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Thread: Suspected Mold

  1. #1
    Ron Lessard's Avatar
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    Default Suspected Mold

    I just visited an administrative wing attached to a church that had a sewer backup about 2 months ago. The building is on a slab and has glued down carpet squares. The carpet was cleaned about a month after the sewer backup, however two of the offices have a musty smell and the employees are complaining about their allergies acting up while at work. I did an IR scan and didn't find any wet walls. Just found a significant air leak in one outside wall between two offices. This was not close to the sewer flood.
    Ideas?? What is the best way to check for mold without opening the walls and inspecting?

    Ron Lessard,
    AAA Energy Consultants

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  2. #2
    Christopher Scheip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I would perform an air quaility test to show which molds are in the room and their respective spore counts.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    If the carpet was wet for any length of time (>24 hours), it is moldy. Same for any wood framing or drywall in the walls.

    Did they dry it up right away after the sewer backup? If they let it sit until cleaning it a month later, it is beyond cleaning. They should replace the carpet.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    With sewage, the carpet should have been removed and tossed in the trash! You should never try to reuse carpet if it has been flooded with anything but clean water. I bet the bacteria counts are off the charts with that carpet.

    Holes need to be cut into the drywall. If you have a SeeSnake or a Borescope you can make small holes to see inside the wall cavity.

    Depending on how high the flood water was will depend on what needed to be done to clean the area. If it was just an inch or so, then most likely getting rid of the carpet would suffice.

    Now if it got to several inches or more then the drywall and insulation should have been removed. This is where most folks screw up and try to go cheap....!

    As for testing the air for mold, this would be a waste of the Church's money. If you can smell the mold (musty smell) then you know that mold is present so why test? Find the source and get rid of it. my bet is on the carpet and that the flood got into the walls and insulation.

    Unless you have experience in restoration of flood damaged buildings you need to punt this job to an expert who can take care of the problems. You are dealing with health issues and this is way outside the scope of knowledge for a normal home inspector.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 10-11-2010 at 08:06 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I'm with Christopher, do an air quality sampling and then if you find reasons to suspect mold do a more invasive search. As for the carpet if it was mine I would replace it, church's are a little strapped for cash these days so there might be some kind of other solution since it is a glue down and no pad. Good luck!!

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I agree with Scott Patterson. Grey water, black water or anything besides clear water requires the immediate removal of carpets and a thorough cleaning of the substrate with a bleach solution at the very least. Just drying or shampooing and then drying is a waste of time and effort. If the church decides they can bring in an Air Quality tester and test levels prior to doing the repairs, but the repairs must be done, tested or not. Whether walls are opened or not will depend on the anecdotal evidence of the depth of the flood. However you are dealing with a bacterial soup in the carpet, wet or dry.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    They should check to see if it is too late to make an insurance claim.
    They should have made a claim immediatly and had the damages professionally cleaned and repaired. A church is a public building with employees and they should have taken proper steps to ensure everyones safety.


  8. #8
    Nick J. Alati's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I would recommend that you give a call to Ron Wieber, he is with Envrio-Safe Inc. in St Cloud 651 307 7685
    Ron is a Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    With sewage, the carpet should have been removed and tossed in the trash! You should never try to reuse carpet if it has been flooded with anything but clean water. I bet the bacteria counts are off the charts with that carpet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Llewel Walters View Post
    I agree with Scott Patterson. Grey water, black water or anything besides clear water requires the immediate removal of carpets and a thorough cleaning of the substrate with a bleach solution at the very least.
    Agreed.

    Would anyone even consider mopping their floors with dirty water? I doubt it.

    But mopping your floors with dirty water would be much more sanitary than leaving carpets where sewage backed up on the carpet.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Obviously some "Mold is Gold" guys around. "Let's take some tests!"

    They know it's there. Why bother with mold testing. Why waste the church's money?

    From the Center for Disease Control:

    CDC - Mold - General Information - Basic Facts

    I found mold growing in my home, how do I test the mold?


    Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal. Furthermore, reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established.

    A qualified environmental lab took samples of the mold in my home and gave me the results. Can CDC interpret these results?

    Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable, or normal quantity of mold have not been established. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.


    FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:

    Investigating, Evaluating, and Remediating Moisture and Mold Problems | Mold | US EPA

    Sampling
    Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. In specific instances, such as cases where litigation is involved, the source(s) of the mold contamination is unclear, or health concerns are a problem, you may consider sampling as part of your site evaluation. Surface sampling may also be useful in order to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling should be done only after developing a sampling plan that includes a confirmable theory regarding suspected mold sources and routes of exposure. Figure out what you think is happening and how to prove or disprove it before you sample!


    If you do not have extensive experience and/or are in doubt about sampling, consult an experienced professional. This individual can help you decide if sampling for mold is useful and/or needed, and will be able to carry out any necessary sampling. It is important to remember that the results of sampling may have limited use or application. Sampling may help locate the source of mold contamination, identify some of the mold species present, and differentiate between mold and soot or dirt. Pre- and post-remediation sampling may also be useful in determining whether remediation efforts have been effective. After remediation, the types and concentrations of mold in indoor air samples should be similar to what is found in the local outdoor air. Since no EPA or other Federal threshold limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with Federal mold standards.
    Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals with specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpretation of results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional guidelines (see Resources List). Types of samples include air samples, surface samples, bulk samples (chunks of carpet, insulation, wall board, etc.), and water samples from condensate drain pans or cooling towers.
    A number of pitfalls may be encountered when inexperienced personnel conduct sampling. They may take an inadequate number of samples, there may be inconsistency in sampling protocols, the samples may become contaminated, outdoor control samples may be omitted, and you may incur costs for unneeded or inappropriate samples. Budget constraints will often be a consideration when sampling; professional advice may be necessary to determine if it is possible to take sufficient samples to characterize a problem on a given budget. If it is not possible to sample properly, with a sufficient number of samples to answer the question(s) posed, it would be preferable not to sample. Inadequate sample plans may generate misleading, confusing, and useless results.
    Keep in mind that air sampling for mold provides information only for the moment in time in which the sampling occurred, much like a snapshot. Air sampling will reveal, when properly done, what was in the air at the moment when the sample was taken. For someone without experience, sampling results will be difficult to interpret. Experience in interpretation of results is essential.



    From the Trial Lawyers, Inc. 2003

    Trial Lawyers Inc. 2003

    Despite the lack of scientific evidence, successful mold suits are the newest growth sector for Trial Lawyers, Inc. and for a whole industry of consultants who now work around the issue. The American Bar Association Journal made the case blatantly when it headlined a recent article on the growth of mold litigation MOLD IS GOLD.


    Get a life. Make an honest living!

    Ron, Good luck with helping them. Just tell them to get rid of the soupy carpet and clean underneath as necessary.

    -

    Last edited by Erby Crofutt; 10-13-2010 at 07:19 AM.
    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    It's Satan at work!


  12. #12

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Good morning, Gents!

    Haven’t been around lately.

    I have been involved in a number of sewerage issues, including sewerage losses in various restaurants, hospitals, and residences and spending more time that I care to remember as a court ordered observer at sewerage treatment plant in Detroit. Here’s some thoughts:

    Rick's right, of course, but Scott’s the closest to the target.

    Christopher Scheip and Tom Rees are just plain dead wrong.

    Nick, I've never heard of a “Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant”… sounds like smoke and mirrors. Certainly not a certification that is accepted as legitimate by legitimate indoor air quality professional communities. Is this another Pro-Labs three-day wonder class?

