What Is Involved In A Post-Remediation Verification Survey?
Post-Remediation means “after mold has been removed”. A post-remediation verification survey (sometimes called clearance testing) includes a visual inspection and moisture assessment of the construction materials that were part of the remediation work, and air quality testing inside the work area. Both are necessary to properly assess whether or not the mold remediation was successful.
The purpose of Clearance Testing is to determine the success of the mold remediation efforts inside of existing containment areas to document the areas remediated are safe for occupants to safely enter.
Scope of Clearance Testing:
Clearance Testing consists of a visual assessment for mold problems in area(s) of remediation activities and the collection/analysis of sample(s) in these designated area(s). Further, the objective of Clearance Testing is to determine if mold problems still exist in the designated remediation area(s) sampled. As such, the results of Clearance Testing are not a guarantee that mold does or does not exist in the house; the results are indicative only of the presence or absence of mold in the areas sampled at the time the Clearance Testing is performed. In light of no currently established Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for the majority of substances of biological origins that are associated with building-related exposures, we follow the guidance of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) 22.214.171.124. Clearance is defined as air samples collected indoors being quantitatively equal to or less than the outdoor samples, and qualitatively similar. Clearance Testing will be conducted when mold remediation and cleanup efforts are completed but before containment is removed.
Clearance air sampling consists of sampling all containment areas using the ACGIH air sampling protocol. For each containment area, two (2) indoor air samples will be collected and one (1) outdoor sample collected. The samples will be sent to an ESA approved Lab, which will analyze them for the presence of mold. The Lab will then issue a report detailing the presence and type(s) of mold. Acceptable clearance is reached when air samples collected indoors being quantitatively equal to or less than the outdoor samples, and qualitatively similar.
Mold often grows behind walls and inside ceiling and floor cavities long before it is ever detected. By the time you start smelling an unpleasant odor, rest assured mold has been growing somewhere for some time and every day is growing more. If you suspect you have mold growing indoors, the time to act is sooner rather than later.
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Mold is a simple organism found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Mold spores are microscopic (tiny and lightweight) and travel through the air we breathe. Airborne mold spores in large numbers are a known allergen that can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections, and other respiratory problems for people, especially children and elderly individuals.
Molds can be a major source of building sickness but not the only potential cause. Other issues can cause building sickness.
People living in or working in dwellings with building sickness have symptoms similar to a mild case of influenza (the flu) with the signs and symptoms disappearing within a few hours of leaving the building. Headaches, fatigue, and respiratory problems can also be experienced by people exposed to sick buildings.
Mold will grow in an environment that is warm, moist and unventilated. Once airborne, mold spores can be spread throughout your structure via the air duct system.
Mold can grow within areas of the house / building that you do not see. Wherever there is exposure to water and a mold "food source" such as cellulose (a component of wallboard), mold can grow. Areas such as the interiors of walls, showers and bathrooms, crawl spaces, attics, drywall tape, cracked plasterboard and dampened carpets are a few discovery areas for mold exposure.
New building methods make buildings better insulated and thus more likely to retain molds within the structure. Buildings are more airtight and any unventilated moisture that gets inside stays trapped inside, allowing mold to grow and spread rapidly.
Molds will grow any time the environment is favorable. Molds can be introduced into the house / structure when the building is under construction or after completion through events such as water damage from leaky pipes, roof leaks, sink, tub, or toilet overflows, cracks in the sealant around tubs /showers and use of inadequate materials during construction. There are documented cases demonstrating the damage caused by contractors allowing building materials to become wet during construction.
See examples of recent mold damage coverage: Forbes magazine: "The Fungus That Ate Sacramento;" CBS News: "Black Mold - Creeping Destruction;" CBS News/ 48 Hours: "Brockovich Takes on a New Foe: Mold;" CBS News/48 Hours: "An Insidious Mold."
In the past, insurance companies have covered mold repairs, but this is changing. Due to litigation and expensive repairs that can be incurred, insurance companies are now starting to consider mold issues a "maintenance issue" even if it costs thousands of dollars to repair/replace walls, etc. Please consult your insurance policy to see if you are covered.
It is possible to clean up visible (surface) mold with a solution of water and bleach, but precautions should be taken. For specific instructions, please refer to FEMA at http://www.fema.gov/diz00/d1345n06.shtm. Mold that is not visible however may require professional remediation.
By eliminating all of the mold that you can see, you may help your situation. However, this may not be the final solution since contamination may be originating from sources such as carpets, the inside of walls, air ducts, crawl spaces and sources outside of your home or building.