Summer vacations are when mold comes out to play

 

 

Summertime traditionally brings family trips, school vacations, as well as plenty of hot uncomfortable weather. Those sunny days, however, often come with high humidity and afternoon thundershowers — ideal conditions for annoying and potentially toxic mold.

It’s a pervasive menace that is poised each summer to grow and thrive in your house. Left unattended, fast-growing mold can cause damage that will cost in the thousands of dollars to eradicate or, worse, pose a dangerous threat to the health of your entire family.

“No one knows how many homes have mold behind the walls, but the best estimate is about 70 percent,” said Richard E. Gots, a doctor and founder of the International Center for Toxicology and Medicine, a biomedical consulting firm.

Gots’s estimate refers to mold that is at an “elevated level” and therefore should be addressed if the conditions exist for the mold to take hold and grow.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets levels for acceptable radon levels as well as a threshold for lead in the house or water supply, and states regulate termite inspections and control compliance. Yet there are no federal or state regulations that dictate a safe level of mold for a residential property.

D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) has been campaigning for several years to pass legislation that would require residential property owners, including landlords, to disclose the presence of mold in their apartment, condo or house. This legislation is still pending.

 According to the District’s housing code, the Department of Consumer Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) inspectors cannot cite a homeowner for mold because the city considers mold to be “an environmental problem,” rather than a housing or safety issue. Mold, of course, is notoriously difficult to detect, and what may look like dangerous mold can only be legitimately determined under a microscope by a competent inspector or lab. Additionally, most homeowner insurance policies will not cover damage from mold — they consider it a “preventable” condition.

In reality, mold is a fungus that can grow anywhere moisture is present. Mold spores thrive in warm temperatures (77 to 86 degree Fahrenheit) and wherever there are damp conditions. Mold spores are in the air we breathe, and they can grow on any surface. In a house, mold can be found in ceilings and walls, under sinks, in drywall, hidden behind wallpaper or baseboards, in the ductwork or even on furniture and clothes. It can also grow outdoors under wood piles or mulch, gutters or abandoned trash.

Mold in a house can lay dormant until it gets the needed heat and humidity to grow and multiply. Additionally, it needs a food source, such as dust, dirt or some other organic debris.

While not everyone will react to this growth in the same way, those sensitive to allergic or toxic mold can develop alarming symptoms upon merely entering a contaminated room. The result can be a serious — even life-threatening — illness if not treated in time.

 If you suspect that you’ve been exposed to mold — or begin to experience dizziness, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath or other symptoms of illness — contact a mold specialist and have your property inspected as soon as possible. Licensed professionals will test the air quality of your house and take samples of the visual mold, which will be sent to a qualified lab for evaluation.

The EPA provides helpful information in its publication “A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home” at www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html . And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focuses on the health hazards of mold exposure and provides recommendations for removing mold exposure at www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm#note .

In addition to the traditional methods for eradicating mold (such as using chemicals or chlorine bleach and physically removing infected surfaces), there is a new, enzyme-based alternative. Previously used as a protective spray for fruits and vegetables, it is now available for home use.

Jenn Sherwood, manager of Green Home Solutions of Maryland, says that the enzyme spray is a cost-effective, time-saving and environmentally responsible way for homeowners to eradicate mold. The process uses a “fogger,” which emits a fine spray that is able to penetrate most porous surfaces (such as drywall) or even non-visible areas — behind walls or inside insulation. This method of eradicating mold often eliminates the need to remove and replace the existing material.

The EPA regards this spray as nontoxic to humans or pets and harmless to both surfaces and belongings in the home. The enzyme works by creating a bond with the mold spore, and then breaking it down from the inside. As a result, the mold is chemically altered into a particle that is no longer allergenic, toxigenic, or able to reproduce other spores. This treatment can cost from one-third to one-tenth less than the cost of traditional methods.

Given that your insurance company may not cover mold damage, it’s important to take immediate action.

Here are three easy steps to help prevent mold when you go on vacation:

●Check for areas where water could accumulate — such as around windows, doors, bathroom leaks, kitchen sinks and washing machines.

