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.

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/

University Focuses On Cleaning After Student Death Linked To Mold

Dorms are being deep cleaned at the University of Maryland, as students are growing increasingly concerned that mold problems may be linked to the death of a freshman. According to Fox News reporting, Olivia Paregol, 18, died from the same rare virus that killed 11 children in a New Jersey healthcare facility.

Paregol developed a cough, which later worsened to pneumonia. She died from adenovirus on Nov. 18 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. This is less than three weeks after the school learned she had the illness. The university has since said five more students have illnesses tied to the same rare virus.

Some students said they found mold on their shoes and clothes in their dorm back in August — and believes the fungus caused them to fall ill. After they repeatedly alerted university officials, about 500 students were moved to temporary housing while the school worked to clean the dorms.

Paregol – who suffered from Crohn’s disease and a weakened immune system – lived in Elkton Hall, one of the dorms evacuated for cleaning.

Dr. David McBride, head of the university’s campus health center, said the university has stepped up the cleaning efforts and is on high alert.

Earlier this year these same dorms were involved in a study that looked at how influenza spread in close quarters.

Article Source:https://www.cleanlink.com/news/article/University-Focuses-On-Cleaning-After-Student-Death-Linked-To-Mold–23275

The dangers of mold: what you need to know

Mold Inspections LA | Not only is mold unsightly, but there are also numerous dangers of mold-mildew that can result in a variety of problems; from a mildew mite infestation for an allergic reaction. Mold accumulates in wet as well as poorly ventilated buildings. Combined with the apparent mildew, there may a distressing odor, water discolorations, condensation, peeling or damaged paint or wall structure paper, a wet basement, and position water under or about the house.

Based on the World Health Company (WHO), 15 percent of dwellings in cold climates have signals of dampness and 5 percent have signals of mildew problems. The numbers in warm climates are 20 percent for dampness and 25 percent for mold. This problem is more common in low-income communities and rental accommodations, often due to lack of appropriate ventilation, heating, and insulation. Plus, global warming and its effect on the weather can boost the problem of mold and dampness even more. Mold is harmful and toxic due to the mycotoxins, which may contribute to several health problems. More than 50 molds are considered including stachybotrys, difficult, alternaria, trichoderma and cladosporium.

Exposure to mildew inside a home can have profound effects on your health through skin ingestion, contact and inhalation. After all, you spend several hours a day at home. Plus, children and elderly people with fragile immunities spend most of their time indoors.

Here are the top hidden risks of toxic mold exposure that you must know. The dangers of mold?

Asthma

Prolonged exposure to high levels of interior dampness can lead to chronic health problems like asthma. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 6 million children in the United States have asthma. While genes play a lead role, child years asthma, in addition, has been associated with indoor mildew growing in a child’s home. Within a 2003 research released in the American Journal of Epidemiology, research workers analyzed several studies and reported that there surely is constant evidence that dampness exacerbates preexisting respiratory conditions like asthma, however they said it had not been clear whether it also causes these conditions.

Later, a 2012 research published in Environmental Health Perspectives reported that mildew publicity during early youth increases the threat of asthma by 80 percent. Aside from asthma, mildew publicity is also associated with bronchitis. A 2010 research published in Environmental Health reported that residential dampness and mildew are associated with substantial and statistically critical increases in both respiratory infections and bronchitis. It emphasized managing dampness and mold in buildings to prevent a substantial proportion of respiratory infections.

The association between mold and asthma, and also bronchitis, makes it more important to remediate water damage in homes, particularly in lower-income, urban communities where the problem of the mold is a common issue.

Rhinitis Infection

Household molds boost the risk of rhinitis. In fact, those already suffering from a rhinitis illness will have more severe symptoms when exposed to mold. A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society reports that although indoor dampness or mold exposure in relation to rhinitis symptoms does not have a strong relationship, there is a strong connection between high in-home fungal concentrations and development of allergic rhinitis in a child’s first five many years of life.

A subsequent 2013 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology provides evidence that dampness and mildew publicity at home are determinants of rhinitis and its own allergic rhinitis, rhinoconjunctivitis, and subcategories. The organizations were most powerful with mold smell, suggesting the need for microbial causal real estate agents.

Headaches

If you’re hanging out in a mold-affected home and you also get frequent headaches, the reason why may be mildew toxicity. Headaches, including migraine headaches, are common outcomes of mildew toxicity. Mold can result in headaches or a migraine consequently of an allergic attack to mildew spores in the air. It could even be credited to sinus pressure the effect of a sinus disease or swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose cavities.

Along with headaches, you may even have problems with fatigue and tiredness. Furthermore, you might experience pain in muscle tissue and joints. To prevent headaches and migraines credited to mold toxins, you’ll need to eliminate your exposure to mold.

Weak Immunity

Mold toxins can even affect the body’s immune system, thus making you more prone to illness. Heavily infested homes can have fungi that can produce volatile natural and organic compounds, which impair the disease fighting capability. The problem is actually common in small kids, whose immune systems aren’t fully developed. When their physiques are exposed to mildew or antigens, their immune system systems may react abnormally, creating regular health problems.

Based on the American Academy of Pediatrics, toxic results from mold could cause severe health issues in babies, including acute vomiting, diarrhea, asthma attacks and even pulmonary hemorrhaging in severe instances. Actually, long-term exposure can result in death. Not only children, even people living around toxic dark mold for long hours are more susceptible to get attacks and be sick.

Eye Problems

Homes heavily infested with mildew can cause eyesight and eyesight problems, too.

Mycotoxins can be there in the air, thereby easily getting into a person’s eye. The mycotoxins are poisonous to cells, so when they touch the cells in your eye, they cause problems. Toxins in the mold can cause eye problems like inflammation in the eyes, soreness, watery eyes, bloodshot eyes and blurry vision, to name a few.

Skin Rashes

Toxic mold can enter your body through the minute pores present on your skin. Those who have sensitive skin can suffer from severe skin problems, especially after exposure to black mold.

The symptoms may include skin inflammation, pink or brown skin rashes, blisters and severe itchiness. At times, it can cause yellowing of the skin as if you are suffering from jaundice.

A rash due to mold can be very itchy and excessive scratching increases the risk of breaking the skin and triggering an infection. This type of skin problem may need antibiotics or other treatments prescribed by a health care provider.

So long as you remain subject to mildew, you are likely to have signs or symptoms, despite having treatment. To eliminate the mold-related epidermis problems, you will need to avoid mold-affected areas completely.

Article Source: http://vinhome-nguyentrai.net/the-dangers-of-mold-what-you-need-to-know/

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