With Spring Cleaning, Mold Is No Joke.

Mold is no joke. That’s what about 100 of LAPD’s finest are finding out, according to the local ABC News. Reports of mold-related illness, including respiratory issues, have been pouring in.

The police union claims that the mold that is growing in the station house is causing officers to become ill; and while the city acknowledges that there is an issue with mold, they claim it is not dangerous. Officers are pushing back, insisting on a full inspection and proper cleanup with the mold.

Many experts agree mold can have disastrous effects on a person’s health. Some of the signs/symptoms typical of toxic mold exposure are

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache, light sensitivity
  • Poor memory, difficulty with word finding
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Morning stiffness, joint pain
  • Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
  • Shortness of breath, sinus congestion or chronic cough
  • Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
  • Vertigo, feeling lightheaded

 

The common misconception about mold is that a surface can be cleaned and that will take care of the mold. THIS IS NOT TRUE! If you see mold growing on your walls you can bet there is more behind your walls, as mold likes to grow in damp, dark areas. A bad mold problem needs to be taken care of by a licensed professional.

If your employees start to exhibit symptoms of mold exposure it is important you get your building tested and treated for mold remediation.

Improving Indoor Air Quality at Work

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​ Did you know air quality of the indoor environment can profoundly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants?

Indoor air quality is essential to a happy and healthy workplace so what should you know about indoor air quality? This blog should help answer your questions.

Like with most things, when everything is running smoothly, nobody really notices. The same goes for indoor air quality, when the air quality is good it isn’t something people take notice of, but it’s easy to detect when there is a problem. When the air contains dust and objectionable odors, chemical contaminants, dampness or mold that is when you have problems with air quality. When there is poor ventilation, temperature and humidity control, you have a problem with air quality. If you have issues with chemicals, fumes or ordors, you have a problem with air quality

The Importance of Ventilation

Poor air quality may develop when not enough fresh air is introduced to reduce contaminant concentrations. An HVAC system must not only control contaminants, it must also provide a comfortable environment. The perception of still or stale air, odors, draftiness or errant temperature and humidity levels are common complaints.

Proper ventilation health studies have shown that communicable diseases like the common cold, influenza and tuberculosis spread more efficiently in poorly ventilated buildings. Proper air filtration is also important.

Issues Associated with Poor Indoor Air Quality

Problems with air quality can cause health symptoms. Some health-related complaints may be due to allergic reactions. Some health-related complaints associated with poor air quality mimic those of the flu or a cold: headaches, sinus problems, congestion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat.

What Can Be Done About Poor Air Quality?

The first step into figuring out how to deal with your air quality problem is to find out if you actually have an issue. Air quality testing by a licensed, trained company can help determine what your building’s issues are and how best to take care of it.

Air quality testing will also help determine if you need air duct cleaning, mold removal or other services to help fix indoor air quality problems.

Indoor air quality concerns are a fact of life for building owners, business owners, managers, and occupants. When a building is managed with an eye for preventing air quality problems this greatly reduces the likelihood of chronic discomfort and will likely increase building occupants’ productivity.

The Importance of Air Quality Testing.

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Why is air quality testing important? Our mold experts let you know when to get your home or commercial building tested for mold.

Are you constantly feeling unwell? Are others in your family or office getting sick more often?  It’s estimated that indoor

air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins may be contributing to illnesses.  Outdoor pollution such as smog and

smoke takes most of the blame for health problems, but many people are unaware that the air they are breathing is quite

possibly more toxic than the air outside.  Indoor toxins like mold could be making you or your loved ones sick

All mold needs to grow is a dark, moist environment.  The most common types of mold that are found indoors include

Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Toxic black mold, stachybotrys chartarum is a greenish-black mold,

which grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper,

dust, and lint and can grow with even the slightest of water damage.

Exposure to mold and mold components is well known to trigger inflammation, allergies and asthma, oxidative stress,

and immune dysfunction in both human and animal studies.  Mold spores, fungal fragments, and mycotoxins can be

measured in the indoor environments of moldy buildings and in humans who are exposed to these environments.  Most

of the time, we are exposed to molds, like stachybotrys, through the skin contact, through ingestion, and by inhalation.

It’s estimated that as many as 25% of buildings in the US have had some sort of water damage.

 

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to mold or a water damaged building?

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache, light sensitivity
  • Poor memory, difficulty with word finding
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Morning stiffness, joint pain
  • Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
  • Shortness of breath, sinus congestion or chronic cough
  • Appetite swings, body temperature regulation
  • Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
  • Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
  • Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in mouth
  • Static shocks
  • Vertigo, feeling lightheaded

 

If you, your family members, co-workers or employees are experiencing these symptoms it might be a good idea to get

air quality testing by a licensed mold testing company like Moldbusters.