    Now to meat and potatoes: Believe it or not, in general, with black water, the biggest issue is the intuitive revulsion we have towards the material itself. This is a good thing. The health hazards associated with a black water loss are not actually as bad as the perceived hazards.

    I’ve been involved with a number of raw sewerage losses in restaurants and people are generally horrified to learn that the local health departments won’t consider the problem significant enough to shut down the restaurant!

    I’ve also been involved in a number of law suits where people (understandably) want their contaminated belongings thrown out and replaced instead of cleaned. Although most items can be easily and adequately remediated, who would want to sleep on a pillow that had been soaked in poop? So, in the case of raw sewerage contamination, the irrational becomes reasonable and understandable.

    One of the primary reasons that reports of allergies and respiratory complaints increases following a loss is due to an entity known as endotoxins. Endotoxin exposures can sky-rocket following a loss and these are the entities that can cause some very serious physiological responses. In general, there is no need to sample the air or surfaces for their presence, except that we frequently will do that as a demonstrable end point at the conclusion of a clean-up, or for peace of mind issues.

    The problem is that there are no standards and so the interpretation of the data are usually laid out before the sampling and the interpretation will be based on my best judgment for the circumstances at hand – what may be acceptable in one case, may not be acceptable in another.

    Generally speaking, Scott’s common sense response to a black water loss will be the most prudent. Running around doing “air tests” is the purview of the “Certified” three-day wonders.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  13. #13
    Philip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    It was sewer for God's sake! Did they call their insurance company who recommended a licensed restoration company like Serv-pro, who 'cleaned' the carpet instead of replacing it. If so the insurance company needs contacted again and forced to do the job correctly. If it is going to involve lawyers and the church is broke at least get some volunteers with adequate face filters in there to rip it out and clean the sub-floors. Did I read somewhere that bleach does not do that job?


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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Lessard View Post
    ...church had a sewer backup about 2 months ago ... has glued down carpet squares ... carpet was cleaned about a month after the sewer backup ... employees are complaining about allergies acting up while at work.
    I did an IR scan. Ideas?? What is the best way to check for mold without opening the walls and inspecting?

    Ron Lessard,
    AAA Energy Consultants
    I don't know the size of sewer back up, but the scenario you mention is just ridiculously nuts. A sewer back-up deserves immediate and complete clean-up. Why they waited a month to clean the carpet is beyond ridiculous. Out of curiosity, how deep (high) was the back-up and what size area are we talking about?

    I'm in the Twin Cities and visit the Brainerd area often (most weekends). Call me if you want local expertise 651-653-7111

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    It was sewer for God's sake! Did they call their insurance company who recommended a licensed restoration company like Serv-pro, who 'cleaned' the carpet instead of replacing it. If so the insurance company needs contacted again and forced to do the job correctly. If it is going to involve lawyers and the church is broke at least get some volunteers with adequate face filters in there to rip it out and clean the sub-floors. Did I read somewhere that bleach does not do that job?
    I agree w/ what you are saying, but going back to some of the comments
    about putting holes in the walls and scoping and sampling for airborne mold, is way beyound the scope of a Home inspectors job and we really need to refer to a Licensed Professional qualified in that field and call it good. I say this because we need to be sure we all keep a sense of consistency in OUR field and not to drift into the unknown.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Some people work more than one field.

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

  17. #17

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Erby Crofutt View Post
    Some people work more than one field.
    Aye – Only perhaps, Erby:

    But I have never encountered an Home Inspector who has the necessary qualifications to perform any kind of air monitoring for human exposures. And on each case I’ve worked where an Home Inspector has performed such sampling, under the pretense of competency, we have dismantled the Home Inspector’s report, and demonstrated that the work was way beyond the practioner's competency and field.

    The only exception is with radon, since the EPA real estate radon protocols don’t actually measure radon at all, and aren’t scientifically valid and can’t be used for human exposure monitoring, and aren't valid under any regulations, so we don’t get involved in Home Inspector’s radon reports.

    I think Jeff’s point is well taken. I’m not competent to perform Home Inspections, and I’ve never seen a Home Inspector EVER collect valid human exposure air samples of anything.

    ‘Course, that's just me…

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Performing an air quality test will show which molds are in the room, the type of spores, concentration etc. Along with a moisture meter and Infrared camera the inspector should be able to determine were there is a problem. Of course, this should have been done with-in 24 hours of discovery. Once the inspector gets the lab results from a reputable lab, he/she will have the knowledge to make appropriate recommendations.

    A sewage leak could have other professional health problems. A sewer back-up deserves immediate and complete clean-up. You may need an industrial hygienist. All remediation work should be done by a licensed professional.


  19. #19

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Hello Mr. Pike:

    “Performing an air quality test will show which molds are in the room…”

    Heck, I can tell you that without sampling: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and maybe a smattering of Stachybotrys, and unidentified amerospores, basidiospores. Now armed with that information, how does that help you make a decision?

    (By the way, do you REALLY believe that your air samples are telling you what kind of spores are in the air, or were you joking?)

    “Performing an air quality test will show … concentration” No it won’t. And even if it did, how would that help you make a decision? So for example, let’s say the concentrations of total spores was 200 s/m3, would you decide that pooped out carpet would not need to be removed? Or if you really did spend say, the $3,000 to $5,000 necessary to validly enumerate the spore concentration and it told you that you had 7,000 spores in the air, what would THAT tell you?

    Answer: Nothing that you didn’t already know – That the area still needs appropriate remediation.

    Since neither the types of spores present nor the concentrations present ever enter into the decision making process, (i.e., the information is of no value in making a decision), why would you waste the client’s money in collecting the data in the first place?

    Finally, depending on the extent of the problem, the church's maintenance personnel may be quite adequately trained.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Hello Mr. Pike:

    “Performing an air quality test will show which molds are in the room…”

    Heck, I can tell you that without sampling: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and maybe a smattering of Stachybotrys, and unidentified amerospores, basidiospores. Now armed with that information, how does that help you make a decision?

    (By the way, do you REALLY believe that your air samples are telling you what kind of spores are in the air, or were you joking?)

    “Performing an air quality test will show … concentration” No it won’t. And even if it did, how would that help you make a decision? So for example, let’s say the concentrations of total spores was 200 s/m3, would you decide that pooped out carpet would not need to be removed? Or if you really did spend say, the $3,000 to $5,000 necessary to validly enumerate the spore concentration and it told you that you had 7,000 spores in the air, what would THAT tell you?

    Answer: Nothing that you didn’t already know – That the area still needs appropriate remediation.

    Since neither the types of spores present nor the concentrations present ever enter into the decision making process, (i.e., the information is of no value in making a decision), why would you waste the client’s money in collecting the data in the first place?

    Finally, depending on the extent of the problem, the church's maintenance personnel may be quite adequately trained.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG
    Love it! That deserves a glass of MaCallan, neat!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Love it! That deserves a glass of MaCallan, neat!
    Presence of Mold: When I get a call about mold testing I usually spend an inordinate amount of time explaining why it isn't necessary and and has little or no probability of providing any useful information other than mold spores are in the air as they should be unless one lives in a cleanroom environment. I must be a really poor businessman because I never jumped on the "Mold is Gold" wagon.

    Occasionally, I have a request to air sample because a Doctor has suggested it in order to try to eliminate or pinpoint reasons for symptoms. I had a lawyer request air sampling in order to close-up claims in a civil suit. Then there was the neurotic bored housewife (sexism not intended - just the case) who insisted that even though there was no physical evidence of mold in the house, it just had to be there. So, her husband had me take air samples to hopefully make her happy. I've had calls for a mold inspection and found dirt not mold.

