The joys of toxic black mold

Ivan Seeking

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So, here is a good example of why you should never take a short cut like I just did.

We had run out of filter masks, so I proceeded to finish tearing out the drywall in the bathroom without one. I was almost done, and I figured that I could just be careful and things would be okay. WRONG!

It turns out that we have toxic black mold in some areas, and I took a big blast of contaminated dust, right in the face. Within a couple of hours I felt terrible. Moderate nausea was the worst of it, but it also seems to have messed with my sinuses, much like a bad allergy. I thought I was getting the flu and didn't realize what was seen until I did some homework last night. I thought they were just stains of some kind. :yuck:

So, now my job is twice as big as when I started. The joys of remodeling! :biggrin:

Oh yes, some varieties molds like this are neurological toxins that can ruin you life; permanently.
 

Moonbear

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Wow, probably a good thing you decided to remodel! Much better to find it while it's isolated than before it spreads throughout the entire house. If it's really the toxic stuff, you should get an expert in to test that it isn't elsewhere and to determine if you've really removed it all. You also don't want to be spreading the spores around all over the place! You should confirm whether it really is the toxic stuff. It could just be mildew. Plenty of people have mildew/mold allergies, and an intense whiff of it will really do you in if you're one of those lucky ones.

My cousin has severe mold allergies (and allergies to half of the other stuff on this planet too, lucky him) and had to move out of his house while they had a contractor doing renovations and cleaning out mold. It wasn't the toxic mold, but just normal mildew-type stuff that grows in damp basements where there was a water leak, but his allergies are so bad, it didn't matter, he still needed to get out until the work was done.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Based on what I read, I'm pretty sure that this is TBM. Hopefully the worst of it is in the insulation which all comes out today. In either case, it can be treated. But it really knocked me for a loop. I felt terrible for about 12 hours.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Oh crud I almost forgot, I need to do the black light test and I'll know for sure. Apparently TBM glows yellow under UV.
 

Moonbear

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Ivan Seeking said:
Based on what I read, I'm pretty sure that this is TBM. Hopefully the worst of it is in the insulation which all comes out today. In either case, it can be treated. But it really knocked me for a loop. I felt terrible for about 12 hours.
Well, if the stuff kills you, remember to tell Tsu to donate your brain to DocToxyn. :tongue2:

Wear a respirator around that stuff and make sure you seal off vents and such and dispose of any contaminated material in double plastic bags before carrying it out of that area so you're sure you don't spread those spores throughout the rest of the house. I think once you kill it off and remove anything obviously contaminated, you can apply a sealant of some sort so anything remaining is trapped and can't continue to grow and spread. Usually the toxic stuff is best left to professionals.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Moonbear said:
Well, if the stuff kills you, remember to tell Tsu to donate your brain to DocToxyn. :tongue2: .

Okay, Doc can have whats left of my brain, and you can have my third foot. :tongue2:

Wear a respirator around that stuff and make sure you seal off vents and such and dispose of any contaminated material in double plastic bags before carrying it out of that area so you're sure you don't spread those spores throughout the rest of the house. I think once you kill it off and remove anything obviously contaminated, you can apply a sealant of some sort so anything remaining is trapped and can't continue to grow and spread. Usually the toxic stuff is best left to professionals.
Thanks. And yes, I know that I should leave this to the professionals, but when you have a place like ours, where we live, you have to be the professional. But, hopefully I will use better judgement from here on. And any more advice that you may have is greatly appreciated. Much of what you said was almost word for word what the help sites said. Also, do you happen know the approximate size of the spores? I assume that they would be larger than 10 microns?

Since this is the first room to be remodeled, even if we have a big problem, it isn't really so bad as long as I know what to do.
 

Ivan Seeking

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This is funny. One of the help sites goes into the long history of known health effects of TBM.

