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Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
ACTIVITY of MOLD in BUILDINGS
AGE of MOLD - Old is the Mold?
AIR CLEANER PURIFIER TYPES
AIR FILTERS for HVAC SYSTEMS
AIR TEST SAMPLING CASSETTE STUDY
AIRBORNE MOLD COUNT NUMBER GUIDE
AIRBORNE PARTICLE ANALYSIS METHODS
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
BROWN HAIRY BATHROOM MOLD
BIBLIOGAPHY for ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, MOLD, IAQ
BLACK MOLD, HARMLESS COSMETIC
BLACK MOLD, TOXIC & ALLERGENIC
BLEACHING MOLD, Advice about
BOOK MOLD, Moldy Book Cleaning
BOOKSTORE - ENVIRONMENTAL
CACTUS FUNGI / MOLD
CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPET PADDING ASBESTOS, MOLD, ODORS
CARPET FUNGICIDAL SPRAY
CARPET STAIN DIAGNOSIS
CARPET & other STAIN TESTS
CARPET TEST PROCEDURE
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CHAIN OF CUSTODY - TEST SAMPLE
CLEARANCE INSPECTIONS - MOLD CLEANUP
DIRECTORY of MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS
DIRT FLOOR MOLD CONTAMINATION
Disinfecting Buildings with Bleach
DO-IT-YOURSELF MOLD CLEANUP WARNINGS
DUST ANALYSIS for FIBERGLASS
DUST, HVAC CONTAMINATION STUDY
EFFLORESCENCE, Salts & White / Brown Deposits
FEAR of MOLD - MYCOPHOBIA
Fiberboard Insulation Sheathing Mold
FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
FIND MOLD, ESSENTIAL STEPS
MOLD in BUILDINGS
FIRE DAMAGE vs MOLD DAMAGE
FLOODS IN BUILDINGS-mold
FOXING STAINS on books & papers
FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE GUIDE
GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS & STANDARDS
GAS TEST PROCEDURES
HOUSE DUST ANALYSIS
HOUSE DUST COMPONENTS
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
LAB PROCEDURES MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES
LIGHT, GUIDE to FORENSIC USE
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MICROSCOPE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MICROSCOPE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
MILDEW ERRORS, IT's MOLD
MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOLD
MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE
MVOCs & MOLDY MUSTY ODORS
MYCOPHOBIA, STAINS MISTAKEN for MOLD
MYCOTOXIN EFFECTS of MOLD EXPOSURE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
RENTERS GUIDE TO MOLD & IAQ
ROBIGUS & Wheat Rust Fungus
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
STAINS on & in BUILDINGS, CAUSES & CURES
THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
UV LIGHT BLACK LIGHT USES
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs
WATER ENTRY in buildings
Safety procedures for mold contamination investigators. Here we cite the importance of using good safety procedures when looking for mold or when cleaning up mold in buildings and we provide links to mold inspection, testing, and remediation guidelines. To assure that a mold cleanup has been properly performed, see MOLD CLEARANCE INSPECTIONS.
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Here are the most common and most serious mistakes that we encounter when reviewing mold inspection and mold cleanup or "remediation" jobs.
Mold Cleanup Safety Procedures & Remediation Procedures
Guidelines defining what's a "large amount" of mold and what's reasonable for a homeowner to handle have been published by several states including New York and California.
Links to key documents describing mold cleanup and mold remediation procedures
are at ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT INDOOR MOLD
People who are allergic, asthmatic, infant, elderly, immune-impaired, etc., should not disturb mold and should not be in the area where mold remediation is being performed. Consult with your doctor, health department or other professional before tackling this job yourself.
Reader Question: is it safe to be in a building during mold restoration? Is raw sewage safe to live around?
Hi: I have three questions: 1. During mold restoration, can I be present in my home or is it considered condemned until all mold is removed? 2. Raw sewage has been dripping in between my walls, ruining cabinets and floors from the unit above me toilet. Is this raw sewage okay to live around along with the mold it caused? Thank you for a well-informed website.
It was discovered last week that the unit above where I live the sewer pipe has a crack which causes liquids from the toilet to spray when flushed. This spraying has saturated (interior) side of the walls. I cannot tell you how long this has been going on but I know it has been over several months. Initially (during the warmer weather) I smelled like a dead mouse or rat had died but I could never find any remains of an animal.
When a plumber busted open the walls, the walls were saturated and showing clear signs of cluster of black mold in numerous spots. It was just everywhere. The liquid has seeped through the dry wall, under my floors, baseboard, cabinets, and behind the tile walls in my bathroom. My floors were seeping liquid through the seams.
To make things worse, every time I am home I feel nauseated, confused, and I feel like I have the flu or the onset of a terrible cold. I never I had any breathing problems my entire life but recently I was diagnosed with Bronchitis twice within six months. I am really wondering if these damages are causing my health problems. To make matters worse I have black flies which I Goggled and these flies are called sewer flies. The flies were my biggest indication that I had major problems. Can people live around such bacteria without problems? Are my health problems for real? If I ever get a restoration clean-up for the mold can I still live there while the mold is being treated? - Y.D. 12/2/2013
Reply: maybe but in some cases no, and no.
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that would permit a more accurate, complete, and authoritative answer than we can give by email alone. You will find additional depth and detail in articles at our website. That said I offer these comments:
1. Can you remain in your home during mold cleanup?
No one can reliably and honestly answer your first question as posed because the email contains not a shred of information about the mold conditions in your home.
But a *general* answer is that a small mold cleanup project (less than 30 sq.ft.) is typically performed by a homeowner or handyman without special precautions.
Larger areas of mold remediation that require professional attention almost always must also include steps to isolate the contaminated work area from the rest of the building, if for no other reason than to avoid spreading moldy dust throughout the building thus causing a still-larger cleanup project.
In a perfect world of perfect dust containment, negative air in the work area and similar measures, and in a perfect world where nobody accidentally turns off a fan or knocks down a plastic barrier, the remainder of the building should be safe for normal occupants.
But even in the best of cases, if a building is occupied by elderly, infant, asthmatic, immune-impaired or similarly vulnerable people, anybody with an ounce of sense will ask that they be out of the building before, during and even after the mold cleanup project until the building has passed a successful post-remediation inspection and test.
Consult your doctor: given your description of the contamination in your home and of your building-related health complaints, it would make sense to consult your own doctor for advice as soon as you can.
Small areas of mold, if that's all you've got, say less than 30 sqft of contiguous moldy material, are usually handled as a normal cleanup job without heroic efforts, For a small or DIY mold cleanup project see
Larger areas of mold contamination, or if a larger area is discovered in cleaning the small one, do indeed merit professional cleaning. When a professional mold cleanup job seems to be needed, these articles will be helpful
2. Raw sewage contamination hazards in buildings
Again I have not a shred of information about the location nor extent of sewage contamination so I can only answer in very general terms: raw sewage contamination in a building is a source of pathogens that can cause serious illness in occupants.
It may not be obvious, but bacterial and viral pathogens can, for example, become airborne as microdroplets or even as attached to fine airborne dust during building cleanup.
More information about sewage backups is at
In sum, from your follow-up notes expanding your description it sounds as if the home suffered substantial water leakage, mold contamination is likely to be widespread, and sewage contamination is present. If so there are likely to be significant health hazards present.
Watch out: on moving contents out of a water, mold or sewage contaminated building that you do not simply carry contaminants along somewhere else;
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.
Mold Contamination Testing, Cleanup, Prevention: references & products
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.