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.

 

Threats of Molds: Facts Revealed within your Home

Threats of Molds: Facts Revealed

Molds are everywhere. It may not be seen by your naked eyes but you are will not be so sure about their existence. Mold is a kind of fungi that grows from different spots. All of us are exposed from variety of molds that can affect our health.

How sure you are that your homes are free from any threats of molds? Let us now talk about how mold gets inside your homes and other premises.

Our idea about mold is that it grows naturally outdoors. Looking at the positive part, mold is a fungus that serves as earth’s most important recyclers. The only problem is that when a mold combined with water damage and exposed to prolonged humidity and dampness, that is the moment where mold now become a threat to one’s life.

Here are some of those common sources of indoor moisture that can lead to mold problems,

  • Flooding
  • Leak and damage roofs
  • Broken pipes
  • Poor management of rainwater drainage
  • Process of condensation

When you observed the above mention scenario inside your homes and within your vicinity, then you need to make some immediate actions to solve the problems.

How to prevent molds growth?

Prevention is always better than any cure. It is better to do something early than suffering consequences. One way to prevent mold growth is to control excessive moisture and condensation. Since molds grow critically because of the presence of water damage and excessive moisture then you need to be at those points in the first place.

 

What are the top three factors that contribute in condensation of water resulting to mold?

  1. Poor Ventilation. If your place has a little access on air, there is a greater chance of an increased in condensation and mold growth. There are spots in our homes when there is a little supply of air the reason why that even though we keep on cleaning our place, molds existence is still there.
  2. Temperature Changes. More warm air means more moisture generated. If we will not be mindful about the temperature of our home, there will be a great chance of mold formation
  3. Relative Humidity. When air is saturated, condensation occurs resulting to situation where it can no longer hold any moisture. When there is condensation, then mold is the counterpart. In order to maintain humidity levels, used of dehumidifiers is advised.

If you are having a hard time dealing   with molds you can have some help and learn more from experts.

Fun Guy Inspections is one of the leading companies that can sure help you resolve your mold problems.

There are lots of mold removal services that are present in your place but not all can give guaranteed service. Choose wisely! Choose Fun Guy Inspections. This is a company that perfectly designs to help you out to solve your mold problems. There were always solutions for every mold problem with Fun Guy Infections.

 

For more information, you can give them a call for a schedule service at (866) 674- 7541 or email them @ TestNow@funguyinspections.com  or simply visit their page http://funguyinspections.com/

How false water-damage claims are reaching crisis levels in Florida

With just a few weeks before the start of Hurricane Season 2017, all eyes turn to Florida, which had remained relatively unscathed by Mother Nature’s torment in recent years until Hurricane Matthew barreled up the Atlantic coastline last September — leaving behind more than $800 million in claims in the Sunshine State.

Yet there is another destructive storm hitting Florida that’s causing untold damage. This tempest has been created by unscrupulous contractors, lawyers and their legal tool: Assignment of Benefits. It’s one that has inflicted countless painful injuries to not only the insurance industry but also to homeowners as well.

Article Source: http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2017/05/05/how-false-water-damage-claims-are-reaching-crisis?slreturn=1494832608

Stinky Building Syndrome – Is it a mold problem?

Mold problems can be detected by offensive and mildew odors

Mold Problems

Every now and then, we might have a situation where we have to deal with suspicious odors at home. These odors can be a result of building products, new furniture, carpeting, paint or even mold and water damage problem.  There are many reasons why mold or other smells may appear in your home. When there is water damage,  you may notice that the house stinks of an offensive odor that is similar to mold. At this stage the water soaks into the buildings materials and begins to create a really offensive odor similar to mold.  Sometimes you may notice that the problem is localized to one room or one cabinet.  Thus, it is important to reassess these areas and notice when and how often you see the problem.

Stinky building syndrome

is a common term referred to by Fun Guy Inspections.  As certified mold inspectors we have noticed when water damage is left unattended, the building begins to develop a distinct odor.  The odor is very similar to mold and may represent a future mold problem.  The smell can be quite offensive to some people and unrecognized by others. Stinky building syndrome is likely explained by the mold inspector as a combination of building products, such as drywall, wood, insulation, paint, glues, etc. that are once wetted, still wet, and now emitting odors. How to prevent stinky building syndrome?

The best way to combat this problem is by drying the materials as soon as possible.  Whether you use a certified mold inspector or restoration company, these professionals can help determine the areas that are wet and the best way to dry or dehumidify those building products. When water is released from a pipe or spill, the areas should be cleaned within 24-48 hours in order to prevent mold growth.  Immediately begin to pick up the water with towels or mops.

