Nov 11, 2020

A New Process On the Block; What are the Limitations?

A New Process; What is it?

I came across a new process in the ‘Mold Community’ when servicing a new client.  I will not mention a company name at this point but when you hear the process explained to you by this company you will be able to recognize it.  But first let me tell you the experience of my client before she called me for assistance.  She responded to an ad promising 7 air samples to test for mold for a nice low price.  She recieved 2 air samples combining several rooms with no outdoor sample. She was told verbally she had toxic mold in the house that had to be addressed and it would cost $5000. However, she was only given the Lab Report which showed the sample results for the 2 samples taken in her home. There was no Inspection Report evaluating or stating any specifics about what needed to be done.  As a result she was not happy with what she was provided by this company and then called me to assist her. 

Let’s delve into this further.  When evaluating air quality for mold content in the home an outdoor air sample must be taken to see what is normal for your area as each area can be different. That is known as a ‘Control Sample’ and any other samples taken inside the home are compared to the outdoor sample to see how similar or different these are. Without an outdoor sample it is not possible to properly evaluate the indoor samples and tell the client what it means for them.  Meaning, is the indoor air where the samples were taken considered Normal or Not? If not, is there a danger and what needs to be done to address it? This was not done and so I wondered on what basis is the client being told she has toxic mold in the house that needs to be addressed?  Due to the client apparently not receiving what was promised by the company, specifically the different number of samples promised versus delivered, I advised her to ask for her money back since what was promised was never delivered. She did receive a full refund as a result.

The process the company is selling is the use of a ‘dry fog’ that is an EPA approved sterilant.  The fog is done throughout the home and also put into the walls via small holes made to insert the the device used to inject the dry fog. Occupants would vacate the home for about 8 hours before returning. This is supposed to basically disinfect the home of mold and also denature the mold spores present.  This process seems to have merit but what are the limitations?

One primary limitation is when moisture is present. For example, a leak will cause mold growth and the process does not address moisture.  When talking with one company franchise they say either the owner will need to put a dehumidifier to dry the area or they can. Although, this may differ by franchise.  This may be problematic at best since moisture can affect more than just one room or wall. The IICRC, the bench mark for performing water mitigation and mold remediation (technically Applied Microbial Remediation) which involves removing mold and bad bacteria outlines specific procedures to address this type of situation.  The company says on their website that they do not abide by the IICRC procedures.  As a result there appears to be a significant gap on  ridding a home of mold and bacteria that grow as a result of moisture or water present from leaks or water intrusion into the home.

In summary, the process does have merit for appropriate situations but cannot address moisture issues which are at the heart of mold and bacteria growth. Also, taking air samples to evaluate a home for potential mold must include an outdoor Control Sample and a report showing the evaluation or rather explaining what the lab report means. This is apparently not done by at least one franchise of this company which appears to be a little shady.

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