Debunking some toxic mold myths

In 2000, a new “toxic mold” panic swept the country, and after 16 years of untold lawsuits and billions of dollars spent, major myths still plague and unnecessarily panic association boards, managers and homeowners. The myths all too often cause exaggerated repairs, unduly frightened residents, and conflict. In this and the next column, I will address thirteen pervasive toxic mold myths.

1. Mold is new. Mold, one of the earliest and simplest life forms, has existed for thousands of years. Almost 100 years ago, mold was the basis of the discovery of penicillin. Mold is ever-present, as is dust or pollen.

2. The scientific and medical communities confirm mold’s many dangers. In 2004, the National Institute of Medicine published its comprehensive study on indoor mold exposure, called “Damp Indoor Spaces and Health.” A central finding was: “Scientific evidence links mold … in homes and buildings to asthma symptoms in some people with the chronic disorder, as well as to coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people… However, the available evidence does not support an association between … mold and the wide range of other health complaints that have been ascribed.”

 That sounds like mold is as dangerous as dust or pollen to people with severe asthma. The announcement containing this finding is easily located by a web search, but it did not receive much press play – stories of frightened people living in tents are more interesting.

3. One must determine the kind of mold present. Mold consultants and plaintiff attorneys often describe some molds as worse than others. The most famous mold is stachybotrys chartarum, a mold producing infinitesimal quantities of a substance similar to botulism poison. However, the amount is so small they call it a “mycotoxin.” It sounds frightening, but the scientific community long ago debunked the myth that this or any mold was somehow poisonous to breathe. For example, read the National Institute of Health Fact Sheet on Mold, found at www.niehs.nih.gov.

4. California is protected by the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001. The act instructed the Department of Public Health to develop permissible exposure limits of the various mold strains. However, in 2005, and again in 2008, the DPH reported the task could not be completed with the scientific information available. Consequently, there is presently no official standard as to how many mold spores of any given variety are “unhealthy.”

5. Always start with a mold test. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends against mold testing. There is no standard as to how many mold spores are “unhealthy,” and indoor air sampling tests are extremely vulnerable to events in the home, which can change the results. A recent shower, window opening or carpet cleaning are some of the many factors that can completely change test outcomes.

Mold tests, to put it bluntly, primarily frighten the occupants and create a “need” for the expense of a mold consultant, and a second test after the area is cleaned. Since the health authorities have not confirmed any particular strain is more dangerous, and since there is no official standard as to how many airborne spores are unhealthy, there is rarely a good reason to spend the money on such a test.

 

Air quality issues of mold and asbestos temporarily closes Indiana Avenue Elementary school, second time this month

Air quality issues of mold and asbestos temporarily closes Indiana Avenue Elementary school, second time this month

Schools Superintendent Robert Zega said school officials are working with environmental consultants to determine the best course of action for remediation after air quality issues of mold and asbestos have resulted in the closure, reopening and again re-closure of the elementary school on Indiana Avenue in the Iselin section of the township.

Students had been attending split sessions at Iselin Middle School since March 5.

 The elementary school reopened on March 19 after test results of mold had been resolved; however, on March 28, the students were back at Iselin Middle School.

“Recent test results have caused us to temporarily close the school, out of an abundance of caution,” Zega said in a statement on March 28. “The health of our students and staff is, and always will be, our top priority. Therefore, the students will be attending Iselin Middle School on split sessions until we are able to re-open. We appreciate the patience of our entire school community throughout this difficult process.”

As of March 29, asbestos was found in a classroom on desks, according to a test report posted on the school district’s website.

School officials did not give a time frame on how long Indiana School will be closed.

On Jan. 27, RAMM Environmental Services, Inc., of Fairlawn, Bergen County, conducted an indoor air/surface quality assessment report for the school’s principal’s office, main office and a classroom, which found levels of mold exceeding outdoor concentrations in the tested areas.

The elementary school was temporarily closed on Feb. 23 and the students were off from school for a week.

On March 1, Zega sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Indiana School to explain the temporary closure of the school and the decision to hold split sessions at Iselin Middle School.

Zega said in the letter Iselin Middle was a reasonable choice because it is relatively close and it has the capacity for the 600 students from School No. 18.

The Woodbridge Township Education Association (WTEA) had McCabe Environmental Services, LLC, of Lyndhurst, Bergen County, collect various types of asbestos samples from within the school.

 Asbestos contamination was found in a debris sample that was collected from atop of a suspended ceiling tile system.

“Based on the data we have collected we can conclude that the locations tested are not considered an asbestos hazard for occupancy at this time,” John H. Chiaviello, vice president at McCabe Environmental Services, said in a letter to Brian Geoffroy, president of the WTEA, on March 16.

However, he said any disturbance of the ceiling system could pose a potential health hazard if the debris is not addressed.