    The point of the above is, there are times when air or surface sampling serves a purpose and can be good for customer relations. If someone is really insistent on testing, I rather do it and have their best interest in mind rather than send them off to find someone who sees only the $-sign with the mention of mold.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  22. #22
    Irv Kraut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Your instincts are right. There is a time and a place for testing and as the Industrial Hygienist for an EPA licensed laboratory I can provide some examples for you and other readers.

    When as your stated, a physician makes the request or a legal matter requires testing then you have the opportunity to provide a service.

    In other cases when the client is a health care facility or an individual with a compromised immune system due to Chemo or steroids then testing is important. Some inspectors believe that all molds are generally alike. In truth there is a small but important category of fungi that are nosocomial. In a hospital or day surgery center for example, airborne fungi such as Aspergillus Fumigatus & Versicolor (to name a few) are the leading cause of hospital associated fungual infections. While the environment is unique to be sure, these individuals leave the hospital to return home for recovery and should be in a safe indoor environment.

    I posted a thread earlier today on the use of DNA for indoor sampling. I had one reply that said that labs are coming up with a new scam. Very disappointing as EPA licensed labs have great men and women working very hard to provide meaningful data.

    If I can provide you with additional information please let me know

    Irv Kraut
    Industrial Hygienist


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Irv Kraut View Post
    Your instincts are right. There is a time and a place for testing and as the Industrial Hygienist for an EPA licensed laboratory I can provide some examples for you and other readers.

    I posted a thread earlier today on the use of DNA for indoor sampling. I had one reply that said that labs are coming up with a new scam. Very disappointing as EPA licensed labs have great men and women working very hard to provide meaningful data.

    If I can provide you with additional information please let me know

    Irv Kraut
    Industrial Hygienist
    Hi Irv,

    I posted that comment on the thread you started. Yes, DNA testing might have a purpose and place, but it is not for home inspectors. Just because a lab is licensed by the EPA does not mean that the service that it is selling to the home inspector profession is just not an attempt to make money off an unneeded service.

    If a person has a medical condition that would worsen with the exposure to mould, I would think that you would want a person with a tad bit more experience and knowledge over a home inspector performing the testing. A person such as you who is an industrial hygienist is more along the lines of who should perform such testing.

    Take a look at what Caoimhín has posted. It might provide you with some additional insight.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Caoimhin is usually right on the money.

    Well, I agree that work in hospitals or critical care environments should be done by a highly skilled investigator. I also agree that such work is not within the skill set of a home inspector. There may be an exception but generally speaking we both agree.

    My earlier point is really associated with emergent technologies. Perhaps they are too esoteric for most but during the past year I have been part of a beta test that compared traditional air tests aganist PCR/DNA. The data (to be published within a few months) is very sobering. PCR found dramatically higher levels of fungal spores in both the air and dust and organisms that were unidentified by traditional testing. A recent case was a large hospital that had a water leak. A restoration contractor was called in and began to extract the water and conduct drying and dehumidification. The Infection control department of the hospital requested baseline air testing. Both spore traps and PCR/DNA were used (side by side). The spore traps found only a small amount of spores per cubic meter of air while PCR found extremely high levels (>250,000) of Asperillus Ustus and a high level of Aspergillus Versicolor. The hospital implemented an ICRA (Infection Control Risk Assessment) protocol and enhanced isolation barriers. All is under control now, but without PCR/DNA the extent of airborne fungi would have been missed. This is an example of how important PCR/DNA will become. My role in writting these threads is really educational.

    Thanks for your interest

    Irv


  25. #25
    Nick J. Alati's Avatar
    Nick J. Alati Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Nick, I've never heard of a “Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant”… sounds like smoke and mirrors. Certainly not a certification that is accepted as legitimate by legitimate indoor air quality professional communities. Is this another Pro-Labs three-day wonder class?

    Maybe you were on Vacation for the past 3 years sir!


    The American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) is North America's premier independent certifying body. ACAC's certifications focus on indoor air quality and related disciplines.

    There are more than 4,000 Council-certified professionals in the United States, Canada and overseas. They work in fields like mold inspection, mold remediation, asbestos removal, infection control consulting, home inspection, indoor air quality management and microbial claims adjusting.

    ACAC designations require extensive knowledge and field experience. They also require 40 hours of continuing professional development every two years. ACAC certifications are board awarded by a nationwide panel of industry peers.


    Third-party Approval
    Following the requirements of ASTM Standard E 1929, Assessment of Certification Programs for Environmental Professions: Accreditation Criteria, the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) has established a national reputation for accrediting certification programs in engineering and science-related fields. CESB-accredited programs that you may recognize include the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM). ACAC offers the only CESB-accredited designations dedicated to indoor air quality. The Council’s CIEC program underwent an intensive, six-month examination in 2005, and was fully accredited by CESB as an engineering-related designation effective January 1, 2006. The Council's CMC program underwent an intensive, six-month examination in 2006, and was fully accredited by CESB as an engineering-related designation effective October 31, 2006. The Council's CIE, CMR, CMRS, CIAQM, CMI and CRMI programs were all fully accredited by CESB at engineering-technician level effective January 1, 2007.



    I'm not IH, never wanted to be, there is a need and a place for IH, it's just not with the average Home Owner. I think Certified Residential Mold Inspector (CRMI) offer a service to a potential Home Buyer, a renter with a slum lord, individual that have a concern about mold spores in their Indoor Environment. I have referred out to CIE and IH after finding concern or in a few cases when I could not find anything wrong at all.



    Good luck to you Sir!
    Nick


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Irv Kraut View Post
    ...I also agree that such work is not within the skill set of a home inspector. There may be an exception but generally speaking...
    Irv, fyi - some (many) "home inspectors" have skill sets that allow them to venture into areas beyond the stereotypical "home inspector."

    When mold is visible, my state (MN) recommends remediation, not testing. Testing for Mold: Environmental Health in Minnesota

    In your professional opinion, in a residential setting when is mold testing warranted?

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

  27. #27
    Irv Kraut's Avatar
    Irv Kraut Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Hi Fred,

    I usually find that testing witin an indoor residential property is helpful when occupants are dealing with respiratory distress that is acute when they are in their homes. Some will claim that when at work or vacation they are better and then upon return to their homes their symptoms worsen. Now that said, other factors may come into place such as dust mites, animal dander, roach antigens, bacteria and chemical off-gassing.

    Lots to think about. Also testing should be comprehensive and collected with a strategy that considers what results you are seeking and if the data is or will be meaningful. Also testing may be warranted if any of the occupants are immune compromised and thus more prone to infections.

    If you are testing for surface or airborne fungi then species identification may be helpful rather then traditonal spore traps. As one of the other Industrial Hygienists stated in an earlier thread, spore traps will not provide you with relevent information if the client is symptomatic or dealing with a disease or treatment that disables his/her ability to clear infections.

    Irv


  28. #28

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Good morning, Gents!

    There are a several divergent comments going on at once here…

    EPA Licensed Labs
    I don’t know Mr. Kraut, but the whole “EPA Licensed” lab thing is a bit odd, as it is not necessarily a statement of competency as an industrial hygienist (or a lab or the apprpriateness of samples submitted to the same). I don’t know if Mr. Kraut actually IS an Industrial Hygienist or not. But, just because an lab is "EPA licensed" (I'm not even sure what that means) it doesn't mean that any samples submited to it are automatically valid! I’m sure Mr. Kraut is a nice guy and a competent individual, but I also think that he’s lending an odd impression here.

