Tips & Info on Mold Part 4

March 20, 2003

Mold Remediation

Excerpt from the New York City Department of Health Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Disease Epidemiology's "Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments"

In all situations, the underlying cause of water accumulation must be rectified or fungal growth will recur. Any initial water infiltration should be stopped and cleaned immediately. An immediate response (within 24 to 48 hours) and thorough clean up, drying, and/or removal of water damaged materials will prevent or limit mold growth.

If the source of water is elevated humidity, relative humidity should be maintained at levels below 60% to inhibit mold growth. Emphasis should be on ensuring proper repairs of the building infrastructure, so that water damage and moisture buildup does not recur.

Five different levels of abatement are described below [see full ducument]. The size of the area impacted by fungal contamination primarily determines the type of remediation. The sizing levels below are based on professional judgement and practicality; currently there is not adequate data to relate the extent of contamination to frequency or severity of health effects.

The goal of remediation is to remove or clean contaminated materials in a way that prevents the emission of fungi and dust contaminated with fungi from leaving a work area and entering an occupied or non-abatement area, while protecting the health of workers performing the abatement. The listed remediation methods were designed to achieve this goal, however, due to the general nature of these methods it is the responsibility of the people conducting remediation to ensure the methods enacted are adequate.

The listed remediation methods are not meant to exclude other similarly effective methods. Any changes to the remediation methods listed in these guidelines, however, should be carefully considered prior to implementation.

Non-porous (e.g., metals, glass, and hard plastics) and semi-porous (e.g., wood, and concrete) materials that are structurally sound and are visibly moldy can be cleaned and reused. Cleaning should be done using a detergent solution.

Porous materials such as ceiling tiles and insulation, and wallboards with more than a small area of contamination should be removed and discarded. Porous materials (e.g., wallboard, and fabrics) that can be cleaned, can be reused, but should be discarded if possible.

A professional restoration consultant should be contacted when restoring porous materials with more than a small area of fungal contamination. All materials to be reused should be dry and visibly free from mold. Routine inspections should be conducted to confirm the effectiveness of remediation work.

The use of gaseous, vapor-phase, or aerosolized biocides for remedial purposes is not recommended. The use of biocides in this manner can pose health concerns for people in occupied spaces of the building and for people returning to the treated space if used improperly. Furthermore, the effectiveness of these treatments is unproven and does not address the possible health concerns from the presence of the remaining non-viable mold. For additional information on the use of biocides for remedial purposes, refer to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists' document, "Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control."

3.1 Level I: Small Isolated Areas (10 sq. ft or less) - e.g., ceiling tiles, small areas on walls

  • Remediation can be conducted by regular building maintenance staff. Such persons should receive training on proper clean up methods, personal protection, and potential health hazards. This training can be performed as part of a program to comply with the requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200).

  • Respiratory protection (e.g., N95 disposable respirator), in accordance with the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), is recommended. Gloves and eye protection should be worn.

  • The work area should be unoccupied. Vacating people from spaces adjacent to the work area is not necessary but is recommended in the presence of infants (less than 12 months old), persons recovering from recent surgery, immune suppressed people, or people with chronic inflammatory lung diseases (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe allergies).

  • Containment of the work area is not necessary. Dust suppression methods, such as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to remediation, are recommended.

  • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from the building in a sealed plastic bag.

  • The work area and areas used by remedial workers for egress should be cleaned with a damp cloth and/or mop and a detergent solution.

  • All areas should be left dry and visibly free from contamination and debris.

For remediation techniques for larger areas, please see the full document, available at: NY Dept. of Health Web site

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