Residents across San Diego County say they’ve seen more mold in their homes after recent rainfall.
A number of mold testing and removal companies FOX 5 reached out to said they have seen a spike in business. One company said business has more than doubled and another said this has been one of the busiest weeks they have seen in years.
Mold has kicked Fernando Perez’s daughter out of her room in her Del Mar home.
“She’s obviously not very happy about it,” Perez said.
Recently, Perez said his teenager noticed a spot on the ceiling that appeared to be wet and stained. He called professionals to take a look — who in turn told him his family not only had a leak, but a mold problem in the already nearly renovated room.
“You would never know by opening this up that you would see that it would have been this bad,” Perez said as he showed FOX 5 the wall that was infested with mold.
Orange Restoration, a company that removes mold, stepped in to help. Owner Yaron Lief said the wet winter months have kept him and his employees busy answering calls.
“The average would be five or six a day and now we are maybe at 25 a day,” Lief said.
“If you see a discoloration I would recommend to send a picture. It’s the cheapest way to do this. Find a legit company send them a picture,” Lief said. “We can tell you if you actually need us.”
In this case, the Perez family said professional help was needed and they are glad they acted fast.
“It’s scary to think that people, if they’ve got leaks and they don’t see through to the dry wall and you don’t know it and people are sensitive, or have allergies, or asthma issues. God forbid the potential health issues you could have from unknown mold,” Perez said.
There are at least four reasons a mold inspector should consider using Conditional Areas as the basis for the mold inspection report. First, Conditional Areas are recommended in IICRC S520- 2015 as the basis for mold remediation activities.(1) Second, assigning Conditional Areas forces the mold inspector to view a structure in greater detail. Third, the inspection strategy determines the sampling plan and the data-interpretation plan. Fourth, a stratified strategy allows the mold inspector to collect select samples as composites, reducing the cost of the inspection. The typical strategy used in mold inspections is referred to as Professional Judgment. A more sophisticated approach is to use a stratification strategy; separating interior spaces into discrete areas. One example of a stratification strategy that is recommended by AIHA is Similar Exposure Groups.
(2) Another example of a stratified strategy is the concept of Conditional Areas as defined by IICRC in S520-2015.(1) Conditional Areas, which typically have been applied to mold remediation plans, are defined as: • Condition 1: Areas not affected by a water intrusion incident [no restoration]; • Condition 2: Areas affected by contaminant spores settling onto surfaces [restoration]; • Condition 3: Areas affected by a water intrusion or elevated humidity [remediation]. The Condition of an interior space is typically assessed by combining the information gained from the visual inspection, incident history, occupant interview, and the sample results. However, it should be noted that assessing the Condition of a space may require the appropriate samples to be collected. For example, if the soft-surface items in a living room had simply been contaminated by settled spores (Condition 2), they could be HEPA-vacuumed and restored to service. However, if the living room had been affected by elevated humidity for an extended period those items may be Condition 3 (interior surfaces colonized with mold growth). Differentiating between these two Conditions may be possible based on either the visual inspection or incident history. When this approach does not provide the necessary guidance, a differential sampling method may be used to determine Condition. (3) First, S520-2015 recommends that “Condition (1, 2, or 3) … should be assessed, documented, and reported to the client”. In addition, Part 6 (Mitigation) of the IAQA/AIHA Body of Knowledge document states the mold inspector is responsible for “identifying appropriate responses and including them in the mitigation plan”.(4) Although the remediation contractor is responsible for implementing appropriate responses, the mold inspector is the party responsible for identifying the appropriate responses. If the mold inspector does not use Conditional Areas as the basis for the inspection report, then how can the remediation contractor use them as the basis for the remediation? Second, a significant advantage of using Conditional Areas as the basis for the inspection strategy is that it not only allows the structure to be assessed by area, it requires the mold inspector to assess each area separately. Both the IAQA Body of Knowledge and IICRC S520- 2015 state that an assessment should be performed when mold is present or suspected of being present. An assessment requires the assessor to differentiate between normal and contaminated indoor spaces. For example, the objectives of an assessment may include identifying (1) building-related contamination, (2) the condition of contents, and/or (3) occupant exposure potential; all of which are expected to vary with Condition. Stratifying interior spaces by Condition may focus the inspection, suggesting the objectives that are appropriate for each Conditional Area. Third, the inspection strategy not only provides the basis for the remediation plan; but it also provides the basis for the sampling plan and the data-interpretation plan. It is often not practical for the mold inspector to classify an entire structure as a single Condition, since Condition frequently varies from area to area. Viewing the structure as a whole is neither efficient for the IEP, the remediation contractor, nor the client. Basing the inspection on Conditional Areas forces the IEP to differentiate between normal and contaminated areas, and to identify the Condition of each area in the structure. Fourth, samples collected in the same Conditional Area may be combined and averaged. For example, if the three second-floor bedrooms are Condition 1, then a separate 5-minute airborne sample may be collected in each bedroom; or, a single composite sample may be collected – using a single cassette to collect a 5-minute sample in each bedroom (composite sample).
