Frequently Asked Questions
Yes we have self-test kits which we will send to you with step by step instructions. You then send them back in the envelope provided and in return you will receive a full Laboratory Report identifying the mould species and informing you if it is toxic or allergenic etc. You will also receive specific H&S advice and decontamination guidance.
If you know exactly what is causing your source of mould, you probably don’t need a report. If you have fixed the source of moisture (ie; plumbing leak, external cladding leak or condensation) it would be recommended to undertake the mould test. This will confirm if you are dealing with a toxic species which will require a different decontamination process to non-toxic. The mould test takes the guesswork out of the removal process as you know what you are dealing with and you can prepare your H&S and protective clothing accordingly.
Young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to Asthma and respiratory diseases. Even non-toxic mould species can trigger allergens creating coughs and flu-like symptoms. However the black toxic mould (Stachybotrys) can cause incurable respiratory diseases.
There is a surprisingly widespread distribution of toxic mould in New Zealand. Stachybotrys and Chaetomium is commonly formed within wall cavities and will spore once it penetrates through the wall lining and dries out. Due to the decades of direct fix cladding and the resulting ‘leaky buildings’ issue, moisture ingress is common in wall cavities and toxic black mould is regularly encountered.
You will be employing us so the information provided is your sole property. We will only distribute information to other parties if requested in writing otherwise everything is dealt with complete confidentiality.
The colour of a mould is no gauge of its toxicity. You can have white, blue, green and red moulds and all are equally dangerous or allergenic. Even toxic moulds such as Penicillium Aspergillus , and others may be capable of producing toxins but usually only do so when under attack typically from drying out, application of bleach or biocides and bacteria.
NO. A cubic inch of mould can contain 1 billion spores. Brushing off mould will likely release hundreds of thousands of spores into the air you breathe.
This is difficult to answer. Some toxic moulds that are producing toxins can have devastating health effects from just a few square inches while some toxic moulds can fill a wall but do not have serious health effects. Much will depend on whether the mould is under attack or growing actively. Bottom line is all mould is allergenic but some are extremely toxic..
Almost anyone suitably protected can remove mould but the airborne release may cause contamination to spread widely and create a serious inhalation risk. Decontamination is the actual removal of surface and or the removal of airborne contamination.
According to the WHO the main risk of mould growth is the inhalation of spores and their fragments together with associated contaminates.
This will depend on your health and wealth. If you have an area smaller than 1m2, you can wear suitable PPE and simply wash it off. However if you are debilitated and or have hidden mould you may need professional help. Typically if mould is visible on one side of a plaster board wall it is invariably present on the other side and may require removal by experts.
For larger contaminated areas, wear suitable PPE and erect critical barriers to the contaminated area. Install Negative air pressure to contain airborne contamination. Carefully remove porous substrates and or clean hard surfaces with HEPA vacuum systems. Wash down with soapy water and dry. Clean the air with a suitable air scrubbing technique. Provide third party independent clearance certification.
Toxic mould is a name coined by the Institute of Medicine to describe the toxic effects known to be produced by moulds producing cytotoxic and neurotoxic effects. The toxins originally thought to be ingested are now known to be released into the air on inhalable fragments where they can travel to the lower respiratory system.
No, bacteria grows before mould and they release toxins too typically streptomycin which kills yeast (mould infections). The mould will battle with bacteria and other moulds all releasing powerful toxins and some will die. The dead bacteria, spores and spore casing will produce allergens, may contain toxins and some are known to combine to create significant challenges to the human immune system.
If you have a long term water or moisture issue (weeks/months) this can include flooding, leaks and even condensation. While moisture is necessary for mould growth it doesn't always follow that toxic mould will form. Your best gauge of toxic mould is if you suffer symptoms associated with it.
This depends on many issues including age, personal health, exposure levels. So often we see a housewife sick and the partner who goes to work unaffected. This is due to extended periods of exposure. But often the main reason is Genetics and typically people with an HLA gene difference are affected most.
This is a typical marker for toxic mould. Exposure to any toxic substance may reflect symptoms, but beware. The human body can remove toxins to some extent but there may be a tipping point where even going out into the natural environment may not see health improvement. It has been found that those affected quickly often return to health quickly whereas some who take longer to react may find they develop chronic symptoms despite leaving the exposure.
Landlords who rent out properties that have mould, are at risk of being prosecuted and facing a large fine. Landlords of both residential and commercial tenanted properties are legally obliged to treat mould. If they fail to do so, they face being prosecuted. An independent, microbial qualified third party should be recommended to provide an assessment and safety certification.
This depends on time. It is accepted that a clean water escape of water from inside a home is a low hazard. Grey water from a washing machine which contains some organic soiling is a slightly higher risk. Black water from outside sources is grossly contaminated and is assumed to carry 120 bacterial and 1200 viral infections. All of these categories escalate over hours and within 48 hours even clean water could amplify the normally present biological loading to unacceptable levels.