Re: Soda Blasting For Mold Removal vs clean clorox water
Posted by johncodie on 2/21/07
John Codie Response as noted:
On 2/19/07, jmj wrote:
> I am not sure why you posted this JC. You do not communicate very clearly
> and I am trying to understand how what the navy does on a predominantly
> metal (non-porous) ship has anything to do with cleaning mold in New
> Orleans. Using water and Clorox in a pressure washing system is both
> frowned on by the EPA and very ineffective at getting a good microbial
> kill before the active ingredients gas off and leave nothing but water
> behind. This ultimately does little more than irrigate your lovely mold
> crop. Yes, it seems to go away because Clorox bleaches the flowering mold
> clear. Also be aware, Clorox makes NO claim to be an anti-microbial agent
> on porous surfaces.
JC Response: The US Navy saw fit to get totally away from wooden hull ships
for good reasons; but still keeps a wooden hull for sailor training. I
worked with a Naval Arch that supported the restoration process. The US Navy
as now as is NASA starting to develop time honored specifications,
traditions, and standards that keep men and women in the best of health, and
healthy environments to ensure that are mentally fit in harms way. The
close contact and long deployments demand this criteira be met. This departs
from the land based where Walter Reed is in the news today. The EPA was
designated by the Melinia Bill as to be the agency to find the PEL's
(Permissiable Allowable Limits) for exposure. They know little of
remeidation but have their standards for PEL and govern hazardous clean up
and designation of superfund sites.
> Also, something for you to mull around on, New Orleans is in a tropical
> climate. Our average humidity exceeds 50&37; for 95&37; of the year. By
> 200-300 gallons of water to an already mold infested house -and then
> expect it to dry before the mold grows back -just does not make sense. It
> took upwards of 8 months for most of the heavily flooded structures
> (300,000+ of them) to dry to a normal state. The last thing I am gonna do
> is suggest someone start that process all over again so I can pressure
> wash their home for them.
I lived close to Gulfport for 25 years which was one of the department of
forestry and woodpreservative test grounds for wood perservatives and
paints. My homes were only 30 yards, 100 yards and a quarter of a mile from
the gulf. The humidity levels are actualy higher but you did qualify with
If you are not getting to or the owners are not allowed to have access to the
homes before they dry that is the first mistake. I stated just prior to or
after the adjuster comes to wash out with clean water all the sludge in the
home, as the wood and structure is green or can not take on any more water.
The USS Cario was preserved at the shipyard as being on the bottom of the
sunflower river over a hundred years by this method. It has to stay wet to
be properly dried. After the surface contaminations are cleared the boiling
out of the wood can be started during the drying process.
The remeidation experts would have to repeat some of the original
preservative techniques that the mills use as pressurizing and drying. The
cost of this is the determining factor is it cheaper to use new woood, or old
wood since the only added items to cost are the planeing, cutting, ripping
out and putting in. Also the difference in cost of a contarctor doing it, a
home owner,or a remediation firm subcontracting ot a contracor. New wood as
expesive as it is could be acturally cheaper in the long run.
> Cleaning the funkitated homes in New Orleans is a serious business, and so
> are the law suits that will follow the aftermath of the out-of-town, blow-
> with-the-storm companies.
Cleaning homes in New Orelean of hazadous waste is serious business. Would
you give the name of your company, and who those blow with the storm
companies are: I have had business with the company that is handeling the
Using baking soda as a cleaning agent is not the
> end of the world, as it seems some would have you believe here. It could
> be said that blasting is removing the microbial infested construction
> materials from the structure. The only published suggestion the EPA has
> for those 300,000+ homes is to remove mold infested construction materials
> & replace with new materials (not really fiscally possible to replace the
> bottom 8-10 feet of 300,000+ structures).
Until a cost analysis is honestly performed to approved methods or removal of
hazadous waste it is hard to justify if new material vs. remediated material
is cost effective. The debris from New Orleans Homes is not being treated as
hazadous waste, and your remediation is not matching the same industry
standard for the wood prior to the storm. So your statement of cost
reasibility can not be substantiated.
It has been said that it
> aerosols the contaminates, and you are right, it does. But if the entire
> home needs to have every stud cleaned of flowering microbial growth, the
> traditional method was using good ole' elbow grease, a stiff wire brush
> and a potentially harmful quaternary agent. This, as you can imagine, is
> extremely labor intensive and ultimately very expensive. But the real
> question is "Why would anyone go to such lengths to get rid of as much
> visible microbial growth as possible?" LITIGATION! One word explains it.