It will soon be possible to reduce common indoor air pollutants using just a curtain. A mineral-based surface treatment enables the new IKEA curtain to break down air pollutants when it gets in contact with light.
Air pollution is a global issue and particularly problematic in megacities. According to WHO around 90% of people worldwide breathe polluted air, which is estimated to cause eight million deaths per year. IKEA has committed to contributing to a world of clean air, by actively reducing air pollutants and also enabling people to purify the air in their homes. The GUNRID air purifying curtain is a new step on the journey.
“Besides enabling people to breathe better air at home, we hope that GUNRID will increase people’s awareness of indoor air pollution, inspiring behavioural changes that contribute to a world of clean air,” says Lena Pripp-Kovac, Head of Sustainability at Inter IKEA Group. “GUNRID is the first product to use the technology, but the development will give us opportunities for future applications on other textiles.”
The curtain uses a unique technology, which has been developed by IKEA over the last years together with universities in Europe and Asia as well as IKEA suppliers and innovators. The way it works is similar to photosynthesis found in nature. The process is activated by both outdoor and indoor light.
“For me, it’s important to work on products that solve actual problems and are relevant to people. Textiles are used across homes and by enabling a curtain to purify the air, we are creating an affordable and space-saving air purifying solution that also makes the home more beautiful,” says Mauricio Affonso, Product Developer at IKEA Range & Supply.
For many years, IKEA has been reducing air pollution from its own operations by phasing out hazardous chemicals and reducing air emissions. Last year, IKEA launched the Better Air Now! initiative, aiming to turn rice straw – a rice harvesting residue that is traditionally burned and contributes heavily to air pollution – into a new renewable material source for IKEA products. IKEA has also committed to becoming climate positive by 2030, reducing our overall climate footprint by 70% on average per product (compared to 2016).
“We know that there is no single solution to solve air pollution. We work long term for positive change, to enable people to live healthier and more sustainable lives,” says Lena Pripp-Kovac.
GUNRID air purifying curtain will be available in IKEA stores next year.
With an unanimous vote, a senate committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would educate schools about the importance of testing for radon, a cancer-causing gas that comes up through the soil and gets trapped in buildings.
The proposal now heads to the full senate for consideration.
Prompted by a Call 6 Investigation into how most schools don’t test for radon, Sen. Eric Bassler, R-Washington, filed Senate Bill 632 that would require the Indiana State Department of Health to distribute a best practices manual to schools for radon testing.
“I think it’s pretty reasonable to get radon on the radar screen,” Bassler told the Senate Health and Provider Services committee.
The American Lung Association, Protect Environmental and Your Environmental Services LLC all showed their support for Senate Bill 632 as the Senate Health and Provider Services committee held its first hearing on the legislation.
“We don’t allow children to smoke, and we don’t allow people to smoke in schools, so why would we allow them to be breathing in high levels of radon gas?” Dawn Coffee, vice president of marketing and operations at Your Environmental Services, a radon testing company in Northern Indiana, said. “Last year 75 Hoosiers died in house fires, and yet 600 Hoosiers died of radon-induced lung cancer.”
Supporters of the legislation testified radon is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
You can’t see or smell radon, so the only way to know if it’s there is to test for it.
Coffee cited Call 6 Investigates’ findings regarding most schools don’t test for radon.
“96 percent of Indiana schools haven’t tested for radon in the last 10 years,” Coffee said. “Testing in schools is very important so we know what our students are exposed to, and our students and our teachers who spend 6 to 8 hours a day for several years.”
Currently, the state provides guidance on indoor air quality, but not radon, Bassler said.
