Mold spores don’t receive nearly the attention of the Big 3 tormentors of the allergic – grass, trees, and ragweed
– but allergy experts say it’s a big reason why some continue to suffer even after those seasons wind down.
For those sensitive to mold spores – not to be confused with indoor mold – the first day of Fall 2016 was a landmark day.
With the Thursday morning report, the spore count hit an all-time high of 19,990, according to the Asthma Center’s Dr. Donald J. Dvorin, the official counter for the National Allergy Bureau for the last 30 years.
Consider that 7,000 – that’s the number of spores that pass through a refrigerator-sized parcel of air in a 24-hour period – is considered “extreme.”
Unlike the Big 3, these are spores produced by fungi, rather than pollen grains.
They typically show up in early spring and persist in the fall until the weather turns cold. The Asthma Center says the numbers are highest midsummer to late fall.
Conditions this week have been perfectly aligned for a harvest of mold spores, Dvorin said.
They love to grow on fallen leaves, of which we have plenty around here. The rains Monday might have given them a production boost, and the subsequent warmth and dryness have been ideal for flight.
Inhaling the spores can trigger a reaction that apes that of inhaling tree, grass, or ragweed pollen.
The tree and grass seasons are done, and ragweed is winding down, so if you’re still feeling like you’re under attack from pollen, the culprit might well be a spore.
Mold spores might be the under-the-radar ugly ducklings of the allergens, but about 60 percent of Asthma Center patients who complain of grass, tree, or ragweed allergies also react to mold spores, Dvorin said.
For more on the spores and pollen, check out the Asthma Center site.
A sippy cup company is under fire.
Two moms from Montreal shared unnerving photos of Tommee Tippee sippy cups on Facebook, Buzzfeed reports.
These photos show moldy sippy cups. Worse, the women allege that people can’t get rid of the mold when they try washing the cups.
Unsurprisingly, the moms are not happy about this.
According to Marie-Pier S. L’Hostie’s post (translated from French), her friend was wondering why his son had gotten sick, so he called Tommee Tipee. He got an unfortunate response.
“My friend Simon O’kanada wondered why his son was always sick. He broke the anti-spill top of his ‘Tommee Tippee’ bottle and discovered mold inside the mouthpiece. It doesn’t wash and can’t be seen unless it is broken open. He called the company, and the lady on the phone laughed out out loud. Several moms on other groups have also discovered mold after my post in another Facebook group, so I’m sharing you. If you please, those who have these cups, pay attention! Being washed by hand or in the dishwasher, the mold will stay there!”
Her friend Penny Powell shared the story (and nasty photos) as well, and said that the unsettling mold could only be seen if it the anti-spill top was broken open. She wrote that other mothers in a Facebook group complained about the issue.
She encouraged parents to share the issue and to complain to the company.
The photos that the women shared tell the story — there’s tons of mold right below where the mouthpiece is.
Tommee Tippee responded in a Facebook post to the angry parents, apologizing and claiming to be “actively working on the subject.”
The company pointed to an FAQ section on its site describing how to pope-rly use the cups, but also said that the company could not find “any trace of the conversation with [the original friend who discussed the issue], however we ask him to contact us by private message so that we can answer him directly.”
In a statement to Buzzfeed, the company advised consumers to use the cups with “recommended liquids” which include “cold, light fluids including water and non-pulp juice” and to clean the cups according to the instructions. ” Difficulties have arisen though when liquids that are not recommended for use in the cups have been used, like thick formula milk, pulpy juice and warm liquids. We also recommend that cups are not left for long periods before being cleaned,” the company added.
Tommee Tippee did say in the statement that “we understand that the well being of little ones is paramount and we can reassure all parents that we have extensively tested the valves,” and again, encouraged troubled. consumers to reach out ot them.
You can view the original Facebook complaints in full below.
Hundreds of buildings — from houses to strip malls — could face the wrecking ball after California authorities unraveled a decade-long scam involving a pair of phony building engineers who used stolen software to craft bogus blueprints, officials told FoxNews.com.
Wilfrido Rodriguez and Ruben Gutierrez, allegedly posing as licensed professionals and using stolen software, drew up engineering and architectural plans for homes, apartments, commercial properties and strip malls in at least 56 Southern California cities beginning in 2003, according to police. Neither had the training, expertise or credentials to vouch for the safety of the building plans, and authorities are only now grasping the scope of the problem.
