Anabec has developed this section using our own technical knowledge as well as pulling from a wide variety of industry source to provide you with technically sound answers to question and topics we often find ourselves addressing. While we do our best to provide a complete answers, many of these topics are subject to a wide variety of research and opinions may vary. We encourage the reader to investigate these topics further.
Mold: How does Mold Exposure affect you?
We have divided mold exposure into three primary categories: Allergies, Underlying Medical Issue and Mold Overexposure.
The subject of mold exposure is an area of much scientific debate and there is a lot of scary misinformation out there regarding this issue, so be careful and do your homework.
Mold Allergies: In many ways molds are similar to any other allergen such as pollen, dander and dust mites. About 10% of the general population is allergic to one or more types of mold at normal environmental concentrations. For people with mild mold allergies exposure can cause irritation to the respiratory tract, eyes and skin. In addition individuals with severe mold allergies may experience intermittent fevers, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, and may develop seemingly random infections, typically in the lungs. Everyone’s body will react to mold allergens differently, some will have little to no effect, while others will suffer greatly. It is analogous to someone who can live with 3 cats without issue and someone who walks in their house and starts a sneezing fit.
Underlying medical issue: Asthmatics, infants and the elderly are at high risk of developing complication from mold exposure due to their weak immune systems. Immune compromised individuals, such as uncontrolled diabetics, autoimmune disease sufferers, AIDS patients and chemotherapy patients are at the greatest risk of developing a variety of complication during their weakened immune states. The types of symptoms can be widely varied based on the underlying conditions, but luckily these individuals are typically under the care of medical professionals who should be able to diagnose the problems.
Mold Overexposure: In extreme situations where significant mold growth is occurring in your home without your knowledge overexposure can occur. Indications of extreme over exposure to mold could include headaches, nose bleeds, swollen glands, ear infections, sinus infections, chronic fatigue, bronchitis and rashes. If you suspect over exposure to mold you should first health care provider who will likely refer you to an allergist. Other medical practitioner that may be appropriate include: infectious disease specialists, pulmonary physicians or environmental toxicologists.
Mold: You think you have mold problem, what next...
If you suspect you have a mold problem in your home here is what you need to do:
If possible, isolate the area where you suspect the mold contamination is as much as possible from the rest of your home.
If the suspected contamination is in the occupied area of your home and you have a forced air furnace / air conditioner in the home, shut it down. If the temperature outside doesn’t permit shutting down the HVAC, close off the supply and return vents in the affected area.
If possible ventilate the affected area to the outside of your home. This can be as simple as opening a window and placing a fan blowing out.
Mold growth in your home requires some type of moisture source, such as a faulty plumbing, a roof leak, improper perimeter drainage or faulty ventilation, to name a few. If you can determine the cause and temporarily remedy the situation, ie: turn off the water, stop using the drain, , etc…, do so ASAP.
Contact a local environmental professional, consultant or Anabec Trained Contractor who specializes in mold remediation.
Stay clear of the area until it can be evaluated and/or re-mediated.
Mold: What is Black Mold?
Mold can come in practically any color of the rainbow, commonly including: black, green, white, pink, purple and brown. There are several mold that can be black in color, not all of them toxic.
The term “Black Mold” is a common reference to the species of mold called Stachybotrys chartarum. Stachybotrys garners a lot of attention because it poses significant health risks due to the microbial toxins (mycotoxins) it can produce under certain conditions. Individuals with chronic exposure to the toxins produced by this fungus report cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, diarrhea, headaches and fatigue. The presence of Stachybotrys is most often accompanied by the presence of other types of mold species, which can bring other immune system responses as well.
For Stachybotrys to grow inside your home cellulose and excessive amounts of water need to be present. Unfortunately, cellulose is the predominant building material in residential housing, materials such as lumber, plywood, OSB, drywall, insulation, wallpaper, carpeting and ceiling tiles all provided a great source of food for Stachybotrys , as well as all other molds. While all mold needs a source of moisture to become an issue in your home Stachybotrys needs an excessive amount and consistent source water to survive. Water issues such as those following a flood, a leak from a faulty plumbing, or poor flashing or around window that go unidentified for a week or more provide ideal opportunites for Stachybotrys growth.
The presence of Stachybotrys in your home warrants immediate action to eliminate the moisture problem and clean and/or remove the affected materials. The process of remediation for “black mold" requires the same care and professionalism as remediation for all other mold contamination. Call an Anabec Trained Contractor immediately if you suspect any mold contamination.