“Based on our observations, there is no evidence of remnant ceiling plaster, fireproofing, pipe or other insulation above the drop ceiling that could be the source of the asbestos detected in the sample,” Chiaviello said. “Since the school is a one-story building, along with recent solar panel modifications to the roof deck, we suspect the source to be the roofing materials that have been disturbed and penetrated through to the ceiling system below.”

Article Source: http://www.centraljersey.com/news/sentinel_edison_metuchen/stories/air-quality-issues-of-mold-and-asbestos-temporarily-closes-indiana/article_9a4cbd57-dd5e-5ed3-af8a-525891765f0f.html

The Tricky Case Of A Mold Allergy And How Fun Guy Inspections Can Help With It

Think of these situations: you might get a runny nose from time to time. You are having a relaxing evening on the couch with your loved one and, out of the blue, you start sneezing, and your eyes get watery. If you know to have allergies, then you probably have already taken care of allergens around your house. But did you?

Wall texture with scratches and rust Free Photo

If you have an apparently spotless house, and still get allergy symptoms than it is most likely that you have mold in your house. With mold comes the common mold allergy. It is that simple. Only it is not that simple to see all mold spots around your house.

It might not seem that big of a deal at first, but a mold allergy can lead to nasty complications. A simple allergy can turn into mold-induced asthma or even hypersensitivity pneumonitis. We recommend you call a specialist to at least give your house a thorough inspection. That is where Fun Guy Inspections come into play!

But I have already cleaned my house of mold! There were some ugly spots, and I have cleaned them with vinegar.” That is fine and all, but in the case of mold infections, vinegar is not enough. The main risk factors that cause a mold allergy are high humidity in your house, mold hidden behind the paint on the walls, and general mold exposure. These factors are hard to detect without a unique tool. At Fun Guy Inspections we have all it needs for your house to become mold free.

We can inspect, track and remove all the mold that you might not even know you have. Once every room and corner in your house will be clean, you can expect improvements in your health. A mold allergy has no chance of developing in a mold-free environment. And we make sure that you have such an environment.

Surface texture with scratches Free Photo

The most important thing you need to know about the mold allergy is this: if you get long-term exposure to mold, you might get allergic to it, among other health risks. As we said earlier, mold found under the paint, and even in walls, so you cannot know for sure if you have it around your house. Our certified inspectors from Fun Guy Inspections have the necessary equipment to find where mold is hiding in your household. They come to you, take the steps required to identify mold spots and then talk to you about what you need to do.

You will feel improvements in the mold allergy almost immediately. When your body comes into a mold-free environment, you will be sure about the problem you had. To keep your house in a pristine condition, we recommend having proper ventilation around the house. Poor airflow in a building makes mold easier to form and infest your home.

You know the risks, and you know the people to get rid of them. If you want to know if mold is the culprit of your allergy, call for the Fun Guy Inspections mold removing services.

Lights, mold, cleaners can cause ‘sick building syndrome’

 – A day at the office could be making some people sick. And when businesses have a problem, many call Francisco Aguirre’s company PureAir Control Services in Clearwater to fix it.

Think of them as sick building sleuths.

“‘Sick building syndrome’ is a term used to describe a combination of non-specific ailments that are temporarily associated with the workplace,” Francisco said. “I have seen buildings that are brand new, and they have not even been finished for occupancy and they are already experiencing indoor air quality problems.”

Discomfort can be caused by bacteria, fungi, dust, and believe it or not, lights.

“Lights can also give you headaches, watery eyes and things like that,” Aguirre explained.

But there could be something more to some people’s symptoms.

Dr. Richard Lockey, an indoor air quality expert and director of allergy and immunology at the University of South Florida, believes there are other contributing factors.

“We have found that buildings are much cleaner in which people work than their own homes,” Lockey told us. “Some homes are so filthy that we can’t believe it when we go in and test what’s in the home. Yet people don’t complain about their homes, they complain about the building. So there’s a disconnect there.”

According to the World Health Organization, a third of all buildings have air quality concerns. But Dr. Lockey has a word of caution.

“It’s important for physicians and other healthcare professionals to properly evaluate these patients so you don’t inappropriately accuse a builder or owner of a building of something that doesn’t exist,” he said.

In the end, whatever you think is making you sick at work could be real or imagined, but both experts agree that poor air filtration in the workplace and at home can lead to some allergy-like symptoms.

Be sure to replace filters regularly, and make sure all ventilation systems are working properly.

Article Source: http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/lights-mold-cleaners-can-cause-sick-building-syndrome

Mold contamination prompts New Jersey district to close all 6 of its schools for at least a week

WPVI-TV reports that the schools—one high, one middle and four elementary—will be closed so inspections can be completed. The district has about 6,200 students.

The announcement of the closings comes just hours before an emergency school board meeting is to be held regarding the situation.

