Industry Leaders Scrutinize ThermaPure



In recent blog posts, restoration professionals questioned ThermaPure’s heat methods and structural pasteurization for remediating mold. Here is what industry consultants and ThermaPure replied:

Question from Amrit S: Can mold be killed with Heat?

Answer from Richard Grey: The answer is yes. I have been an indoor environmentalist for over ten years in California, Carriers welcome Pasteurization due to the fact it not only saves the build back caused by anxious gross re-mediators, but the displacement for the client is usually only one to two days when pasteurization is implemented, which is a primary concern to carriers. Exactimate now include line items for heat, which should indicate to hard core gross re-mediators there is a para-dine change taking place.

Question from Diane K: I don’t think there is a question that it kills mold, but what happens with the “dead mold” once it has been treated. If your going to remove it, then why not remove it traditionally to begin with.

Answer from Richard Grey: your answer is: the same folks that leave live spores in walls post gross remediation

Question from Blaine P: I am surprised by your stance on this subject. Are you stating dead mold killed by heat application alone is all that is necessary to achieve a successful remediation?

Larry of ThermaPure: For the past 13 years I have coached ThermaPure licensees in the application of heat for a variety of biological targets, including mold. Heat will kill mold. Heat may destroy protein based mycotoxins. Allergens are probably unaffected by temperatures that will kill mold.

Inaccessible areas are really defined by cost, not accessibility. Inaccessible areas treated with heat at appropriate temperatures will have better results than no treatment at all because the live mold will be greatly reduced.

Typically, the ThermaPure process is a part of a remediation protocol. Removal of visible mold, damaged materials, etc., should always be a part of the protocol. There really is more to the process than just the application of high temperature. Structures treated with ThermaPure are cleaner. We will pass clearances that traditional remediation may not. We are often used as a treatment of last resort, because traditional methods have failed. I could site many projects as examples of this.

Our licensees are trained in the application of heat to a structure, the protection of potentially damageable items, moisture removal, etc., as well as traditional remediation. The examples of humidity problems would not have occurred if dehumidification had been added. This should have been a part of the protocol if the moisture levels were known. I encourage you to learn more about this process and consider it as a part of your protocols. Visit the ThermaPure website

Question from Slade S: I fail to see the beneficial use of heat then. I thought previously you stated insurance carriers like this method because it speeds up the process of remediation. If the remediation process is followed properly and materials must be removed and cleaning must be done…then how in the world does heat save time. Seems to me heat would require a significant input of energy…which is a huge cost. In fact Mr. Chase stated the following: “Structures treated with ThermaPure are cleaner.” What in the world does that even mean? How does heat clean? I think these types of statements and ideas are wildly inappropriate and factless in science.

Larry of ThermaPure: Slade, we measure “clean” a variety of ways. I had said there was more to the process than just the application of heat. To accomplish uniform heat in a structure or portion of a structure they will use a convective heating process which will greatly disturb particulate and release aerosol. With good filtration they will capture the particulate. We will produce more particulate than typical remediation methods. We can and have measured that. You may be targeting mold, but heat will kill bacteria, insects, etc. We may not actually measure that, but they will be reduced. Most insects die at temperatures less than 120F. Oftentimes, they are vectors for mold and other contaminants. Increased temperatures will increase off-gassing of VOCs and other chemicals. If they are using heat in an open system, that is using outside air as makeup, the VOCs will be reduced. Heating speeds the process of off-gassing. So maybe “clean” wasn’t as precise a word, but without getting into some of the other benefits of heating, it seemed to work. We use many words for clean, most of them have precise meanings – disinfection, sanitize, sterilize, etc. The point that I was trying to make is that the application of heat will do more than just kill mold. In fact, that is one of the benefits of the technology. Sorry for not being more clear.

The confusion regarding cost benefit is related to how we define “inaccessible”. If you were to use the technology as an added benefit because you want the space “cleaner” (sorry Slade I used it again:-), then you will have a higher cost because you have added another element. But, if you are willing, or your client is willing, to accept the risk of leaving dead material behind a wall cavity, then you can reduce cost by not removing materials that are not damaged. You would still remove visible mold and damaged materials, but you might choose to leave undamaged materials if you could at least kill the mold that was hidden. For example, an expensive kitchen with granite countertops might not need to be pulled out if it wasn’t damaged and you were comfortable with killing most of the hidden mold. We make these decisions all the time, but we label the materials left behind as “inaccessible”. Earlier I said inaccessible really is “unaffordable”. What is unaffordable to your clients? To me, that’s a good question. Does that make sense?

Question from Slade S: So I still fail to realize how the heat methods can be used as a remediation protocol. Everything you say and I read on your website, your papers, etc. talk about the methods being used to “kill” organisms…which I don’t disagree with. That method is 200 years old. It’s a disinfection type of step but the notion it should be used to replace traditional remediation and cleaning is grossly misstated.

Jared of ThermaPure: Slade, Currently some of the largest institutions in the United States are actively recommending and using Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure. The IICRC S520 references Structural Pasteurization in the mold standard. The U.S. EPA conducted a study of heat’s effect on Stachybotrys, which shows the degrading of mycotoxins (click on link to access EPA study) . Sophisticated multi- billion dollar institutions which are actively using Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure include the following: HUD (specification attached), The California U.C. system, the largest college education system in the world (click on link to access specification) , California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD for hospital infection control) (Contact me for a copy of the hospital case history on this project). The same consultant who specified the use of Structural Pasteurization for California Hospital work has also written mold specifications for Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure work for the United States Navy.

Dr. James Craner, Dr. Sean Abbott and David Hedman, the co-inventor of Structural Pasteurization presented a paper at the Super Storm Sandy Symposium. The real proof of Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure is that it has now been used over a decade on tens of thousands of mold projects successfully. Dr. Craner makes the point that the human organism is the best clearance protocol, and this proves Structural Pasteurization works.

We are now seeing mold drying projects cases in the United States that have either sued or threatened to sue because Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure was not used. As an environmental consultant or remediation company you have an obligation to at least offer the best technology available to your clients. According to numerous third party sources and case histories Structural Pasteurization/ThermaPure dries building 40%-50% faster and costs approximately 50% less when one considers the build back costs. The bottom line is, if you do not use Structural Pasteurization in your tool bag, and actively offer it to your clients, you may be liable.