●Clean surfaces of oil, soap, dust and dirt. Those materials are a feeding ground for mold when moisture is present.

●Set the temperature inside the house in the low 70s, if possible. If you suspect humidity, set a dehumidifier to keep the moisture level below 60 percent. In your closet, place a hanging moisture absorber (such as Damp Rid) that will trap excess humidity and eliminate musty odors.

Sandy Gadow, a freelance writer and author of “The Complete Guide to Your Real Estate Closing,”

Debunking some toxic mold myths

In 2000, a new “toxic mold” panic swept the country, and after 16 years of untold lawsuits and billions of dollars spent, major myths still plague and unnecessarily panic association boards, managers and homeowners. The myths all too often cause exaggerated repairs, unduly frightened residents, and conflict. In this and the next column, I will address thirteen pervasive toxic mold myths.

1. Mold is new. Mold, one of the earliest and simplest life forms, has existed for thousands of years. Almost 100 years ago, mold was the basis of the discovery of penicillin. Mold is ever-present, as is dust or pollen.

2. The scientific and medical communities confirm mold’s many dangers. In 2004, the National Institute of Medicine published its comprehensive study on indoor mold exposure, called “Damp Indoor Spaces and Health.” A central finding was: “Scientific evidence links mold … in homes and buildings to asthma symptoms in some people with the chronic disorder, as well as to coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people… However, the available evidence does not support an association between … mold and the wide range of other health complaints that have been ascribed.”

 That sounds like mold is as dangerous as dust or pollen to people with severe asthma. The announcement containing this finding is easily located by a web search, but it did not receive much press play – stories of frightened people living in tents are more interesting.

3. One must determine the kind of mold present. Mold consultants and plaintiff attorneys often describe some molds as worse than others. The most famous mold is stachybotrys chartarum, a mold producing infinitesimal quantities of a substance similar to botulism poison. However, the amount is so small they call it a “mycotoxin.” It sounds frightening, but the scientific community long ago debunked the myth that this or any mold was somehow poisonous to breathe. For example, read the National Institute of Health Fact Sheet on Mold, found at www.niehs.nih.gov.

4. California is protected by the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001. The act instructed the Department of Public Health to develop permissible exposure limits of the various mold strains. However, in 2005, and again in 2008, the DPH reported the task could not be completed with the scientific information available. Consequently, there is presently no official standard as to how many mold spores of any given variety are “unhealthy.”

5. Always start with a mold test. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends against mold testing. There is no standard as to how many mold spores are “unhealthy,” and indoor air sampling tests are extremely vulnerable to events in the home, which can change the results. A recent shower, window opening or carpet cleaning are some of the many factors that can completely change test outcomes.

Mold tests, to put it bluntly, primarily frighten the occupants and create a “need” for the expense of a mold consultant, and a second test after the area is cleaned. Since the health authorities have not confirmed any particular strain is more dangerous, and since there is no official standard as to how many airborne spores are unhealthy, there is rarely a good reason to spend the money on such a test.

 

Mold in my walls Calabasas

Mold in my walls

Los Angeles residents learn about the mold in the walls of your home

Have you experienced a recent overflow, back up, or recognized a new leak in your home?  Chances are that you’ve already taken a look at it, decided to feel if were wet or not with your hand, and decided to go about your everyday life.  Would you, could you, even imagine saying to yourself; “Is there Mold in my walls”?

It doesn’t take a lot of water to allow 1 mold spore to grow into a mold colony.  Inside this wall cavity our mold inspector located the presence of yellow, grey, white, and green molds growing on the drywall.  Not every mold has to be black to cause damage to our homes. whatdoesmoldlooklikeinsidemyhomewoodlandhillsmoldremoval Different types of mold will grow in walls, depending on the amount of time and available moisture. The different colors of mold can typically indicate primary vrs. secondary colonizers after water damage has occurred in your walls.  Look at the picture to the left . .

The camera is point up the inside of a wall cavity.

