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I live in an apartment and I noticed what I believe to be mold growing on my bathroom ceiling. I have a daughter with asthma and I now know it's the cause of her constant coughing since we moved here. The maintenance guys came in said they fixed the leak from upstairs, treated the wall/ceiling, painted over with Kilz, and stated nothing further was needed.

Am I wrong in feeling like this didn't solve the issue? I went myself and bought a moisture tester at Lowes to monitor the leak from an overflowing toilet from upstairs. This was two weeks prior to seeing the mold, because they shrugged it off as no big deal. I'm seeing mixed answers here on what to clean with and I was told the black mold is the worst and can cause a lot of respiratory issues. The way I see it it's in the drywall and if it's black it's been there awhile we've lived here for just at a month. To me they are not solving the issue only painting over it just to cover it. Help this single mom of 3 to know what's best for her 3 kids, one with asthma that can't stop coughing.

  • Bleach does kill mold on non-porous surfaces. Drywall and plaster are porous. That being said, if they treated it and painted it with a bio-resistant coating you at least know that the surface growth was killed and the rest encapsulated. I would not worry too much unless you see signs of growth again. Not a Dr., but if your child has a continuing persistent cough I would look elsewhere for suspect allergens. – Jimmy Fix-it Nov 26 '14 at 3:39
  • @JimmyFix-it - From what I have learned, bleach DOES NOT kill mold. Bleach helps remove the visible surface structures of mold, leaving behind the roots which will grow right back. On totally non-porous surfaces, it may be sufficient as it is acting just like a surfactant. But after interviewing several industrial hygienists, I have come to believe bleach is not the appropriate way to remove mold. – RockPaperLizard Nov 26 '14 at 7:37
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    Sorry to tell you but the best way to remove it is RIP IT ALL OUT, fix the source of moisture. Install new. I have something similar to asthma and I now how bad it can be. Other people don't even realise. If they wont do it, move, for the sake of your child. If you own it, rip it out (don't forget to wear masks and ventilate well) – Piotr Kula Nov 26 '14 at 9:31
  • While it may be a contributing factor, mold on the bathroom ceiling is unlikely to be the sole cause of a child's respiratory infection or the sole trigger for a child's asthmatic condition. Removing it might help mitigate symptoms, but it will not cure either underlying condition. Just as it makes sense to talk with a construction professional regarding construction problems, it perhaps makes sense to talk with a healthcare professional regarding health problems. – ben rudgers Nov 26 '14 at 16:47
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It depends.

It depends on the type of mold. It depends on the severity of the infestation. It depends on how many treatments they applied.

Bleach is not sufficient or approved for mold remediation. You may need to use something like MoldStat and even then you may need to take additional steps. If the infestation was bad enough you probably could replace the affected drywall section (and, while doing so, treat the lumber behind it).

It sounds like you live in a communal building like a condo or apartment. If a leak from your neighbor caused a mold problem in your unit then your association likely has a legal obligation to hire licensed mold remediation specialists. I would raise it concern immediately with your management company. Suggest that if action is not taken that you will contact the ombudsman.

You are not responsible for damages caused by your neighbor's leaks. Your neighbor has insurance and/or the association has insurance. If you are concerned, have a professional mold agency deal with the problem.

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As someone who has had their health severely compromised by mold exposure, I can give you a piece of sound advice: MOVE. NOW.

From speaking with numerous industrial hygienists, I have come to learn that neither KILLZ nor bleach effectively remove mold. Walls and ceilings most likely need to be removed in a negative pressure environment. Regular maintenance people typically have zero real knowledge about mold, although they often claim to know everything. Unscrupulous and inhumane property owners may lie to you, and your family, as they do not want to take responsibility for the consequences of their negligence.

Since the people responsible for keeping your home safe have a history of "shrugging off" the problem, and are just covering up the mold, there is a very real chance that your home has not been properly maintained.

Moving is a pain. Suffering from mold-related symptoms for years is a much, much greater pain. Trust me.

Mold can be a very hazardous substance. Mold exposure can result in severe long-term illness. Move now. Insist on getting your deposit back. Hire a lawyer if you can. There is a reason your daughter can't stop coughing, and it's likely the mold.

  • -1. I've remodeled a lot of houses and there has been mold growing somewhere in every single one of them. It's everywhere. I'm not saying its not part of the daughters asthma issues, but moving in all likely hood will not get you away from mold. – user23534 Nov 26 '14 at 8:44
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    +1 I have other issues that also relate to this. The first sentence is the best advice for short term resolution.I use to suffer allot in one house while everybody else was well. Today, I know there was something in there (maybe allergic to it) But since I am OK. Maybe its not the mould, maybe its the paint, maybe its the additive in the mortar, maybe it something else. Sure mould is everywhere, but when it starts to seep through the ceiling its a BIG problem, and how do we fix that Mr paperstreet?? RIP IT OUT! Fix the source. – Piotr Kula Nov 26 '14 at 9:34
  • @paperstreet If you are not removing all the mold and affected materials under the strict guidance of a qualified industrial hygienist, then you are likely harming people by hiding mold problems with your "remodels". Do you have any qualifications, training, or license to perform mold remediation? Statements like "Mold is everywhere" are often telltale signs of identifying a slumlord. Statements like that never hold up in court, and are only intended to get people to accept dangerous conditions. A properly constructed and maintained home should not exhibit interior mold growth. Period. – RockPaperLizard Nov 26 '14 at 12:07
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If you are renting you should call the local health department for more information about a second opinion. Small quantities of mold can be remediated with something like kilz. But the source of the mold generation must be removed also.

Testing a mold sample is the only way to identify the specific type of mold.

  • I agree, but good luck. In my experience, health departments won't lift a finger to do anything. Try anyways; maybe your experience will be better. – RockPaperLizard Nov 26 '14 at 7:34

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