    By the way, I used to be a chemist with an EPA CLP lab (SAS/RAS) which is a VERY different beast altogether, and that is a statement of competency for the lab.

    DNA/PCR stuff
    Mr. Kraut, Scott P’s comments are well taken. The method of enumeration for indoor moulds is ENTIRELY a moot point. DNA/PCR vs. optical microscopy vs. ATP vs… is less important that WHY are you bothering to collect useless samples in the first place?

    It’s rather like running around and arguing whether Delve’s cup AAS with Zeeman correction is a better method than ICP for a Pb analysis for an air sample that you collected during a noise survey… It doesn’t matter. The bigger question is “Why did the IH collect an air sample during a noise survey?”

    So the whole discussion on the DNA/PCR thing in this thread is made entirely without context. It is entirely missing the point of asking the question “Why did you collect a useless sample in the first place?”

    ACAC stuff:
    Hi Nick! OH… THAT group! The one that keeps changing its name! Let’s see… here is an ad by one of it’s “mould experts” in case you haven’t read it: http://www.forensic-applications.com...idamouldad.pdf

    Is this the kind of organizational “accreditation” you want testing your house? (I have more examples of the amazing ACAC accredited mould inspector if you are interested)

    Sorry, mate, IMHO, an ACAC (or whatever they are calling themselves this month) accreditation is about notable for competency in indoor mould and indoor air quality as the CRP MLD TST accreditation.

    Present here for review ONE just ONE report from a CRMI that is legit, and I will review for you. In the meantime, here is my review of a CRMI’s report: http://www.forensic-applications.com...estresults.pdf

    In my experience, in all the reports I have reviewed, I never encountered a CRMI that has exhibited any competency in assessing indoor moulds, their significance from an health perspective (or any perspective come to think of it), or collected valid samples for mould. I’m am sure there is one or two out there, but they are not competent because they are a CMRI. Here’s another one of the CRMI jewels: http://www.forensic-applications.com...lerarticle.pdf

    ‘Course that’s just me an my opinion from 9,000 feet where the air is thin, and so the blood needs a little supplemental infusion of single malt from time to time… (I shouldn't have read this thread... now I'm late!)

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  29. #29
    Irv Kraut's Avatar
    Irv Kraut Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Sorry for the delay but a short reply may be helpful. Currently (to my knowledge) there are 12 labs licensed by the EPA to conduct PCR using a specific EPA method. Most of these labs are well known to the members.

    Being licensed by the EPA requires that the lab send technicians to the EPA for training and then pay an annual fee to maintain the license.

    Having such a license does not grant continuing competency. If a particular lab conducts only ocassional PCR work it is likely that they will not have the talents that a productive lab will. This would be similar to a surgeon that that does hundreds of transplants a year versus one that only does a few.. Give me the one who does hundreds!.

    While the whole issue of sampling is fluid, I believe that if sampling is required or indicated that PCR is a superior analytical method for health care environments wherein patients are most susceptible to fungal infections.

    We all of course have our own opinions on this topic.

    Irv


  30. #30
    John G. Vetter's Avatar
    John G. Vetter Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Lessard View Post
    I just visited an administrative wing attached to a church that had a sewer backup about 2 months ago. The building is on a slab and has glued down carpet squares. The carpet was cleaned about a month after the sewer backup, however two of the offices have a musty smell and the employees are complaining about their allergies acting up while at work. I did an IR scan and didn't find any wet walls. Just found a significant air leak in one outside wall between two offices. This was not close to the sewer flood.
    Ideas?? What is the best way to check for mold without opening the walls and inspecting?

    Ron Lessard,
    AAA Energy Consultants

    First off anytime you have a sewer back up it is considered BLACK WATER and toxic. To clean it up full PPE should have been used. Everything it touched that is a soft surface should have been removed and discarded. Even thought you say it was trated with an anit-microbial there is still a lot of contamination there. It it got wet remove it.


  31. #31

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Hello Irv –

    OK – just so the Gents on this forum are clear. The EPA developed a specific kind of PCR analysis (there are many different PCR analysis techniques). I happen to know the guy within the EPA who developed the method. The EPA decided to protect the method, and if someone wanted to use their method, they had to apply for permission to use it. It is just like a copyright or a patent.

    If the EPA granted them permission to use the method, then the lab is said to have received license to use the method.

    So, the method is what is licensed, not the lab as an whole, and the lab merely receives a license to use the method. Therefore, the laboratory is NOT licensed by the EPA, rather, the laboratory is licensed by the EPA to use the EPA PCR method. There is a big distinction to be made there.

    Next, there is NOTHING about the license or the method that indicates that the analysis is appropriate for ANY of the samples submitted to the laboratory. For all Irv knows, EVERY sample submitted to his lab is COMPLETY invalid and COMPLETELY inappropriate, and the analysis results may be COMPLETY inappropriate for the person who has submitted the sample!

    The laboratory only guarentees that they diligently performed the analysis according to the EPA protocol, NOT that the sample was collected correctly, not that the sample was valid, not that the sample was appropriate, and not that the results of the analysis meet ANY data quality objectives!

    So, if I collect a sample and send it off to a lab licensed by the EPA to use their method, and the lab sends me back a result, the results may be completely worthless when it is determined that:

    1) I collected the sample incorrectly,
    2) I collected the sample at the wrong time,
    3) I erroneously thought the sample would indicate whether or not there was a mould problem,
    4) I shipped the sample incorrectly,
    5) I never established valid data quality objectives,
    6) I don’t know how to interpret the data,
    7) The results don’t speak to the question being posed,
    8) The sampling error is not known,
    9) The sampling precision is not known,
    10) I don’t have any comparison or decision criteria,
    11) I was trying to figure out is my cheese was rotten or was it supposed to look all fuzzy.

    In other words, we get back to the magical gee-whiz factor of having a completely worthless but very real laboratory report with a lot of entirely useless or meaningless numbers and names on it, since all the consultant had to do was open his brain a little and LOOK at the wall and determine that there was a water leak, and yes, someone is going to have to fix it.

    Sorry Irv – I think you thought that this would be a good way for you to get free advertisement for your lab.

    I believe that if sampling is required or indicated that PCR is a superior analytical method for health care environments wherein patients are most susceptible to fungal infections.

    Irv – all I can say is, your statement is nothing short of bizarre. So what your telling us is that if Irv is called out to a health care environment, wherein patients are most susceptible to fungal infections, and Irv is facing a broken water line behind a wall, and water is squishing out, and there is 200 square feet of mould growing on the wall, Irv is going to collect a sample, submit it for PCR analysis, and until the results come back, Irv won’t have a clue there there might be a problem or be able to make a recommendation.

    OK, Irv. You win, Friend. In the meantime, while you are waiting for your precious PCR results in order to make a decision, each Home Inspector reading this forum would have told the hospital administrator: "Dude, you otta fix that leak and clean up that mould!"

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  32. #32

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Oh! As I finished up with the above post, I noticed that Mr. Pike sent me a message through the message board:

    I am not an Industrial Hygienist - true, I believe that I do a service that may prevent the client from spending money on unnecessary remediation by a "carpet cleaning company.

    You might be able to smell it, but do you really think the church personal is adequately trained, as a rule. You can not determine the spore type by just a walk through. Air sample will show (even though limited) the number of spore count if done properly with additional equipment.

