Do NOT use Chlorine bleach to kill mold or disinfect moldy areas. It is not an effective or long lasting killer of mold and mold spores. Bleach is good only for changing the color of the mold.
CHLORINE BLEACH IS INEFFECTIVE IN KILLING MOLD FOR THESE REASONS:
(1) The object to killing mold is to kill its “roots”. Mold remediation involves the need to disinfect wood and wood based materials, all of which are porous materials. Thus, chlorine bleach should not be used in mold remediation as confirmed by OSHA’s Mold Remediation/ Clean Up Methods guidelines. The use of bleach as a mold disinfectant is best left to kitchen and bathroom countertops, tubs and shower glass, etc.
(2) Chlorine Bleach does kill bacteria and viruses, but has not been proven effective in killing molds on non-porous surfaces. Bleach itself is 99% water. Water is one of the main contributors of the growth of harmful bacteria and mold. Current situations using bleach re-grew and regenerated mold and bacteria twice the CFU counts than were originally found before bleaching, within a short period of time. Bleach is an old method used for some bacteria and mold. It is the only product people have known for years. The strains now associated within Indoor Air quality issues are resistant to the methods our grandmothers employed to clean-up mold..
(3) What potential mold 'killing' power chlorine bleach might have, is diminished significantly as the bleach sits in warehouses, on grocery store shelves or inside your home or business 50% loss in killing power in just the first 90 days inside a never opened jug or container. Chlorine constantly escapes through the plastic walls of its containers.
(4) The ionic structure of bleach prevents Chlorine from penetrating into porous materials such as drywall and wood---it just stays on the outside surface, whereas mold has enzyme roots growing inside the porous construction materials---however, the water content penetrates and actually FEEDS the mold---this is why a few days later you will notice darker, more concentrated mold growing (faster) on the bleached area.
(5) Chlorine Bleach accelerates the deterioration of materials and wears down the fibers of porous materials.
(6) Chlorine bleach off gases for a period of time. Chlorine off gassing can be harmful to humans and animals. It has been known to cause pulmonary embolisms in low resistant, and susceptible people.
(7) Chlorine bleach will evaporate within a short period of time. If the area is not dry when the bleach evaporates, or moisture is still in the contaminated area (humidity, outside air dampness), you could re- start the contamination process immediately and to a greater degree.
(8)Chlorine is a key component of DIOXIN. One of the earliest findings of dioxin's toxicity in animals was that it caused birth defects in mice at very low levels. This finding led to dioxin being characterized as "one of the most potent teratogenic environmental agents". The first evidence that dioxin causes cancer came from several animal studies completed in the late 1970's. The most important of these, published in 1978 by a team of scientists from Dow Chemical Company, led by Richard Kociba, found liver cancer in rats exposed to very low levels of dioxin. This study helped establish dioxin as one of the most potent animal carcinogens ever tested and, together with the finding of birth defects in mice, led to the general statement that dioxin is the "most toxic synthetic chemical known to man."
MOLD IN THE NEWS!
By Patrick Healy, Staff Writer Daily Planet,Tue Aug 12, 2008, 12:07 AM MDT
Telluride, Colo. - When inspectors walked into Telluride Apartments, a white-walled complex in Mountain Village, they found walls and ceilings painted with mold. There was mold in the closets and bathrooms, mold blooming on window sills and covering fiberglass insulation. They found a litany of problems, from mold to pests to leaking roofs, and on July 24, Village inspectors declared Telluride Apartments a “dangerous building,” according to an eight-page notice taped to the complex’s front doors. The owners were told to bring the building up to code by Aug. 31, or the building would be evacuated. “The ultimate goal is to bring this into what we call minimum standards for living,” said Chad Root, Mountain Village’s building official. Telluride Apartments, a 30-unit complex in the Meadows neighborhood, is privately owned and managed, but serves many lower-income and working families. Many residents are Latino immigrants who speak mostly Spanish — a fact that could have allowed the mold problems to go unchecked, officials said. “They don’t speak a lot of English, so they can live in these conditions and don’t complain,” Root said. But some residents said they were intimately familiar with the mold and had been battling it all spring and winter, scrubbing it from the walls and baseboards and window sills. Two families said they’d switched apartments to get away from the reappearing clusters of black mold. “My girls would get sick, but I really never knew if it was dangerous because no one ever told me,” said one resident, who asked not to be named because she feared reprisals from building management. The woman said she and her family have lived in Telluride Apartments for seven years, but never saw severe mold problems until this winter’s deep, wet snows began piling up. When mold started spreading in the closets, the woman would take out all the clothes and scrub the walls with bleach. But the growths would return within a few weeks, she said. “You would see the stains,” she said. “It was really bad.” The regional manager for Telluride Apartments directed a reporter’s phone call to Connie Bosley, who is connected to a Wyoming company that runs the complex. No one connected with Telluride Apartments returned phone messages yesterday. But Dusty Atherton, an inspector for the Village’s Design Review Board, said the owners have been working to fix the problem. Yesterday, apartment doors were papered with notices