Mold in my walls!  A building wall cavity is a perfect environment for mold to grow after water damage.  The wall cavity space keeps the humidity at a perfect level for mold to grow.  In addition, other materials such as insulation can increase humidity and moisture levels to help sustain mold in the walls over a longer period of time.

Do you think mold is in your walls?

Learn More
In order to combat the growth of mold in my walls, I would contact a mold remediation company as soon as possible to help dry down the building.  If the problem is less than a gallon of water, a homeowner might be able to get some fans and dry down the area. Professional mold removal companies employ dehumidifiers and fans to prevent the growth of mold in walls.  Daily monitoring of the building materials moisture is completed everyday to ensure the materials are drying and limit the ability of mold to grow. If I suspected mold in my walls, a local mold inspection company could help me by sampling the air quality, destructively investigating the wall, or sampling the air inside the wall. Many thing can be done to prevent the growth of mold in walls.  Learn more today.

Is that black mold on your t-shirt?

Is that black mold on your t-shirt?

Moldy t-shirts and clothing are normally . . .

cleaned when contaminated with mold.  Putting a slightly different twist on this new story that incorporates mold and bacteria as a substitute dye used for clothing. This leads us to the question, “if mold is being used as a dye, how can these researchers remove all bad things that go along with mold?”  Most people become allergic to the little pieces of mold, mold spores, and sometimes react to the mVOCs (microbial volatile organic compounds).  Let’s see if the research below can break the mold about how people ultimately view these harmful organisms.

Zemanta Related Posts

Zemanta Related Posts

Two master’s students from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) are trying to spark the country’s interest in the sustainable fashion movement by developing items colored with fungus and bacteria, including those that can be easily found in your bathroom.

Don’t you hate it when black mold grows on your white shirt? Instead of trying hard to clean it with bleach or vinegar, you could let the mold grow further, giving a splash of new color to your old shirt.

The idea perhaps sounds silly, but that is exactly what Nidiya Kusmaya had in mind when she started her final thesis at ITB.
moldonclothingandhouseholdmaterialsthatareporous
She discovered the hidden beauty of Aspergillus niger, a micro fungus responsible for the black mold on damp clothes.

“People see Aspergillus niger as something disgusting, something to avoid. In fact, the fungus is valuable; it can act as a pigment producer in textiles,” said Nidiya, an awardee of the leading scholarship from the Foreign Cooperation Bureau (BU BPKLN) of the Research and Technology and Higher Education Ministry.

Research conducted previously in the United Kingdom on pigment-producing bacteria prompted her to discover the interesting shades produced by fungus and bacteria that thrive in the tropical climate of Indonesia.

Aside from the black Aspergillus niger, she also cultivated two other fungi: the orange Monascus sp. and the white Trichoderma.

“Monascus can harm plants, but not humans. It can be found in the traditional Chinese medicine angkak [red yeast rice]. Meanwhile, Trichoderma fertilizes soil,” she said.

Nidiya also experimented with Serratia marcescens, a red and pink bacterium that usually grows in the corners of bathrooms.

“It can cause infections, but using it as a pigment producer is safe,” she said, adding that garments coated with the bacteria were sterilized at an elevated pressure and temperature in an autoclave.

Nidiya only uses natural fabrics like silk and cotton because they can withstand the heating process.

Little wonder: Nindiya Kusmaya, a student of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), works with a number of micro fungi and bacteria to create natural pigments in garments.
Little wonder: Nindiya Kusmaya, a student of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), works with a number of micro fungi and bacteria to create natural pigments in garments.

In one neckwear collection, she sprinkled different fungus and bacteria onto the fabric and let them form natural patterns.

“It appears that bacteria and fungus can communicate. When they meet, they create bold colors,” she said about her research, which was conducted under the guidance of ITB lecturers Kahfiati Kahdar and Imam Santosa.

In another collection, she orchestrated the bacteria and fungus to form batik and tie-dye patterns.

Mold Growing on Shoes

Mold Growing on Shoes

“I drew patterns using antifungal and antibiotic pastes before applying the fungus and the bacteria. As a result, they did not grow on the specified areas on the garment,” she added.