    In most cases, the people I have worked for do not need mold remediation, but when I find high counts and the individuals tell me they have health problems I recommend further evaluation by a licensed Industrial Hygienist, their doctor.

    One extreme example was a Helicopter pilot that was founded because of a variety of health problems. The military doctors said he may be reacting to mold spores. No one else had symptoms to his extent. We found very high counts of stachybotrys, checked the humidity, moisture in the walls of each room and found a wall backing up too the chimney chase had leaked from poor roof flashing. The owner of the property would not do the necessary work / maintenance. He and his family moved and he got better in his new environment.

    I believe that I do provide a service is a good first step in the process. With a better attitude I would probably recommend you to clients that need you services.


    OK… Here’s my thoughts:

    Hello Mr. Pike:

    Comment:
    I am not an Industrial Hygienist - true, I believe that I do a service that may prevent the client from spending money on unnecessary remediation by a "carpet cleaning company.

    Response
    Hardly a comforting thought: Hello Father Murphy! I’m going to spend a lot of your money unnecessarily by collecting useless samples that can’t be used for any legitimate purpose. But that’s OK since you won’t have to give it to those carpet remediation guys.

    Of course, the flip side is that if Father Murphy didn’t call you, maybe he could have afforded a better carpet cleaning service.

    Comment:
    You might be able to smell it, but do you really think the church personal is adequately trained, as a rule.

    Response
    Yes. But then I’m Catholic, we have Benedictines for things like carpet cleaning, they’re pretty well trained. (AMDG).

    Comment:
    You can not determine the spore type by just a walk through.

    Response
    The spore type is COMPLETEY and UTTERLY unimportant and will not EVER be used by a knowledgeable or competent remediation company. Since the spore type is COMPLETEY and UTTERLY unimportant and will not EVER be used by a knowledgeable competent remediation company, why did you waste the church’s money collecting the useless samples to pretend that you have identified the spore type?

    Comment:
    Air sample will show (even though limited) the number of spore count if done properly with additional equipment.

    Response
    The spore count, just like the spore type is COMPLETEY and UTTERLY unimportant and will NEVER be used by a knowledgeable or competent remediation company. Since the spore type is COMPLETEY and UTTERLY unimportant and will NEVER be used by a knowledgeable competent remediation company, and NEVER enters the decision making process, why did you waste the church’s money collecting the useless samples pretending to have enumerated the spore count?

    Comment:
    In most cases, the people I have worked for do not need mold remediation, but when I find high counts and the individuals tell me they have health problems I recommend further evaluation by a licensed Industrial Hygienist, their doctor.

    Response
    Based on the information you have posted here, I doubt that you have EVER performed ANY valid sampling, and that you are ENTIRELY in capable of competently advising people about health issues vis-à-vis mould.

    Of course I could be wrong – Post your report on the pilot story (below) and I will review it for free on this forum.

    Comment:
    One extreme example was a Helicopter pilot that was founded because of a variety of health problems. The military doctors said he may be reacting to mold spores. No one else had symptoms to his extent. We found very high counts of stachybotrys, checked the humidity, moisture in the walls of each room and found a wall backing up too the chimney chase had leaked from poor roof flashing. The owner of the property would not do the necessary work / maintenance. He and his family moved and he got better in his new environment.

    Response
    I simply don’t believe you. 1) I doubt that you found “high levels” of Stachy since I doubt that you collected ANY valid samples, and you only like to believe that you found something.

    2) I doubt that the Stachy had anything to do with your (possibly imaginary) pilot.

    3) Given the exact same scenario, a legitimate and competent individual could have identified the problem without the collection of a single sample. (Except for Irv, of course, he would have collected a sample and submitted it for PCR).

    Comment:
    I believe that I do provide a service is a good first step in the process.

    Response
    Yes, but you believe that that useless sampling is a good idea; you believe that spore counts are part of the decision making process; you believe that the spore type has some significance, and you actually believe that your samples are enumerating the spore types and spore counts – I would venture a guess that you know so little about aerobiology and airborne moulds that you also would believe that a spore count result of, say, 500 spores per cubic meter of air indicates an higher spore concentration than a spore count of, say, 1,500 spores per cubic meter of air … am I right?

    Comment:
    With a better attitude I would probably recommend you to clients that need you services.

    Response
    Well, then, adopt a better attitude.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  33. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Oh! As I finished up with the above post, I noticed that Mr. Pike sent me a message through the message board:Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG
    Okay Mr. Connell, why is your personal OPINION of any significance and why post it? Are we just a wee bit wrapped up in our own self importance? Are you a PhD or candidate? That's where I have usually seen a diatribe such as your post. No. Can't be. I don't see countless references to accepted published supporting evidentiary material other than your own.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  34. #34
    Gary Cox's Avatar
    Gary Cox Guest

    Thumbs down Re: Suspected Mold

    "In My Opinion"

    Mold air sampling is a rip off and total junk science...period.
    I'll throw UV mold lights in HVAC systems on the same pile to burn with that junk. ...and for a fire starter...throw in those gadgets you attach to a supply pipe to stop hard water.
    "Oh, the equipment is only as good as the person using it." Hogwash! Get a real job.

    Recently I inspected a townhome and told prior to going in that a mold air sampling contractor had performed a test and found no problems in the home.
    We found the seller's mold report in the kitchen on arrival. I scanned the fancy language....yada yada...ok no mold spores in the air etc. ...off to inspect the house.

    Right off, going down the stairs to the lower level I pick up musty smell. I pulled a bunch of boxes out of the storage area under the steps to reveal a block party wall with water streaming down and under the slab. There was so much "Moldlike Substance" on this wall... I could have spread it like jelly. The smell was nasty.
    I returned to the report upstairs. Right in the report, it stated location for test equipment... "Lower Level."

    I went outside and around the corner to see...really bad negative grading with ponding water...right next to the problem in the basement (Raining all night). Water was just streaming down...like one of those water fall deals you buy from Home Depot to add a little water fall noise to your home! LOL!!

    So, I took my photos, showed the client and went on about my business.

    Repair? Easy.
    Cost to seller for that mold sampling test??? $560!

    "In my opinion"...(back to the church folks)... Mold sampling has already been performed by the best equipment known... THE HUMAN BODY! People are getting sick!
    ...and that carpet??? Oh my God people! Are you also putting perfume on body odor?
    One last thing and my coffee wears off and I'm back in the truck and off to work.... if I ever need an inspector for my own home... I'm gonna fly Rick up here! That dude is to the point...and correct on every level.

    Gotta run! Mold sampling...God Almighty people. Buy yourself a better flashlight...and make a real difference.

    Last edited by Gary Cox; 11-05-2010 at 03:58 PM. Reason: poor grammer poorly educated!

  35. #35
    Terry Griffin's Avatar
    Terry Griffin Guest

    Smile Re: Suspected Mold

    I totally agree with Scott Patterson. When in doubt call in the experts.


  36. #36
    Gary Cox's Avatar
    Gary Cox Guest

    Talking Re: Suspected Mold

    Life is so funny...

    After leaving my post this morning I went to do my first inspection.
    Go downstairs and before my eyes... a UV germicide system on the return. Silently laughing.
    Then the client syas, "What do you think of those things?"
    I just died laughing inside. I kept my cool.... provided my opinion but stated others may not agree and that she should just do some research on them.

    G


  37. #37

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    May be a mold issue or could be a bacteria issue. Since rarely, if ever, that a healthy person is killed by mold, I would be more concerned with a bad type bacteria, (most are beneficial)

    I agree, that anything porous that is contaminated with sewage bacteria has got to go and in with the bleach, Bring in the space guys.

