Occurrence of household mold and efficacy of sodium hypochlorite disinfectant.

Publication Date: 
Sep 28, 2012

The occurrence and distribution of mold on household surfaces and the efficacy of bleach-based (sodium hypochlorite, NaOCl) disinfectants on mold viability and allergenicity was documented. Household microenvironments prone to increased moisture were specifically targeted. Using the sticky tape method, 1330 samples were collected from non-porous indoor surfaces of 160 homes across the United States, and analyzed for mold. Homes were randomly selected and recruited via phone interviews. Culture and immunoassays were used to measure the viability and reduction of allergenic properties of Aspergillus fumigatus following 2.4% NaOCl treatment. All homes and 72.9% of surfaces tested positive for mold. Windowsills were the most frequently contaminated site (87.5%) and Cladosporium the most commonly identified mold (31.0%). Five-minute exposures to 2.4% NaOCl resulted in a >3 to >6-log₁₀ reduction of culturable mold counts in controlled laboratory studies. Organisms were nonculturable after 5- and 10-min contact times on non-porous and porous ceramic carriers, respectively, and A. fumigatus spore-eluted allergen levels were reduced by an average 95.8% in 30 sec, as indicated by immunoassay. All homes are contaminated with some level of mold, and regrowth is likely in moisture-prone microenvironments. The use of low concentrations (2.4%) of NaOCl for the reduction of culturable indoor mold and related allergens is effective and recommended.