My mom’s words of wisdom, “Any job worth doing is worth doing right,” never rang
truer than in situations where partial remediation is viewed as being better than no remediation. Contrary to this misconception, no remediation is better than substandard remediation. Case in point – a family inherits a home that has been unoccupied for an extended period, and had not maintained for more than ten years. Water intrusion into the basement and attic caused mold growth to building materials that were in contact with water. Sustained high humidity resulted in secondary mold growth due to condensation on interior drywall. Testing revealed concentrations of Penicillium and Aspergillus in the range of 80,000 to 100,000 counts per cubic meter of air. Outdoor concentrations of spores in these genera were less than 1,000 c/m3. Toxigenic mold species, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, were also identified.
In the throes of financial difficulties versus living rent-free, the family made a decision to move into the contaminated home and perform remediation in a piecemeal fashion. They believed that small efforts to remove mold would cumulatively achieve the desired end product of good indoor air quality. However good their intentions might have been, the reasoning was flawed. Unlike cosmetic or structural renovation projects, mold remediation cannot safely be performed “a little bit at a time”. Effective remediation requires removal of mold contamination along with addressing spores that are liberated from areas of actual mold growth.
Attempting to live in a contaminated home while performing remediation one step at a time is similar to paying minimum monthly payments on a high interest rate credit card. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, and the problem compounds over time. If one area is effectively remediated, yet contamination remains in other locations, re-contamination to the cleaned area will occur. Additionally, with ongoing exposures, individuals become sensitized and progressively react to lower concentrations of mold.