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Thread: Weird growth

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Holladay, UT
    Posts
    565

    Question Weird growth

    This was in a cold storage area in basement. In my part of the country they use the area under poured concrete front porch as a cold storage area, not conditioned, no vapor barrier and no ventilation. The growth is on the bottom of particle board shelves and the metal is a lintel at top. There was no signs of water penetration and I'm assuming the moisture is coming in through air penetration or the concrete itself. The higher shelves have more growth than lower shelves. Has anyone seen this before. I took a sample.

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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Weird growth

    There are fungi growing in the damp particle board and those boogers are the fruit.

    We have those cold rooms too, in the old houses with concrete porches. But I don't see moisture like that as a rule. I wonder if warm air is leaking in from the basement?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Holladay, UT
    Posts
    565

    Default Re: Weird growth

    Thanks John, I was thinking outside air was leaking in but it makes sense that it would more likely be warm air from basement condensing on the underside of shelves and the cold metal.

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Weird growth

    Is the fruit cellar door frame sealed properly, and the door weatherstripped? If not warm moist air is entering the fruit cellar and condensing on the surface.

    Is there any exterior vents at the top of the foundation wall in the fruit cellar? If so warm moist air in the summer months could enter and condensation occurs on the cold concrete.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Weird growth

    I’m curious as to why you took a “sample.”

    If the laboratory tells you it is “Particulus boogerus” as suggested by John Kogel, how will that effect your decision making process versus if it turns out to be “Weatherstripped cellaris” as suggested by Raymond.

    In other words, how will knowing the genus/species alter your decision making process? And it if it won't, then why did you take a "sample?"

    Now the really big question: What makes you think the laboratory knows what it is?

    Just a couple of thoughts –

    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


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Holladay, UT
    Posts
    565

    Default Re: Weird growth

    Hi Caoimhin, I was hoping you would have jumped in earlier on this. I took a sample and had a lab analysis done because the clients insisted. To be honest I was curious myself, never seen it before. I didn't charge a fee for this service. I am on board with your stance on mold testing etc. and forward your articles to clients on a regular basis. I am sending you the lab results in a private email.

    Last edited by Tom Rees; 01-03-2014 at 07:03 AM.
    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  7. #7

    Default Re: Weird growth

    Thanks!

    I am looking forward to seeing what the lab has to say.

    A lot of folks think that when they send a "sample" to the lab, the lab does some sort of a highly scientific chemical prep and then loads the sample on a special planchette and plugs the sample into some kind of a DNA/GCMS/ICP thingy with a laser and some radiation stuff and analyze the sample.

    In fact, unless the client has specifically requested some kind of optical microscopy or expensive genomic determination, most of the time, the lab-guy just looks at the sample trough the plastic bag and visually identifies the organism present.

    If they can’t figure it out by just glancing at it, then they will mount it and perform an optical microscopy examination; sometimes even going so far as staining the mount. But even then, the determination is highly subjective, and very (VERY) frequently, the laboratory makes the wrong identification.

    However, since an accurate identification is virtually never important, being wrong has no adverse outcome. That is, even if the laboratory is wrong about a client’s sample most of the time, the consequences of being wrong are nil since the client has no data quality objectives and client's decisions are not based on a correct identification.

    E.g., the laboratory in Florida who was merely printing out hundreds and hundreds of the exact same lab “report” and sending out the exact “report” to clients was able to get away with it for so long because being wrong almost never creates an issue. (BTW, the owner of the lab got into trouble for fraud, only because the reports were pre-printed, he would not have gotten into trouble if he generated the exact same report each time, for each sample.)

    I am an expert in a case regarding a fungal contaminant in a pharmaceutical compound and we needed definitive identifications for our samples for legal purposes. The laboratory was happy to oblige at $880 per sample, however, because of the state of technology, even at this cost, the laboratory could not guarantee conclusive identification to species level, but would guarantee identification to within one of three possible species.

    I currently have four samples of organisms that defied field identification floating around the world’s universities still awaiting identification to just genus level. It is likely they will never be “identified” and will probably just be given new names.

    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


  8. #8

    Default Re: Weird growth

    Oh... By the way… I too have run into your “booger mould” … These photos were taken from an house occupied by a body that had been dead for about 3 months. The body was found in a bath-tub and the water was still running. The entire house was saturated with water, and was a veritable fungal garden with more genera than I have seen out side of a text book. These photos we from the interior of a standard laminated composite wood kitchen cabinet.


    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6176.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6179.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6180.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6181.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6182.JPG



    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


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Weird growth

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    ... occupied by a body that had been dead for about 3 months. The body was found in a bath-tub and the water was still running.
    That's one heck of a lot of water running for 3 months! Was the person being checked on by the police as a 'wellness check' reported by the utility department? I would hope that much water each month for 3 months would make someone in the water billing department go 'Hey, WTH is this? Someone needs to go tell these people that they must have a leak.'

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

  10. #10

    Default Re: Weird growth

    Jerry -

    Jerry –

    This situation was an unfortunate culmination of many failures –

    Failure of the family to check up on Mom/Sis (50 y.o. female)
    Failure of the neighbors to notice Mrs. Smith hadn’t been seen in weeks.
    Failure of the utilities (water, heat and electricity) to notice unusual use patterns
    Failure of friends to check up on friends.

    The property is a three story end-unit of a contemporary townhouse with a basement. It is possible that water/gas and electricity were routed through a central Home Owner’s network, which may explain why utilities weren’t noticed.

    Families can be dysfunctional, and unfortunately, many of my bodies are not reported by family members, but rather are discovered through other means. More difficult is to explain why the neighbors didn’t report something sooner.

    Eventually the situation was discovered when the adjoining unit began to experience water problems, and the Home Owner’s Association sent a maintenance man over to investigate. The maintenance man left a notice that went unanswered and eventually a law enforcement welfare check was initiated and the situation discovered.

    Discovery occurred in late November.

    Here are some additional photos (sans dead body). The mushrooms shown growing throughout the property were Peziza

    http://www.forensic-applications.com/moulds/brown.jpg
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/DSCN0135.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/DSCN0159.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6115.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6115.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6119.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6120.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6124.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6139.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6157.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6172.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com...s/IMG_6184.JPG
    http://www.forensic-applications.com/moulds/Unknown.jpg

    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

    Last edited by Caoimhín P. Connell; 01-03-2014 at 11:02 AM. Reason: Fixed two broken links

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: Weird growth

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rees View Post
    ...I'm assuming the moisture is coming in through ... the concrete itself. ...
    I'd assume that, too. Capillary suction through the concrete is a primary source of moisture intrusion in homes. Water vapor is condensing against the relatively cold surfaces. Trapped moisture contributes to mold growth.

    Mike Lamb
    Inspection Connection, Inc.
    http://www.inspection2020.com/

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