Mold can come in practically any color of the rainbow, commonly including: black, green, white, pink, purple and brown. There are several mold that can be black in color, not all of them toxic.
The term “Black mold” is a common reference to the species of mold called Stachybotrys chartarum. Stachybotrys is well known because it poses significant health risks due to the microbial toxins it can produce under certain conditions. Individuals with chronic exposure to the toxins produced by this fungus report cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, diarrhea, headaches and fatigue. The presence of Stachybotrys is most often accompanied by the presence of other types of mold species, which can bring other immune system responses.
For Stachybotrys to grow inside your home, cellulose and excessive amounts of water need to be present. Unfortunately, cellulose is the predominant building material in residential housing. Materials such as lumber, plywood, OSB, drywall, wallpaper, carpeting and ceiling tiles all provided a great source of food for Stachybotrys, as well as all other molds. While all mold needs a source of moisture to become an issue in your home, Stachybotrys chartarum needs an excessive amount and consistent source of water to survive. Water issues such as those following a flood, a leak from a faulty pipe, or poor flashing around window that go unidentified for a week or more provide ideal opportunites for Stachybotrys chartarum growth.
The presence of Stachybotrys chartarum in your home warrants immediate action to eliminate the moisture problem and clean and/or remove the affected materials. The process of remediation for “black mold” is identical to the remediation for all other mold contamination. Call an Anabec Trained Contractor immediately if you suspect any mold contamination.
K-12 Clean Standard: How does Anabec fit into the Clean Standard?
Anabec is currently working with schools to help design cleaning protocols that allow them to clean less while cleaning more effectively. We continue to test products and protocols with schools to assess the efficacy of both with the intention of showing that smarter cleaning will lead to the dual goal of decreasing cleaning budgets while also decreasing staff & student absenteeism over the long term.
K-12 Clean Standard: What is the connection between cleanliness and healthiness in schools?
With proper cleaning protocols and monitoring in place, a school should expect to maintain a level of cleanliness that positively impacts the health of its students and teachers. Per the referenced study in The Journal of School Nursing, classrooms that were not cleaned with a quaternary ammonium wipe had Influenza A detected on up to 50% of surfaces with norovirus on up to 22% of surfaces. Children in these control classrooms were 2.32 times more likely to report absenteeism due to illness than children in the classrooms in which quaternary ammonium wipes were used.
Reference from: Kelly R. Bright, Stephanie A. Boone, Charles P. Gerba (2009) Occurrence of Bacteria and Viruses on Elementary Classroom Surfaces and the Potential Role of Classroom Hygiene in the Spread of Infectious Diseases, Journal of School Nursing, February 2010 vol. 26 no. 1 33-41 DOI: 10.1177/1059840509354383
K-12 Clean Standard: What's an ATP Meter?
ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. Per the referenced study below in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, ATP has “been used successfully as an important marker for the detection and quantification of pollutant loads of biological origin and overall cleanliness in the food production and food service industries” and has been recently confirmed as a representative marker for detection of surface contamination in hospital settings”. An ATP meter, measures the amount of biomass on a surface and can quantify a corresponding drop in biomass after a surface is cleaned.
It is important to understand that an ATP reading does not indicate what type of biomass a surface is contaminated with, it just confirms the level. An otherwise clean surface that has had a bit of yogurt wiped on it will likely yield as high of an ATP reading as a surface that has just been sneezed on by a child with a cold. Per the referenced study, “While ATP does not directly monitor viruses in an environment, it does measure a mixture of biological forms that indicate human cellular material along with that from a variety of bacteria and fungi…ATP is an overall genetic marker of biological contaminaton, and it allows us to monitor potential viral contamination (from viral infections), indirectly”.
References from: Richard J. Shaughnessy , Eugene C. Cole , Demetrios Moschandreas & Ulla Haverinen-Shaughnessy (2013) ATP as a Marker for Surface Contamination of Biological Origin in Schools and as a Potential Approach to the Measurement of Cleaning Effectiveness, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 10:6, 336-346, DOI: 10.1080/15459624.2013.784633
K-12 Clean Standard: What is the Clean Standard?
Per the ISSA Clean Standard: Measuring the Cleanliness of K-12 Schools, the Clean Std: K-12 is a performance-oriented standard that is focused on:
The desired levels of cleanliness that can be reasonable achieved
Recommended monitoring and inspection procedures designed to measure the effectiveness of cleaning procedures using quantative measures (i.e., ATP Meters) and traditional methods (i.e. sight, smell, touch)
How to use the results of monitoring and inspection to evaluate and improve the cleaning processes and products that are critical to maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff.