How To Catch Flood Damage Risks

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Flood damage can be expensive. When purchasing a home or just deciding to purchase separate flood insurance it is important to take into consideration all the risk factors for flooding your home may have. Even if you are not located near water, other factors can put your home at risk of flooding. Experts say you should check for soil erosion, poor sewerage and drainage systems, overflowing creeks, rivers or lakes near the site, siltation problems, water ceilings and water leaks of existing structures to calculate risk of flood damage.

1.Spot the leaks. A good place to start is the windows. Leaks at window sills are normally caused by driving rains during storms and typhoons, which means the window sealant used is ineffective.

2.Be wary of the toilet. If the water goes up before flushing down, this may mean septic tank effluents are prevented from coming out because of floodwaters.

3.Note the watermarks.  Water marks on the ceiling would mean there are leaks, while water marks on the floor may mean water has been seeping into the floor joints, or at the joint between the floor and the wall. Also  look for flood markings on nearby fences or walls, or even on the tree trunks around the vicinity after heavy rains.

4.Peek into drainage manholes. Check drainage manholes, ideally after heavy rains, through the scupper, to find out whether the drainage line is running smoothly. Still water in drainage manholes could mean constricted or clogged drainages. This may also mean that it’s just a maintenance problem, but buyers must demand proper maintenance to be done before it becomes a bigger problem.

5.Look up, check the roof. Flapping roof sheets caused by strong winds, and clogged gutters could be a sign of a potential leak.

7.Ask the neighbors. Still, one of the best ways to know if the area is prone to flooding is to ask the people living in the vicinity.

8.Mud on the road.. Mud on the road is a tell-tale indication of the “looseness” of the soil where the road is situated. One should first look at the “ingress and egress” (entry and exit) of the location, or the accessibility of the location as access roads are as important as the site itself.

Testing for Black Mold Before You Sell Your Home

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Selling your house can be difficult enough as it is, but uncovering a black mold problem after your house goes to market can be disastrous. Toxic black mold can be expensive to remove and even cause a range of health problems — so it usually is a deal breaker for most home buyers.

Black mold is insidious and loves to grow behind walls, in crawlspaces and under floorboards anywhere that is damp, dark and humid. By the time you see signs of it, the problem is usually much bigger.

Sight and smell may give you a good indication of whether or not you have a black mold problem — black mold tends to have a strong, musty smell, and of course it displays a trademark black color. If you believe you have black mold growth in an area of your home after these initial inspections, you should contact a professional mold testing company.

Professional mold testing companies will take samples of the air and any areas of mold growth, identify precisely what type of mold is present, and recommend next steps for remediation.

Black mold can be an expensive and potentially unhealthy problem for homeowners, but by testing for black mold, you can take care of the problem before you scare away any potential buyers.

Mold testing and mold remediation companies will often point out potential problems for mold so you can fix them before a home inspector catches you off guard and you take a hit on your asking price.

An all clear from a professional mold testing company can also help you win points with a potential buyer.

Seasonal Allergies or is Something Sinister Growing Behind Your Walls

USA, New York, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, Close up of woman sneezing
USA, New York, New York City, Manhattan, Central Park, Close up of woman sneezing

Allergy season is here, but how do you tell if your sneezing and watery eyes are due to typical spring pollen, or something a bit more sinister like a mold problem lurking in your home.

Do your allergies seem to get worse or better when it rains?

Most pollen gets washed away in rain so if your allergies seem to get worse when it rains you might have a mold problem.

Mold allergies are generally not life threatening. But they can impact your ability to lead a productive, comfortable daily life. Here are a few tips to help you spot mold allergies.

Mold grows in moisture, either indoors or outdoors. While the mold spores constantly floating in the air can trigger reactions, the problem worsens when those spores attach to a wet surface and mold begins to grow. You may have mold growing inside your house and not know it. This could be due to an unknown leak, moisture buildup in a basement, or damp areas under carpet that have been left unchecked.

Because mold grows year-round, mold allergies generally aren’t seasonal like other allergies. Those who are allergic to mold can experience symptoms any time, especially if they live in an area that tends to get rain fairly often.

If you’re allergic to mold, you’ll likely experience histamine reactions similar to those from other types of airborne allergies. Those symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • congestion
  • watery and itchy eyes
  • postnasal drip

 

You may initially mistake your mold allergies for a cold or sinus infection, since the symptoms can mirror each other. If your allergies are compounded by asthma, you may notice your asthma symptoms worsening when you’re exposed to mold. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. You also may experience wheezing and other signs of an asthma attack. While mold exposure is generally not deadly, increased exposure can make symptoms worse. Mold allergies are progressive. Over time the attacks become more severe. The key is to prevent moisture from building up by repairing any leaks in your home.

