mold testing

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by rburt5, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. rburt5

    rburt5 Member

    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Canton, Ohio
    I have been doing some minor remodeling in my bathroom. I found a small patch (3"x4") of what appears to be mold on the back side of some drywall from around the bathtub. I want to get it tested to see if it is a bigger problem, or if it was confined to that area. How do I do that? We have had some health problems over the past couple years that did not seem related. Now with the discovery of mold, and knowing that there is at least one more spot where moisture used to collect, I'm kind of worried.
  2. maintenanceguy

    maintenanceguy In the Trades

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I've taken several classes on mold remediation and indoor air quality. I deal with this issue a lot a work. Here's what I've learned.

    You have mold. If you test, you will find mold. Every surface of everything on earth has mold on it. If you have something tested, you will find a hundred different species of mold everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

    Some mold is dangerous to the people that are allergic to that specific species. Most people are unaffected. Mold is the new thing to worry about, usually for no reason at all.

    An environmental services company can test anything you want for mold and will have a list of a dozen or so species that are the most common allergens to test for. Having this testing done will do you no good if you don't know what you're allergic to, if anything. The first step is to see your doctor and get referred to an allergist for testing to try to identify any species you might be allergic to. This is also a hit or miss since they will only test for the most common allergens. You can be allergic to something not on their list.

    If the allergist finds something, you now have a reason to test. You can give the lab your list of allergens and they can test for that specific species. Otherwise, the results of your testing won't tell you anything useful.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Good report by maint...guy.

    At my condo, we had a vacant unit which we suspected had mold on interior walls, etc. Got a court order for entry, brought in the mold testers. First thing they do is set up OUTSIDE and do a background check. They KNOW the tests inside will yield some mold, and the question is, is it at a higher level, or different species, than the general area. In this case, the inside tested as "no problem".

    I once bought one of those test kits at HD. You put the petrie dish on you living room table for an hour, then cover it and let it grow for 48 hours. It DOES grow! Then you send that in to the lab, and they send you back a more or less indecipherable report that you have so many colonies of X and so many colonies of Y and don't worry about it!
  4. rburt5

    rburt5 Member

    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Canton, Ohio
    I didn't know that health problems related to mold are caused by an allergic reaction. That's great advice. I hear a lot of horror stories about mold, though. Is there such thing as a "toxic" mold that causes everybody to have health problems? On those remodeling tv shows they show people who look like their dressed to handle some kind of killer disease when going in to remove mold.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,152
    Location:
    New England
    Some molds can produce toxins, but they probably aren't as prevalent as allergic reactions.
  6. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
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    I had mold in my bath and didn't know it. It was behind the walls and under the floor. It caused Pneumonia on me, and, I know that for a fact because I sent the mold out (at the expense of my homeowners) and, it was analyzed and it was the kind that could infact, cause what I had. So, in answer to your question, unfortunately, yes. I had Pneumonia twice in a year, and funny thing, after the mold was gone, never, knocking on wood here, got it again. My insurance company was great, they brought in air-scrubbers and a dehumidier at there expense, huge ones, and ran them for a month. The only thing they ever argued about, was that they wanted to run them longer for me. They were great. I have Liberty Mutual.
  7. D.Smith

    D.Smith New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Georgia
    I have been quietly sitting back here and watching this train wreck to happen over the last few years. Mold is the new black gold to restorers. They have got the media in a kick that mold is bad. (Some is some isnt) We have been living with this mold for thousands of years and untill the last 15 or so it wasnt a problem. Before then if you saw it you could bleach it and paint over now the industry has convince that it should be properly dispose of.

    If you are worried about the mold in no means have it tested. If you cant afford the few hundred to have it tested call your insurance and see if they have a policy on it. The hd kits are nothing but a scare tactic designed to promote the fear.

