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Research highlights: survey of indoor air quality and
mold remediation experts

A new survey of professionals involved with indoor air quality (IAQ) management and mold re-
mediation reveals important insights into the current status, causes and implications of mold and
poor indoor air quality in the United States. The research also suggests possible strategies in
tackling this growing problem.

Mold and IAO issues expected to grow

		 77 percent of experts surveyed say the incidence of mold in homes and buildings has grown
		over the past three years
		 72 percent say the problem will continue to grow over the next three years
		Mold commonly misdiagnosed or ignored
			
		Indoor air quality and mold remediation experts were asked how commonly mold and/or moisture
		problems are misdiagnosed or ignored:
		
		 82 percent say the problems are frequently or almost always misdiagnosed or ignored
		 14 percent say the problems are occasionally misdiagnosed or ignored
		 0 percent say the problems are rarely or never misdiagnosed or ignored
			
		Percentage of homes or buildings with mold/moisture problems
		Experts were asked what percentage of homes or buildings in their area they feel have a mold or
		moisture problem.
		
		 More than three-quarters of respondents say they believe more than one out of every
		five20 of homes/buildings in their area has this problem
		 Those most involved in industrial/agricultural (86 percent) and residential buildings (84
		percent) were the most likely to say the incidence of mold has been growing
		 Respondents in Northwest and North Central U.S. indicated the highest incidence of mold
		growth (regional highlights for the U.S. are available).
		
		The top five errors made in tackling mold problems
		 76 percent say treating symptoms rather than cause of the mold
		 72 percent say not dealing with the problem quickly enough
		 68 percent say trying to cover up mold rather than removing it
		 65 percent say opting for less expensive short-term versus long-term solutions
		 62 percent say removing mold spores without proper containment

Building challenges cited in growing IAO/mold problems.
More than 80 percent of indoor air quality and mold remediation experts say mold and moisture problems can be linked to a number of areas throughout a building:
56 percent say mold/moisture problems can frequently or always be linked to impractical building design concepts
55 percent say mold/moisture problems can frequently or always be linked to an inadequate vapor barrier
50 percent say mold/moisture problems can frequently or always be linked to an inadequate air barrier
37 percent say mold/moisture problems can frequently or always be traced to inadequate insulation
Mold increases health risk/decreases home value.
Experts were asked about the consequences of failing to follow good indoor air quality and moisture control practices:
More than 80 percent of indoor air quality and mold remediation experts say indoor air quality issues can most often be traced back to the presence of mold and moisture
More than 90 percent of those surveyed say failing to follow good indoor air quality and moisture control practices can lead to health risks
86 percent say it can lead to decreased home re-sale value 86 percent say it can lead to increased remediation costs
77 percent say it can lead to potential legal issues
Addressing mold problems.
Experts surveyed point to key building products or systems that should be addressed or changed to ensure mold does not re-occur:
79 percent cite ventilation systems
62 percent cite vapor barriers 56 percent cite insulation 47 percent cite air barriers
Key results by type of practice
Following are key survey results according to the type of building in which the respondent is most often involved (commercial, industrial/agricultural, institutional, residential):
Those most involved in industrial/agricultural (86 percent) and residential buildings (84 percent) were the most likely to say the incidence of mold has been growing
Those most involved in commercial buildings (85 percent) were the most likely to say Those most involved in commercial buildings (85 percent) were the most likely to say
insulation is a material that can sustain mold
Those most involved in institutional buildings (100 percent) were the most likely to say
mold problems are frequently or always misdiagnosed or ignored

The survey was conducted in April, 2002, on behalf of Icynene Inc., with accredited indoor air quality professionals across the United States with the following areas of expertise: consulting, remediation work, contracting/specifying, building diagnosis, engineering, training, technical fieldwork, facilities management, architecture/design, academic research, laboratory analysis and legal. For more information, please contact:
Peter Boyce or Lisa Francis
Harbinger
(416) 960-5100 or 1-877-960-5100

Insulation is a product that must be changed to prevent mold!


 


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