    Got an idea, lets get trained to do bacteria testing. Put some gooy material on a slide, swab a sample, and ship it to the medical lab for bacteria identification.

    Dan
    Yuba City, CA


  38. #38

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I just saw this morning’s Headlines:

    Cox nox one out of the park, and it ain’t coming back!

    Great post! I can feel the pain!

    Followed up by encountering another bogus gadget with the UV lamp in the HVAC. However, the whole ultraviolet light thing actually started off as a good idea, and in it’s original applications was very effective. I have a standard indoor air quality text on my shelf from the 1950’s that address the use of UV and how it can increase a parameter known as “effective ventilation.” (Wells, WF Airborne Contagion and Air Hygiene, 1955)

    As described even then, for it to be effective, one have to achieve sufficient “decimal reduction” (effective kill). This can only be achieved by either increasing the residence time in the incident UV (by either increasing the optical path and/or slowing the air stream to an extremely slow velocity over a shorter path), or increasing the intensity of the incident UV.

    As it turns out, a sufficiently high intensity is not practical and hospitals used to achieve effective kill by affixing UV lamps throughout the structure above line of sight, and then inverting the shade so the UV was directed up. The entire upper stratified air became the exposure zone, and residency time in the UV path could be effectively hours.

    I don’t know why this practice has fallen out of favor, since it is known to be very effective. However, UV lamps in an HVAC simply have much too short an optical path, and the air is much too fast across the exposure range (since the incident energy falls off as the square of the distance, you can’t even just shine it down the duct).

    I still encounter situations where UV is used correctly, but mostly I encounter it as a useless gimmick.

    Sampling for Bacteria!? Don't get me started....

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  39. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sugarloaf, PA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Mr. Connell,

    I am an avid reader of InspectionNews and have learned a great deal from the input of more experienced inspectors and professionals on many topics. I thank you for your posts.

    Some years ago, I obtained the CMIA Certification at Environmental Solutions Association (ESA) in Williamsport, PA and I continue to renew my membership annually.

    I became alarmed (and surprised) when several experienced inspectors (at the start of this thread) referred to IAQ sampling (spore traps) as "snake oil" or "useless".

    Since the original post, while at ESA for training for a different subject, I inquired as to the perception by some that IAQ sampling with spore traps (mold screen) is "snake oil". I was told that it was not "snake oil" and that it was nationally recognized by Industrial Hygenists.

    Here's the short version of some of my understanding of the subject:
    1. All homes have mold.
    2. A visual inspection should be performed as part of the screen and "red flags" should be noted.
    3. Do not test in bathrooms, basements or kitchens.
    4. If there are more or different spores inside the home than outside, it's possible that mold may be "growing" inside.
    5. There are no standards for a "safe level"; therefore, the Client should discuss the results with his physician.
    6. This is a screen. It is the first step in what could become an expensive and involved process.
    7. This screen is of particular significance to occupants with compromised immune systems (eg. AIDS, chemotherapy).
    8. Some molds are toxic to everyone (micotoxins sp?).
    9. Mold affects people differently. Some people may be affected by a certain type of mold; others may not.

    Your comments in particular, have given me cause to continue to remain "alarmed" and make additional inquiry, as I work relentlessly to provide the highest quality home inspections and related services to my Clients.

    Is it possible, that this type of sampling is not useless, rather it is a screen, an affordable first step? I want to get to the bottom of this and I most certainly do not intend to be a purveyor of snake oil. Please comment.

    Thanks.

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

  40. #40

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Good morning, Mr. Peake –

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

    Spore traps and spore trap sampling have been around for a long time and is a valid (and valuable) sampling protocol. I have never seen any credible individual who believes that spore trap sampling is snake oil. However, the applications of that method as used in mould assessments is almost ALWAYS snake-oil.

    So, it’s like atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) – when I was a lab maggot running AAS, I would very frequently get requests from people to run hair analysis by AAS for the diagnosis of various diseases. I would try to explain to the kind folks that the analysis method was a valid method, but the proposed application to which the client wanted to apply the method was snake oil. (With the caveat that I did legitimate heavy metals analysis in hair for other purposes. BTW I also developed a new method for Pb in whole blood using Delves cup and Zeeman background, which was applicable for assisting in a diagnosis for plumbism).

    I have been using spore trap methodologies since 1989. But I have NEVER applied spore trap methods for the silliness and junk-science for which it is now so widely applied.

    To date, without exception every application of the spore trap method that I have seen in mould assessments have been complete rubbish, junk science, and the data have been utterly useless. So, it’s not the method that is junk, it is taking a very legitimate method and then pretending that it can do something that it simply cannot do.

    1. All homes have mold.

    Correct.

    2. A visual inspection should be performed as part of the screen and "red flags" should be noted.

    Well 99.99% of mould assessments can be performed exclusively based on a visual inspection. So saying that a visual inspection should be part of a mould assessment is like saying that a Home Inspection should include a visit to the home by the Home Inspector.

    3. Do not test in bathrooms, basements or kitchens.

    Not true. This is the sort of nonsense that underscores the silliness of the practitioners who pretend to perform mould assessments. If your data quality objectives (DQOs) are to confidently assess airborne exposures to mould in an home, you better be including the kitchen and the basements and the bathrooms. And if your DQOs are to differentiate those areas, you better be collecting a sufficient number of samples per day to characterize the distribution, (certainly no fewer than 7 per day) and you have better be collecting seven per day on enough days (at least 6 days) throughout the year to accomplish that task. Therefore, for to differentiate say, just the bathroom, versus the kitchen you will need 42 spore traps from the bathroom and 42 from the kitchen or you are kidding yourself and cheating your client. Now, of course that’s just the kitchen and bathroom – Hmmm… let’s see, 84 samples at $35 a pop… you are up to $2,940 for just the analysis, not including your time, or the equipment fees.

    I will make a prediction here – anyone who was foolish enough to say “never sample in bathrooms, kitchens or basements” has NEVER performed a valid spore trap assessment in their life.

    4. If there are more or different spores inside the home than outside, it's possible that mold may be "growing" inside.

    Nope. Not true. That is just more of the junk science based on argumentum ad populum (Well, EVERYBODY seems to be doing it, so it must be right). This is exactly the nonsense that fuels the snake oil of using spore traps – and it is done exclusively by practitioners who haven’t got a clue what they are doing, instead they have “certifications” like the CRMI and the rest of the alphabet soup – but no understanding of aerobiology or the assessment of indoor moulds. This whole "indoor v. outdoor" rubbish has taken on a life of it's own. However, it has only been swallowed by CRMIs and other poorly trained "certified" mould inspectors.

    5. There are no standards for a "safe level"; therefore, the Client should discuss the results with his physician.

    Not only that, but there never will be. Because 250,000 spores per cubic meter may be safe for 10,000 people, but one person may go into anaphylactic attack and die when exposed to 250 spores per cubic meter. When we establish standards for exposures, we look at the distribution of responses, and develop curves based on the log of those exposures. We then look at not only the absolute levels but we also look at the slope of those curves and the demographics involved to make statements of margins of safety. Those models completely fall apart when we are discussing reactions known as Coombs-Gell reactions – and it is predominantly Coombs-Gell responses that dominate the physiological response to moulds for the general population.

