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Mould assessment, testing, management and clean up

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article image Mould assessment, testing, management and clean up

Queensland and NSW Laboratory  are a leading Occupational Hygiene and Environmental Consulting firms specialising in the management and assessment of Mould, Bacteria, Fungi, and/or other microbiological organisms. Their team of AQIS certified and NATA Accredited occupational hygienists provide testing and consultancy services for mould Australia wide and also in the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.      

They also have their own specialised mould cleaning kits.

Flooding, excess moisture and pooled water can contribute to the growth of mould in a home, which may be a health risk for a family. When returning home, be aware of any visible mould or a musty smell. High mould levels are likely if the house has been flooded for more than 2 days.  

Before a cleanup, remember that not everyone is suited to working in damp, potentially mouldy conditions. Check that family members and volunteers who offer assistance are not sensitive to mould.  

What is mould?  

Moulds are fungi (like mushrooms), which are present at low levels virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. People are exposed to mould on a daily basis without harm.  

Moulds need organic materials (eg. leaves, wood, paper or dirt) and moisture to grow. Mould is often green, grey, brown or black, and produces a musty smell. The most common indoor moulds are Alternaria, Cladosporium, Penicillium and Aspergillus.  

Moulds release countless tiny, lightweight spores, which travel through the air. This occurs when moulds are actively disturbed (during cleanup) or in dry conditions (when the house is being dried out). If mouldy materials and items are not removed or properly cleaned, high levels of airborne mould spores may be a health risk for mould-sensitive family members when they move back into the house.

Who may be sensitive to moulds?  

Moulds can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate other respiratory and allergic conditions. Symptoms depend on the amount of airborne spores a person is exposed to and how sensitive they are to moulds.    

Cleaning up mould  

Those planning to be inside the house for a while, or intending to clean up mouldy areas, should also wear a shower cap, goggles and a particulate respirator to prevent breathing in mould spores.    

Mould removal efforts should focus on:     

1. Removing all sources of pooled water or excessive moisture from the home.   

2. Removing all wet or flood damaged materials or items, including wallpaper, plasterboard, carpet, rugs, bedding, mattresses, furniture, stuffed toys, clothing, and other wet or damaged materials that cannot be adequately dried or cleaned.   

3. Removing all porous (ie. soft or absorbent) materials with mould growth.   

4. Temporarily storing damaged or discarded items outside the home (in a safe, clean, dry place such as a shed or garage) until an insurance claim is processed.   

5. Cleaning and disinfecting all affected surfaces inside the house, including floors, walls, the kitchen, bathroom and laundry.   

6. Allowing the house to dry throughout by airing or active drying (eg. fans or dehumidifiers).  

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