From Leviticus Chapter 14, verses 33-57

On the 7th day the priest shall return to inspect the house. If the mildew has spread on the walls, he is to order that the contaminated stones be torn out and thrown into an unclean place outside the town. He must have all the inside walls of the house scraped and the material that is scrapped off dumped into an unclean place outside the town. Then they are to take other stones to replace these and take new clay and plaster the house

If the mildew reappears in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house is scraped and plastered the priest is to go and examine it and, if the mildew has spread in the house, it is a destructive mildew: the house is unclean. It must be torn down – its stones, timbers and all the plaster – and taken out of the town to an unclean place.

Anyone who goes into the house while it is closed up will be unclean till evening.

Anyone who sleeps or eats in the house must wash his clothes….
 

Moonbear

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:rofl: I'm going to have to check out that verse in Leviticus and see if it really says that! It just reinforces my view that the Bible isn't supposed to be about religion but was an early public health code (though it's easier to get people to comply for fear of eternal damnation than just telling them it's for their own good). They wrote the laws the best they could with what they knew at the time.

As for spore size, it seems to be about 5 microns for Stachybotrys chartarum.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology, January 2005, p. 114-122, Vol. 71, No. 1
Detection of Airborne Stachybotrys chartarum Macrocyclic Trichothecene Mycotoxins on Particulates Smaller than Conidia
T. L. Brasel, D. R. Douglas, S. C. Wilson, and D. C. Straus
http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/71/1/114
(I'm not sure if you can access the link, but they showed electron microscopic images of the spores captured in a filter with 5.0 micron pore size, and the particles they trapped are inside the pores, and look like they nearly fill the pore completely, so are likely just under 5 microns.) So it looks like you'll need safety equipment that excludes 5 micron particles, especially while you're actively disturbing things it's living on.

It looks like most respirators will filter out particles down to 0.3 microns, so you should be okay with a real respirator (not just dust masks). Most sold in hardware stores are N95, which means it's 95% efficient (N means Not resistant to oils, but this sounds like a dry task to me). You might want to find out if you need something more efficient for these molds and for the duration you'll be working with them. N99 or N100 (100 is equivalent to a HEPA filter). http://www.cdc.gov/elcosh/docs/d0100/d000102/d000102.html [Broken]

If you can get your hands on disposable protective clothing and hair covers, do that too (Tsu might be able to swipe some from work??? *whistles* o:) :uhh:), because you don't want these things trapped on your clothing or hair. My own gut feeling is I'd wear clothing that can be bleached underneath the disposable gear. I don't know of much that can resist a good soaking in bleach, though I don't know enough about these spores to know what they can or can't resist. Besides, about the only thing easily bleachable is white cotton clothing, and with all the protective gear, you'll want to be wearing cotton that will wick some of the sweat away.

Oh, and of course, before you head in to the work area, we want a picture of you in that outfit! :rofl:
 
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Ivan Seeking

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Moonbear said:
Oh, and of course, before you head in to the work area, we want a picture of you in that outfit!
swonline007.jpg
 

Moonbear

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:rofl: Yep, that should do it. Though, the cape might get in the way a bit when you're trying to work. :rofl:
 

Ivan Seeking

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Moonbear said:
:rofl: Yep, that should do it. Though, the cape might get in the way a bit when you're trying to work. :rofl:
I never work without a cape.

Thanks for the help. I ran down and bought an industrial grade respirator, and the best filters - rated specifically for protection against toxic molds.
 

Moonbear

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Ivan Seeking said:
I never work without a cape.

Thanks for the help. I ran down and bought an industrial grade respirator, and the best filters - rated specifically for protection against toxic molds.

Sounds good. I sure don't envy you that job! You're really quickly going to wish you started this one in the middle of winter. Well, at least when you head outside to hose yourself down, or shower at the end of the day, it'll feel REALLY good!
 

Evo

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Ivan Seeking said:
I never work without a cape.

Thanks for the help. I ran down and bought an industrial grade respirator, and the best filters - rated specifically for protection against toxic molds.
Ah, ya wimp! :wink: Toxic Black Mold is the only thing holding my house together. :rofl: :bugeye: :frown:
 

JamesU

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Evo said:
Ah, ya wimp! :wink: Toxic Black Mold is the only thing holding my house together. :rofl: :bugeye: :frown:
I thought you had the orange stuff :confused:
 

Ivan Seeking

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Well, the worst of it - all of the insulation - is gone. It doesn't appear to have spread past the bathroom.

