PPE For Your Face

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Only clean the teeth you want to keep. That’s the best dental advice for kids at bedtime 🙂

Only protect the lungs you want to keep. Surely, this is the best advice for mold professionals.

In reality, most people don’t have a deadly reaction to mold exposure. Clearly some do. But most of us have a “tell”.

James knows when he’s walked into something “big” when he gets a weird pulse feeling behind his eye (oh, that’s very scientific), and a tightness in his chest. Some of the team gets a sense in their throat.

That’s when the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) comes out.

And sometimes, that’s the time to bring in a third-party air quality professional (see our “professionals” post).

And while this PPE is to protect the person during mold remediation – get them wearing the right gear, before they do the right stuff – it also stops the spread of mold to unaffected spaces too. E.g. if you walk around in the affected space, then back it into an unaffected space with those tiny spores all over you – that’s not super helpful. So the “space suit” comes off at the containment exit point (known as a critical barrier), when you leave the affected area.

So PPE is for use inside the affected area (inside the containment) but not for use outside the affected area (outside the containment).

As always, with science-y things, there’s an exception – PPE is less important to remove when leaving containment when you have an option to leave directly to the exterior of a building. No one cares if you walk the mold outside!

When we worked in the ballroom-basement of a community center, we identified the best exit path to the outside of the building. This meant clearing a path where the best (least visible to the public) egress hadn’t been used very much. But it was worth it for everybody – we could stay in PPE while removing debris, and the guests to the center wouldn’t see the weird Yetis in “space suits” wandering around looking like they’ve stepped into a nuclear site.

Good PPE will typically include some or all of the following:

Full-face respirator (did you know your eyes let in a LOT of mold spores, sickness, and the like?), Tyvek full body suit, gloves, booties. And these may all need to be taped together!

One residential Yeti mold job had four of our team working for three days. Each person changed their mold remediation suit four times a day (after every morning break, lunch, and afternoon break) – that’s a total of twelve remediation suits per person! They wore the same respirator, but changed the cartridge filters regularly on the face plate, and washed their mask daily, inside and out.

The key is to limit transmission of mold spores from inside the affected area, to outside of that area; including to your car, your lungs, other buildings, and other parts of the same building.

Done well, the mold technician may even HEPA vac themselves and dispose their full suit before leaving the final containment.

And all under negative pressure, inside containment – which is like PPE for a mold-affected building!

Other Related & Helpful 'Mold Remediation' Articles:

HEPA, HEPA, Damp Wipe

We’re trying to remove (not kill) the mold. The HEPA vac is a negative pressure chamber and it removes loose spores from hard surfaces.

PPE For Your House

Our goal is to limit the further spread of mold spores in the air (already happening) by forcing that air (producing negative pressure) to carry the spores where we want them into a HEPA filter (a trap).

To Test, or Not to Test? Who Knows?

We want to avoid a conflict of interest when it comes to mold remediation.

It’s waaaaay too easy to find mold, and it’s pretty easy NOT to find it once we think we’re done.

All Mold is a Signpost

Mold is a sign that there’s a problem.

You know it shouldn’t be there. Maybe the black mold wasn’t there when you moved into the office, or your family bought the house. So what’s causing it?

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