Health Board finds mold in 4 schools

Person Touching Rock

The Hancock County Health Board discussed reports of mold in the county’s schools during Tuesday’s meeting. The board has found mold in four of the county’s seven schools.

Sanitarian Chelsea Everly announced they have received reports of mold in Oak Glen Middle, Oak Glen High School and New Manchester Elementary. Carolyne Baker, registered sanitarian reported she found mold in Allison Elementary during the school’s inspection, which occurs every two years. Everly and Baker theorize there could be mold in the air ducts.

“It’s definitely an issue, and I think part of the issue is the temperature fluctuates so much in those schools, and the air is being turned off and turned on and turned off and turned on. It’s just causing a lot of problems. And some of the rooms are completely covered in mold,” said Everly.

There have been a total of three reports of mold in Oak Glen High School, two at Oak Glen Middle and one at New Manchester Elementary. The health department is unsure of who is making the complaints, but they have investigated each one. When mold is found the department advises the school to clean it up, and then conducts a follow up inspection to make sure the mold was cleaned up.

“We tell them how they should clean it, but if it’s even being cleaned the proper way, we have no idea,” said Everly.

The board fears the source of the mold is not being taken care of, and that children are going to become ill from mold exposure.

Children and adults with existing allergies will be more sensitive to the molds, and those with immune suppression or underlying lung diseases are more susceptible to fungal infections. Children with asthma inhaling mold spores may experience more frequent attacks. Mold allergy symptoms vary from sneezing and coughing to headaches and nausea. Black mold mycotoxins create irritation and burning sensations in the nasal cavity, mouth and throat.

The health department is unsure which types of molds have been in the schools and cannot determine the toxicity or health hazard of the molds.=

The board voted to write a letter to the Hancock County Board of Educatio encouraging a professional abatement. It will be up to the school system to take the health board’s recommendation. The health board could shut down the schools if the violation becomes severe enough, but that is not an avenue they want to take and are not considering it.

In other business, the board:

¯ Announced the state has approved the Health Department’s new service fees. The state gave confirmation the fee increases were approved, but the department has not received the official letter.

¯ Health Department Administrator Jackie Huff gave an update on the carpet removal in the clinic. She provided the received bids for review.

¯ Approved the recommended wage increases for the Health Department’s employees.

¯ Voted to keep John Plesa as the board’s chair and Anthony Palavis as the vice chair.

¯ Recommended residents get their flu shots. The health department has flu shots available. They will hold flu shot clinics and will have the department’s van out offering shots. It is recommended residents get their shots this month.

¯ The health department will hold a one-mile Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 19. Registration will be at 9 a.m. at the health department and the walk will start at 10 a.m.

Article Source: https://www.heraldstaronline.com/news/local-news/2019/10/health-board-finds-mold-in-4-schools/

Federal judge appoints watchdog to force NYCHA’s mold clean-up

A federal judge issued a court order Friday appointing an ombudsman to force the New York City Housing Authority to clean up its mold throughout the city.

The order, signed by U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley, authorized the appointment of Cesar de Castro as ombudsman through 2021.

Pauley also authorized the launch of a call center to process mold complaints at the Jefferson Houses, an East Harlem NYCHA complex. The call center will be operated by the consulting firm Stout Risius Ross.

The call center and de Castro’s work will initially focus on the Jefferson Houses and is expected to expand to other developments as their approach is refined over time.

Black mold scales the walls and ceiling inside the bathroom of Assa Diaby's apartment, a resident of Tompkins Houses in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on Aug. 25, 2016.

Pauley’s decision stems from a federal lawsuit filed by the non-profit Metro IAF on behalf of several NYCHA residents, including Maribel Baez, whose asthma worsened from toxic mold growing in her Melrose Houses apartment in the Bronx. Their suit led the city to accept a consent decree in 2013 that granted a federal judge oversight of the authority’s mold problems.

Despite that additional oversight, NYCHA has continued to struggle with mold. A report on complaints released last week found the agency failed to resolve 29,914 leak, mold and mildew complaints as of July.

Under Pauley’s decision, de Castro will be empowered to essentially force NYCHA to make needed repairs. He will have the power to hire outside contractors when NYCHA fails to resolve complaints. The Housing Authority will then have to foot the bill.

“We know public housing tenants need someone who can make sure mold is fixed when NYCHA doesn’t do the job right,” said Ray Lopez, a leader with Metro IAF. “We look forward to working with the ombudsperson.”

