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How to Choose a Mold Remediation Company

Mold on CeilingUndetected water damage in a home or office can lead to serious mold problems, which can in turn cause serious health issues. Sometimes mold remediation is not the best solution when the damage is systemic or the health of the occupants is severely compromised. (See our article When Remediation Fails.)

In other situations, the water damage is isolated enough to warrant remediation. But tackling the mold issue yourself can often make matters worse, as opening up a wall without proper containment can exacerbate the problem.

Finding a qualified remediator who understands the potential hazards of improper remediation can be difficult. Don't be afraid to ask the following questions before hiring a mold remediation company.

  1. Do you consider mold to be a potential health hazard?

    While remediators are not health practitioners, they should understand the toxic nature of indoor water damage. They should be aware of the term mycotoxin and know the difference between a mold allergy and a toxic response to a poisonous substance.

  2. Do you recommend testing the environment?

    Some type of testing should be done before and after remediation to demonstrate the success or failure of the project. This testing should not be done by the remediator, as this presents a conflict of interest. Testing from an outside source is preferable. Testing should not be dismissed as unnecessary by a potential remediator.

  3. Do you document your work?

    Contractors should document all work with digital photos. This is especially true of work related to the removal of building materials. Digital photos should be available to the customer after the work is completed.

  4. Do you contain the area properly?

    This is critical. If the contractor negates the need for containment, dismiss them immediately. Proper containment includes plastic sheeting and some protection at the entrance to the containment site to avoid cross-contamination. Negative air machines (NAMs) should be HEPA-filtered and exhausted outside.

  5. Are you insured?

    Some contractors operate without any type of insurance—which may bring down their pricing, but could cost you more in the end. Look for someone who is legitimate when it comes to their business practices.

  6. Do your workers wear protective gear?

    The answer must be yes. Workers should be outfitted with proper hazmat suits, respirators, and safety glasses. Disposable shoe covers should be worn onsite as foot traffic is a major cause of cross-contamination.

  7. How do you dispose of waste material?

    Waste material should be bagged and disposed of immediately after removal. Items must not be stored on the premises. The disposal route should be as short as possible to minimize potential breakage or leakage. Bagged items should be double-bagged to avoid cross-contamination from the first bag.

  8. Do you wrap your equipment?

    Air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums are inherent to the remediation process. This equipment should be contained with fresh wrap before entering your site. Equipment like this is subject to contamination from previous jobs and could make your situation worse if precautions aren't taken.

For more specifics on mold remediation, see Aerobiological Solutions' A Condensed Remediation Plan for Small Microbial Particles, which can be accessed at the website Surviving Mold.

If a contractor dismisses your questions or demeans your concerns, it might be wise to look elsewhere. Remember, you're the expert when it comes to your health. Don't be afraid to ask hard questions. Most of all, listen to your instincts as you seek to make the wisest decision for the health and well-being of your family.

Quotes

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"...at age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

Dedication