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Scare tactics and indoor mold: check for yourself

Bathroom mold, picture taken from web
Bathroom mold, picture taken from web

By Mike Charles

Allergy Control

Sometimes we find companies that try to use scare tactics within the microbial investigation and mold remediation industry. As with any industry, there are always going to be people who try to scare people into using their services. They may do so by giving misinformation or falsehoods or exaggeration. Here are a couple tips to watch for:

1)     I have seen websites with embellished pictures of microscopic mold spores, when in reality, just about anything looks scary when magnified 500 times. Also, if the website uses the terms “Black Mold” or “Toxic Mold”, consider that a big red flag. The terms were created to elicit fear.

After all, who isn’t afraid of the term “toxic”?  You don’t hear many stories that start with toxic and end with a smile.. It is good to be informed of potential signs of mold exposure and basic information regarding health. We have mold around us most everywhere; mold is a natural occurrence to rid our environment of dead and decaying matter. However we do not want a mold colony growing inside our home.

Choose a company that understands this and do not allow someone to scare you into a massive, expensive cleaning.

2)     Be wary of remediation companies that do their own testing. Within our industry it is a direct conflict of interest.  The public has rarely dealt with a mold problem, or had to interpret a laboratory analysis of microbial samples. It is not uncommon to hear about a remediation company coming into a home, pulling some microbial samples, then informing the client that the home is completely contaminated and they must vacate immediately or pay for expensive remediation. And that was based on a visual inspection alone.

Upon further investigation by an independent third party microbial investigator it was revealed that yes, they had a minimal mold problem but it was far less intense than the remediation company would have had the homeowner believe. You have to remember that a remediation company makes a lot of money cleaning up big mold infestations. So have an independent party look at the situation.

3)     If you are ever in the middle of a microbial investigation and the inspector or contractor attempts to tell you what type of mold are present just by looking at it, be very cautious.

This is just not possible. Only a high-powered microscope can truly identify a mold variety and its growth patterns. This should only be done by a mycologist or technician within a laboratory setting.

If you really believe that you may have a mold problem, it is important to know that whoever you turn to has your best interest in mind. Ensure this by using an independent third party with nothing to gain from finding a problem.  Make sure they are a legitimate company, properly certified and they should have a positive track record through organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.  You may be surprised what you find after doing a little investigation, for better or for worse.

If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as grout, ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.

It is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

If you have any Indoor Air Quality or Mold questions please feel free to contact us at Allergy Control, 405 641-4296, in business since 2006.

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