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The Remediation Process

In any industry there are manufacturers and service companies that are looking for a more efficient and less expensive method to accomplish the task that are offered to their clientele. If and when one is found, everyone will benefit. However, there are some simple basic principles that should be followed when determining an appropriate and effective remediation process. Otherwise, it is buyer beware.

In mold or sewage damage remediation, it is important to understand that dead bacteria or mold can still result in an adverse reaction to those that come in contact with them. Simply killing them is not sufficient. For example in the article entitled “Mold – What is it and should you be concerned?” we explained that molds can produce three possible adverse reactions (allergenic, toxigenic or pathogenic). For most healthy individuals, the molds that grow in wet buildings are most likely to produce only the allergenic or toxigenic reactions. These reactions are not dependent upon the mold being viable or capable of living. In other words, even if you could kill them the reactions are just as likely to occur and in some case more likely. Only pathogenic reactions result from viable mold that can grow in you or on you. These reactions are less likely and generally present themselves when the individual’s immune system is either overwhelmed or not properly functioning.

Based upon this premise, the ANSI/IICRC S500 and S520 both state that physically removing the contaminant is the primary means of remediation (section 4.4, S520). The use of biocides or antimicrobials is discouraged as the remediation process (section, S520). Biocide use is acceptable on a sewage backflow after the property has been thoroughly cleaned first (section 12.5.6, S500). Mold spores have a coating that retards or regulates the intake of water. Applying a water based biocide or antimicrobial does not have the reaction that most people have been led to believe. Instead some research has shown that the application of any water based spray or fog might remove the mold from a surface, but it is then transported to the air and settles out on other surfaces. This leaves the occupants with a false sense of security. Instead of having a Condition 3 area, we have now created a harder to detect and remediate Condition 2 area. For an explanation of Conditions go to the article “To Sample or Not to Sample

There is a resurgence of heat as both a drying and remediation process.  At best, the use of heat might kill some mold spores and in our company research we have found that it does not appear to be effective against molds that are dry. Regardless, heat at the temperatures that are considered safe for use inside a property, could only serve to kill some mold.

Regardless of the method or system used to kill bacteria or mold, the most common adverse allergenic or toxigenic reactions would still be likely.  The simple mantra is to “clean first”.

As a side note, there are numerous articles about the indiscriminate use of biocides and antibiotics that kill only a range of microbial organisms. What are left are microbes that become resistant to treatment. The same applies to buildings as it does to people.