There are no substantial mold remediation standards in place. However, there are guidelines, private standards, and books that support what standards can do. In this article, we take a look at a few of these resources that emphasize best practices in mold remediation.
The discussion includes guidance documents, legislation, private standards, and books. These resources vary depending on the application, but they largely reflect the recommended procedures for mold remediation.
Violation of some of these guidance documents may put you at legal risk. Now, let us dig in!
Top on our list is the Standard from The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). This particular one adheres to S520 standards for mold remediation as conferred on them by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
It is a standard that has gone through a consensus and a public participation exercise. Unfortunately, the standard must be purchased. You cannot get it as a free download.
This standard is very prescriptive. However, it carries with it strong professional judgment on mold remediation.
The standard focuses on the remediation of contaminated structures. It features content that helps remediation firms in keeping professional standards.
In the document lies the procedures for conducting mold remediation. They also have precautionary measures to take into consideration performing the exercises.
You will find the specifications for remediation and management of remediation projects. Remediators also get critical protocols to follow during restoration.
It is important to note that this guide isn’t conclusive or exhaustive. The information herein is subject to change. But it remains mostly comprehensive as compared to other guides.
The standard is also a private document, and the owners aren’t liable to damages that result from using it for your mold remediation needs. However, the document was created in good faith and is reliable in combating molds.
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
It provides a guideline for the Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments. Throughout the public sector, this is the first of its kind.
This standard came into being in 1993. But over the years, it has been updated several times. Since it is a public document, it can be downloaded freely through the internet.
It features views from experts ranging from microbiologists, people in occupational health, environmental scientists. All the information on mold remediation is compressed to a short fact sheet for easy understanding by everyone.
Please note that this document doesn’t substitute recommendations from site visits done by public health officials. It also doesn’t apply to sensitive environments like ICUs, theatres, or transplant facilities.
The guidelines provide information on environmental assessment, remediation, remediation procedures, mold clean up, and systems that facilitate effective mold remediation.
Here is what is contained in a summarized fact sheet by the department:
- Quick fixes for water problems
- Steps to clean molds
- Recommended supplies for mold remediation
- EPA Guideline on Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came up with this guideline in 2001. It is very similar to the guideline provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
EPA guidelines carry more weight and mostly referenced by Mold Remediator Firms. You can download it on their website for free.
They outline ten things you should know about molds as summarized below:
- Potential health effects caused by mold exposures, which worsen conditions like asthma, allergic reactions, and other respiratory complaints.
- The emphasis that there is no practical way to eliminate all mold, so focus is on moisture control.
- Clean up and elimination of sources
- Fixing water problems or leaks that promote the growth of mold
- Reduction of indoor humidity
- Cleaning and drying wet building material immediately
- Cleaning mold-infested surfaces with water and detergent
- Prevention of condensation by controlling precipitation
- Avoidance of carpeting in areas with perpetual moisture
- Growth of mold in all areas-wood, carpet, and on foods.
EPA guidelines provide a benchmark for public health officials to use in ensuring that schools and commercial buildings are safe from health risks.
- American Hygiene Industrial Association (AIHA)
Although the Center for Disease Control and The US National Academy of Sciences has made strides in studying molds and potential health effects, AIHA has gone further to complement the state agencies.
AIHA develops sampling protocols, recognitions, and a complete manual on the Evaluation and Control of Indoor Mold. They have a Green book to back up their work.
The Green Books covers areas on the assessment of contamination and inspections. Besides, they have guidelines on air sampling and how to deal with it from an industrial perspective.
AIHA complements efforts by organizations dealing with occupational and environmental hazards. They support their efforts in investigation and remediation.
Further, they hold a knowledge base of best practices by disseminating research studies and critical information to the public for reference.
With a membership of over 8,500 experts, they maintain a robust repository of education programs together with products and services.
AIHA has the Environmental Microbiology Proficiency Analytical Testing (EMPAT) Program. The program targets Microbiology laboratories and administers tests to test the proficiency of personnel in the labs. They do so to improve performance.
- A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace
While this is not a standard, it is an excellent support framework for the US Health and Occupational Safety Administration. Like other guidelines, it sets out what to do when conducting mold remediation.
The guide launched in 2003 and addresses custodians, building managers, and all those concerned with building maintenance.
It is an excellent reference for mold remediation. It offers a practical guide and touches on health effects, preventive measures as well as how to come up with remediation plans.
You will get information on Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). They also have links to useful resources for mold remediation.
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
NIOSH provides a separate guideline that supports the work of the other organizations. They have in place a Dampness and Mold Assessment Tool for general buildings.
It provides a checklist to be counter checked by mold remediators to ensure that buildings are free from mold. They also feature a scoring tool to check the severity of the problem.
- California Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001
In this act, the California State Department of Health Services (DHS) has the mandate to create a task force to advise DHS on:
- Permissible limits for mold exposure
- Adoption of practical procedures for mold remediation
- Setting up guidelines for identifying molds
- Guidelines for indoor mold remediation
A review of all the guidelines happens every five years. The act also sets out guidelines for real estate transfer disclosure statements concerning molds.
Many books provide guidelines for mold remediation. A good example is the BioAerosols Book on Assessment and Control.
The American Conference of Government and Industrial Hygiene. It was written and published in 1999.
The book has a whole chapter on Mold Remediation that is referenced by professional mold remediators.
Another book is the Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Indoor Mold by Bradley Prezant, Donald M. Weekes, J. David Miller. This book focuses on the identification, evaluation, and remediation of molds.
Mold remediation standards aren’t well developed yet. It is a grey area that calls for further exploration to create synchrony between the federal and state levels of government. In the meantime, the available guidelines fill the gap. The positive thing about these guidelines is that they provide workable solutions to mold remediation. They help in implementing formidable mold remediation procedures.