    6. This is a screen. It is the first step in what could become an expensive and involved process.

    I disagree. It is not even a “screen.” The spore traps being used in 99.99% of all (pretend) mould assessments is like saying that an Home Inspector “screened” a home by driving into the zip code where the property is located. It is such a wildly untenable concept, that it can only be grasped by “certified mould inspectors” and not by any legitimate sampling theory, Industrial Hygiene practice or toxicological precept. It is snake oil, and any one practicing it is peddling snake oil and ripping off their client.

    7. This screen is of particular significance to occupants with compromised immune systems (eg. AIDS, chemotherapy).

    Rubbish. I cannot see why it is OK to rip off someone just because they have AIDS or some other condition that compromises their immune system.

    8. Some molds are toxic to everyone (micotoxins sp?).

    Boloney. Except to say that at an appropriate dose, ALL moulds will kill everyone. In the same way that at an appropriate dose, peanuts will kill everyone, and oxygen will kill everyone, etc. To my knowledge, as of today, November 7, 2010, I am not aware of a single documented case of mycotoxicosis as a result of residential exposures to moulds. If someone has one, please let me know, I would love to review it (and I’m not talking about “news” reports seen on KRAP TV or by CNN or other hype-for-cash outlet).

    9. Mold affects people differently. Some people may be affected by a certain type of mold; others may not.

    Go back to your Point Number 5.


    Is it possible, that this type of sampling is not useless, rather it is a screen, an affordable first step?

    No; because it isn’t. I can dive by a house without stopping or going in, and guess a spore count within the same degree of precision and accuracy as 99.99% of all of these “screen” tests being performed by “certified mould inspectors” and some Home Inspectors. In fact, one of my favorite “party-tricks” is to guess the laboratory report of people who call my office. The caller is astonished when I have guessed sight-unseen their lab report (for free!). And usually less than pleased to hear they have been ripped off by the “mould inspector” who collected meaningless "screening" tests.

    Having said that, to this very moment, I still use spore traps. As a general rule, the client can expect to pay about $240 to $300 just to develop the data quality objectives for the proposed sampling, and then depending on those data quality objectives they can expect to pay between $2,500 to $15,000 for the actual assessment (and even then the assessment will have uncertainties and error which must be articulated). Under these conditions I have collected around 1,000 spore traps. By contrast, 99% of all of my mould assessments are performed for less than $400 and never involve the collection of a single sample of anything. I have performed (at last count) over 600 assessments for mould.

    But not all of my indoor air quality assessments involve mould. For example, my current projects this coming week for indoor air quality include the assessment of human exposures to chloramines by athletes training at an Olympic training facility; the exposure and toxicological assessment to fire extinguisher contents by two women during a house fire; human exposures to methamphetamine in a million dollar house and chemical exposures to research scientists at a national research laboratory. So, moulds are just a part of the legitimate Industrial Hygienist’s job – and, frankly, not a very big part.

    But then that's just me and I tend to get cranky when I haven't been fishing for a while.

    BTW recent reports that I don't exist are slightly exaggerated. It has been reported elsewhere that “Caoimhín P. Connell” is not a real person but rather a pseudonym for a collective of authors that includes Ron Gotts, some attorney in Florida and, if I remember correctly, Bruce Kelman. I seriously doubt that any of these guys want to be me - (except for Ron, he envies my singing qualities)!

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Caoimhin, This has been a real eye opener for me and I presume a lot of us. Thank you for taking the time to educate us and your responses. I have been telling people this for years but recently got sucked in to the "snake oil" theory of mold sampling. I will go back to telling people "if you see mold fix it". Two more questions, what is your opinion of mold dogs and waht do you think of home inspectors doing meth testing (swipe sampling tested by labs)?

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  42. #42

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Good morning Tom!

    Rushing out the door… Molly the mould dog is an unsupportable gimmick.

    I love the idea of Home Inspectors doing the meth kit thing. But read my discussion of the test kits here:

    Forensic Applications, Inc. | Facebook

    The test kits have HUGE false negative issues to consider. If you want me to address additional info here, let me know. I would encourage HIs to consider offering this service.

    BTW – In my state, members of the State Dept of Health erroneously tell home inspectors that it is illegal for them to do the testing –simply NOT true. If there are some Colorado home inspectors that want me to explain here – I would be happy.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  43. #43
    Gary Cox's Avatar
    Gary Cox Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Caoimhin,

    Thanks for the the comments relating to my batting ability. I did have a 680 batting average playing ball years ago...but don't get me started!

    Tom,

    Recently our ASHI group here in Fairfax VA had Fairfax County Police drug unit do a small seminar for us. We learned the "dope" on meth labs.
    After everything I learned that night...I took a stack of the officers cards.
    I think it best to just make a call to your local police drug division and report your observations. They can take it from there.

    ...and my opinion on dogs for mould, termites, radon gases....ah... I think I'll just close up shop here...refill the mug and get out the door for my first one at 10am!!

    Gary


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    great reasourse for mold is Mold | Indoor Air Quality | US EPA

    one advantage of carpet squares is there is very little actual carpet compared to broadloom. in our offices when there is leaks we are required to open holes in every bay between studs if it is just a wet floor if it is inches in height then remove the sheetrock 12" up and allow to dry for 48 hours with fans and dehumidifyers running. Carpets can be cleaned useing the right chemicals to disenfect.
    EPA covers it all

    Mike



    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Lessard View Post
    I just visited an administrative wing attached to a church that had a sewer backup about 2 months ago. The building is on a slab and has glued down carpet squares. The carpet was cleaned about a month after the sewer backup, however two of the offices have a musty smell and the employees are complaining about their allergies acting up while at work. I did an IR scan and didn't find any wet walls. Just found a significant air leak in one outside wall between two offices. This was not close to the sewer flood.
    Ideas?? What is the best way to check for mold without opening the walls and inspecting?

    Ron Lessard,
    AAA Energy Consultants



  45. #45
    Doug Wall's Avatar
    Doug Wall Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I think this is an interesting thread.


    "Nick, I've never heard of a “Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant”… sounds like smoke and mirrors. Certainly not a certification that is accepted as legitimate by legitimate indoor air quality professional communities. Is this another Pro-Labs three-day wonder class?"


    "Florida Mold License Examination
    Chapter 468, Part XVI, Florida Statutes, provides for licensure and regulation of mold assessors and remediators. The law becomes effective July 1, 2010, and provides that the mold related services licensing program will be administered by Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
    DBPR has chosen ACAC to provide the license examinations required by Chapter 468, and has approved six ACAC certification exams for this purpose: CIE, CIEC, CMC
    Arkansas Mold Investigator License:
    Information for Applicants
    Title 17-54 of the Arkansas Code (known as the Arkansas Mold Investigator Licensing Law) was enacted in 2009 and went into effect on January 1, 2010
    The law requires individuals performing mold investigations for hire to hold a state license. This license will be administered by the Arkansas Plant Board.[/font]
    Applicants are eligibile for the license if they meet ONE of the following three criteria:
    · Certification by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene as a CIH,
    · Certification by the American IAQ Council (now the ACAC) as a CMC or CIEC,"
    ________________________________________________
    "I don’t know if Mr. Kraut actually IS an Industrial Hygienist or not."
    I was surprised to know that, Irv wasn’t to my knowledge several years ago. He told me he was a CIE but there was no record of it with the ACAC. Can you become an Industrial Hygienist by forming a company called Industrial Hygienist Services? Irv seems to be a very knowledgeable person but he’s had several companies and many different designations.