    If you dont want to spend the money to test you can easily remove this yourself but follow a few guidelines. 1)Secure the area with a plastic barrier. If this is a toxic/harmfull mold you dont want the spores being airborne in other areas looking for a warm damp spot so they can have sex and breed. 2) Rent an air scrubber. They are not cheap but are the best line of defense against airborne molds. 3)Remove the source. This may entail actually removing a section of drywall or just washing everything down with a antimicrobial. If you decide your removing the drywall dont walk around the house without it being in sealed bags. 4)This is probly the biggest step. Find out why it was there in first place. Mold needs dark damp area to feed on and reproduce. Why was it damp where it was? Remove the dampness and mold will go dormant.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well, Radon is giving mold a run for the money as the "problem du jour". We have been tackling that situation for months at my daughters house. After spending hundreds of dollars on a lot of tests, FEDEX overnites to teh lab, etc. they have come to the conclusion that MAYBE it is not the granite counter tops, in which case underslab ventilation is the next move. Film at 11:00
  9. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
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    In my instance it was the roof and the gutter apron and an older house. I think people sometimes can become way too cavalier and just like some people can become way too overboard or to the extreme their are those who sway to thinking all is okay, when it is not. I don't know of too many molds I would want in my house just because some may not be dangerous. I am not saying you are saying exactly that, but mold is something not to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, I didn't see mine, nor did I smell it but it had hurt me all the same. Maybe, it has been around for a long time, and maybe, it didn't cause any problems on some but, I am positive that mold hundreds of years ago, was potentially as dangerous as it is today. The reason why it seems like it is only a problem now, to you, for 15 years, is because it is when you have taken notice of it at all, there are many others who knew about it far before you and of its dangers; plus, as time goes by, we gain more knowledge, and that is not to be put down in anyway, shape or form. It is what we don't know that will hurt us, not what we do know. That you can deal with. It kind of disgusts me when people carry this cavalier attitude thinking, it is going overboard to worry, to have concern, to dress up like astronauts in removing it, or seeing a new occupational field opening up because of what has been discovered or what is being researched. We get one chance at this life, and if you become too cavalier in your thinking it just might go down the shitter. Just my 2 cents worth here, because it is all the health insurance companies allows me to keep. A piece of advice here, don't take anything for granted, the rug can be pulled out from under your feet very quickly. And, sometimes painting over mold once bleached is not effective. Be careful with mold more than you think. Pneumonia is very painful and took me quite a while to get over, and I did get it from the mold. A word to the wise.
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
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    Jim, why hasn't the granite been removed? I will speak to you very honestly here. If the granite had been in my home and had been a concern of mine, hence, getting it tested, etc, it would had been removed. Now, you can sit there and think, yeah, but what if it isn't the granite that is giving off the readings... etc. If you sit there and think, well, the granite cost 30,000 dollars, what throw it out?

    Here is where I will honestly answer you, answering you from a cancer patient's point of view. If you don't want to hear the C word, then, why the tests? It is your fear.

    Since, I was diagnosed at age 44, I have banged my head against the wall in what caused it. Why? Should I had listened to those who never experienced cancer and chemo? If at all possible, I wanted to know, what stopped my life and took my breath away, what made my kids cry thinking they were going to lose their mom, what made my husband grow old so quickly worrying about his wife he loved so much. I wanted to know to also protect my kids, for what if, the cause was in my home, or my work place, afterall, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma is an environmental illness.

    I spent almost 5 years total on drugs which the oncologist apologized to me for, telling me, it would bring a big man down to his knees, and he felt bad having to inject a woman, a small woman, 5'3, 118 pounds with those drugs. But, Non-Hodgkins is primarily a male's disease, drugs mostly made for men to treat it.

    Some of the drugs were 90,000 dollars, another 60,000, I had to pay 20%. Do the math. On top of that figure amount, 19,000 a year for CT's, additional money for MRI's, and a whole lot of incidentals.

    Whatever the worth of the granite is Jim, that you and your daughter are testing, over and over; asking yourselves, about the readings given off, it is not just worth it. Do away with the granite, give your daughter peace of mind, give yourself peace of mind. You are not going overboard in doing so, radon causes cancer. Period. I would not allow it in my home. Then, Jim, if the readings are still high, you got to keep eliminating until, you find the cause.

    Granite is nothing compared to staying healthy. Once you've been there, you just don't want to ever back, and Jim, I have been there in that pink chair 5 times, and way too long. This I know what I am talking about. Get rid of it, and enjoy getting something nice and new and safe. Then throw a party and invite me.:)
  11. maintenanceguy

    maintenanceguy In the Trades

    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    There are molds that produce toxins. But these are rare. And the concentrations of the toxins would have to be sufficient, and you would have to contact enough for it to have some effect. Yes, it can happen...but rarely.

    The significant problem (if there is one) is allergic reactions.
  12. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090203/ap_on_he_me/salmonella_outbreak

    Mold was found in the plant. Yikes.

    The salmonella outbreak was traced to the company's sister plant in Blakely, Ga., where inspectors found roaches, mold, a leaking roof and internal records of more than a dozen positive tests for salmonella.

    plus,

    The outbreak so far has resulted in more than 500 reported illnesses, led to an expansive recall and caused as many as eight deaths. The government is working on a criminal investigation in the case.
  13. wallyworld

    wallyworld New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Someone actually said granite countertops would cause a radon problem in a home?
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