Mold & Mildew Preventative Treatment
Following Natural Disasters

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Virtually all structures affected by natural disasters experience water intrusion from rain or flooding and are subject to extensive mold growth beginning within 24 to 48 hours of the event. After the Katrina Storm and the Rita Storm that hit the Louisiana Coast the following techniques were utilized for clean up.

On On October 13, 2003 following hurricane Isabel, FEMA issued press release No. 1493-24 entitled, “Hurricane Isabel Carried a Hazardous Potential for Mold”.

The following statements have been extracted from an June 28, 2005 updated version of the press release:

“Molds are simple microscopic organisms found virtually everywhere. Molds can be found on plants, foods, dry leaves, and other organic material. Mold spores are very tiny and lightweight, allowing them to travel through the air. Mold growths can often be seen in the form of discoloration, ranging from white to orange and from green to brown and black. When molds are present in large quantities, they can cause allergic reactions similar to those caused by plant pollen.”

You should be concerned about mold in your home if the contamination is extensive. Exposure to high spore levels can cause the development of an allergy. Mold can also cause structural damage to your home. Similarly, when wood goes through a period of wetting, then drying, it can eventually warp and cause walls to crack or become structurally weak. Mold could become a problem in your home if there is enough moisture available to allow mold to thrive and multiply. Dampness in basements, walls, carpets, and wood caused by flooding provide an environment for mold to flourish. You can also be exposed to mold through skin contact and eating. For some people, a relatively small number of mold spores can cause health problems. The basic rule is, if you can see or smell mold, take steps to eliminate the excess moisture and to cleanup and remove the mold. It is important to quickly identify and correct any moisture sources before health problems develop. Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions, (allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity, and asthma) and the elderly appear to be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold.”

The village of Black Rock, located on the Chowan River in eastern North Carolina, was devastated by a 12 foot storm surge caused by Hurricane Isabel in September 2003. An EPA approved product was supplied to the members of the community and used extensively in the recovery process. Important steps for safety to remember were recorded.

When returning to a home or other structure that has been flooded or has suffered water intrusion after natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, be aware that the structure may be contaminated with mold or sewage, which can cause health risks. In the event of contamination, wear water tight footwear and gloves and wash frequently with an antibiotic soap.

Before Entry - Do not enter an affected structure until approval by a responsible authority. Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed. Be sure that electricity and gas have been safely turned off.

Upon Entry - Open all doors and windows and return outside and allow structure to vent for at least 30 minutes. .

Cleanup and Treatment 1 1
Prior to any clean up and treatment always have the structure inspected by a certified mold inspector. The inspector will sample the air and different locations inside and out side the structure. The inspector will send the samples to a Certified Lab to be analyzed . The mold inspector will deliver back to you the certified report and a protocol for your particular remediation needs. Always have the mold inspector complete a second inspection, following the exact same procedure as on the first inspection, after remediation, making sure proper remediation or clean up has been done. The following steps are general procedures to be taken.

If the structure has not been flooded, water has not intruded wall cavities, and wallboard shows no swelling and seams are intact, recovery may be accomplished without major removal of materials. In this case:
  • Dry the upholstered furniture, carpet and padding by vacuum water extraction, assisted by dehumidifiers and fans.

  • Clean walls and other surfaces thoroughly with water and detergent and dry completely..

  • After drying is completed, treat carpet and padding, furniture and all non-food surfaces with our Concentrate, diluted 24:1 with clean water. (See specific instructions.) )

Cleanup and Treatment 2 2
Unfortunately, in most cases extensive water intrusion will have occurred. A good mold contractor will follow closely to these guidelines and recommend the following to individuals that decide to tackle the remediation themselves. The Mold Institute recommends a certified mold contractor. Never use the contractor as your inspector. This is a direct conflict of interest.

  • Remove as much mud as possible. Once you have checked the water system for leaks, hose down the inside of the house and its contents. It is best to use an attachment that sprays soap to wash and rinse the walls, floors, furniture, sockets, electrical boxes, and other major items that got muddy. Use non-ammonia soap or detergent, or a commercial cleaner in hot water and scrub the entire area affected by the mold. A stiff brush or cleaning pad works well on block walls or uneven surfaces. Rinse clean with water. A wet/dry vacuum is handy for this process.