De Castro manages his own law firm that specializes in corporate investigations and criminal and commercial defense. He declined to comment.

“From the outset we have been working cooperatively with all parties to develop and implement the necessary systems to address mold,” said NYCHA spokeswoman Barbara Brancaccio. “We are pleased that Judge Pauley has made a determination regarding this matter and look forward to working with Mr. de Castro.”

Article Source: https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-nycha-ombudsman-mold-jefferson-houses-20190921-2dxjxxpbzvglbifofxz4ugloci-story.html

Chimney and Fireplace Mold Prevention and Tips

One of the most troublesome issues to identify in any house is the development of mold. Mold damage happens gradually. You may never see it until it’s past the point of no return. Did you know when mold spread entirely to your house it can harm your family?

Like any other home exterior, mold can also develop and multiply in your chimney when dimness, poor ventilation, and sogginess exist. To prevent issues like this, start looking for these visible signs.

In addition, chimneys can create negative pressure inside your building envelope and cause the dynamics of moisture to shift and be drawn into your home. It may seem unlikely, but the fireplace in your home may have several ways to fail and ultimately produce water damage and mold in your home.

•    Check Your Ventilation

Poor ventilation traps condensation, which promotes an environment conducive for mold build-up.

•    Maybe the Chimney Crown Is Broken

If your chimney crown is damaged, water can pass through creating a damp environment, resulting in mold growth. A tiny crack is enough for mold to build up around your chimney and fireplace.

•    Bricks and Mortars Are Not Waterproof

Check if your brick and mortar are correctly waterproof with sealant. Water will leak through it if your brick and mortar are sealed improperly.

•    Smokestack Cap Failure

If the pipe on your chimney is damage from an unfavorable weather condition, or not correctly installed, most likely it cannot keep the dampness out.

•    Eliminating Mold from Your Fireplace Is Not an Easy Job

Once you notice mold in your chimney, set up an immediate appointment for a fun guy inspection if you cannot do it on your own. Health risks associated with molds are dangerous and might cause more trouble for your family. Skilled professionals from Fun Guy Inspections can remove all your mold problems completely.

The Unpleasant Negative Health Effects of Mold to Your Family

Mold can cause breathing issues, such as common cold, coughing, headache, sore throat, and wheezing. On the other hand, mold spores when inhaled can cause serious ailments. An asthma attack, for example, followed by some allergic reactions, sinusitis, and the worst possible disease you can get from a mold is pneumonia.

Mold Prevention Tips for Your Chimney and Fireplace

•    Fixing the primary source of dampness is the ideal approach to avoid mold growth. Without moisture, mold won’t develop.

•    Proper waterproofing of your chimney is the answer to prevent mold growth. It should be done after it’s been examined and fixed by a professional. Fixing it will prevent water from leaking.

•    Schedule your chimney for a consult and inspection regularly. You can also set an appointment schedule to check your chimney for any damages after suffering from bad weather. This technique will prevent future problems.

The simple tips mentioned above will help you save money in the future and can keep your chimney and fireplace mold-free.

Fireplace Safety Guidelines – review

Regardless of how bad the season is, you can always find your inner peace and happiness in cold weather. Especially when nestled in front of the warmth of your fireplace. Certainly, cuddling in front of the lovely and warm fireplace is one of the few superb things that you can do in a cold winter day.

As beautiful as flames can be, you should not disregard the fact that a fireplace, when not properly maintained, can pose a serious health risk to you and your family. According to a study, 42% of home accidents were fireplace-related.

Enjoy the warmth that your fireplace gives you in the winter season by maintaining and keeping safety precautionary measures before and after using it.

Ensure that your cold nights can be filled with warmth with these simple tips on how to keep your fireplace safe.

  • The Fire Must Not Be Left Unattended

A fire when left unattended may cause harm to every member of your family. Make sure that you extinguish the fire before tucking in your bed.

  • Children Must Not Get Too Close To The Fire

Do not allow your children to play near the fire even if you were there watching them. A fire is one dangerous thing, and children should keep their distance.

  • Don’t Ever Try Burning Trash And Used Home Supplies In Your Fireplace

Trash and some used home supplies such as glues and empty inks can produce toxins when burned in the fireplace. These toxins, once inhaled by your family, can cause breathing problems.

