Can Exposed Individuals Return to Contaminated Homes After Remediation?

The answer to this question is dependent upon many variables with the most important being, “how has the receptor (the exposed person) changed?” I have performed post remediation testing on thousands of homes. I always collect a combination of culturable and spore trap samples, as well as settled dust if indicated. Most of the time occupants are able to return to effectively remediated houses. However, sometimes people who become sick from mold exposure are not able to re-occupy even though all results, including ERMI testing or Environmental Moldiness Index (a DNA-based test that compares mold profiles in typical homes vs. contaminated homes), demonstrated acceptable conditions.  In these cases, the affected individuals had one or a combination of the following exposure issues:

  1. They lived in the contaminated house for many years
  2. Remediation was performed with sub-standard containment measures
  3. They spent most of their time in the home
  4. They attempted to remediate mold themselves

The individuals in these cases were so adversely affected that very low, often undetectable levels of contamination triggered reactions.

The inability to re-occupy a remediated home without symptoms becomes a point of contention with insurance companies, which generally claim that the house must only be restored to conditions that existed prior to the loss.  Insurance companies generally will not address the fact that irreversible health effects preclude safe reoccupancy of a remediated house for some people. Far too often the outcome is emotional and financial devastation.

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