One problem with many of these products is that they release toxic fumes and can be very harmful to humans when inhaled, ingested or brought into contact with bare skin. Homeowners end up treating one indoor air pollutant with another.
Also, “wet-kill” products like bleach and ammonia-based sprays and liquids have their limitations when used to treat mold infestation. These limitations are being addressed by a new generation of mold control products [see below]. These products work best on nonporous surfaces, such as tile. However, for mold or mildew that is growing on a porous surface, such as a ceiling, bleach only attacks the outermost layer of the spore—and never gets to the root of the problem.
The Next Generation of Mold Control Products A new generation of fungicides is emerging, adding a serious weapon to the homeowner’s arsenal in the fight against mold. These bleach alternatives are intended to address the drawbacks of using bleach as a mold combatant: toxicity and effectiveness. One alternative is Concrobium Mold Control manufactured by Siamons International in Toronto, Canada. Concrobium does
Concrobium Mold Control
not contain bleach, ammonia, alcohols or any volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so it appeals to green-minded consumers and professionals. Additionally, Concrobium Mold Control does not act as a poison or “wet-kill,” as bleach or ammonia-based products do. Instead, Concrobium works as it dries, encapsulating and physically surrounding the mold, crushing it to death. While bleach and ammonia-based products effectively kill surface mold and remove visible signs of the fungus, Brad Elders of Siamons compares it to “killing weeds with a lawnmower. You never get to the roots, and so you get into a ‘bleach and repeat’ trap.” Concrobium not only destroys the molds burrowed into porous surfaces (like drywall), it creates a barrier that inhibits future mold growth.
First made available to the public in 2007, Concrobium is now distributed nationally through The Home Depot and select Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and other hardware stores. Concrobium comes in 32-oz. spray bottles ($9 to $10), gallon jugs (about $35) or 5-gallon pails (about $150). It can be sprayed, mopped, painted or rolled onto an affected surface and must be allowed to dry completely for the compound to work. For whole room application, Concrobium Mold Control can be “misted” using a fogger, which can be rented at Home Depot. These machines atomize the product and distribute it throughout an entire room, effectively killing widespread mold or treating a room against potential future growth.
Homeowners who may hire a professional remediator [see below] should inquire into the products that the contractor intends to use. Some professionals are still using bleach products and “encapsulates”—a type of product that covers mold on surfaces like wall studs to prevent the spreading of the mold. Some of these encapsulates have come under recent scrutiny as the same sealing properties that contain the mold have been found to trap moisture within the wood, causing dry-rot down the road. Newer products are being used by professionals that coat the surface to trap and kill the mold but also allow water vapor from the wood to escape.
Professional Remediation vs. DIY Project Early detection of mold growth may present an easy do-it-yourself removal project. Manufacturers of mold removal products are pretty consistent in their removal advice and tend to cite the EPA’s guidelines for mold removal, which state that a mold infestation of 10 square feet or less can be effectively