Killing mold sure sounds like a good idea, but is it really?
understand the flawed premise of killing mold you must first
understand the different characteristics between
molds that are viable (alive) and molds that are
dead (non-viable). Once you do it will be clear
why killing mold is not a sensible way to deal with
indoor mold growth and that gimmicks like air
purifiers, ozone, and high heat treatments are
"snake oil schemes" concocted to separate you
from your hard-earned money.
The One Important Detail Most People
Molds are living organisms that
require food and water to stay alive. Take away
one or the other and mold dies. Molds produce
two things; enzymes to digest organic matter and
spores to reproduce. Outdoors mold is a vital
part of our ecosystem. Without it we would be
neck-deep in dead plant matter and other organic
materials. But indoors mold can be a real
problem when it starts digesting organic
materials like lumber, drywall, cabinets, and
other personal property. As long as mold has a
food source and a water source, it can live
indefinitely and cause significant damage to
anything it comes in contact with.
When mold loses its food or water source it dies
or goes dormant. At that point, the good news is
it can no longer cause any further damage to
your property. The bad news is, as mold dies it
dries out and starts to release spores into the
air at a highly accelerated rate, and mold
spores – dead or alive – have the same affect on
people and animals.
READ THAT AGAIN!
So, if dead mold is just as harmful alive
mold – what would be the point in killing it?
Mold spores are organized into three groups
according to human responses;
Most likely to affect those who are already
allergic or asthmatic
Serious health effects in persons with
suppressed immune systems
Capable of causing serious health effects in
The objective of mold remediation is never to
kill mold, treat mold, toast it, or poison it
with gas. Mold remediation means mold removal.
Therefore the goal of remediation is always to
remove the mold. Dead mold may provide your property with some
reprieve from further damage. But given the
health risks of mold exposure - dead or alive -
there is clearly no upside to killing mold.
Who Promotes the
Idea of Killing Mold and Why? Follow The Money
So who would have you believe that killing mold
is a good idea and why? Anyone making money
selling products and services that kill mold.
Search Google for ”how to kill mold”. What you
will find is 500,000 web sites selling products
that supposedly “kill mold”. Check out the
cleaning products isle at your local grocery
store and you’ll find a number of mold-killing
solutions to choose from. And of course there’s
the home remedies that have been around for
years, like bleach, vinegar, baking soda, etc.
But even if a remedy or a retail product works,
the question that begs asking is, “what is the
point in killing mold?”
If you spend a few dollars on a mold-killing
solution, the most you’ll be out is a few
dollars. The real mold-killing scam, however, is
the thermal or ”high-heat” treatments being
passed off as mold remediation by some
contractors. Can extreme heat kill mold and
other indoor contaminants? Yes. But again, the
question to ask is, “what is the point in
killing mold?”. Whatever technical catch phrase
they come up with to sell their concept, killing
mold is not mold remediation. Remediation means
removing mold. In the simplest of terms, if mold
is properly remediated (removed) there should be
nothing left to kill.
Other products and services being sold as
mold-killers are Ozone air purifiers and high
ozone treatments. Ozone is a colorless, toxic
gas with a noticeable odor. When inhaled in
relatively low amounts, ozone can cause chest
pain, coughing, shortness of breath, damage the
lungs and irritate the throat.
Regarding contractors who sell high ozone
treatments as a method of mold remediation, the
truth is - the amount of ozone it takes to kill
mold will kill you too! But even if you check
into a hotel for a few days while they while
they fill your house with lethal doses of deadly
gas, the best you can hope for in the end is
dead mold. And just like high heat treatments,
remediation will still be required to remove it.
As for ozone products, manufacturers and
resellers of Ozone Generators sold as air
purifiers claim that these products help to kill
and control mold. However, according to the
Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), these
products may very well add to indoor air
pollution and even make indoor mold conditions
Several brands of ozone generators have EPA
“establishment numbers” on their packaging. This
is NOT an EPA approval or endorsement. It is
nothing more than deceptive marketing designed
to intentionally mislead consumers. The only
purpose of an EPA establishment number is to
help the EPA identify the specific facility that
produces the product.
THE DISPLAY OF
THIS NUMBER ON OZONE PRODUCTS DOES NOT IMPLY IN
ANY WAY THAT EPA HAS FOUND THE PRODUCT TO BE
EITHER SAFE OR EFFECTIVE.
FROM EPA’s WEB SITE:
Q: Are Ozone Generators Effective in Controlling
Indoor Air Pollution?
A: Available scientific evidence shows that at
concentrations that do not exceed public health
standards, ozone has little potential to remove
indoor air contaminants. Some manufacturers or
vendors suggest that ozone will render almost
every chemical contaminant harmless by producing
a chemical reaction whose only by-products are
carbon dioxide, oxygen and water. This is
misleading. The EPA does not certify or endorse
any air cleaning devices or recommend air
cleaning devices or manufacturers.
For more information from the EPA regarding
the use or effectiveness of ozone generators,
please visit their web site at:
information on how to avoid this scam visit
the Certified Inspectors
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