  • During Cold Months, Your Firebox Must Be Cleaned At Least Once A Week

Cold weather is bed weather, and it makes a person lazy. It is a struggle to do your daily routine, but you must do your best to get up in bed and clean your firebox at least once a week.

  • Keep One Window Open When Using The Fireplace

In this way, you can prevent the smoky feeling in your room. The air coming from the open window helps push the smoke up to your chimney.

  • A Nonflammable Rug Is An Essential

Keeping a nonflammable rug near your fireplace is a must so that sparks won’t melt and damage your carpet.

  • Always Keep A Fire Extinguisher Near Your Fireplace

Keeping a fire extinguisher near your fireplace is a smart move, and can be used in emergencies.

  • Never Operate Appliances That Vent To The Outside

Bathroom vents, dryers, kitchen range hoods, and vacuum systems are one of the many examples of appliances that vent to the outside. Avoid using these appliances when you are using your fireplace as it may cause carbon monoxide build-up inside your home.

  • Set An Appointment Schedule To Clean And Inspect Your Home

If it is necessary, set an appointment to a professional chimney and fireplace inspector to check and clean your chimney. Chimney and fireplace are prone to mold build-up and can cause harmful effects to your family.

Following the precautionary methods listed above will not only make your family safe. However, being responsible for your own actions can help overcome many avoidable accidents that might happen in your home. For home inspection and assistance you can reach Fun Guy Inspections and Consulting, LLC in this number (866) 674-7541 or you can visit our website: https://funguyinspections.com/ for more information.

Overuse of Sprinkler System May Cause Mold Growth

Some good ways to irrigate your lawn are having a sprinkler connected to a water hose or system of multiple water pipelines which can be automatically controlled. This latter is the traditional way and seems to be a more convenient and no hassle system.  More homeowners rely on this water irrigation system thinking it works well with the trees, shrubs, and ornamentals in the garden, lawn, or yard. However, the overuse of sprinklers make it susceptible to different problems such as insects, weeds, moisture, fungi, and mold.

Effects of mold in your home due to overuse of water sprinklers:

  1. Overuse water sprinkler creates a spawning pool

No matter how small the pool of water left undistributed in your lawn is, count only a few days and this can produce and increase mold. This can also result in bigger problems for it can be a breeding ground of insects that may bring illness and diseases.

  • Surfaces in the yard may become wet and slippery

Mold and other organisms can thrive in damp conditions which lets them grow and become slippery.  The risk of the accident is significant.

  • Dead plants

Can’t find the reason why your plants are getting sick and dying?  Check your yard.  If its surface is covered by mold it can block the nourishment that your plants are supposed to receive.

  • Unattractive lawn surface for your family and pets

Imagine having your yard soaked from water and mold visibly present. It looks very unattractive and can also result in a danger for your family and pets, as it can remain on carpets and floors once these dirt and molds are carried in by paws and shoes.

  • Mold growth may come inside your home

If your outside walls continue getting wet from a water sprinkler system, the inside walls and materials may get wet too. This can cause unpleasant smells and water stains inside your home. When this is not treated and properly dried, mold and other bacteria can easily grow.

How to avoid getting mold:

  • Properly maintain your water sprinkler system
  • Wet materials need to be dried quickly
  • Keep mold off your plants
  • Make sure sprinklers are not directly on your home
  • Prevent moisture with proper ventilation
  • Detox your home by using humidifiers

Water sprinkler systems provide us a wonderful convenience with our busy daily lives. They let us have the power to irrigate our lawn with just a spin of the faucet or turn of a switch. However, overuse of sprinklers can result in bigger problems if not managed properly, mold problems can quickly occur and may cause serious respiratory health issues for your family. If you have a mold problem brewing around your home, contact FunGuy Inspections.

www.funguyinspections.com    818-674-7541 or 800-674-7541

Heavy Rains and Hurricanes Clear a Path for Supercharged Mold

Anyone east of the Rockies will tell you this has been a wet year. It wasn’t just that Hurricanes Florence and Michael soaked parts of the South. It wasn’t just that this year’s drenching storms were numerous and tracked unusually far north (one, Alberto, made a historic appearance all the way up in Michigan).

It was also that the rest of the Eastern Seaboard just simply got wetter. In Wilmington, N.C., 60 inches of rain broke an annual record set in 1966. Around Scranton, Pa., rainfall broke a 1945 record. Wisconsin, Colorado and Maryland all saw 1-in-1,000-year rainfall events. And dozens of locations, like Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Charleston, W.Va., had their second- or third-wettest summers on record.