    I was impressed someone even questioned him about the IH.
    ________________________________________
    Irv Kraut
    Industrial Hygiene Services
    Naples, FL
    CIAQM

    "A Council-certified Indoor Air Quality Manager (CIAQM) establishes and maintains good air quality in the built environment. A CIAQM can monitor a wide range of building parameters and make sure they are optimized for healthy, comfortable indoor air. A CIAQM keeps detailed records of building performance and organizes personnel for the purpose of maintaining good environmental quality. A CIAQM handles occupant complaints related to indoor air quality in a proactive and professional manner. A CIAQM can also help prepare a building for LEED certification and maintain LEED status for certified buildings."


  46. #46
    Join Date
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    26,248

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I found some mold a couple of days ago in my house, after going into a panic over finding the mold IN THE HOUSE ...

    ... my wife suggested that I just slice the green stuff off the cheese and throw it in the garbage, then I could eat the rest of the cheese ... ... and I was getting ready to gut the refrigerator, seal it up in plastic bags, and dispose of it in a hazardous waste landfill ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    When anyone tells me to make sure and let them know if there is any mold found, I usually say, "Yes, there will be" then I do the inspection. If you want to live in Eastern North Carolina in a crawl space house, just go ahead and figure there will be.
    JLMathis


  48. #48
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I believe if the phrase is dazzle them with BS we have a winner! pcp


  49. #49
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    My client today is buying a home he has been renting. He has a smell upon entering the home thru the garage into the laundry room that he believed to m=be"a musty, moldy smell" He went to the depot and got a test kit si=o he would have samples to show me.

    I walked into the laundry room and smelled a very faint odor which I believe to be from the washer drain line as many vent poorly and have that familiar smell.

    He pointed out his samples from I believe 92 hours ago and the maybe 6 samples all grew mold.

    I tried to not make much of a comment but finally when asked what I thought of the samples I simply stated "feel that strong breeze coming in thru the garage, where it is damp, and the outside air is very damp do to the rain, and the crap closing your eyes up outside that contains spores of all kind? That is what you swiped off the trim and wall and ceiling and counter edge etc.

    Was it from that? Pretty sure! No reral odor of any kind other than that darn washer drain line. No discoloration anywhere in that area and I could actually see the back of a couple walls from the attic. No moisture reading to speak of in the trim, walls etc

    I have seen folks do their own samplings exactly like this that tells them exactly nothing as to the validity of the samples or the type of mold from the swipes he took.

    I told him to call someone such as Mr Connell if he wanted real results. The home from head to toe was dry as a bone other than minutely elevated moisture reading s do to all the rain in the past days.

    Anyway. My opinion is and I kept it to myself as I told the client I do not do mold sampling, is that I believe there is nothing going on in this home at all. Other than a lot of crap blowing thru the wind tunnel of the garage, that is slightly damp and dirty, into the home.


  50. #50
    MARVIN TOWNSEN's Avatar
    MARVIN TOWNSEN Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Out of curiosity what is the least expensive way to take and air sample? I get asked all the time, I dont do it but I was wondering If there is a diy kit?


  51. #51
    Robert Pike's Avatar
    Robert Pike Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    The sure way is to have at least three air samples done, one exterior control sample, and one in each office than submit to lab and if the interior is less than exterior it is probably something else like the mastic used for glue down squares. You could also remove an outlet cover and take a wall air sample limit it to 15 liters or one minute. It may be moisture wicking up from slab. Did the person that laid the carpet squares note any efflorescence ? It is possible that moisture is getting in were you noted the airari leak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Lessard View Post
    I just visited an administrative wing attached to a church that had a sewer backup about 2 months ago. The building is on a slab and has glued down carpet squares. The carpet was cleaned about a month after the sewer backup, however two of the offices have a musty smell and the employees are complaining about their allergies acting up while at work. I did an IR scan and didn't find any wet walls. Just found a significant air leak in one outside wall between two offices. This was not close to the sewer flood.
    Ideas?? What is the best way to check for mold without opening the walls and inspecting?

    Ron Lessard,
    AAA Energy Consultants



  52. #52
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
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    885

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    My client today is buying a home he has been renting. He has a smell upon entering the home thru the garage into the laundry room that he believed to m=be"a musty, moldy smell" He went to the depot and got a test kit si=o he would have samples to show me.
    ... snipped ...
    Anyway. My opinion is and I kept it to myself as I told the client I do not do mold sampling, is that I believe there is nothing going on in this home at all. Other than a lot of crap blowing thru the wind tunnel of the garage, that is slightly damp and dirty, into the home.
    Ted - so right. I tell people who want to do the Big Box store DIY test kit, "Go ahead, if it makes you feel better buts they will always come back positive for mold presence unless the house is a sterile environment." I used to do mold testing but I didn't like taking people's money for not much information. If the air tests came back positive, there was already enough visible and odor evidence present that the tests were redundant and fairly expensive. I didn't do remediation so I had to charge fairly, to me, for the cost. I wasn't going to make it up on a 10K-25K remediation job.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  53. #53
    Join Date
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  54. #54
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Well you don't have a profile, so who are you to pontificate?

    I can only speak for myself but I have heard all this bunk about testing and mould remediation all before.

    Its over hyped.

    Been there done that.

    Sorry to have upset ya.


  55. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Holladay, UT
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Don, Following link is Caoimhn's resume. Please post your resume.

    http://forensic-applications.com/ind...s/longlist.pdf

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  56. #56
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 03-04-2013 at 06:14 PM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  57. #57
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    I have found the mold discussion very interesting, both sides bring challenging thoughts
    to my brain.
    I do have a question though that I have not been able to find a good answer to. I always heard
    bleach was a good way to remove mold, even on wood. If this is not an effective on wood then what is the correct way? What do the Pros do?
    Jeff


  58. #58
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Langhorn View Post
    I have found the mold discussion very interesting, both sides bring challenging thoughts
    to my brain.
    I do have a question though that I have not been able to find a good answer to. I always heard
    bleach was a good way to remove mold, even on wood. If this is not an effective on wood then what is the correct way? What do the Pros do?
    Jeff
    Not wanting to and won't get into this mess but bleach is an extremely good product to use on wood. One right thing from the left is that bleach will about kill you unless you protect yourself in enclosed areas.. Mold is pretty easy to get rid of. All forms. Of course there are other products and have seen them all at work. Other than the smell of bleach I don't see anything working any better in the slightest.

    Anyway, enough said.

    inspectapedia

    hwikipedia

    Until I start seeing or reading something different I will stick with what I know and the extremely intelligent man with a multitude of years and study behind him Caoimhín P. Connell

    Just sayin


  59. #59
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Master Inspector?


  60. #60
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Quote Originally Posted by don agel View Post
    Caught your eye as it should. We take great pride in this!!!!!!!

    Don Agel
    Don, all of this could be put to rest if you just post your CV or bio. Just show your qualifications and it should end with that. Education and experience is one good way to gain respect in this profession.

    Now, on a new subject..... You really need to raise your fees.. $300 for a home inspection and air testing with no size limit listed? Home Improvement Contractor | Special Offers-AGEL'S HOME INSPECTIONS

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  61. #61
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    Default Re: Suspected Mold

    Now, on a new subject..... You really need to raise your fees.. $300 for a home inspection and air testing with no size limit listed? Home Improvement Contractor | Special Offers-AGEL'S HOME INSPECTIONS[/QUOTE]

    After looking at Don's multiple web sites it appears to me his focus is on mold cleanup, which there's nothing wrong with that, so his money is made in the cleanup.
    Jeff


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