Depending on the amount of water you may want to consider drying of the walls or flooring with a fan.  If too much water is believed to be released, it is best to call a mold inspector or certified water damage company to dry the building materials properly before mold problems begin. Molds tend to destroy the things that they grow on. And therefore, you can prevent damage to your home and other important furnishings, and also save money and avoid health problems by eliminating moisture and mold growth.

Mold is a part of the natural environment. When outdoors, mold plays an important part in nature by breaking down the dead organic matter such as dead trees. Indoors though, mold growth should be avoided at all costs. The main way through which mold grows and reproduces is by the means of tiny spores. Mold is not just bad for your home but there are other important health effects that they bring. Mold spores can be hazardous to humans and cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. To check if your home is plagued by mold, you can check for the following symptoms: You will start to experience:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Persistent sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Skin irritation
  • Throat irritation
  • Cough
  • Respiratory issues

There are certain tips that can be followed to clean your home off mold. These include:

Get Rid Of The Water

One way to get rid of mold is to get rid of water. Try to use old towels, buckets and mops to clean the water and clear the ground off water. Drying out the area is the best thing that you can do in order to prevent mold growth.

Dry Out Affected Area

You can also prevent mold growth by drying out the affected area. Once you have cleaned the area, you can use fans and dehumidifiers to clean the area and dry it out. Since mold prevails on water, drying out the area can do wonders for your home.

Disconnect Any Electronics

Moreover, when there is seepage, it is important to clean off the area against water and it is also important to disconnect any electronics. You should try your best to keep the electronics away from the affected area. On the other hand, if you have suspected mold growth, you can also hire professional services to clean the mold. If you are looking for such services, funguyinspections is a good choice. The company is well known for clearing mold off areas and can help in reinstating your house to its original self. Mold growth is harmful and it is better to hire professional help to clean the area off such growth. Funguyinspections works to do just that. They are professionals at cleaning homes with mold and they ensure that your house is restored to its maximum potential and free from all damage. Funguyinspections will work to come in and perform an in-depth inspection and then look for mold, water damage and others to rule out odors that make you uncomfortable and sick. To get a quote from funguyinspections or learn more about how they can help in preventing water damage problem and cleaning your house off water damage, get a quote from their website right away.

Risks of Mold

Risk of Mold | Los Angeles Plumbing repairs and maintenance help prevent water damage and mold growth

Risk of Mold | Los Angeles

Plumbing repairs and maintenance help prevent water damage and mold problems

Tightening the faucet and re-caulking the fixtures can help save thousands of dollars.  . Is your building at risk now?

  1.  Active Leaks – risk of mold increases
  2. Historic Leaks – risk of mold present

How does a mold inspector find plumbing leaks in your home?

By using a moisture meter or thermal infrared camera. As an important indicator, a mold inspector will use moisture content to determine if your building is at risk now.

Home/ Building Owners:

A quick weekly inspection can be conducted to determine if preventative plumbing repairs in your home need to be completed to prevent mold from growing inside your home.

Determine if your building is at risk of mold & water damage

Contact us
water damage will increase the risk of mold inside your home

Health effects | Risks of Mold

Studies have shown that people who are atopic (sensitive), already suffer from allergies, asthma, or compromised immune systems[3] and occupy damp or moldy buildings are at an increased risk of health problems such as inflammatory and toxic responses to mold spores, metabolites and other components.[4] The most common health problem is an allergic reaction. Other problems are respiratory and/or immune system responses including respiratory symptoms, respiratory infections, exacerbation of asthma, and rarely hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic alveolitis, chronic rhinosinusitis and allergic fungal sinusitis. Severe reactions are rare but possible. A person’s reaction to mold depends on their sensitivity and other health conditions, the amount of mold present, length of exposure and the type of mold or mold products.

Some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. The term “toxic mold” refers to molds that produce mycotoxins, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, not to all molds.[5] Exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and in some cases death.[6] Prolonged exposure, e.g., daily workplace exposure, can be particularly harmful.

The five most common genera of indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Alternaria and Trichoderma.

Damp environments which allow mold to grow can also produce bacteria and help release volatile organic compounds.

California’s Mold Law – SB 655

California's Mold Law - SB 655 Los Angeles Mold Inspections SpecialistCalifornia’s Mold Law – SB 655

Mold is now a factor in declaring a property unfit for a renter.

A landlord could even face misdemeanor criminal penalties if mold is not cleared out.  California’s Mold Law – SB 655 . .

However, he said a health officer actually has to come out to a property to declare it uninhabitable because of mold. A renter will not be successful in court, he said, unless a health official says the unit poses a risk.

“Here’s the really good news: You don’t need to do anything until you’re told about it,” Hutchinson said of when a landlord needs to clean it out.

The mold law also says mold is not the landlords’ fault if the tenant caused mold by “inappropriate housekeeping practices.”