The situation began with the discovery of mold inside Holly Glen Elementary School. The district closed that campus last Friday and was preparing to split the student body among the three remaining elementary schools.

In light of the additional school closings, plans to have teachers prepare replacement classrooms have been postponed, and an open house for students and parents at their temporary schools also has been canceled.

Last week, the district closed Holly Glen after a consultant, TTI Environmental Inc., found dangerous mold growing throughout the school on doors, desks, book cases, lockers, ceiling tiles and other areas. The consultant recommended that Holly Glen be closed and thoroughly cleaned.

“Based on the information provided and the results of our visual investigation and sampling, TTI recommends that the school be closed until cleaning and additional evaluation be conducted to insure the safety of the children and staff,” the consultant’s report stated.

Article Source: http://www.asumag.com/indoor-air-quality-iaq/mold-contamination-prompts-new-jersey-district-close-all-6-its-schools-least

How Hot Summer Months Can Bring Mold Straight Into Your Home!

Summer’s Great But It Can Bring Mold Home Too

It Is Hot & Humid Outside Again

Well, the summer has more than arrived, and everybody is feeling it for the most part. The blistering heat has affected many of our daily lives, and the humidity has drenched us in sweat time, and time again. Summer does not just affect you personally, though, it affects your house too. Of course, it takes a toll on your wallet through your electric bill. Your air conditioning unit is going to have to work a lot harder to keep your house comfortable. That is not all it does, though, and the other effects can be much worse. We are talking about water damage, mold odors, and all different kinds of mold problems.

Why Is Mold So Bad in my Home?

Mold is not good for a lot of reasons. Aside from the fact that it destroys items and property, it can also make you sick. We are not just talking about regular sick like the flu either. Certain types of mold can make you really sick. Not just you either, your pets as well. If your beloved pets consume mold or breathe airborne mold in too long, they may have problems easier than you. Your children and grandparents are also more susceptible to the nasty effects of mold. With that said, mold can do a lot of damage, to you, your home, and your family. There is even a type of mold that can destroy a house over the proper amount of time if left unchecked. How can mold destroy a house, though? Every time your air conditioner clicks on and slowly cools the air, small micro-droplets of water condense on the cold coils, coalesce, and create water.  A drain usually facilitates the collection and removal of the moisture.  Yet, when the drain system backs up minor drips begin to back up, and slowly move moisture to the walls.  Along with time and moisture, mold grows a little bit like weeds as other plants do. It will grow until the space it is in does not fit it anymore. Does that mean that the mold stops growing? Absolutely not, it means that it expands the space it is in on its own.  It will fill the interior walls and spaces below your air conditioner with visible mold and mold spores inside your home.

How To Prevent Mold From Growing

There are a lot of ways to prevent different kinds of mold from growing. There are a lot of old wives tales of how to do it too, so you need to beware of these.  First, you need to know how mold grows in the first place. Mold grows when it is moist in an area with no ventilation or very little. It forms from bacteria thriving on that moisture and a lack of moving air to move it out of one particular place. Where does this normally happen, though? A lot more places than you may think.   Mold forms easily in the following places; Close off rooms and closets. Clogged air conditioning drain lines. Dirty air conditioning ducts and vents. Humid bathrooms ceilings and window frames Sink and tub drains or tile grout and even silicone water proofing seals. Damp or wet bathroom mats or towels. And that is just to name a few of the many places that mold can develop quickly. All of these are simply caused by a combination of moisture and lack of ventilation. With that said, the very air you are breathing right now might have mold particles in it from your air conditioning or other areas of your home.

Mold In Your Air Conditioning

There are a lot of causes that can create mold in your air conditioning system and a lot of areas mold can be found.  Black mold spores may be in the air conditioning coils, plenum, and even the air conditioning ducts.   You actually can prevent a fair amount of these problems simply by having your air conditioning system Inspected or cleaned out regularly. Sure you could do this yourself, but it might be better to have someone with the proper tools do it for you.  A professional Air duct cleaning company or specialized air conditioning company can usually clean your system. The price might be a tad high, but the hospital bills or funeral will not have to be covered that way. Seriously, if you have not had your system cleaned in a while, then it is probably time to get in inspected, or just do it. Black mold is one of the worst kinds of mold, period, and it grows it most air conditioning systems regularly when water damage occurs. Aside from the ducts and vents themselves, mold loves to grow in and around your air conditioning. If you have your system in the garage, closet or even the attic of your house, it might be a good idea to take a look around. You will be surprised by what you find.  Water stains, water damage, and mold growing on the drywall. Aside from hiring a professional to clean your system, you should regularly clean and make sure there is proper drainage for things like your air conditioning drain or hot water heater. Mold, dust, pet hair, and particulates that impact the air conditioning filter also significantly reduce the airflow into your house from your air conditioning. Not only will that make your system work harder to cool your house, but naturally it will cost you more money and the electric bill. It is just worth it to spend 5 minutes and inspect your air conditioning system and keep it free of all types of mold.