Product: Compatibility of the Advanced Cleaner with CPVC
It has been reported that Anabec's Advanced Cleaning Solution is not compatible with chlorinated polyvinyl chloride(CPVC). CPVC is a thermoplastic produced by chlorination of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. It is typically found in newer hot and cold water piping, sprinkler systems and industrial liquid handling processes.
Several CPVC manufacturers/distributors list Mold Abatement Chemicals, Fungicides, and Mold Inhibitors as incompatible. Specifically it has been reported to cause stress cracking in the piping when the chemical is allowed to dry on the surface of the pipe. The issues of CPVC compatibility with all types of construction chemicals are extensive, most manufacturers issue Chemical Compatibility documents which should be reviewed prior to the application of any product onto or around CPVC. The agent within the Anabec Cleaner that we suspect to be the source of the incompatibility with CPVC are ethoxylated alcohol and/or ethoxylated nonylphenols compounds . Ethoxylated alcohols/nonylphenols are nonionic surfactants (soaps) and can be found in products such as household dish soap, laundry detergent and various indoor / outdoor cleaning chemicals. An ethoxylated nonylphenol is found in our Advanced Cleaning Solution at approximately 3%.
We do not recommend that the Anabec Advanced Cleaning Solution be applied to CPVC piping.
Mold: Can I just pour bleach on it?
Why Not? On porous surfaces, such as; wood, drywall and concrete, mold penetrates deep into the pores much like the roots of a tree would go into the ground. Bleach (hypochlorite) remains primarily on the surface of porous materials and does not penetrate the surface. Typically bleach is 97% water. When applied to porous surfaces the water penetrates the surface deeper than the hypochlorite. The result is that while you may be successful at removing the upper layer of mold on a porous surface, the moisture that you add to the material allows mold to grow back, often stronger and more tenacious than before. Using bleach is like pruning the branches while feeding the roots.
Products: What's in Anabec products
Mold: Stachybotrys species
Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) is a black to greenish-black mold, which produces a series of harmful toxins including macrocyclic trichothecenes, satratoxins G & H, roridin E, spirocyclic lactones and a variety of compounds affecting the immune system (Croft et al., 1986; Samson et al., 1994; Macher, 1999). These mycotoxins accumulate within fungal spores (Macher, 1999). Dead spores are still allergenic and toxigenic (Croft et al., 1986). Satratoxin H is poisonous by inhalation (interferes with protein synthesis at the DNA level) (Carlson, 1998); thus the identification of even a few Stachybotrys cultures should be approached with caution. Areas with relative humidities above 55% are ideal for toxin production (Croft et al., 1986). Stachybotrys sp. grow in moist areas on cellulose-based materials such as ceiling tiles, dead plant materials, wallboard, wallpaper, water damaged building materials and wood. This high water activity microorganism, when isolated and identified, should be eradicated as soon as possible. S. chartarum is specifically linked to many cases of building related illness. Individuals with chronic exposure to the toxin produced by this fungus report cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue and generalized malaise (Croft et al., 1986). S. chartarum is hazardous in indoor environments (rarely found in outdoor samples) and warrants immediate risk assessment (AIHA in Macher, 1999).
Mold: Epicoccum species
Epicoccum are common (seasonally varied) outdoor airborne flora (there are approximately 60 species), which have a worldwide distribution. These molds are considered secondary invaders and are commonly isolated from many substrates such as air, dust, human skin and sputum, paper products, plants (decaying or alive), soil and textiles. Epicoccum nigrum has the ability to grow on water damaged drywall or wood products. Epicoccum sp. can thrive near UV light or with an alternation of the light and dark cycle. The optimum temperature range for growth is 23-28°C (minimum 4°C to a maximum 45°C) with a relative humidity of at least 92% for germination. In high concentrations, Epicoccum nigrum may have highly allergenic properties (Portnoy et al., 1987; Tarlo et al., 1988). However, no cases of infection have been reported in humans or animals (St-Germain and Summerbell, 1996). No specific mycotoxins have been reported for this fungus.
Mold: Penicillium species
Penicillium is one of the most common types of fungi isolated from the environment. It predominates in regions of temperate climate and is found in household dust, soil, food, grains and water damaged cellulose-containing building materials. There are approximately 150 species in this genus with more than ten species identified from indoor air samples. This fungus can survive and grow in substrates with low or minimal nutrients. The spores of this species have been reported to survive for decades. Penicillium is associated with asthma hypersensitivity pneumonitis in susceptible individuals (Carlson, 1998). Mycotoxins from this genus have also been widely studied (Macher, 1999).
