was that the children suffered from the same symptoms, lived in the same housing projects and were dying.  This prompted him to contact the center for disease control and a subsequent investigation revealed that in the apartments where the children lived, there were water intrusion issues and severe mold contamination.  Certain types of mold produce a substance known as mycotoxins.  These toxins have been known to effect the immune system.  People who are in the highest risk category are the very young, the very old, people who have had recent surgeries, people with weakened immune systems such as HIV and people with allergies and asthma.  The media along with high profile court cases have raised the awareness of mold.  Another reason that mold is more prevalent in homes and buildings today is the way buildings are being built. In the early to mid seventies the energy crisis caused us to reexamine the way we build.  Houses were built tighter, windows and doors were sealed and insulation was every where.  This caused our heating bills to go down but it also made it difficult for moisture to leave the building and for walls to breathe thus creating ideal living conditions for mold.  One thing to keep in mind is that mold is only a symptom and that water is the cause whether it be an indoor flood, elevated humidity or some type of ground water intrusion.  It is important to remember that when dealing with mold it needs to be dealt with and has the potential to cause harm to individuals and the building or home that is affected.  There have been many advances in both the methods and equipment used in mold remediation and trained professionals can safely and effectively remove mold with out the threat of contaminating the entire structure.In closing, mold has been around a long time and doesn't seem to be leaving any time soon.  There are many things that can be done to prevent the growth of mold and its effect on people.  It is important that individuals educate themselves on mold and its causes and not just take the word of someone claiming to be a mold professional.  The library and the internet can provide a wealth of information on this subject.  One particular web site that should be looked at is the governments recommendations for mold remediation located at http://www.epa.gov/.  
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