Homeowners and Commercial Property Managers have a new problem on their hands – Black Mold has become a national threat and the mere mention of it causes waves of panic in residential and commercial occupants of homes and buildings.
In actuality, all the “information” on the internet about black mold is a combination of hype and reality. The two major questions you want to ask yourself when you are presented with a potential black mold problem are:
- Can black mold in any amount be a health issue?
- When do I hire a professional to remove the black mold?
Imagine a tenant, working in a commercial building, calls the property manager panicking because he sees a small, quarter-size black mold growth on the wall next to his cubicle. He has “researched” online and has learned that black mold has killed animals and can make humans very sick. The property manager, concerned for the health of the tenant and the legal liability, goes into a panic as well.
What both parties don’t realize, is that while the visual mold is worrisome, of greater concern is the amount of mold and the quantity of black mold spores. Many people fail to understand and/or remember that mold is an organic substance and is found everywhere – in every building and home and has been that way since the dawn of time. Even the cleanest home and/or commercial property will have some amount of mold in it.
So, exactly how much mold is a health hazard? The answer is based on two criteria. The first is how much mold is outside the home (or building) compared to how much is inside. The second criteria is the difference in the amount of mold spores between the affected room (or tenant space) and the non-affected rooms. If it is discovered that the room or space in question has higher levels of mold spore counts than the non-affected areas, then mold removal or mold remediation becomes your next step.
Once this is determined, you will need to decide whether to hire a professional company to do the remediation, or if you can and/or should do it yourself. The answer to this varies depending upon who you ask. If you read the EPA Guidelines or the New York Health Department Guidelines on Mold Removal, they will advise that any mold problem with over one hundred (100) square feet of mold surface (a combination of all areas), should use a professional mold removal company. Any amount less than that can be performed by a non-professional – assuming that they follow the proper guidelines. However, there are other guidelines that suggest that due to health concerns and the possibility of law suits, that any amount of black mold should be re-mediated by a professional.
Whichever path you choose to solve the mold issue in your home or commercial building, health concerns and legal liability are probably going to be your guiding factors. Due to the public’s inadequate understanding of mold and the scientific community’s lack of definitive proof on the effects of mold, the answers are not cut and dry. When considering the best solution for removing black mold (or any type of mold), you must evaluate your particular situation. If you have any doubts, hire a professional company to protect yourself. Additionally, be sure that any company you hire follows the IICRC 502 Mold Remediation Guidelines, the most common mold guidelines.