Mold: Cladosporium species
Cladosporium is the most frequently found genus of fungi in temperate outdoor air climates. There are more than 500 species that are found in both indoor and outdoor environments with an optimum growth rate at a temperature range of 18-28°C. Most colonies of Cladosporium from typical indoor air samples are of outdoor origin. This is primarily due to their ability to rapidly invade many different habitats and easily disperse large numbers of spores.
Cladosporium sp. are isolated from air, dust, plants (decaying or alive), soil, textiles and wood. Cladosporium is also often encountered in dirty refrigerators, on moist window frames and anywhere condensation can occur (such isolation is not normally a cause for concern). There are no specific mycotoxins that are known to be produced by species of Cladosporium. Cladosporium cladosporioides is a very common airborne species with a diverse range of habitats. Spore production is considerably higher under moist conditions as opposed to under dry conditions. C. herbarum (along with Alternaria) is a significant airway allergen that causes asthmatic reactions and hay fever (Macher, 1999). C. sphaerospermum is a common, cosmopolitan species and occurs as a secondary invader on many different plants as well as in air, soil, food and textiles. These organisms are believed by some experts in the medical allergy field to be the most common cause of mold associated with allergies (Macher, 1999).
Mold: Aspergillus species
The Aspergillus species is known to have a worldwide distribution consisting of 132 species in both indoor and outdoor air. It is commonly associated with air, flooded areas of buildings, house dust, plants, soils and other miscellaneous water damaged building materials.
This fungus can produce large amounts of spores that are easily dispersed and have the ability to survive in dry environments for relatively long periods of time. Some species not only cause allergic reactions but are also considered opportunistic pathogens. Aspergillus species are notoriously known for producing mycotoxins (Macher, 1999). There are 21 species of Aspergillus that can grow at 37°C (body temperature) and have the potential to produce mycotoxins. Aspergillus can infect various sites in individuals with immunocompromised systems. It is also known to cause asthma and/or rhinitis among certain individuals (Samson et al., 1994). Some Aspergillus species are etiologic agents of Aspergillosis; an infectious condition of the eyes, nails or feet (Beneke and Rogers, 1996).
Mold: What is a safe level of mold?
Posted by Summarize from Wisconsin DHS on Nov 10, 2014 1:15:34 PM
Mold exposure is inevitable in the world in which we live, it is a naturally occurring organism. We are exposed to many mold species indoors as well as outdoors, most of the time having no impact on us. It is when these levels are concentrated for long periods of time that some people may react negatively. For people with asthma or severe allergies to mold there may be no practical level of exposure, either indoors or outdoors, that would not create discomfort or harm. In rare cases, very low levels of certain kinds of mold have been shown to affect people with immune compromised individuals.
There are no numerical values (airborne spore count, surface mold count, mycotoxin level etc…) that can definitively determine mold exposure or contamination and therefore there are no guideline for the level mold that is accepted as unsafe for the general population. Experts have proposed airborne mold guidelines, however none of these have been adopted by due to wide disagreement within the scientific community. Surface or bulk material sampling is often used to determine if mold is present on surfaces or in/on materials such as carpeting and textiles. Typical sampling methods include tape-lift samples, surface swabs and vacuum samples. The data from these techniques must be evaluated in conjunction with knowledge of the structure type and potential influencing factors. The most critical piece of any mold sampling data is the genus / species present as this can provide can clues as to the moisture source and conditions within the impacted space.
Mold concentrations outdoors vary greatly with respect to geographical location, weather, season, time of day and species. Exposure to airborne mold outdoors is generally considered safe. Typically the level and types of mold found in indoor air is should be less than what is found outdoor, but of similar types to what is found outdoors. If levels indoor are significantly higher than outdoor concentration, then mold amplification may be impacting the space. The growth and amplification of mold in indoor spaces is indicative of moisture problem within the space or surrounding spaces.
The first step is to identify and repair the moisture problem. Mold will not grow unless sufficient moisture is present. Small amounts of mold growing on visible surfaces can usually be easily cleaned by the homeowner. Care must be taken to control dust related to the cleaning and repair efforts. Larger amounts of mold may require more extensive evaluation, repair or replacement, and dust control. Professional assistance may also be necessary.