One thing that surely didn't help the situation is that the joker who installed the insulation had it turned the wrong way on one an a half walls. :rolleyes: It also looks like the old window was leaking a tad, and condensation from the pipes caused the rest.

Oh, as for the disposable clothing, I always have plenty at the ready around here. I just needed a good respirator. I also bought a bunch of 3 mil, 55 gallon garbage bags. That made the job pretty easy. :yuck:

I couldn't find anything made for this, so it looks the bleach comes next.
 

Hurkyl

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Ack, that was a load bearing mold!
 

Ivan Seeking

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Hurkyl said:
Ack, that was a load bearing mold!
:surprised

Is that why I hear all of those creaking and popping sounds in the bathroom now?
 

Moonbear

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Ivan Seeking said:
Well, the worst of it - all of the insulation - is gone. It doesn't appear to have spread past the bathroom.
That's good.

One thing that surely didn't help the situation is that the joker who installed the insulation had it turned the wrong way on one an a half walls.
Maybe it was the right way when they installed it from the other side. :tongue:

I couldn't find anything made for this, so it looks the bleach comes next.
I don't know if it would be any better, but deck cleaner that's intended to kill algae and outdoor molds, last time I checked, was a combination of bleach and sodium hydroxide. Though straight bleach should do a good job (not sure whether that will weaken the wood though). Spores are tough buggers though, so I hope that's good enough. I think I'd lean toward spraying a layer of paint or some other sealer on the walls where you found the mold...I don't know if that's needed or normally done, but I'd just get the cheapest paint I could find and use it to seal in anything I couldn't get out...maybe you could use waterproof deck stain even so you could just spray it on quick and easy and prevent future problems if any moisture gets behind the walls again so it can't absorb into the wood. I'm just guessing at this point. I'd say if it was an easy wall to remove, I'd just pull it out and replace it, but if it's load-bearing or has something on the other side you don't want to get into replacing, it might not be feasible.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Moonbear said:
:rofl: I'm going to have to check out that verse in Leviticus and see if it really says that! It just reinforces my view that the Bible isn't supposed to be about religion but was an early public health code (though it's easier to get people to comply for fear of eternal damnation than just telling them it's for their own good). They wrote the laws the best they could with what they knew at the time.
Oh yes, the quote is correct. Leviticus 14 also deals with infectious skin diseases, and if you happen to have leprosy, there is advice for that as well.
 

Danger

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Ivan Seeking said:
:surprised

Is that why I hear all of those creaking and popping sounds in the bathroom now?
I'd think that you'd be used to that at your age.

Moonbear said:
I think I'd lean toward spraying a layer of paint or some other sealer on the walls where you found the mold...I don't know if that's needed or normally done, but I'd just get the cheapest paint I could find and use it to seal in anything I couldn't get out...
Make sure that it's a good solid lead-based paint so it'll poison any spores that try to get through.
 

Ivan Seeking

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Well, that was fun.

I hope my customer doesn't start calling at 6AM, as I expect. :cry:
 

Moonbear

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So does that mean the job is done? I hope your customer was nice and let you sleep in!
 

Ivan Seeking

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Moonbear said:
So does that mean the job is done? I hope your customer was nice and let you sleep in!
Yes, :rofl: , I finally called him about 2PM and he said that the project was back-burnered for a couple of weeks. I'm always the last to know. :grumpy:

I want to spray the area with bleach water once more, then try to find a deck cleaner as you mentioned, and then a sealer. But everything has been thoroughly scrubbed with 1:10 mixture of bleach-water once.

Get this, when I got sick the other night, I left my jeans in the dirty laundry pile. When I saw them today, :surprised , I carefully rolled them up and carried them to the washer. Almost immediately I was hit with moderate to strong nausea again and had to lie down. I must have some kind of hypersensitivity to this stuff. :yuck:
 

Ivan Seeking

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And I still have to take all of the stones removed to the unclean place outside of town.
 

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