  • Remove heating and cooling registers and ducts, then hose them off to prevent contamination when blowing through the ducts at a later date. Next, scientists recommend washing with a disinfectant that is quaternary, phenolic or pine-oil based. If ducts are in a slab or otherwise inaccessible, have them cleaned professionally.

  • Disinfect and dry the moldy area. Never use bleach to disinfect the area. It is critical to remove the source of moisture before beginning to clean up, as mold growth will return if the area becomes wet again.

  • Bag and dispose of any material that has moldy residue, such as rags, paper, leaves, or debris. Harder materials such as glass, plastic, or metal can be kept after they are cleaned and disinfected. Wear gloves when handling moldy materials. Moldy materials should be removed as follows:

  • Remove porous materials (examples: ceiling tiles, drywall, carpeting, wood products).

  • Carpeting can be a difficult problem - drying does not remove the dead spores. If there is heavy mold, consider replacing it.

  • Allow the area to dry for two or three days.

  • If flooded, remove all drywall to at least 12 inches above the high water mark.

  • Visually inspect the wall interior and remove any other intrusive molds. (This step may have to be carried out by a licensed contractor.)

  • Use caution, as spores are easily released when moldy material is dried out. When cleaning these damaged materials, consider wearing a mask or a respirator. Respirators can be purchased from hardware and paint stores; select one for particle removal (sometimes referred to as a N95 or TC-21C particulate respirator). Respirators are not as effective removing bleach fumes, so minimize your exposure by not using bleach. There are several EPA approved products that can be utilized in the clean up.

  • After thoroughly cleaning and rinsing, disinfect Ask others to leave the areas during the cleaning process.

  • Work over short time spans and rest in a fresh air location.

  • Air your house out well during and after the work.

Usually a concentrate is packaged as a concentrate which should be diluted at a ratio of 1 part concentrate to 24 parts water by volume or approximately 5-6 oz. of concentrate to 1 gallon of water unless otherwise noted under specific treatment protocols.

You will read something like this, product may be tinted on site with most Universal Tint Colors suitable for use in water based latex paint. Tinting provides visual definition of the treated surfaces and gives an indication of coverage density. The most common colors used are in the magenta or red oxide range.This is only an example of a general EPA approved product.

Specific Treatment Protocols
Before treating any surface, rinse the surface thoroughly to remove any residual detergent or chlorine and allow to dry.

Structural wood, including plywood, particle board, OSB, rafters, joists, beams, structural steel and other surfaces will need a thorough cleaning and inspection for proper reconstruction:

Insulation: Inspect, clean or remove and replace.

Drywall: Inspect, clean or remove and replace.

Concrete, masonry and stone: Inspect, clean

Electrical and plumbing chases: Inspect, clean or remove and replace.

Crawl Spaces: Inspect, clean

HVAC System: Inspect, clean or remove and replace.

Carpet: Inspect, clean or remove and replace.

Painted Surfaces and Wall Coverings: Inspect, clean or remove and replace..

First Aid Measures

Eyes: Immediately wash eyes with clean water for at least twenty minutes. Call a physician immediately.

Skin: Remove contaminated clothing. Wash affected area with soap and water. Most soaps neutralize our product.

Ingestion: When using chemicals, do not induce vomiting unless the instructions direct this to be done. If swallowed, call a physician or poison control center immediately. Promptly drink a large quantity of egg whites, gelatin solution, or, if these are not available, large quantities of water. Avoid alcohol. Follow doctor’s instructions.

Inhalation: Move to fresh air. If not breathing, clear airway and start mouth-to mouth artificial respiration or use air bag-mask respirator. Get immediate medical attention and transport to medical facility. If available, give supplemental oxygen.

All cleaning agents should be stored in its original container or other suitable clearly marked closed container. Store in a safe place, away from direct sunlight or high heat and protect against freezing. Keep a copy of the MSDS in the storage area. Diluted product has a storage life of one year if properly stored, but should be thoroughly agitated prior to use.

Dwell – Drying Time
Drying times vary due to environmental conditions, interior humidity, moisture challenges, and a host of other factors. If contents have been moved to make application possible, allow all surfaces to completely dry prior to resetting. Read the mold inspectors protocol very carefully.

Re-Occupation of Treated Area
Do not re-occupy any area while treated surfaces are still damp. Do not reoccupy any areas, or allow children or pets to occupy any area until all moisture associated with treatment is completely dry and the structure has been properly tested and passed.