So… I started this blog for eco writing… and eco-spirituality thoughts. And now I’m writing Cow limericks and Puttanesca limericks, and other nonsense that is quite glorious to create and post up here. Go figure.
Honestly, I am confident that Spirit loves it when we are silly and laugh uproariously.
Having said that – I do have some thoughts to share about mold remediation, having just had my basement mold remediated to sell my house. (Closing was two days ago. Whoo-hoo!)
This is what I learned:
Black Mold is a very toxic fungi that seems to be pandemic, especially in regions with damper basements. Apparently, basements in Fairbanks have issues too, per the web. The Mid-Atlantic has been experiencing significant rain this year and thus many homeowners are being forced to grapple with this toxic fungi regionally. And the labs are backed up as a result, per the first inspector to my house.
It shocked me that I even had any Black Mold in my basement but my buyer requested a test for it as one of the conditions in purchasing the house. My basement never smelled dank or damp and I had had it waterproofed several years before. But the tests came back “actionable.”
According to Wikipedia: Black Mold is within the family of what is scientifically known as “Stachybotrys. [This is] a genus of molds, or asexually-reproducing, filamentous fungi. Closely related to the genus Memnoniella, most Stachybotrys species inhabit materials rich in cellulose. The genus has a widespread distribution, and contains about 50 species.
“The most infamous species, S. chartarum (also known as S. atra) and S. chlorohalonata are known as “black mold” or “toxic black mold” in the USA and are frequently associated with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials.
Furthermore, according to Wikipedia: “Exposure to the mycotoxins present in Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra can have a wide range of effects. Depending on the length of exposure and volume of spores inhaled or ingested, symptoms can manifest as chronic fatigue or headaches, fever, irritation to the eyes, mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat, sneezing, rashes, and chronic coughing. In severe cases of exposure or cases exacerbated by allergic reaction, symptoms can be extreme including nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose.”
To my shock, it turned out that the boxes and boxes of unsold books that lay stacked against my basement wall for six years (If I gave you God’s phone number….Searching for Spirituality in America, www.tocallgod.net ) had become a breeding ground for these fungi. And when the crew I hired to haul the boxes out yanked that last row away from the wall, the boxes looked like someone had taken a torch to them and burned away the cardboard to incinerate the outer rims of the books on that side of the box. It was completely disgusting and awful.
And I learned quickly, while hauling the books away, the spores in the trapped air of the van became highly, highly irritating and made my throat, sinuses and lungs burn. I could not sleep in my house for the remainder of that week, until the basement was remediated.
More environmentally friendly ways to treat Black Mold
Most companies treat Black Mold with some serious chemicals that are probably as dangerous as the Black Mold over time. It takes a good biocide to kill the pervasive fungi. Sadly, most of them on the market are toxic chemicals. A friend warned me that she is convinced that her three cats died from overexposure in the basement to the lingering chemicals from her Black Mold remediation several years ago.
But I knew there must be environmentally friendly biocides. As an organic gardener, I was certain that there must be some research that has been done and products on the market.
From the internet I found information on using tea tree oil and citrus oil to make your own biocide. I had the tea tree oil already. Plus I had some colloidal silver that I know is a powerful antibiotic, fungicide, etc. So I mixed the two up in a spray bottle. 1 part tea tree oil and 1 part colloidal silver to 20 parts water. (Again this is not a scientifically based study. I just followed my instincts.)
And I donned a facemask from Lowes and just sprayed the heck out of the wall where the book boxes had been leaning, all over the blackish bubbles of rotten moisture lock paint over soft cinderblock. I sprayed it a number of times over two days. (I was sleeping elsewhere but had to return to the house to continue packing up.) And I could tell that the air quality was significant better after the second day. My eyes and sinuses were no longer itching and I did not feel that caustic feeling in my lungs either.
There is a commercial product out there also that the professional company I hired used. Surely there are more too, one would hope. The owner sent me the specs for it. I was pleasantly surprised to learned that it was made for commercial operators. Its primary ingredients are: citric acid and… ionic silver. Go figure. My homemade batch was similar.
The product is put out by a corporation called: Fiberlock. The product is called: ShockWave Green24.
Once the wood surfaces in my basement were treated, then a paint was used with polyurethane and fungicide components. That particular aspect of the treatment was not as environmentally friendly but apparently it needed to be done to seal the wood surfaces from mold growing back.
And if you are in the Baltimore area, here is the company that I used. Craig Kripas is an absolute professional and I cannot recommend him enough. All About Waterproofing, Inc. A very fair good man to work with to get Black Mold remediated in a greener manner. Thank you, Craig.
And thank you to my buyer for coming along in this horrid real estate market to buy my house from me… I am extremely grateful to you!