And with the rain comes mold.

In some houses, mold spores are nothing more than a nuisance—staining furniture or making the basement smell funny. But in other homes they can put people in the hospital or even kill them. Many molds are associated with allergy or asthma attacks; some have been linked to serious complications in immune-compromised populations, and cancer. It is hard to say just yet how much the latest wet year has affected people’s respiratory systems, but it is certainly already hitting their pocketbooks.

“This year there’s just a lot of mold tests being done,” says Michael Berg, the laboratory director for EMLab P&K, one of the biggest U.S. mold-testing companies. He says staffing has become a challenge after two hurricanes and relentless storms along the Eastern Seaboard: “We are struggling, as far as having enough hands on deck in a year like this.”

As climate change and CO2 emissions continue to shape life on Earth, we may be seeing a lot more flooding—with higher sea levels and more powerful storms. In some ways this year might be a glimpse into a wet and moldy future. But what will that mean in practical terms?

Modelling the effects of climate change and rising CO2 levels is notoriously difficult, and even more so when it comes to the diverse world of fungi. It is a little like asking, “How will climate change affect animals?”—some may benefit while others suffer. In some cases the heat will make for fertile breeding grounds for fungi. In others the additional CO2 might irritate them, thereby prompting them to release more spores. “It’s a stress response. The fungus wants to survive, and the way it tries to survive is to produce more offspring—and that means more spores,” says Naresh Magan, a mycologist at England’s Cranfield University. Aspergillus fumigatus, a member of what is perhaps the most common genus of mold to irritate humans, seems to release far more spores when scientists raise it in warmer, CO2-rich enclosures. Other researchers have suggested that increased CO2 might create more leaf litter—where a lot of mold grows when it is not in your house—adding much-needed nitrogen for fungi.

And the spores they produce might be more harmful. In addition to the number of spores a mold puts out, evidence suggests higher CO2 might change the spores themselves. Some mold spores are more than eight times more allergenic today than in pre-industrial times (though it is not clear this trend will be maintained as CO2 levels continue to rise).

Scientists are not completely certain as to how this works. Unlike plants—which breathe in CO2 and can benefit from its increase—fungi take in oxygen, so changes in the chemistry of their spores may be due to some kind of secondary effect. Experts have suggested that more CO2 can lead to more acidic soil or indirectly change fungi respiration. Or there might be some unknown mechanism that causes different responses in different molds. Whatever that mechanism might be, higher CO2 somehow triggers the more allergenic proteins in many molds—which may be why so many more people are allergic to mold today than in generations past.

But not all fungi react the same way to environmental changes. Experiments suggest Alternaria—a genus of mold that causes respiratory problems and is often found in spoiled crops and houses—may actually decrease the allergens in its spores in a warmer, higher-CO2 world. In many cases, it is not clear what chemicals cause adverse health effects from mold spores, let alone how they will respond to a changing climate and atmosphere.

Magan has exposed many types of mold to different levels of CO2, heat and moisture. He says molds such as Stachybotrys—a dangerous group often referred to as “black mold”—might become less allergenic as CO2 increases. But when Aspergillus species are put in a higher CO2 environment, they increase production of aflatoxin B1, a potent cancer-causing chemical that the mold can deposit on some types of produce and livestock feed.

Some of these effects will change, Magan says, as molds adapt and mutate. This might mean the molds will adjust to the stress of climate change—but it could also mean they will adjust to how we treat them. The human body is an excellent place for molds to grow, but most people’s bodies are able to fight them off (though we might start coughing or get runny noses in the process). But in people with compromised immune systems—after stem cell therapy or an organ transplant, for example—Aspergillus can be lethal. Studies have documented an increasing ability among such molds to resist medical treatments including triazole, the most potent anti-fungal in such cases, even in patients who have never taken the drug.

Another problem with mold today is that many energy-efficient homes are designed to capture and conserve heat—which means they can also trap moisture and prevent ventilation, Magan adds. Heat and moisture create a perfect environment for mold. In a bitter irony, architects battling the very things that encourage molds globally may be making them more comfortable in your basement.

But people living in modern, energy-efficient homes are not the ones likely to suffer most from the long-term effects of mold. As is often the case with climate change and rising CO2 levels, the repercussions will likely be worst among the poor, especially in underdeveloped economies where many people cannot purge moisture and mold from their houses.