Steps You Can Take To A Cleaner A/c System

  1. First, you need to take a look at your vents with the air blowing to check for small debris or odors coming from it.
  1. Check or have your air conditioning filters changed routinely.  Usually every 3-6 months is recommended by most manufacturers.
  1. If you smell heavy odors coming out the closet or attic, then this is a likely sign of water damage and bacteria build up that need to be cleaned out.
  1. Keep a good eye on how often your a/c runs.  Do you hear it cycle on and off?
  1. How often are doors and windows opened?
  1. Do not run your system forever, it needs a break too.  Listen for loud system starts and stops, as this can also be a sign of a problem.

  If you don’t hear the AC cycle, or it makes really loud noises you may need to turn it off and call a professional air conditioning contractor to inspect or repair the ac unit.

What About The Rest Of The House?

  Well, it does help if you clean out things like drainage pipes in general. This covers your sink, toilet, and tub drains. You also want to wash damp clothes and linens quickly, even if they are not that dirty, as they are a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Forget the fact that is stinks, it is bad all around. Closets should be regularly cleaned, and the door left open from time to time, to allow for good ventilation. Just keep the place clean, tidy and well ventilated in general. That way you will have less of a problem with mold.   If you need help finding mold within your home be sure to call FunGuy Mold Inspections in Los Angeles.

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Mold In Your Air Conditioning

There are a lot of causes that can create mold in your air conditioning system and a lot of areas mold can be found.  Black mold spores may be in the air conditioning coils, plenum, and even the air conditioning ducts.   You actually can prevent a fair amount of these problems simply by having your air conditioning system Inspected or cleaned out regularly. Sure you could do this yourself, but it might be better to have someone with the proper tools do it for you.  A professional Air duct cleaning company or specialized air conditioning company can usually clean your system. The price might be a tad high, but the hospital bills or funeral will not have to be covered that way. Seriously, if you have not had your system cleaned in a while, then it is probably time to get in inspected, or just do it. Black mold is one of the worst kinds of mold, period, and it grows it most air conditioning systems regularly when water damage occurs.

Steps You Can Take To A Cleaner A/c System

  1. First, you need to take a look at your vents with the air blowing to check for small debris or odors coming from it.
  1. Check or have your air conditioning filters changed routinely.  Usually every 3-6 months is recommended by most manufacturers.
  1. If you smell heavy odors coming out the closet or attic, then this is a likely sign of water damage and bacteria build up that need to be cleaned out.
  1. Keep a good eye on how often your a/c runs.  Do you hear it cycle on and off?
  1. How often are doors and windows opened?
  1. Do not run your system forever, it needs a break too.  Listen for loud system starts and stops, as this can also be a sign of a problem.

If you don’t hear the AC cycle, or it makes really loud noises you may need to turn it off and call a professional air conditioning contractor to inspect or repair the ac unit.

We don’t often think that our air conditioning system that cools our house can cause water damage and mold problems.  In short, an air conditioner removes moisture from the air and it naturally drains outdoors or in a dedicated drain line.  Clogging of the drain can cause water damage and real mold problems.  Learn how to prevent mold in your air conditioning system and schedule a routine inspection today.

  1. Closed Off Rooms, Closets, Doors, and Mold That Grow’s Black.
    1. Improper ventilation and increased humidity in a room or closet can cause mold growth on walls and ceilings.
    2. Not only on the surface of the walls, but also you clothes, bags, and other belongings.
    3. This problem is easy to remedy : learn more and contact funguy
  2. Clogged Air Conditioning Drain Lines.
    1. This problem can occur naturally and unless you monitor the air conditioning closet you’ll probably never know about the water damage and mold problem that exist.
    2. Some bacteria, dust, and debris built up on the coils over time can reduce air flow and increase the chance of clogging the drain, water damage, and then eventually mold.
    3. Looking for a solution to this problem, contact a funguy mold inspector today to look at your air condition system.
  3. 4 Steps to a Cleaner Air Conditioning System
    1. Look: Do you notice fiber glass, heavy dust, or odors coming from the air conditioning ducts or registers?.  This could be a sign of contamination.
    2. Smell: Check for  heavy or unusual odors coming from normal operation of your air conditioning system?
    3. Monitor: Overuse, opening doors, and Improper cycling can cause continuous running of the system and blockages.
    4. Listen: Do you notice that air conditioner never shuts off and on?  Listen closely, does it run continuously?    A healthy air conditioner will cycle on and off during normal operations.  Of course upon starting up and heavier indoor loads an air conditioner will run to meet demand.

Maintenance – Contact a certified mold inspector or air conditioning specialist for maintenance and scheduled maintenance plans today.