alerting them that cleanup would begin soon, and that Village inspectors would be coming through on Tuesday. “They have been nothing but cooperative,” Atherton said. This is the Village’s second battle with mold this year. In late April, one resident at the town-owned Village Court Apartments said he’d gotten sick from mold inside his home, and inspectors found mold growing on window casings, walls and ceilings in a few apartments. The Village quickly hired an environmental consultant to diagnose and treat the problem. He inspected six of the “worst case” apartments and found mold in four, including “very elevated” numbers of airborne spores in one of the older apartments. Inspectors are returning to Telluride Apartments today to examine more homes, and Root suggested that the problem could be more severe than the growths at Village Court. “This is a lot worse,” he said. “We had entire walls and ceilings covered in mold.” When inspectors first went to Telluride Apartments, they found work crews spraying fungicide to combat the rash of mold. But the management hadn’t obtained a permit before starting the eradication, Root said. “They were trying to cover up a massive amount of mold,” he said. In all, Village inspectors delivered a 17-item cleanup list to the owners of Telluride Apartments. It tells them to hire an exterminator and industrial hygienist, to fix the roof, repair any broken plumbing, and fix or replace the fire extinguishers, emergency lights, hall lights and smoke alarms and concrete walkways. “All deficiencies shall be fixed but are not limited to the items on this list,” the notice says.
BLEACH DOES NOT KILL MOLD!
D. Douglas Hoffman Executive Director of NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors)
A well-known expert in our area, when interviewed on a local New Orleans radio station, recently said, "When you have a mold problem, simply wash down the affected area with diluted bleach." We have seen FEMA handing out gallons of Clorox to flood-victims. Lowe's and Home Depot stock up pallets of the stuff whenever the impending doom of a threatening hurricane is close. This is one of the most widely publicized "urban legends". Bleach is a powerful oxidizer and can, in many instances, sanitize surfaces of certain types of bacteria but when you are faced with a wall covered in mold, bleach is NOT the product to use.
Eyebrows raise in disbelief every time I say the phrase "bleach doesn't kill mold." Some look at me as if I'm speaking another language and they are right. I am speaking the TRUTH. Bleach (active ingredient is Sodium Hypochlorite) is very effective in removing the discoloration but may leave the microflora that will enable the mold to return in exactly the same spot when conditions are right. So, "how do you know this," I'm asked.
Several years ago we helped develop a process by which shingle and tile roofing systems could be cleaned of the mold and mildew that plague them. Look at any Real Estate guide or website that lists houses for sale and you'll see house after house with mold streaks running down from top to bottom of the roofing system. The mold on the roof looks ugly but that was not our biggest concern.
There are two bigger concerns and, therefore, reasons to address this roof mold problem. 1) It destroys the shingle and, 2) it makes your air conditioning system less efficient. First, shingles are made, primarily, of organic materials. The asphalt or fiberglass content in a shingle is only a small percentage of the entire composite. This organic material is ripe fruit for the mold to eat. As we all know, mold needs to have a nutrient of some sort and organic materials are especially appealing. The petroleum-based asphalt is protected from the UV light of the day's sun by a "ballast" or granules that are "glued" to the surface of the shingle. When the mold begins to grow it "pops" the granules off of the shingle exposing the asphalt to the UV, thus shortening the life of the shingle. When shingles begin to curl, that's a good sign that the shingle is drying out and its life is ending. Cleaning the roof off using an effective biocide will lengthen the life of the shingle by allowing the granules to remain tightly adhered to the surface.
Secondly, a black roof absorbs more heat than a lighter roof. Interestingly enough, in Florida, most homeowners choose a lighter roofing color for that very reason and yet, after a few years, they all end up the same color - black. We commissioned a study once in conjunction with the University of South Florida and found a substantial difference in attic temperatures once the roof was cleaned and the original lighter color was restored. I mean 30 degrees or more. That means by simply cleaning your roof to the lighter color you could make a major difference in the attic temperature and that would allow your air conditioning system to function more efficiently. In most cases the attic is the insulating space just above the air conditioned space so having those temperatures reduced substantially lowered the air conditioning bill.
The importance of understanding these problems make it relatively easy to sell the customer of the value of having their roof cleaned. However, what product or products to use could make a substantial difference in the longevity of the cleaning process and the effect of the cleaning process on the roofing system. Of course any time of high pressure wash could destroy the shingle by removing the granules so a low pressure wash is desirable and that makes the chemical solution you use more important. We used a combination of surfactants, detergents, and BLEACH (sodium hypochlorite) to lightly spray on the roof then rinse it off with no more pressure than a garden hose. It worked great. Only problems were that the landscaping had to be protected from the toxicity of Clorox and the mold would return in less than two years. Even walking around on the roof every couple of years could damage the roofing system so we looked for a better alternative.
