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A Bit About Mold and Mildew

Part of the Homeowner's Tips and Educated Public Information Series at ABI - We welcome YOUR submissions!

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This Article Sponsored by: Applegate Cellulose Insulation

Applegate Insulation Manufactures & Supplies quality Cellulose Insulation Nationally

The 1997 EEBA conference featured an extensive amount of information on mold and fungi since it was during that time that "toxic mold" allegedly caused several infant deaths in Cleveland, Ohio and concern for mold dangers was at the forefront of the industry's conscience, as it still is.

Questions about mold and indoor air quality (IAQ) have become increasingly common as people learn more about chronic respiratory conditions, asthma, and "sick" building syndrome. These concerns have significantly accelerated the use of Cellulose, Foams, and Foil insulations for numerous reasons.

Cellulose Insulation has especially been recognized as useful in combating SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) because it contains boric acid as a fire retardant. Boric Acid has several appealing characteristics: It is non-toxic (it is used in eye-washes, cosmetics, and many other consumer goods) and it inhibits the growth of mold and fungi.

Dan Lea, Executive Director of CIMA (Cellulose Insulation Manufacturer's Association) wrote the following in response to unfounded claims that insulation accelerates mold growth.

"Because of the growing concern over fungi and other IAQ matters, I made it a point to attend as many sessions as possible in the fungi and IAQ track at the 1997 EEBA (Energy Efficient Building Association) conference. I heard no one single out insulation of any type as a cause for special concern in the matter of fungi. In fact, the recurring theme was that molds are everywhere in the environment and, under the right conditions, they can grow on practically any surface. One presenter even showed a slide of mold growing on a window pane"

One presenter even went so far as to say that, "With the boric acid there, it is hard to make mold grow on Cellulose Insulation."

Something that should be understood is that mold requires certain conditions to grow.

  1. A source of water or continuous moisture
  2. A source of food
  3. A source of heat

In most cases of mold contamination in homes and buildings, a water leak or less than effective vapor barriers of some sort are primarily responsible for the contamination. Mold will grow where there is water and any type of digestible material. Wood framing, fiberglass batting, drywall, and on most building materials. This is not any fault of the building materials.

Of course, air convection through your walls carries moisture that can be trapped in the walls and create conditions that are favorable for mold growth. A solid insulation that prevents air convection will go far towards eliminating conditions favorable to mold growth. Cellulose Insulation accomplishes this solidity with the "spray on" form of installation. Cellulose also has the added mold growth inhibiting properties of boric acid. Foam insulation will also accomplish the tight seal that cellulose insulation does to go far towards eliminating favorable mold growth conditions.

Fiberglass batting and blown in blankets are notoriously unable to prevent air circulation within wall cavities due to the fact that air convections are measurable in fiberglass insulated walls, permitting the transfer of moisture into the wall cavities. Tyvex and other "vapor barrier" technologies were developed specifically to address this shortcoming of fiberglass insulation. Vapor barriers are not even necessary with sprayed in insulations that adhere to all surfaces, like cellulose and foams.

Mold and Fungi contamination is a very important issue. These fungi can easily spread and be released back into the breathable air supply and cause low grade illnesses, severe illness and even death. Use an insulator that protects your living environment. Use Better Insulation.

Bank On It

Recognizing what many insiders speculate may be in the future: that fiberglass insulation may be found to be responsible for health risks of the same magnitude as asbestos, with the associated litigations and removals, many banks are now requiring that you "sign off" on your rights to seek retribution or compensation from the bank for "Health related problems that may result from the use of materials used in the construction of your home." when you sign for a new home loan.

The fact that fiberglass insulation rightfully carries a cancer causing warning label much like cigarettes do, would seem to indicate this is a wise choice of policy for the banking industry to institute. The fact that the banking industry seems to be always a step ahead of the rest of us where CYA is concerned, we sit up and take notice of policy changes in that industry.

Shouldn't you?


CELLULOSE INSULATION APPROVED AS FIRESTOP BY MUNICIPAL BUILDING ELECTRICAL INSPECTOR DEPARTMENT... Saving the Building Industry a lot of money (which should be passed on to the homebuyer), Applegate insulation announces that the Department of Building and Electrical Inspection has approved Applegate Cellulose Insulation as a firestop. This will permit their product to be used to STOP FIRE! If this doesn't indicate the superior firestopping properties of cellulose insulation, then nothing will! We are more impressed the more we learn of this superior insulation technology. Fire proofing, sound proofing, superior thermal insulation properties, high R-Values, AND environmentally friendly...

If you would like to introduce Applegate's cellulose insulation to your Building Inspection Personnel to have it considered for inclusion in your building codes, download the Letter of Approval by Contacting Your Cellulose Insulation Supplier. Applegate Insulation can be reached by calling 1-800-627-7536 and asking for information on Building Codes and Firestopping.

NRDC Report

NRDC decided to lay to rest the "FIBERGLASS VS. CELLULOSE" question once and for all. See the National Resources Defense Council summary >>> CLICK HERE

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