Based on her experience as a professional textile designer, Nidiya believes that fungus and bacteria could provide a new avenue for the fashion industry — the world’s second most polluting industry, second only to oil, according to the Danish Fashion Institute in 2013.

“Coloring textiles requires loads of chemicals and it gives me a headache every time I need to dump the wastewater,” she said.

In contrast to chemical coloring substances, the wastewater of the fungus and bacteria-colored garments do not pose harm to the environment.

“I want to discover more bacteria and fungus, and combine them with natural coloring, such as turmeric. I hope it will inspire people to make an industry out of it,” Nidiya said, adding that the coloring process was not much different to making tempeh in a home industry.

Nidiya hopes to start a textile brand focusing on sustainable, biodegradable products to cater to her fashion designer clients who still favor natural pigments and the organic patterns that they produce.

She humorously describes one of her textile creations as looking like “a bloody crime scene on the Dexter TV series”.

“Perhaps the planned patterns are suitable for the general market, while the natural patterns belong to haute couture, serving as a fashion statement,” she said.

Sapta Soemowidjoko, another BU BPKLN awardee who recently completed his master’s degree in design at ITB, created a garment from Kombucha, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast popularly called scoby.

Moldy t-shirts and clothing are normally cleaned when contaminated with mold.  Putting a slightly different twist on this new story that incorporates mold and bacteria as a substitute dye used for clothing. This leads us to the question, “if mold is being used as a dye, how can these researchers remove all bad things that go along with mold?”  Most people become allergic to the little pieces of mold, mold spores, and sometimes react to the mVOCs (microbial volatile organic compounds).  Let’s see if the research below can break the mold about how people ultimately view these harmful organisms.

Two master’s students from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) are trying to spark the country’s interest in the sustainable fashion movement by developing items colored with fungus and bacteria, including those that can be easily found in your bathroom.

Don’t you hate it when black mold grows on your white shirt? Instead of trying hard to clean it with bleach or vinegar, you could let the mold grow further, giving a splash of new color to your old shirt.

The idea perhaps sounds silly, but that is exactly what Nidiya Kusmaya had in mind when she started her final thesis at ITB.

She discovered the hidden beauty of Aspergillus niger, a micro fungus responsible for the black mold on damp clothes.

“People see Aspergillus niger as something disgusting, something to avoid. In fact, the fungus is valuable; it can act as a pigment producer in textiles,” said Nidiya, an awardee of the leading scholarship from the Foreign Cooperation Bureau (BU BPKLN) of the Research and Technology and Higher Education Ministry.

Research conducted previously in the United Kingdom on pigment-producing bacteria prompted her to discover the interesting shades produced by fungus and bacteria that thrive in the tropical climate of Indonesia.

Aside from the black Aspergillus niger, she also cultivated two other fungi: the orange Monascus sp. and the white Trichoderma.

“Monascus can harm plants, but not humans. It can be found in the traditional Chinese medicine angkak [red yeast rice]. Meanwhile, Trichoderma fertilizes soil,” she said.

Nidiya also experimented with Serratia marcescens, a red and pink bacterium that usually grows in the corners of bathrooms.

“It can cause infections, but using it as a pigment producer is safe,” she said, adding that garments coated with the bacteria were sterilized at an elevated pressure and temperature in an autoclave.

Nidiya only uses natural fabrics like silk and cotton because they can withstand the heating process.

Little wonder: Nindiya Kusmaya, a student of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), works with a number of micro fungi and bacteria to create natural pigments in garments.
Little wonder: Nindiya Kusmaya, a student of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), works with a number of micro fungi and bacteria to create natural pigments in garments.

In one neckwear collection, she sprinkled different fungus and bacteria onto the fabric and let them form natural patterns.

“It appears that bacteria and fungus can communicate. When they meet, they create bold colors,” she said about her research, which was conducted under the guidance of ITB lecturers Kahfiati Kahdar and Imam Santosa.

In another collection, she orchestrated the bacteria and fungus to form batik and tie-dye patterns.

