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 Mold - What Not to Do
  Do not disturb mold.  
  Mold spores aerosolize easily. Dry ones are dispersed more easily than wet ones. Do not disturb mold until you have a plan for cleaning it up and containment in place. If you are unsure what to do, call a professional.  Look in the yellow pages under Environmental or Mold Inspection and Removal.  
  Do not use Bleach  
  Contrary to popular belief, bleach does not kill mold2. Chlorine bleach is not registered with the EPA as a disinfectant to kill mold.  
  A mold spore is like a seed. Have you ever planted a seed that didn’t grow? Was the seed alive or dead? Dead mold spores are still allergenic and potentially toxic3. The allergenic and potentially toxic nature of the cell wall of mold spores is not neutralized by chemicals. While bleach may kill some spores on contact, the majority of organisms are left unaffected and those that have been made non-fertile are still capable of eliciting an allergic response. To reduce potential health affects, mold must be removed. This is accomplished by cleaning. Use soap and water. Applying bleach or other biocides to mold may actually induce the mold to produce toxins as part of its last fight to survive or induce sporulation where the “dying” mold ejects spores into the air, similar to a tree that produces fruit during a drought.  
  Do not use Ozone  
  Studies have shown that ozone can not be generated in sufficient concentrations to kill or even suppress microbials on most structural surfaces. Ozone is an oxidizer and a respiratory irritant and has been found to cause lung scarring in lab rats. The EPA states that ozone, when inhaled, can damage the lungs and that at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone has little potential to remove indoor air contaminants.  
  There is a risk involved when using ozone that you will damage contents4. It has been known to react with carpet padding and leather furniture to create new odors that were not present before.  
  Ozone is hazardous to breath. Notice the ozone alerts in the newspaper on a smoggy day. There are companies selling ozone machines that will point to the fact that ozone in the atmosphere is natural and not a health hazard. In fact, many people have reported adverse reactions to ozone generating devices. These include headache, migraines, runny nose or eyes, throat irritation, respiratory problems and hospitalization.  
  There are attorneys investigating ozone victim claims for the Ionic Breeze, Living Air Classic, Biozone, Friedrich, Blueair and Mitsubishi Plasma Pure. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Sharper Image in regards to the sale of Ionic Breeze air purifiers. These air purifiers do virtually nothing to remove small particulates from the air as demonstrated by air quality tests performed using laser particle counters. They may appear to be removing larger particles because the plates in them that you are supposed to clean get dirty. They are most likely attracting large, non-repairable size particles, not mold spores, pollen and other small particles.  
  Do not Paint over Mold  
  Paint is food for mold. Mold will grow through paint, even those seem to indicate on the label that they contain ingredients to prohibit mold. If you read the label on paints and primers with mold inhibitor additives you will find they are not intended to seal in active mold growth. They are only intended to prevent mildew from growing on the paint film. The instructions specify removing mold growth before painting.  
  There are products on the market designed to be applied directly over mold. These are called encapsulants. Encapsulation is usually not recommended because there is no closure to the presence of the mold growth. If you cover up mold you must forever manage it in an office and disclose it when you sell a home.  
  If you decide to encapsulate, choose a product that has passed the ASTM test and Federal specifications for Mold and Mildew resistance with out the use of pesticides or insecticides. One such product is made by Safe Encasement Systems. http://www.safeencasement.com (888) 277- 8834.  
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Revised: July 05, 2017.

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