“There has never been a case involving alleged engineering fraud of this magnitude,” Detective Rod Barton, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau, told FoxNews.com. “Because this involves fraud related to structural engineering, we just don’t know if the houses are safe, unsafe or suitable for habitation.”
“There has never been a case involving alleged engineering fraud of this magnitude.”
– Det. Rod Barton, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
The pair duped architects, builders and homeowners into believing they knew what they were doing, Barton said. Now, authorities are tasked with reviewing every building the pair worked on and determining if they are structurally sound, an issue made all the more urgent given the frequency of earthquakes in California.
“A significant concern is foundations,” said Panos Prevedouros, a professor and chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. “Experienced drafters can work out safe designs for small masonry structures, but proper foundation design and specialized structural components required detailed engineering analysis.”
Before embarking on their alleged scam, the pair worked for the Rolling Hills Estates-based Palos Verdes Engineering Company. The company, which declined to comment for this story, told authorities it uncovered the alleged engineering fraud after a customer complained about an offer made by the men in April 2014.
phonyengineers2 Expand / Contract
Police say the men are now cooperating, but the scope of the problem is massive.
Since that time, Barton and his bureau have been tracking down projects that involved the pair, and have been stunned and horrified at the number of buildings involved.
“Up until then, nobody had any knowledge that this fraud was occurring,” Barton told FoxNews.com. “We visited 56 cities from San Bernardino and Riverside to Ventura County. Our nexus were the initial files Palos Verdes Engineering identified, and then we segued into other projects. It was a lot of groundwork.”
Law enforcement authorities are working the Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists to determine the scope and risk posed by the alleged fraud.
“Evidence thus far uncovered leads us to believe there were hundreds of projects built on their fraudulent structural engineering,” said Tiffany Criswell, the board’s enforcement manager. “Evidence leads us to believe there are additional properties we have yet to identify.”
One challenge for law enforcement is that many local governments only keep design and engineering plans on file for six months.
“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent contact letters to homeowners, developers, and architectural designers whose properties have been identified as possibly being associated with fraudulent structural engineering,” Barton said. “Investigators believe additional properties associated with structural engineering fraud may exist, but have not yet been identified.”
The men have not been charged and are cooperating with the sheriffs’ detectives. While sheriffs didn’t say how much the men allegedly profited on the deal, they likely made at least $2,000 to $3,000 per project on potentially several hundred projects over 11 years, according to industry insiders.
The LA sheriff’s white collar crime division will consider the case and whether to charge the men with a variety of crimes including civil engineering fraud, grand theft, theft of company identity, and forgery, LA sheriffs’ detectives said.
Palos Verdes Engineering Company had no business relations with the men between 2003 and 2014, during the time the alleged fraud occurred, Barton said. The men allegedly stole software from the company, which was used to produce fraudulent engineering plans bearing its company name and logo, Barton said.
“Palos Verdes Engineering Company’s civil engineer seal and forged signature was also used on structural engineering records to make the plans appear authentic, and as if they had been reviewed and approved by a licensed professional civil engineer.”
Legitimate professional engineers must have a degree in civil engineering, pass several grueling exams and obtain five years of experience before they can sign off on design documents for implementation.
On the architectural side, the value of architectural licensure is “immeasurable,” said Matt Tinder, spokesperson for
The American Institute of Architects, in Washington, DC.
“Without it, the entire built environment could serve as a public safety hazard,” Tinder said.
While there have been no glaring design flaws brought to the sheriff’s attention, there could be a risk to the public, which could be heightened by a natural disaster such as an earthquake. The sheriff’s department is advising homeowners who worked with Rodriguez and Gutierrez to contract the services of a civil engineer to go through the plans, examine their residence and determine if they are safe.
“We want to make sure people are safe,” Barton said. “There is a reason all these requirements are in place. When the whole procedure is circumvented, something bad can happen.
Fungi (or mold) fruiting bodies typically grow outdoors. This common mold or shelf fungi (or bracket fungus) will eat the old stump by digesting the wood and add natural features unique to this outdoor garden.
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