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If a remediator has actually done their job and remediated then according to CPC no application of mold control agents are needed; doing so is akin to selling snake oil.

We're asked for advice all the time on this subject, are there then any instances where the application of mold control agents is justified?

Chris, Oregon

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I have often recommended fogging black attics with Concrobium even after ventilation increases have been made, but I have been recently reconsidering that advice. If ventilation is adequate, then the moisture content of the roof decking should never get high enough to support mold growth and thus a mold control agent is a waste of money.

The problem is determining what ventilation changes will result in adequate ventilation. I can think of a number examples where passive ventilation just won't work.

Clients want a solution that is guaranteed to work now, not some recommendation for monitoring and trial & error solutions.

Chris, Oregon

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Good morning, Gents!

First Chris –

It may be that a single action (such as ventilation) may not solve the problem. Remembering that the problem is moisture, not mould. The mould is merely the visual manifestation of the moisture problem.

By applying the fungicide, one is not addressing the problem, and in fact, one is not even addressing the mould. Fungicides merely kill mould- they don’t remove mould and, in generally aren’t particularly good at preventing mould growth in the presence of a pervasive moisture problem, and generally don't address the epitope (the structure that makes a mould allergenic).

So, instead of focusing on a quick fix, or a single parameter, a broad spectrum approach may be beneficial for your client, including a discussion on construction defects, or architectural flaws that lead to the moisture problem in the first place.

Randy –

It’s not that the products don’t kill mould. Killing mould is easy, and a whole variety of household products can easily fit that bill. Rather, what is at stake are the circumstances surrounding the appropriateness of the application of the fungicide.

At the heart of mould remediation is finding and correcting the REAL problem – moisture. 99% of the success on a mould remediation project is identifying and correcting the moisture intrusion problem; the remaining 1% is addressing the remaining cosmetic issues. If one does that correctly, then there will not be any returning moisture, and therefore there will not be any mould growth.

In the case of mould remediation, – there is a very simple fact: If the remediation is done correctly (and no fungicides are used), the mould will NOT come back; if the job is not done correctly, the mould WILL come back, even if fungicides are used.

In some cases, no remediation is even necessary, and in some cases, “remediationâ€

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If a remediator has actually done their job and remediated then according to CPC no application of mold control agents are needed; doing so is akin to selling snake oil.

We're asked for advice all the time on this subject, are there then any instances where the application of mold control agents is justified?

Chris, Oregon

I think that the recommendations we make should be related to a specific outcome that we're trying to achieve. Too often in these discussions, we make unspoken assumptions about what the outcome goals are.

In a real estate transaction, one of the goals of a mold remediation program is to make the house be attractive to potential buyers. The presence of visible mold - even if perfectly harmless - runs counter to that goal.

I think that there are times when the application of snake oil is justified:

1 When it isn't being used as a substitute for proper mold remediation.

2 When the cost of application is minimal.

3 When the application of the snake oil will increase the value of the house -- even if that increase in value isn't based in sound science.

I saw a house the other day where a psychotic dog nad molested the front door. It looked like Wolverine had used the door as a scratching post. I recommended either patching & painting the door or simply replacing it. There was no scientific basis for my recommendation. The door performed its function perfectly well.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Lysol s

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I think that there are times when the application of snake oil is justified:

1 When it isn't being used as a substitute for proper mold remediation.

2 When the cost of application is minimal.

3 When the application of the snake oil will increase the value of the house -- even if that increase in value isn't based in sound science.

What would be the narrative?

Understand that a proper remediation costs thousands of dollars (air seal all penetrations between home and attic, correct ventilation deficiencies, sand off mold stains, etc). Option two is to cold fog the attic with a mold control agent every couple of years (only a few hundred dollars)?

The difficulty is in trying to figure out in some cases what is or was the moisture source. Is there only moderate mold staining at north side eaves or is it a completely black attic. How do you go about deciding which cases support using a mold control agent vrs full remediation or do you just give them the options and let them decide.

You know a number of them are still going to ask us which is the best option to go with if it was our house.

Chris, Oregon

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I think that there are times when the application of snake oil is justified:

1 When it isn't being used as a substitute for proper mold remediation.

2 When the cost of application is minimal.

3 When the application of the snake oil will increase the value of the house -- even if that increase in value isn't based in sound science.

What would be the narrative?

Understand that a proper remediation costs thousands of dollars (air seal all penetrations between home and attic, correct ventilation deficiencies, sand off mold stains, etc). Option two is to cold fog the attic with a mold control agent every couple of years (only a few hundred dollars)?

The difficulty is in trying to figure out in some cases what is or was the moisture source. Is there only moderate mold staining at north side eaves or is it a completely black attic. How do you go about deciding which cases support using a mold control agent vrs full remediation or do you just give them the options and let them decide.

You know a number of them are still going to ask us which is the best option to go with if it was our house.

Chris, Oregon

I don't intend to get into any mold cases, but I have a question: Is there any good science or good common sense that says fogging a house with stuff that ends in -cide won't make things worse?

FWIW, if such a situation were connected to an HI job, my narrative would be: "I'm ignorant about microbiology and agnostic about mold remediation. You need to find somebody who knows more than I do."

WJ

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I think that there are times when the application of snake oil is justified:

1 When it isn't being used as a substitute for proper mold remediation.

2 When the cost of application is minimal.

3 When the application of the snake oil will increase the value of the house -- even if that increase in value isn't based in sound science.

What would be the narrative?

Understand that a proper remediation costs thousands of dollars (air seal all penetrations between home and attic, correct ventilation deficiencies, sand off mold stains, etc). Option two is to cold fog the attic with a mold control agent every couple of years (only a few hundred dollars)?

The difficulty is in trying to figure out in some cases what is or was the moisture source. Is there only moderate mold staining at north side eaves or is it a completely black attic. How do you go about deciding which cases support using a mold control agent vrs full remediation or do you just give them the options and let them decide.

You know a number of them are still going to ask us which is the best option to go with if it was our house.

Chris, Oregon

How about, "Take steps A, B, C & D to eliminate the moisture condition that's allowed mold to grow on the thingy. Clean the mold off of the thingy to make it cosmetically acceptable to you. If you wish to ensure that all of the remaining traces of mold on the thingy are dead, treat the thingy with Concrobium (or magic sparkle dust). If you're unable to clean the thingy to be cosmetically acceptable, paint it with a stain-killing sealer such as BIN or Kilz."

BTW, I believe that most protocols for "proper mold remediation" are nonsense through and through.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I don't intend to get into any mold cases, but I have a question: Is there any good science or good common sense that says fogging a house with stuff that ends in -cide won't make things worse? . . .

Not in the case of Concrobium. It's pretty much harmless to humans. You could proably drink it and take a shower in it with no ill effects. In theory, it works mechanically, by physically crushing the mold. -- yeah, I know.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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