Microorganisms: What is Mold?
A mold is a large and taxonomically diverse number of fungal species that grows in the form of multi cellular filaments called hyphae. There are thousands of known species of molds, which have diverse life-styles. Molds derive energy through organic matter on which they live and require moisture for growth. Typically, molds secrete enzymes, which degrade starch, cellulose and lignin which is then absorbed by the organism.
Mold, much like other microorganisms, are present in our daily lives and play a useful roles in today’s world including the production of various foods and beverages, pharmaceutical and cutting edge biotechnology. Some diseases can be caused by certain molds: disease may result from allergic sensitivity to mold spores, from growth of pathogenic molds within the body, or from the effects of ingested or inhaled toxic compounds (mycotoxins) produced by molds.
Although molds can grow on dead organic matter everywhere in nature, their presence is visible to the unaided eye only when they form large colonies. Molds cause bio degradation of natural materials, which can be unwanted when it causes spoilage or damage to property. When conditions do not enable growth to take place, certain molds can remain alive in a dormant state, within a large range of conditions.
Health effects associated with airborne mold exposure are allergic reactions, eye and respiratory irritation, infection and toxicity. About 10% of the population is allergic to one or more types of mold. Many of these people will be affected by outdoor as well as indoor exposures to mold. Respiratory mold infection (growth in the lungs) can occur, but is rare. Occurrence is limited almost exclusively to immune-compromised patients, including those with organ transplants, undergoing chemotherapy treatment, AIDS, infants (particularly premature), the elderly, or any other immune compromised individual. Anyone suspecting they are ill from mold exposure should seek treatment and advice from a medical doctor.
Microorgansims: What are bacteria?
Bacteria constitute a domain of prokaryotic microorganisms numbering in the millions. Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most habitats and organisms, including soil, water, animals and plants. The vast majority of bacteria live in symbiotic relationships with plants and animals, including humans. In industry,
Bacteria are critical to our daily lives and are used to break down organic material in our digestive systems, waste sites, ground water treatment, sewage treatment and even oil spills. The production of cheese and yogurt rely on the fermentation of bacteria. Even the manufacture of antibiotics and some cleaning chemicals rely on bacteria.
Some bacteria are parasitic (harmful to the host), if bacteria form a parasitic association with other organisms, they are classified as pathogens. Pathogenic bacteria are a major cause of human death and disease and cause infections such as tetanus, typhoid fever, diphtheria, syphilis, cholera, bubonic plague, food-borne illness, leprosy, tuberculosis, salmonella and anthrax. These are the bacteria that humans need to worry about and take measure to prevent.
Microorganisms: What is Staph / MRSA?
Staphylococcus aureus, or "staph," are a type of bacteria commonly carried on the human body, as well as domesticated animals such as dogs and cats. It is often found on the skin, in the nose even in the throat. It is estimated that 25% of the population is carrying some form of staph bacteria, most of the time without any indication. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infection in the United States and can also cause pneumonia, wound infections, and bloodstream infections.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of staph that is resistant to certain antibiotics including: methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. It is estimated that ≤1% of the population in the United States is colonized with MRSA. The majority of MRSA infections occur among patients in hospitals or other healthcare settings; however, it is becoming more common in the community setting. MRSA infections that are acquired by persons who have not been recently hospitalized or had a medical procedure are known as community-associated MRSA or CA-MRSA infections. Anyone suspecting they are ill from Staph or MRSA should seek treatment and advice from a medical doctor.
Microorganisms: What are Viruses?
A virus is a microscopic organism consisting of RNA/DNA enveloped by a protein or lipid coating. There is some disagreement about the classification of viruses as microorganisms, Viruses are parasite and require a host cell to reproduce and therefore are considered nonliving. Once a host cell is infected it reproduces more of the virus instead of its usual products, making the host cell sick.
Human diseases that are attributed to virus range of the simple cold to life threatening illness such as AIDS or cancer. A list of the most known include: the common cold, chickenpox, smallpox, measles, hepatitis, influenza (the flu), HPV, shingles, herpes, polio, rabies, ebola, hanta fever, HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), cold sores, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).
Viruses are typically spread from person to person. A viruses ability to spread depends on its makeup. Some viruses spread by exchanges of saliva (coughing, sneezing, kissing), with sexual contact, contact with fecal matter or vomit, via contaminated food or water, or even insect bites. Anyone suspecting they are ill beyond that of a common cold should seek treatment and advice from a medical doctor.