Mold removal products are chemical or biological substances that can deter, render harmless, or exert a controlling effect on mold by chemical or biological means. Some mold removal products claim to eliminate mold from homes and offices. According to the English dictionary, the term “eliminate” means “completely remove or get rid of something”. The fact is, it is impossible to eliminate mold using mold removal products (a.k.a. biocides). The effectiveness of a mold removal product is measured by the concentrations required to obtain a threshold kill. Different types of mold can require different amounts of the product to obtain acceptable threshold kill. Likewise, the speed of kill and overall length of control can vary across mold strains. The most effective products have a threshold kill of 99.99% which means they do not completely kill mold 100%. A mold removal product that is effective across a broad range of mold types and powerful enough to obtain a 99.99% kill would be toxic to man as well. Even a kill ratio of 99.99% could be an almost insignificant loss to a mold which can produce hundreds of thousands of spores in a small colony started from a single spore. The 0.001% that survive the treatment is resistant to the product and will re-colonize the surface when the chemical effect is gone. This means the population of resistant mold strains will increase. It is better and effective to concentrate on prevention of water damage and physical mold removal than use biocides.
Are mold removal products recommended?
Generally mold removal products or biocides are not recommended for use in mold remediation except in special situations, such as, where pathogenic organisms are likely to be present. If mold growth has occurred on fibrous glass or other porous surfaces, effective cleaning even using biocides will not be possible. The most logical thing to do is to discard the contaminated material and replace it with new uncontaminated material.
Even in situation where pathogenic organisms are present, mold removal products should not be used alone in addressing a mold growth problem. The mold must still be completely removed from the affected material, or the mold-contaminated material be completely removed from the building. People who are sensitive to mold can still react if exposed to dead mold spores.
Mold removal products may also be used where effective cleaning is not possible. For example metal ductwork could cleaned and disinfected after removing and discarding insulation.
Selection and handling of mold removal product for mold remediation in the indoor environment
Most mold removal and water damage restoration companies share a conviction that mold must be killed. The mold removal product selected should have relatively low toxicity and a broad spectrum activity required to kill such a diverse population of molds as found in damp indoor environments. Only government approved/registered mold removal products should be used for mold remediation. The law requires that employees handling controlled products be trained and read and understand the label. Labels include information on active ingredients, their percentage, directions for use, precautions, information about first aid, information on storage and disposal, and classification statements.