As an HOA Mold Lawyer in San Diego, I recently came across an article by a prominent HOA law firm purporting to dispel certain “myths” about mold and water damaged environments. Most of what the article says is patently false and is intended to scare homeowners and tenants into NOT bringing claims against their HOA or landlord. I would like to go through some of these myths and give you the REAL information.
Truth #1: Don’t Clean Mold Yourself
Despite the article insisting you can clean mold yourself, as HOA mold lawyers, we strongly recommend against it. First, it is simply not effective. Imagine cutting the tops off of grass. It just grows back. The same thing applies to mold on drywall. Mold is growing INSIDE the drywall and you are merely wiping away the portion you can see. The key to abating mold growth is water control. This means that chlorine bleach can only kill surface mold. Because mold can grow deep roots within porous surfaces, such as wood and drywall, bleach will not assist you in exterminating mold. As the chlorine cannot penetrate to destroy the growth at its roots, therefore, it remains on the surface while the water component of the bleach reaches further, which can actually feed the mold growth. So, if you want to completely eliminate the mold from your home, bleach is definitely not the answer. The worst part is that you may think you have completely eliminated the mold when, in fact, you haven’t.
Truth #2: All Mold Is Dangerous But Not As Dangerous As Water
Instead, a “damp home environment” refers to the general idea that water damage causes many things to amplify and become harmful, not just mold growth. Indeed, the IOM report, the WHO report, the California Department of Public Health and other authoritative bodies all indicate that when there is water damage in a home, many harmful things amplify, including mold, dust mites, microbial volatile organic compounds (moldy smells), beta-d-glucans. Indeed, the term “damp home environment” was derived from years of research which led to the Institute of Medicine’s seminal publication in 2003, the report titled “Bioaerosols, Assessment and Control”, which concluded that building dampness causes unhealthy effects for humans through a variety of mechanisms, such as visible mold growth, moldy smells (microbial volatile organic compounds}, amplification of dust mites, beta-d-glucans and other substances. California has also recognized that a “damp building environment” is unhealthy for humans, and they have followed directly in the line of the Institute of Medicine and World Health Organization documents.
A helpful analogy is likening the relationship between a damp indoor environment and respiratory effects to the scientific support for the relationship between cigarettes and cancer. There are literally thousands of known carcinogens in cigarettes, the sum total of which are directly linked to causing cancer. The medical community does not need to identify which of these thousands of chemicals caused an individual’s cancer, rather a causal connection is made from the broader category of cigarette carcinogen exposure to the cancer itself. Similarly, the personal injury can be linked to the damp environment rather than a specific, resulting harmful condition.
Truth #3: There Is A Scientific CONSENSUS That Water Damaged Environments Are Unhealthy
In September of 2011, the California Department of Public Health issued a landmark two-page document entitled “Statement on Building Dampness, Mold, and Health.” The California Department of Public Health document specifically cites the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and other pertinent studies. They conclude in that document:
The California Department of Public Health, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization, and other modem studies all take the position that it is not so important to “spore count” or conduct air tests for particular aspects of a damp home environment, but to focus on the existence of the water damage itself.
Human health studies have led to a consensus among scientists and
medical experts that the presence in buildings of (a) visible water
damage, (b) damp materials, (c) visible mold, or (d) mold odor
indicates an increased risk of respiratory disease for occupants.
Known health risks include: the development of asthma, allergies, and
respiratory infections; the triggering of asthma attacks; and increased
wheeze, cough, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. Available
information suggests that children are more sensitive to dampness and
mold than adults.
Indeed, under the Institute of Medicine, World Health Organization, and California Department of Public Health, the criteria for a damp building environment is simply whether there is visible mold growth, visible water damage, or moldy smells.
As you can see, biased articles by HOA Lawyers are meant to scare residents and tenants into not filing meritorious claims. Don’t let them fool you. Water damage and toxic mold is a very serious problem. Our team of HOA Mold Lawyers in San Diego have been battling negligent homeowner’s associations since 1976. We understand the law, medicine and science behind complex toxic mold claims. Call the San Diego Mold Lawyers at Thompson Injury Law today at 619.615.0767 for a free, confidential consultation.