Anecdotally, my wife wonders why she has to clean the same spot of mold on the bathroom tile month after month. Now she knows why. The mold has never been killed - it simply goes clear and then returns. Bleach will not kill the mold but a good biocide, or anti-microbial, will.
To underscore the validity of my claim, I suggest the "Journal of Forest Products" who commissioned a study by Oregon State University a couple of years ago. We have this article on our website where we have posted the abstract and the results. The "implications" of their testing showed exactly what we have been training for years. The stain disappears but the microflora remains and under the right conditions the mold will begin to grow.
In our Sanitization Protocol we recommend using GREEN technologies to remove surface mold. When you use the right kind of anti-microbial, the mold will be destroyed and the underlying bio-slime will be annihilated. I wish we had known about these kinds of technologies ten years ago when we were cleaning roofing systems. Instead of spending so much time protecting the landscape, we could have done an additional job or two. We could have completed more jobs and our subsequent warranty workload would have been reduced.
TORONTO, Jan. 21,2008 /PRNewswire/ Reuters
- In the wake of extreme weather in Northern Indiana, with flooding an issue, many residents may be ill advised to use bleach to remediate household mold infestations. Bleach is NOT a healthy or effective way of eliminating mold and preventing its re-growth. "Bleach and water is a temporary topical solution," explains Eric Green, President of Siamons International, makers of Concrobium Mold Control(R). "Below the surface, mold roots remain viable, which is why mold always grows back after a bleach treatment. Plus, bleach is toxic." According to the Environmental Protection Agency: "The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup." "Mold grows in your home because of the high moisture levels from extreme weather conditions like hurricanes or flooding," says Mr. Green. "Your first line of defense in preventing widespread mold growth is eliminating the source of moisture, such as a wet floor or leaking pipes. Once you've accomplished this, it's best to remove as much mold as possible and take preventative measures to avoid re-growth."
Saturday Aug 2 National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month | Sept. 5 - Oct. 5, 2008September 5 to October 5, 2008
What is the purpose of National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month?
The purpose of National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month is to inform, educate, and raise awareness about the adverse health effects due to exposure of indoor molds and mycotoxins.
What are molds?
Molds are a common name for fungi. Molds are microscopic organisms that produce enzymes to digest organic matter and mold spores to reproduce. These organisms are part of the fungi kingdom, a realm shared with mushrooms, yeast, and mildews. In nature, molds play a key role in the decomposition of leaves, wood, and other plant debris. Molds need moisture to grow.
What are mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are toxic vapors produced by mold spores when they sporulate, or grow, and have serious health effects on humans and animals. Mycotoxins are so poisonous that they have been used as a biological war weapon. Stachybotrys chartarum is the most studied and well-known toxic mold. It is known to produce trichothecene mycotoxins. Aspergillus produces aflatoxin mycotoxins. Aflatoxins are among the most carcinogenic substances known.
How do you get sick from mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, or contact with the skin, and can result in a multitude of symptoms including but not limited to: dermatitis, cough, rhinitis, nose bleeds, cold and flu-like symptoms, headache, general malaise and fever.
How can exposure to indoor mold and mycotoxins affect my health?
Mycotoxin exposure can lead to toxic injury that may include multiple illnesses, affecting the skin and the nervous, vascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, urinary, and immune systems; including the formation of cancers and can be life-threatening.
Can mold grow inside the human body?
Yes. Certain species of molds referred to as "body temperature molds" can live and grow inside the human body, causing recurring infections and numerous other health problems as well as death.
Should I use bleach to clean mold?continued No. Bleach combined with certain mycotoxins and VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds), can create neurotoxins and brain tumors. OSHA does not recommend using bleach in mold remediation. Ammonia dissolves some molds and neutralizes the mycotoxins. It is important to follow safety guidelines when using cleaners to remove molds. Consult the EPA website for proper personal safety equipment when removing mold. If mold growth is over 10 square feet, the recommendation is to contact a professional who is experienced in cleaning up mold; either a reputable, certified industrial hygienist (CIH) or a qualified mold remediation company.
Are there any events in my area during National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month that I can attend to learn more about indoor molds and exposure to mycotoxins?
To find out if there are any events scheduled in your area, check the following websites for the latest updates:
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this flyer/fact sheet is to inform, not treat or offer legal counsel to the public about mold/mycotoxin health related issues. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or take the place of medical advice and treatment from your personal physician, nor is it intended to serve as legal counsel. Please consult your own doctor or other qualified health professional regarding the treatment of your medical problem and consult your attorney for legal counsel.