Summary

BILL NUMBER: SB 655	INTRODUCED 	BILL TEXT
INTRODUCED BY   Senator Mitchell   FEBRUARY 27, 2015
An act to amend Sections 17920 and 17920.3 of the Health and
Safety Code, relating to housing standards.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
SB 655, as introduced, Mitchell. Housing standards: mold.
(1) The State Housing Law, which is administered by the Department
of Housing and Community Development, prescribes standards for
buildings used for human habitation and establishes definitions for
this purpose. The law provides that a building, or a portion of it,
in which certain conditions are found to exist, such as a lack of
sanitation, as specified, is substandard. The law provides that a
violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor.
This bill would specify that visible or otherwise demonstrable
mold growth, excepting mold caused by inappropriate housekeeping
practices or improper use of ventilation, is a type of inadequate
sanitation and therefore a substandard condition. The bill would
define mold as living or dead fungi or its related products or parts,
including spores and hyphae. By expanding the definition of a crime,
this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse
local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1.  Section 17920 of the Health and Safety Code is amended
to read:
17920.  As used in this part: 
(a) 
 (a)  "Approved" means acceptable to the department.

(b) 
 (b)  "Building" means a structure subject to this part.

(c) 
 (c)  "Building standard" means building standard as
defined in Section 18909. 
(d) 
 (d)  "Department" means the Department of Housing and
Community Development. 
(e) 
 (e)  "Enforcement" means diligent effort to secure
compliance, including review of plans and permit applications,
response to complaints, citation of violations, and other legal
process. Except as otherwise provided in this part, "enforcement"
may, but need not, include inspections of existing buildings on which
no complaint or permit application has been filed, and effort to
secure compliance as to these existing buildings. 
(f) 
 (f)  "Fire protection district" means any special
district, or any other municipal or public corporation or district,
which is authorized by law to provide fire protection and prevention
services. 
(g) 
 (g)  "Labeled" means equipment or materials to which has
been attached a label, symbol, or other identifying mark of an
organization, approved by the department, that maintains a periodic
inspection program of production of labeled products, installations,
equipment, or materials and by whose labeling the manufacturer
indicates compliance with appropriate standards or performance in a
specified manner. 
(h) 
 (h)  "Listed" means all products that appear in a list
published by an approved testing or listing agency. 
(i) 
 (i)  "Listing agency" means an agency approved by the
department that is in the business of listing and labeling products,
materials, equipment, and installations tested by an approved testing
agency, and that maintains a periodic inspection program on current
production of listed products, equipment, and installations, and
that, at least annually, makes available a published report of these
listings. 
(j) "Mold" means living or dead fungi or its related products or
parts, including spores and hyphae.  
(j) 
 (k)  "Noise insulation" means the protection of persons
within buildings from excessive noise, however generated, originating
within or without such buildings. 
(k) 
 (l)  "Nuisance" means any nuisance defined pursuant to
Part 3 (commencing with Section 3479) of Division 4 of the Civil
Code, or any other form of nuisance recognized at common law or in
equity. 
(l) 
 (m)  "Public entity" has the same meaning as defined in
Section 811.2 of the Government Code. 
(m) 
 (n) "Testing agency" means an agency approved by the
department as qualified and equipped for testing of products,
materials, equipment, and installations in accordance with nationally
recognized standards.
SEC. 2.  Section 17920.3 of the Health and Safety Code is amended
to read:
17920.3.  Any building or portion thereof including any dwelling
unit, guestroom or suite of rooms, or the premises on which the same
is located, in which there exists any of the following listed
conditions to an extent that endangers the life, limb, health,
property, safety, or welfare of the public or the occupants thereof
shall be deemed and hereby is declared to be a substandard building:
(a) Inadequate sanitation shall include, but not be limited to,
the following:
(1) Lack of, or improper water closet, lavatory, or bathtub or
shower in a dwelling unit.
(2) Lack of, or improper water closets, lavatories, and bathtubs
or showers per number of guests in a hotel.
(3) Lack of, or improper kitchen sink.
(4) Lack of hot and cold running water to plumbing fixtures in a
hotel.
(5) Lack of hot and cold running water to plumbing fixtures in a
dwelling unit.
(6) Lack of adequate heating.
(7) Lack of, or improper operation of required ventilating
equipment.
(8) Lack of minimum amounts of natural light and ventilation
required by this code.
(9) Room and space dimensions less than required by this code.
(10) Lack of required electrical lighting.
(11) Dampness of habitable rooms.
(12) Infestation of insects, vermin, or rodents as determined by a
health officer or, if an agreement does not exist with an agency
that has a health officer, the infestation can be determined by a
code enforcement officer, as defined in Section 829.5 of the Penal
Code, upon successful completion of a course of study in the
appropriate subject matter as determined by the local jurisdiction.

(13) Any visible or otherwise demonstrable mold growth, excluding
the presence of mold that is caused by inappropriate housekeeping
practices or improper use of natural or mechanical ventilation. 

