If you are looking for a guideline to help you answer your questions regarding molds and understanding how a proper respirator mask for mold can protect from its potential negative effects, then you have come to the right place.
Following are a few Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on molds that we have answered to help you understand better about the health hazards associated with molds and how the proper use of respirators can eliminate this hazard.
Mold can be found everywhere as it is a natural part of the environment. It is not harmful when less, but as it becomes concentrated, especially indoors, then it can start effective health. Molds are also responsible for damaging building materials. Mainly molds are found in buildings that have been damaged by humid or water such as;
While being exposed to molds is potentially risky, not everyone is prone to get exposed and only the following people have a high risk of exposure;
Mold is a type of fungus that can grow when the moisture levels are elevated, and they live in buildings and structures. Molds may release spore which is small enough hence can remain airborne. This fungus is also capable of releasing a low level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which causes the odor that comes when there is a growth of mold.
Molds can cause adverse health effects if the spores released by them are inhaled by human and reaches their lungs or get into their eyes, nose or any open cuts, or if it is swallowed. This can cause allergic reactions, asthma, eye infection, runny nose, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, irritation in the skin, nose, eyes, throat or lungs. If you get an infection due to inhalation of spores, then your immune system gets compromised resulting in all sorts of health issues. Hence it is highly recommended that people who suffer from allergies, asthma, chronic lung diseases or immune suppression should be removed from such mold contaminated areas.
Yes, if you use an adequate respirator mask for mold along with appropriate goggles, full-body clothing, gloves, headgear and foot cover, this may help in the reduction of exposure to the mold contamination. If the right respirator is used, then the chances that you will not be in any danger are high, although the risk cannot be eliminated as misuse of respirators can cause a health hazard and result in sickness or death. Hence do not forget to read all the user instructions that come with the respirator, test the respirator for any leaks and wear it all the time when you are in the contaminated area.
To be said truly, there are no set exposure limits that have been published for molds however as per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA - www.epa.gov) and the New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH–www.nyc.gov/html/doh/home.html), the published recommendation of selecting respirators for mold remediation activities depends upon the size of the contaminated area.
These are just some guidelines, but you should also consider professional judgment based upon the level of toxicity of the mold and also consider the possibility of hidden mold that may need you to consider for extra protection.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contain unpleasant odor as well, hence you need to use a particle filter with organic vapor relief, or you can also use an organic vapor cartridge along with the particle filter to remove the odor.
The gases and vapors from the disinfectant that may concentrate the environment should also be measured and you may need to use an appropriate chemical cartridge with the particulate filter.
Filters and cartridges need to be selected based on the level of contamination. They are available for half masks, full facepieces or powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs). The filters and cartridges need to be changed periodically based on chemical concentration. If the environment where you need to work is so highly concentrated by mold that it is life-threatening or the oxygen concentration is less than 19.5%, especially while working in confined spaces, then respirators with higher levels of protection need to be used. You can also check Respirator Mask for Smoke her: