WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: MOLD
Molds (Mould) can be found anywhere and virtually grow on any substance
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WHY IS MOLD A PROBLEM TODAY?
Since the 1970's, when there was a shortage of oil, home construction has changed dramatically. It is now common practice to heavily insulate homes, wrap the exterior with a vapor barrier, and create less ventilation from the outside air. This can cause the potential for mold growth if there is a water event. According to statistics from the Bureau of the Census, 35% of homes are damaged due to water or moisture yearly. With the wood, cellulose, and other organic materials used in buildings, this now provides a fertile platform for mold growth.
All buildings can be affected by excessive moisture. The source of the water intrusion must be identified and fixed to prevent further mold growth. Suspected visible mold growth can only be determined by Laboratory analysis for positive identification.
Identifying mold or mold problems should be done by a trained inspector who is knowledgeable in all factors of mold growth. A thorough inspection by our Professionals will identify all possible causes of mold growth within the premises. We can also take the appropriate samples for laboratory analysis of suspected mold growth.
HEALTH AND MOLD
Mold is a fungus. The main purpose of mold is to break down dead materials, like wood and fiber that are used in building materials. There are good molds and bad molds.
Some molds are used in making antibiotics, beer, and cheese, for example, while other types of molds can cause serious health effects.
Mold growth can start as soon as 24 hours after a water event has occurred. Mold can often be seen in the form of a discoloration or a stain. When molds are present in large quantities, called colonies, they become a health concern. Some people are sensitive to molds. Exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation and can trigger Asthma episodes. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.
MOLD GROWTH IN A BUILDING IS OFTEN HIDDEN!
You may suspect hidden mold if the occupants are reporting health issues or there is a musty odor or history of water intrusion. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads. Other areas can be behind walls or above ceiling tiles where moisture has occurred or around windows and inside ductwork. There are many places for mold to "hide" and only a trained Inspector with the proper equipment can find these hiding places.
Mold, A Growing Problem ©Environmental Solutions Association, 2007
MVOCS AND VOCS
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
EPA's Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. Additional TEAM studies indicate that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the chemical compound found in all organic matter including fungi, bacteria, somatic cells, plant cells, etc. ATP is known biologically as the "universal energy carrier" within living cells and is a significant biochemical component of the Krebs Cycle. In the ATP-luminometric test, the firefly enzyme (luciferase) in the presence of its substrate, luciferin, oxygen and magnesium ions catalyzes conversion of chemical energy of ATP into light through oxidation-reduction reaction. ATP + D-luciferin + O2 = Light
The quantity of light generated is directly proportional to the amount of biological ATP (contamination) present, thus, the light units can be measured to estimate the biomass of cells in a sample. With state of the art equipment, and highly purified reagents, it is possible to detect trace amounts of microbial ATP.
SUMMARY: The SystemSure PlusATP Hygiene Monitoring System™ collects and measures bio-contamination of surfaces or liquids in 15 seconds. Quantifies living cells only (mold – bacteria – biofilm).
ERMI / ARMI / MSQPCR
The Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) and the American Relative Moldiness Index (ARMI) was developed by Dr. Steve Vesper and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. EMSL is licensed by the USEPA to perform MSQPCR methods to analyze your samples for the ERMI and ARM!
WHAT IS THE ERMI?
- The ERMI is an acronym for Environmental Relative Moldiness Index.
- It was developed by scientists at the USEPA to provide a straightforward, objective, and standardized way to obtain results for indoor air quality investigations.
- The EPA is developing an ERMI ranking system based on dust samples collected from homes across the U.S.
- The ERMI will help predict the moldiness of homes. Homes with high ERMI values have a greater chance of having a mold problem then homes with a low ERMI.
- 36 different fungi make up the ERMI and are designated as Group I (those found in atypical, water damaged homes) and Group II (those commonly found in all homes)
WHAT IS THE ARMI?
- The ARMI is an acronym for American Relative Moldiness Index.
- It was developed by EPA as more cost effective analytical method than the ERMI.
- It has been proven by EPA to have good correlation with the ERMI for predicting the moldiness of homes.
- 13 different fungi make up the ARMI and are designated a Group 1 (found in atypical, water damaged homes) and Group 11 (commonly found in all homes). The fungi for the ARMI are boldfaced below.
Group I – Stachybotrys chartarum, Chaetomium globosum, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, Aspergillus versicolor, Eurotium (A.) amstalodami, Penicillium variabile, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus restrictus, Penicillium crustosum, Penicillium chrysogenum, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus sclerotiorum, Penicillium purpurogenum, Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium corylophilum, Aureobasidium puflulans, Aspergillus ochraceus, Penicillium brevicompactum, Paecilomyces variotii, Aspergillus sydowii, Penicillium spinulosum, Wallemia sebi, Aspergillus unguis, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis, Scopulariopsis chartarum, Aspergillus penicillioides, Trichoderma viride
Group II – Acremonium strictum, Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus ustus, Cladosporium cladosporioides v1, Cladosporium cladosporioides v2, Cladosporium herbarum, Epicoccum nigrum, Mucor & Rhizopus group, Penicillium chrysogenum, Rhizopus sfolonifer
WHAT IS MSQPCR?
MSQPCR is an acronym for Mold Specific Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction.
The ERMI value is determined using the MSQPCR method in the lab.
It was developed by scientists at the USEPA to detect and associated with indoor air quality problems.
It's a FAST, ACCURATE, and SENSITIVE DNA-based analytical method for identifying and quantifying molds to the species level.
The method looks for the presence of DNA sequences that are unique to a particular mold species.