If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911. For our emergency mold remediation services, contact us at (877) 468-3566.
Fire, flooding, and storm damage are all causes of building damage that leave their effects behind in very obvious ways. It’s easy to see the destruction these disasters inflict on a building and any surrounding landscaping or property. In contrast, some disasters pose more insidious and less obvious dangers to your building and any people exposed to it. Smoke and soot damage are examples of hidden risks. More commonly, however, silently expanding mold colonies inside your home can create severely dangerous conditions without your knowledge. Fungal spores are virtually everywhere in the air and on surfaces around us. Most of the time, these spores are harmless, but specific mold species can quickly grow into colonies indoors that at best, damage building materials, and at worst, release toxic particulates that can be inhaled. If you suspect mold colonies are present in your building, it’s important to take action quickly to remove the growths fully and eliminate the risks they pose. ServiceMaster Recovery by C2C Restoration provides comprehensive, emergency mold remediation in San Diego, CA and the surrounding southern California region. Our mold removal technicians have the expertise, technology, and solutions to fully rid your building of any harmful mold.
There are over 100,000 identified mold and fungus species in the world. Thousands of these are common in U.S. homes, and over a hundred have been determined to be harmful to human health. Almost all molds are proven to damage building materials and compromise the air quality of your home. All that’s required for mold spores to take root and grow into a colony is moisture, low UV light, and cellulose. Cellulose is a broad term for the organic materials that mold consumes. When it comes to building materials and other particulates present indoors, this can include dander, hair, dust, paint, wood, paper, adhesives, drywall, plaster, fabrics, and more. Low UV light and slight humidity are also common indoor conditions for most buildings.
Because of the typically mold-friendly environments indoors, it doesn’t take much for mold spores to find surfaces that are conducive to full colony growth. We all know black mold, otherwise known as various molds of the stachybotrys genus, is a very toxic household mold, but most homeowners aren’t aware of the many kinds of common molds that can pose health risks. The most harmful molds are ones that produce mycotoxins, toxic secondary metabolites that cause disease and death in humans and animals, but even if they don’t release these toxins, some molds are still health risks.
Household Mold Types
There are three genera of fungi into which the many common household molds fall. This includes aspergillus, cladosporium, and stachybotrys.
- Aspergillus: These molds are highly allergenic strains of asexual fungi that are capable of growing in many environments, including ones with high concentrations of salt, sugar, or other osmotic pressures (heavy with pure solvent). This means they can grow in most indoor spaces that are not fully exposed to sunlight. Aspergillus molds favor warm and damp environments like bathrooms and window frames. While some strains of aspergillus are used for the development of some medicines, industrial citric acid production, and even in the microbial fermentation of Japanese sake, inhalation exposure to aspergillus can cause allergic reactions leading to symptoms like chronic coughing, runny noses, itchy eyes, trouble breathing, headaches, and fever. For those with asthma conditions, aspergillus exposure can lead to more serious health problems, including allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, acute invasive aspergillosis, and disseminated invasive aspergillosis. Some of these molds can also cause infections to the ear and skin, even leading to fungal mycetoma ulcers. The A. fumigatus and A. flavus strains of aspergillus are also two types that release a mycotoxin called aflatoxin, which are carcinogenic inhalable particulates.
- Cladosporium: Molds in the cladosporium genus are some of the most common species indoors and outdoors. These colonies grow in olive-green, brown, or black groupings, and they are often found on dead and living plant matter. Most of us have seen cladosporium growths on expired foods, but there are over 772 species in the cladosporium genus. Many of these cladosporium species are present in areas of indoor spaces outside of the refrigerator. While cladosporium species don't produce any known mycotoxins, they can cause infections in skin, toenails, sinuses, and lungs. Cladosporium spores are airborne particulates that are significant allergens. In healthy individuals, cladosporium exposure presents with coughing, runny eyes and nose, stuffiness, sneezing, dry skin, itchy throat, and headaches. Individuals with asthma conditions or other respiratory diseases can have more severe reactions to cladosporium exposure. These molds are commonly found on HVAC and other ventilation covers, wood surfaces, window sills, paper surfaces, fabrics, carpeting, and painted surfaces. Cladosporium molds also produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are one common cause of strong indoor odors.