“I drew patterns using antifungal and antibiotic pastes before applying the fungus and the bacteria. As a result, they did not grow on the specified areas on the garment,” she added.

Based on her experience as a professional textile designer, Nidiya believes that fungus and bacteria could provide a new avenue for the fashion industry — the world’s second most polluting industry, second only to oil, according to the Danish Fashion Institute in 2013.

“Coloring textiles requires loads of chemicals and it gives me a headache every time I need to dump the wastewater,” she said.

In contrast to chemical coloring substances, the wastewater of the fungus and bacteria-colored garments do not pose harm to the environment.

“I want to discover more bacteria and fungus, and combine them with natural coloring, such as turmeric. I hope it will inspire people to make an industry out of it,” Nidiya said, adding that the coloring process was not much different to making tempeh in a home industry.

Nidiya hopes to start a textile brand focusing on sustainable, biodegradable products to cater to her fashion designer clients who still favor natural pigments and the organic patterns that they produce.

She humorously describes one of her textile creations as looking like “a bloody crime scene on the Dexter TV series”.

“Perhaps the planned patterns are suitable for the general market, while the natural patterns belong to haute couture, serving as a fashion statement,” she said.

Sapta Soemowidjoko, another BU BPKLN awardee who recently completed his master’s degree in design at ITB, created a garment from Kombucha, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast popularly called scoby.

Kombucha can be easily found in Chinese traditional medicine stores and can be used to make Kombucha fermented tea. While the health benefits of Kombucha are still debated, it could certainly be used for fashion items.

Inspired by Kombucha material created by New York-based designer Suzanne Lee, Sapta added a twist to the ground-breaking garment by combining it with a web of bamboo threads.

The current fashion industry heavily depends on animal and plant-based fibers, such as silk and cotton. Kombucha material could be a solution, but Sapta understands that many people still have doubts about wearing bacteria and yeast as clothing.

Thus, he combines the material with something familiar — bamboo threads.

“Kombucha material has been used as a medical textile and amplifier, so why can’t it cross into the fashion world?” he said. “I created this fabric to serve as a bridge for us to reach a fashion future.”

In his research conducted under the guidance of ITB lecturers Kahfiati Kahdar and Andar Bagus Sriwarno, Sapta pulped the scoby in a food processor and put it in a rectangular container. He placed a web of bamboo threads in the box as the Kombucha juice grew.

After trial and error, he managed to get the desired result, in which the bamboo web was inside a Kombucha blob. After it reached 2 centimeters in thickness, the newly made garment was washed and dried.

While the trial and error seemed arduous, the fact that Sapta cultivated the garment in his house gives hope that other people could develop the process into a home industry.

“To attach the garment pieces to one another, you just need to iron them. You can hand-stitch and cut them with scissors and multi-cutting devices,” he said.

For his final thesis, Sapta developed Plan B, a bowtie and suspender collection to represent the synergy of science and art in the products.

“I chose bowties because they are synonymous with scientists. Plan B basically means our next plan. B stands for bacterial cellulose, bamboo, a bridge to a fashion future,” he said.

Sapta hopes his research can inspire another slow fashion initiatives and, in the long term, help to slowly reduce the dependency on plant-based fibers.

Slow fashion, which is still largely unheard of in Indonesia, is a growing trend within the fashion world for sustainable, ethical clothing. It is the opposition of the “fast food” approach to fashion, namely fast and cheap production that results in exhausted resources and excesses of barely used clothing.

Slow fashion still has some challenges to overcome, though. The acidic smell of the Kombucha garments, for example, could be the main hurdle for it to be accepted by fashionistas.

“People always want to smell nice. It is understandable that when you wear the garment, you don’t want people to sniff you and assume that the pungent smell comes from your body,” Sapta said.

But, he said, wearing a little bow tie will not lead people to smell you. Instead, it gives you an interesting conversation topic at parties, where people will approach and ask: “Where did you get that bowtie?”
– See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/07/growing-fungus-and-bacteria-textiles-fashion.html#sthash.GLgs2SWq.dpuf