The International Building codes also requires it for inspection. I am sure
you have building inspectors looking for mold growth during your permit
> There are four plausible methods to clean & sanitize most homes in the New
> Orleans area:
> 1. Plain old chemical treatment- can be very effective if done properly,
> but it does have one major draw back. Unless the application company
> actually scrubs & wipes away the flowering growth, the dead remains are
> still present. These remains can be an allergen when they dry & then
> become airborne. Yes, it may be a dead allergen, but an allergen it is.
Even when mold appears to be dead it still grows back from the spores where
it was cut off. Wipe down does not work.
> 2. Blasting using baking soda- then applying the same chemical treatment
> as above. This removes the physical, visible contaminate from the
> property. You must remember that mold is only an issue INSIDE our living
> space. Once outside, Mother Nature takes over and mold becomes a non-
> health risk. One of this method's major drawbacks is that it is very
> difficult to remove all of the blasting media. The baking soda actual
> explodes on contact with the surface strata and creates an extremely fine
> dust. This is why it is very important to treat chemically after you
> blast, not before.
Believe you would have better productivity getting in the homes earlier,
ripping out, washing out, and begin with sand blasting for adhesion. Badking
Soda actually will collect the high humidity moisture as the sand will not.
> 3. Blasting with dry ice- then applying the same chemical treatment as
> above. Dry ice offers the best of both worlds: it adds no moisture, and
> leaves no residual media behind to clean up. This method even boasts that
> the extremely cold temperatures that the surface area being blasted
> reaches acts as a microbe killer all by itself. I am not so sure about
> this, but I have seen nothing to disprove this either. The biggest draw
> backs to this method are that it's expense, and has limited availability.
> To get someone to dry ice blast is about 2 to 3 times more expensive as
> using baking soda, even though the clean up for baking soda is much more
> labor intensive.
Not so sure the dry ice microbe killer is accurate as my home was through at
least one severe drought, and at least 4degree winters. I wansn't doing a
microbe body county but the mold did not go away. The cost of dry ice has to
be more expesive than replacement.
> 4. Tenting and using the newest technology on the market to fumigate the
> structure. This is the same technology the Federal Government used to get
> rid of the Anthrax contamination in the Pentagon and Post Offices a couple
> of years ago. I have heard, not seen, that this process actually
> eliminates the physical flowering mold as well as kills it. It is also
> supposedly capable of killing microbial contaminates in the interior of
> wall cavities in sheet rocked structures. Of course, as you would expect,
> this is by far the most expensive method in use. But it is the one method
> that I have heard anyone in the EPA mentioning as a possible solution.
Johncodie Response: I find this interesting as mother nature hasn't found a
sure method of killing off molds on other molds, yet we think we are going to
find one that does not kill us. I did hear that fusion would kill mold but
it at two thousand degrees it burns the bricks.
> I am not a microbiologist and make no claim at being an "expert," but I am
> in the IAQ industry in Louisiana and have seen a lot of weird stuff since
> New Orleans flooded. One thing I am convinced of is this: no one has ever
> seen such a mass flooding that stayed for so long in US history. The
> microbial contamination is like nothing the infant industry of "Mold
> Remediation" has ever seen. The products that worked under more moderate
> conditions have been almost non-effective in my experience in this
We owe the enviromentalist from LSU that is monitor the toxins in the
Mississippi River, and other individuals a great debt in working with local
doctors and practioners in watching the health trends as they occur. Your
expertise in IAQ is we can't live in a sterile world and would not like. We
do need those PELs for mycrotoxins so you can better define how clean an
enviroment is requrired for your clients. Since the products are not working
there it could be they were not working in the first place. As defined
cleaned is cleaned and stays that way. Otherwise it wasn't cleaned. I have
seen moisture remain in wall for over seven years and experts not even
consider opening the wall under where the tree that came crashing on top of
> I do not believe that any one solution is the right solution every time.
> Different situations need different treatments, it is as simple as that.
> Using baking soda as a blasting media does make sense in the right
My point is home owners taking on the inititative from the get go has a
better chance in salvaging the home than the wait and delay for
remediations. I have a negative for baking soda since it is absoptive that
does not completely get removed and an inert that helps collect the food
source. For carpets I prefer a microbe detergent with steam cleaning
vacummn. The use of soda helps remove odors and a catalyst in removing
debris but the residue is an inert that helps collect and contribute to the
degredation after the cleaning. You don't see baking soda come out of the
saw mill so why do people see it as something that is effective in cleaning
the wood in the first place?
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