Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Secret Life of Mould
There are 100,000 known species of mould identified and approximately 100K-200K still to be identified.
Mould is a key decomposer and is responsible for 98% of composting.
Mould is made up of living organisms thriving on moisture and an external food source such as sugars, starches and organic carbons.
Mould will grow on anything it can feed off ie; paper, wool, wood etc.
Germination can occur within 12-24 hours with visible growth within 48-72 hours. This is why you need to have freshly cleaned carpets dry within 12 hours.
Mould grows in colonies of millions of spores that engage in chemical warfare with other types of mould.
NEVER approach mould with a chemical as this causes it to sporulate.
Mould spores are in the always in the air we breathe. Normal ecological levels are so low they are acceptable to the human body. However, elevated levels can cause problems like Hay fever and other breathing problems.
The risk is dependent upon the specific contaminants present ie;
·         the quantity

·         the concentration

·         the frequency of exposure (ie; living in a mouldy house)

·         duration of exposure

·         and individual resistance
Invasive aspergillosis can occur as an infection with pneumonia that spreads to the heart, lungs, brain and kidneys via the bloodstream.
Mould is a biological agent – COSHH regulations apply when treating or trying to remove it with chemicals.
The HSE List of Biological Agents include: Hazard group 1, Aspergillus species, Penicillium marnefei, Cladosporium. Hazard Group 2 species, Cryptococcus neoforms.
The majority of mould spores are invisible to the naked eye, but when you can see it, (black or green mould), it has formed a colony with millions of other mould spores. 1cm of mould can contain 80 million spores of penicillin.
Attempting to clean mould with chemicals can be rather dangerous as mould cannot tell the difference between cleaning products and an attack from another species of mould, so it will fight back with its own form of chemical warfare.
Cleaning companies must undertake a suitable and substantial Risk Assessment before exposing employees to mould without suitable training.   Staff are within their rights to refuse to clean carpets in a mould infested area until the area has been professionally decontaminated.
There are around 7 million asthma sufferers in the UK that could be triggered by mould spores that flourishes in doors with high moisture and low airflow. Typical causes of indoor moisture is; breathing (about 1.5 litres per person per day), baths & showers, cooking, washing, drying laundry, cleaning, fish tanks, leaks, storm floods & damp weather.
So who is most at risk from mould?
Infants & children whose immune system may not be strong enough to cope. Pregnant woman having respiratory problems, the elderly, alcoholics, drug abusers and hyper sensitive’s.
How big is the risk?

This all depends on exposure frequency, duration of exposure, the amount and concentration of mould and the type of mould… Not all mould is harmful.
What should you do if you detect mould in your home?

Try to find the cause, if it’s a leak etc, you need to fix this first.
If it’s from general condensation from high indoor humidity, try the following…
If it’s a warm sunny day, open doors and windows as often as possible to allow plenty of fresh air into the property.
If it’s typical British weather, then you will probably need de-humidifiers to remove the moisture and dry the air and switch the heating on.

Once the mould has dried into a powder, you can use vacuum cleaners to remove it, but try to vent the vacuum cleaner exhaust to the outside of the property.
You should not attack/clean the mould unless you know what you are doing or of you know the type of mould you are dealing with. It is highly recommended you contact a local mould removal specialist to advise you on any type of mould growth treatment and removal.

If you are worried about mould treatment or removal in your property in South London and Surrey you can contact us on the details below.

By Kevin Goodwin, Direct Cleaners, 020 8687 1711

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