(13) 
 (14)  General dilapidation or improper maintenance.

(14) 
 (15)  Lack of connection to required sewage disposal
system. 
(15) 
 (16) Lack of adequate garbage and rubbish storage and
removal facilities, as determined by a health officer or, if an
agreement does not exist with an agency that has a health officer,
the lack of adequate garbage and rubbish removal facilities can be
determined by a code enforcement officer as defined in Section 829.5
of the Penal Code.
(b) Structural hazards shall include, but not be limited to, the
following:
(1) Deteriorated or inadequate foundations.
(2) Defective or deteriorated flooring or floor supports.
(3) Flooring or floor supports of insufficient size to carry
imposed loads with safety.
(4) Members of walls, partitions, or other vertical supports that
split, lean, list, or buckle due to defective material or
deterioration.
(5) Members of walls, partitions, or other vertical supports that
are of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety.
(6) Members of ceilings, roofs, ceiling and roof supports, or
other horizontal members which sag, split, or buckle due to defective
material or deterioration.
(7) Members of ceilings, roofs, ceiling and roof supports, or
other horizontal members that are of insufficient size to carry
imposed loads with safety.
(8) Fireplaces or chimneys which list, bulge, or settle due to
defective material or deterioration.
(9) Fireplaces or chimneys which are of insufficient size or
strength to carry imposed loads with safety.
(c) Any nuisance.
(d) All wiring, except that which conformed with all applicable
laws in effect at the time of installation if it is currently in good
and safe condition and working properly.
(e) All plumbing, except plumbing that conformed with all
applicable laws in effect at the time of installation and has been
maintained in good condition, or that may not have conformed with all
applicable laws in effect at the time of installation but is
currently in good and safe condition and working properly, and that
is free of cross connections and siphonage between fixtures.
(f) All mechanical equipment, including vents, except equipment
that conformed with all applicable laws in effect at the time of
installation and that has been maintained in good and safe condition,
or that may not have conformed with all applicable laws in effect at
the time of installation but is currently in good and safe condition
and working properly.
(g) Faulty weather protection, which shall include, but not be
limited to, the following:
(1) Deteriorated, crumbling, or loose plaster.
(2) Deteriorated or ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls,
roofs, foundations, or floors, including broken windows or doors.
(3) Defective or lack of weather protection for exterior wall
coverings, including lack of paint, or weathering due to lack of
paint or other approved protective covering.
(4) Broken, rotted, split, or buckled exterior wall coverings or
roof coverings.
(h) Any building or portion thereof, device, apparatus, equipment,
combustible waste, or vegetation that, in the opinion of the chief
of the fire department or his deputy, is in such a condition as to
cause a fire or explosion or provide a ready fuel to augment the
spread and intensity of fire or explosion arising from any cause.
(i) All materials of construction, except those that are
specifically allowed or approved by this code, and that have been
adequately maintained in good and safe condition.
(j) Those premises on which an accumulation of weeds, vegetation,
junk, dead organic matter, debris, garbage, offal, rodent harborages,
stagnant water, combustible materials, and similar materials or
conditions constitute fire, health, or safety hazards.
(k) Any building or portion thereof that is determined to be an
unsafe building due to inadequate maintenance, in accordance with the
latest edition of the Uniform Building Code.
(  l  ) All buildings or portions thereof not provided
with adequate exit facilities as required by this code, except those
buildings or portions thereof whose exit facilities conformed with
all applicable laws at the time of their construction and that have
been adequately maintained and increased in relation to any increase
in occupant load, alteration or addition, or any change in occupancy.
When an unsafe condition exists through lack of, or improper
location of, exits, additional exits may be required to be installed.
(m) All buildings or portions thereof that are not provided with
the fire-resistive construction or fire-extinguishing systems or
equipment required by this code, except those buildings or portions
thereof that conformed with all applicable laws at the time of their
construction and whose fire-resistive integrity and
fire-extinguishing systems or equipment have been adequately
maintained and improved in relation to any increase in occupant load,
alteration or addition, or any change in occupancy.
(n) All buildings or portions thereof occupied for living,
sleeping, cooking, or dining purposes that were not designed or
intended to be used for those occupancies.
(o) Inadequate structural resistance to horizontal forces.
"Substandard building" includes a building not in compliance with
Section 13143.2.
However, a condition that would require displacement of sound
walls or ceilings to meet height, length, or width requirements for
ceilings, rooms, and dwelling units shall not by itself be considered
sufficient existence of dangerous conditions making a building a
substandard building, unless the building was constructed, altered,
or converted in violation of those requirements in effect at the time
of construction, alteration, or conversion.
SEC. 3.  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the
Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the
meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
Constitution.                
California's Mold Law - SB 655
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/