Personal Protective Equipment
First and foremost - when you consider your trip here and begin making plans please have a tetanus shot and be in the best of health. Take your vitamins and drink plenty of water while you are here.
Here are the dangers you are going to encounter while gutting a house:
* mold - black, brown, white and green - this is what I have personally seen on the walls. The mold is everywhere and when you start tearing outwalls and floors, mold spores are in the air.
* arsenic - according to FEMA, is present in practically all of the NewOrleans homes in the 7th, 8th and 9th Ward as well as Lower 9th Ward
* asbestos - you can find this in ceilings, on pipes and in floor tiles -found usually in older homes
(asbestos is only dangerous in dust form. Fryable (solid, not dust) is safe. But if you're cutting the stuff, you have saw DUST) Wear a mask!)
* lead - lead is present in paint on walls and window trims - found in homes built pre-1980
When choosing a non-profit to work with, be sure you inquire about their safety program. Many of the organizations need one to inform volunteers ofthe hazards present in the houses they are gutting. You should ask what safety equipment is available to you.
This is what you should either purchase yourself or hopefully the organization is in a position to have the following available to you:
* (1) Tyvek Suit per day you plan to gut a house
* your own pair of steel toe boots - can be purchased at Wal-Mart for$29.99
* ear plugs - Home Depot
* hard hat - Home Depot
* eye protective wear - Home Depot
* two layers of gloves - first pair: Nitrle - (blue), second pair -"working gloves" - both can be purchased at Home Depot
* air respirator mask - I recommend MSA - this is the type of mask that has air filters and should cover your mouth and noseI have heard that some non-profits are not requiring that their volunteers suit up in ALL safety gear.
Take my advice: your health is too important not to wear all the required safety gear. Wear a Tyvek suit. Wear protective eyewear if you are tearing out ceilings or bashing bathrooms. Wear a heavyduty air respirator that protects you from mold and sheetrock dust. Wear twolayers of gloves. Wear ear plugs.
1/3 - From Leslie - please review the article and video. Skin infections are on the rise in dramatic fashion. Don't become a victim...
This is from an article published by the CDC through Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review on 6/9/06. the entire article can be found :
Personal Protective Equipment
Workers and their employers might be required to wear or provide protection to minimize exposure to mold. Workers and employers should refer to pertinent OSHA standards and NIOSH guidelines. Information also is provided for the public.
Minimizing exposure to mold involves using PPE and administrative and engineering controls (6,17,18,31,32). Administrative controls include identifying mold-contaminated areas promptly, restricting access to these areas, and minimizing aerosol generating activities (e.g., by suppressing dust) (3,6,18,27,29,32). Engineering controls include ventilating mold-contaminated areas adequately and using heavy equipment with sealed positive pressure, air-conditioned cabs that contain filtered air recirculation units to protect the workers (6,17,18,31,32). Misting contaminated materials with water is a control measure used to reduce dust levels during debris removal.
Workers should wear PPE regardless of the engineering controls used, especially for skin and eye protection (1,9,17,18,32). Primary functions of PPE in a mold-contaminated environment are prevention of the inhalation and ingestion of mold and mold spores and prevention of mold contact with skin or eyes (1,32). PPE requirements for workers are likely to differ from the PPE recommendations for homeowners or other building occupants who are less likely to disturb and aerosolize contaminated materials. In addition, PPE recommendations for persons with underlying illness or compromised immune systems will differ from PPE recommendations for healthy persons. Proper training or instruction in the use of protective equipment is essential for effective use. Guidelines for protection of and training recommendation for workers have been published (33).
Types of Personal Protective Equipment
Skin and Eye Protection
Gloves keep the hands clean and free from contact with mold (9,29). Gloves also protect hands from potentially irritating cleaning solutions (29,32,33). Long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended. The glove material should be selected on the basis of the type of substance or chemical being handled. When using a biocide (e.g., chlorine bleach) or a strong cleaning solution, gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC are needed. When using a mild detergent or plain water, ordinary household rubber gloves can be used. Latex or nonlatex medical examination gloves should be used if hands are likely to be in contact with infectious materials. Persons with natural rubber latex allergy should not use natural rubber latex gloves and should consult the NIOSH Alert on latex gloves for further information (34).
To protect eyes, properly fitted goggles or a full face-piece respirator are needed. Goggles must be designed to prevent the entry of dust and small particles. Safety glasses or goggles with open vent holes are not appropriate in mold remediation. CDC has published guidelines on this topic (35).
When conducting building inspections and remediation work, workers or homeowners might encounter hazardous biologic agents and chemical and physical hazards. Consequently, appropriate personal protective clothing, either reusable or disposable, is recommended to minimize cross-contamination between work areas and clean areas, to prevent the transfer and spread of mold and other contaminants to street clothing, and to eliminate skin contact with mold or chemicals (9,32). In hot environments, precautions to prevent dehydration and heat stress when wearing protective clothing (e.g., drink plenty of water) are needed.
Disposable PPE should be discarded after it is used. Such equipment should be placed into impermeable bags and usually can be discarded as ordinary construction waste. Protective equipment for biocide applicators (e.g., goggles or face shield, aprons or other protective clothing, gloves, and respiratory protection) must be selected on the basis of the product manufacturer's warnings and recommendations. In addition, the manufacturer's recommended precautions should be followed. Reusable protective clothing, including respiratory equipment (36,37), should be cleaned according to manufacturers' recommendations for PPE exposed to mold and other potentially hazardous chemicals (e.g., bleach and biocides).
nhalation is the primary exposure route of concern related to mold for workers, homeowners, and building occupants (6,9,17,18). When administrative and engineering controls are not adequate to eliminate airborne exposure to mold (or dust containing mold), respirators provide additional protection from inhalation of airborne mold, contaminated dust, and other particulates that are released during dust-generating processes (e.g., remediation work or debris removal) (6,9,17).
Respirators provide varying levels of protection. Selecting a respirator to minimize exposure to molds should be based on a qualitative assessment because quantitative data on mold-contaminated environments are not informative (38--41). All decisions about respirator selection should be made with knowledge of the relative protective capabilities and the advantages and disadvantages of different respirators. Further discussion of respirator selection is available (38--41).
Standard surgical or dust masks are intended for use only as barriers against large particles and do not provide protection against many airborne particles (38). Respirators used to protect persons from airborne contaminants (including mold and mold spores) must be certified by CDC's NIOSH. In addition, as specified by the OSHA respiratory protection standard (37), workers whose employers require them to use respirators must be properly trained, have medical clearance, and be properly fit-tested before they use the respirator. If a worker must use respirators, the worker's employer must develop and implement a written respiratory protection program with worksite-specific procedures and elements. Additional information on respiratory protection is available from OSHA (37,42,43).