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Last Updated
03/09/14 09:13 PM

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Toxic Black Mold Material Disposal Tips

In truth, most of us fall somewhere between the two extremes of invincibility and super sensitivity. But even "normal" folks will react to unusually high concentrations of mold and spores. And the time you're most likely to stir up spores and inhale and ingest them is the very time you're trying to get rid of the stuff. That's when you need to be the most careful.

DISPOSE OF IT CORRECTLY OR YOU'LL JUST MAKE MATTERS WORSE

Step one in getting rid of mold is to fix the moisture problem that's setting the stage for its growth. This is key. You can scrub, dispose of and replace moldy materials, but until you fix the problem, mold will keep returning. The fix can be as simple as sealing up leaky air-conditioning ducts (Fig. B) or as daunting as re-shingling a leaky roof or re-grading your yard so water runs away from, rather than toward, your foundation. Sewer backups and floods also set up ideal environments for mold and mildew growth.

Once the moisture problems are fixed, get rid of the moldy materials carefully. Rough handling of damaged materials will not only stir up spores and spread them even farther around your house but also launch zillions of spores into the air, where you'll inhale them. One square foot of moldy drywall can harbor more than 300 million mold spores; slam dunk that onto the basement floor and you're just opening another Pandora's box. Even dormant spores inhabiting dried-out materials are irritating to inhale, and if they find moist environs again, they can zip back to life and establish new colonies.

The smart way to get rid of moldy building materials

THE KEY TO REMOVING MOLDY MATERIALS is containment and thoroughness. Seal off the area. Create a crude "air lock" door to contain spores and dust by covering the opening with a sheet of poly slit in the center, then cover that with another sheet or flap. Wear a respirator and work slowly and surely. Double-bag or wrap all materials, then wash all remaining hard surfaces with a 1/2 percent bleach solution and let dry.

* Wear a good cartridge-type respirator, available through a medical or safety equipment supplier. One good mask is a Willson triple-seal respirator (No. 03711; $30.75, plus shipping) with a P100 filter cartridge ($52 for a carton of 10) available from Direct Safety, (800) 528-7405. A simple dust or particulate mask doesn't offer adequate protection. Wear gloves and goggles if you're scraping.

* If your basement or main floor has flooded, get it as dry as possible within the first 72 hours, before mold and mildew can get established. Drill holes in drywall or remove lower sections of it to let the inner wall and insulation dry out.

* Close off any ventilation grilles with polyethylene sheeting and duct tape. Shut down your furnace so the blower doesn't spread spores and dust throughout the house.

* Remove everything--furniture, pictures, lamps--from the room.

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