- Stachybotrys: Another asexual genus of mold, stachybotrys (toxic black mold) is an infamous species due to its effect on human health and its prevalence in homes. The potential dangers of stachybotrys molds came to be generally accepted after a controversy in the early 1990s. Analysis after the death of two infants and several instances of poor health conditions in children in the Cleveland, OH area linked these cases to severe Stachybotrys chartarum exposure. While the reanalysis of these cases since then could not link the health conditions directly to S. chartarum, it led to extensive studies of the dangers of various stachybotrys mycotoxins. Today, we know that various stachybotrys species produce four distinctive VOCs, one trichothecene mycotoxin (satratoxin H), and one type of atranone. All of these are harmful to human health in several ways. While a test does not currently exist, there are probable links between exposure to S. chartarum and acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in children. Additionally, stachybotrys black mold species are associated with allergic reactions, some respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological conditions, immune deficiency, and cancers. Overall, exposure to black mold is never a healthy option. If you have black mold colonies in your home, we recommend immediately contacting us or another emergency mold removal service, finding a temporary place to stay while remediation is done, and not returning to your home until full removal and sanitation is confirmed.
In addition to molds that produce VOCs and other allergenic compounds, molds that release mycotoxins pose the greatest health risks. The most prevalent fungal mycotoxins include aflatoxin, citrinin, fumonisins, ergot alkaloids (ever heard of the Salem witch hunt of 1692?), ochratoxin a, and zearalenone. Molds that release mycotoxins can be found in many indoor environments high in cellulose, moisture, darkness, and warmth as well as human and animal food. Some mycotoxin compounds have also been found as contaminants in dietary supplements. The health effects of mycotoxins range, but health issues in the broad spectrum of mycotoxin exposure includes immune system compromise, protein synthesis inhibition, blockage of particle clearing in the lungs, damage to macrophage systems, increased sensitivity to bacterial endotoxins, and more. Mycotoxin exposure can occur in the skin, lungs, blood stream, lymphatic system, and tissue membranes.
Mold Remediation Process
So, after all this scary information about the dangers of mold, let’s talk about how we can get rid of it and keep your home and family safe! There are several steps to the mold removal and full mitigation process. Mold removal is an involved project that should almost always be done by a professional crew of environmental technicians and experts because of the specialized equipment, solutions, and knowledge required. There are serious chemicals, biohazard precautions, and advanced technologies used in most mold removal processes.
The steps of a mold remediation procedure include:
- Initial investigation to find what caused, or is causing, the mold growth. This step includes determining how to best eliminate an environment in your home that will be conducive to mold growth.
- Targeting and mitigating any sources of excess moisture in your home, such as leaking pipes, HVAC or ventilation damage, flooding, storm damage, and others.
- Installation of air scrubbing systems that will create a negative pressure airflow in your building. This allows us to dehydrate your building, sanitize your interior air, get rid of moisture conditions that are mold-friendly, and maintain control over the indoor atmosphere during the remediation process.
- Inspecting and pinpointing all areas of mold growth, including colonies inside building materials, saturated fabrics, hard to reach spaces, and more.
- Applying heavy-duty EPA-approved biocide chemical sprays that completely kill mold colonies over a 24-hour period.
- Removal of dead mold colonies with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air filter) vacuums, cleaning solutions, and encapsulation systems.
- Additional removal of any building materials that mold cannot be removed from or fully sanitized. This can include drywall, insulation, and other porous materials. It’s critical these components are removed because they pose a health risk and could lead to further mold growths in the future.
- Rebuilding of damaged building structures, including carpentry, refinishing, and replacement when necessary.
- Final inspections of the building with a full walk through with our technicians, project managers, and customers. We’re in full communication with clients from start to finish of any job. Our services aren’t complete until the customer is fully satisfied with the removal of dangerous materials and full restoration of their building.
Not only does the removal of mold from a building make it a clean, safe space for your family, it also eliminates the risk of mold colonies further damaging your building as they eat away at cellulose-rich materials and create corrosion issues.
If you are facing water damage or other issues that have led to mold growth, ServiceMaster Recovery by C2C Restoration can help. Our complete services for mold remediation in San Diego, CA and the surrounding area will return your home to a hygienic, safe environment. To learn more about these restoration processes, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or our fast response LA line: (323) 851-5543. For emergencies, contact us at (877) 468-3566.