“Right now, it’s not included in what the State Department of Health gives to school superintendents, so it would simply add radon,” Bassler said. “What this would do is simply recommend to school corporations that they consider testing their schools for radon.”
This EPA map shows much of Central Indiana is in a hot zone for radon,meaning the gas is widespread throughout the soil and buildings in our state.
“We’re just naturally more prone to be exposed based on our geology,” Nick Torres, advocacy director for the American Lung Association, told the senate committee. “We believe that providing schools with some of these regularly updated practices as outlined in Senate Bill 632, would just help ensure that testing is done properly.”
Members of the Senate Health and Provider Services asked questions and seemed concerned about the lack of testing in schools.
“It seems to be a pretty significant issue,” Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, and chairman of the committee, said.
Indiana currently has nothing in place regarding radon in the classroom.
“We are thrilled to see this bill go forward and hopefully we will see schools testing, and we may be able to in the future add to that,” Coffee said. “We’d love to see required testing, but this is a great first step.”
Call 6 Investigates found a dozen other states have already taken action regarding radon in schools — implementing laws or regulations that require or recommend testing.
New Jersey requires new schools use radon-resistant materials and techniques.
In Florida, schools test for radon and report their results to the state department of health.
Illinois has an education law that recommends schools test for radon.
Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, filed Senate Bill 522, which would require public and nonpublic schools to test for radon by July 2020 and at least once every five years after that.
However, Melton’s bill failed to get a hearing this session.
The Indiana State Department of Health does not compile or track which schools are testing for radon.
Call 6 Investigates had to conduct its own analysis to determine most schools haven’t tested for the cancer-causing gas.
Chris Ferguson, project manager with testing company Protect Environmental, wants to add a requirement to SB 632 for the state to compile school testing results.
“At least people are willing to listen, and more than anything that’s what we’re really focused on is starting the conversation,” Ferguson said. “At least people are getting educated and that’s a good place to start.”
With more than a month still to go this winter, many residents of California have relied on their furnace or heat pump to provide warmth at home, school or in the office. Like all mechanical systems in a home or building, a furnace requires preventive maintenance to ensure that it is working properly, efficiently and is providing good indoor air quality (IAQ).
A large percentage of structures in California rely on a central forced-air furnace that is powered by natural gas, fuel oil or electricity to heat air that is then transferred throughout the property through ducts. This type of furnace, if not working properly, could be wasting energy and even threatening the health of building occupants if combustion gases such as carbon monoxide are entering the indoor air. Forced-air furnaces can also cause indoor air quality issues by spreading particulates and even mold or other allergens throughout the property if the system’s air filtration is lacking or if the ductwork has become contaminated over time.
For all these reasons it is a good idea to have the system checked annually by a qualified professional. The following furnace maintenance tips can help provide for optimal operations:
Before the unit is serviced, it is important that any fuel supply and electricity to the unit is shut off.
Furnace filters should be regularly changed. Filters may be located at the furnace or in the air supply return in a wall or ceiling. Some furnaces also have a fresh air intake filter.
The air blower and motor housing should be inspected and cleaned.
Check units with a combustion chamber for any buildup of soot and carbon that should then be removed.
Inspect the flue pipe for any holes, blockages and signs of corrosion. This is an important step to ensure deadly carbon monoxide is not a threat to building occupants.
Furnaces powered by fuel oil should have their oil filter replaced.
A service technician will often use a combustion analyzer to determine the unit’s efficiency and make any needed adjustments.
Finally, the ductwork should be inspected for dust, debris, mold and other substances that could reduce the system’s efficiency and impact air quality.
“California residents who suspect their furnace may be causing IAQ issues can turn to the indoor environmental quality professionals at LA Testing,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “With multiple laboratories throughout the state, LA Testing offers air analysis for mold and allergens. In addition, we carry a range of field instrumentation and air monitoring tools to identify potential air quality concerns related to particulate matter and combustion gases such as carbon monoxide. Borescopes and other inspection tools can also be instrumental for checking ductwork and other hard to view places for signs of damage or contamination.”
LA Testing has sponsored an educational video about furnace maintenance and IAQ issues that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/j3NKuIkgdMY.
To learn more about indoor air quality, environmental, occupational, health and safety testing services or monitoring instruments, please visit www.LATesting.com , email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794. For access to indoor environmental test kits, visit www.EMSLTestKits.com .
About LA Testing LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.