“With asthma and chronic pulmonary disease, it’s a vicious cycle. [Patients] go and get medication and they feel a little bit better, but they come back into the same home environment,” says Maureen Lichtveld, a global health professor at Tulane University who works with marginalized communities in the Caribbean region as well as the U.S. Southeast.

Lichtveld studies many forms of disease that follow disaster and climate change, but she finds mold especially frustrating because it is highly preventable and relatively easy to control in the home. And if it is not removed, mold can exacerbate chronic asthma and other diseases and stunt a child’s learning and growth. In Puerto Rico asthma was already 23 percent higher than on the mainland—with twice as many asthma-related deaths—before Hurricanes Irma and Maria battered the island in 2017. Many reports suggest it has spiked since then, though objective numbers are not yet available.

In places such as South Florida, where seasonal flooding is common, the mold remediation business has become especially competitive, according to Berg. In other places hit by hurricanes or heavy rains, residents might be facing mold problems for the first time. But whether from flooding, increased spore output or changes in how it functions, mold is likely to become a bigger part of our lives.

Tips* for avoiding the effects of airborne mold spores:

  • Just because you can’t smell the musty odor of mold in the air doesn’t mean it is not there. But if you can, it’s a good sign you might have a problem.
  • As with other allergens, not everyone responds to mold spores in the same way. One person might sneeze or cough while another might become exhausted, and another will feel nothing at all.
  • Mold thrives in wet places with little ventilation. Be especially careful with showers, basements or wherever you hang your clothes to dry.
  • There are thousands of species of mold, and each species releases different concentrations of potentially harmful chemicals. Off-the-shelf mold detectors are generally not sophisticated enough to accurately measure dangerous molds. It is far better to hire a service to take samples and analyze them in a lab.
  • For people with asthma, mold spores become especially dangerous when combined with other allergens such as cockroaches or animal dander.
  • Whereas molds can become resistant to medicines, they cannot do so to household bleach—which is still the best way to get them off surfaces. White vinegar is another, less caustic, option.
  • One of the best ways to beat mold in the home is to keep humidity low (ideally below 50 percent, but at least below 80 percent). If you have a period of high humidity, keep an eye out for mold.
  • Mold is far more likely to grow on organic materials. Wicker, wood or straw on furniture are the most common.
  • Make sure rooms are well-ventilated. If the weather is dry, open a window and create a cross breeze. If not, switch on a fan or air conditioning.
  • Do not try to paint over mold. It will continue to grow and release spores underneath the paint. Always wear protective goggles and a mask when dealing with household mold.
  • Once you have removed the mold—washing with bleach, throwing out that old wicker chair, using an air filter—the mold should not come back. If it does, it is probably because moisture is continuing to seep in through the air or some kind of leak. Find the source of the moisture rather than endlessly fighting the mold.

Original Article Source:https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/heavy-rains-and-hurricanes-clear-a-path-for-supercharged-mold/

Mold Leads to School Closure, Roof Replacement

California's Mold Law - SB 655

Maintenance and engineering managers who conduct multiple roof inspections a year can help ensure the effective performance and lifespan of roofs on commercial and institutional facilities. But when inspections do not occur regularly, potential issues go unnoticed and can become larger problems.

Take the case of K-8 Paideia School 15 in Yonkers, N.Y., where school officials to close the building to hundreds of students. Air tests of a possible mold outbreak came back clear on Oct. 4, but it remains unclear when it will reopen.

There was an emergency closing of the on Sept. 24, when ceiling tiles tested positive for mold. Construction crews are performing a full roof replacement, interior restoration and equipment upgrades. During the construction, the district will perform additional cleaning efforts inside the areas impacted by mold, according to The New Rochelle Daily Voice.

An expert says the wet summer and bountiful rain led to moisture in the building that encouraged the growth of the mold, which became pervasive. The building serves about 576 students and 84 faculty and administrative staff members.

“We have been working very closely with the district to ensure that the safety and well-being of our students remain paramount,” says Mayor Mike Spano, the mayor of Yonkers. “Relocating the students while Paideia School 15 is being remediated is in the best interest of our students and staff.”

Air sample testing found that all areas of the building have been cleared for reoccupancy, says Edwin Quezada. schools superintendent.

Article Source: https://www.facilitiesnet.com/roofing/tip/Mold-Leads-to-School-Closure-Roof-Replacement–42627

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