If you notice a water build-up in any part of your home, stop the leak immediately. When working in situations where outdoor mold may be present, wearing a face mask can drastically reduce your exposure to the allergen. Then called a certified mold professional to see if you need professional mold remediation.

 

Are Long Island Homes in Need of Air Duct Cleaning?

Air Duct Cleaning Long Island

Feeling stuffy? Can’t seem to get rid of that cold or tired, run down feeling? Did you ever think it could be the air you’re breathing? There is nothing like good, clean fresh air, but even if you live in a place with great air quality outside, the air quality inside your home can be putting your health and your family’s health at risk.

Most heating and central air conditioning systems on Long Island use vents to move the hot an cold air around your home, and because they are hidden in floors, ceilings and behind walls most people don’t give a second thought about air duct cleaning.

According to the national Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the average six-room house collects 40 pounds of dirt, dust and allergens in its air ducts each year. That’s a big problem, considering that 40,000 dust mites can thrive in only one ounce of dust that may contain a host of unhealthy bacteria, fungi and mold. The EPA estimates indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Even worse, the contaminated air circulates throughout your house every time the heating or cooling system kicks on.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.

When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

You should contact a licensed and insured air duct cleaning company for the job to make sure that the job is done properly.

Mold Remediation Contractor Rules for New York About to Change

Effective January 1, 2016 all Mold Remediation Contractors, and Assessors must be licensed by the New York State Department of Labor.  Anyone who conducts home inspections as part of potential real estate transactions must also be licensed as a “Mold Assessor” if their inspections/reports include an assessment of mold conditions in the home or property in question. Persons who perform Mold removal or remediation must be licensed as a Mold Remediation Contractor.

 

While companies will be able to hold both licenses the law prevents persons licensed to perform mold-related services from acting as both the mold assessment contractor and the mold remediation contractor. This is to prevent  a conflict of interest. In other words, contractors who currently provide mold inspections and perform the remediation as well, will no longer be able to do both.

 

Here at Moldbusters we are prepping for the new law change as standard Industry Certifications that were accredited in the past do not apply to the current licensing requirements.  We will be in compliance with the new law by January 1, 2016 and will continue to be the mold remediation contractor you can count on.

 

External Link….

 

https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/mold/mold-program.shtm

 

Black Mold Prevention and Remediation

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Stachybotyrs black mold is mostly common and best known in media and most common potent toxic mold to remediation companies as well.  Most Physicians have no mold toxin training which is sometimes overlooked by the severe effects it could have on patients physically.  Especially, with compromised immune systems such as children and the elderly.

This black mold requires water and not just high relative humidity to start to grow. Most common is sheetrock, wood especially exposed to outdoor conditions such as a construction site. HVAC air handlers and internally lined acoustical ductwork with fiberglass is another main culprit, due to high moisture and dust that is not cleaned periodically. Makes for a perfect breeding ground, for mold to thrive.

Typically when a homeowner has water leak behind walls, water will seep out and they will cleanup excess water on the ground ignoring the fact that water is still behind the walls and if there is insulation between studs it will wick up the water causing mold to bleed through the wall over time.  Of gassing bacteria to escape into air causing musty odors and mold spores to get airborne, and they will attach themselves to other items such as contents of the home.

Professional mold remediators should always isolate the area with a least 6 mil plastic walls to create and isolated area to keep contamination contained within that space. HEPA air scrubbers and negative air machines that vent outside are important to capture air borne mold during the remediation process. Before hiring someone to test or remediate your home or office, you should know some basics on mold testing and remediation.  If your remediator never heard of the EPA or OSHA guidelines, hire a different company.   Read about basic mold remediation and clean up principles at www.epa.gov/mold.

Professional remediation company should be licensed and insured in there state, carry mold pollution, give at least 10 reference of similar scope of work, and give a certificate of guarantee of the work up to one year, and should be more then trained then  a couple of days in a classroom vs. the field.

After 28 years in this business working for the super-rich or the common home the concept is primarily the same, “Awareness, Prevention, and Response”

There are plenty of publications for the homeowner to educate themselves and even do small projects themselves, with the proper protection of course.

What you need to know about mold

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Mold occurs where there has been standing water, moisture or water leakage. Health problems can be caused by prolonged exposure to mold so it is important to take steps to eliminate mold from your house. While mold can grow in places unseen, like crawlspaces, air ducts and behind walls, there are a few signs that mean a potential mold problem.

If you notice a pungent smell in one area of your home, check for mold. Sometimes mold hides behind walls, making the odor difficult to isolate. Mold may be visible in moisture-prone areas of your home. Check bathrooms, under sinks, in the basement and anywhere else water leaks may have occurred.

Discoloration of your ceiling or walls may indicate moisture problems. Check the area for mold, and take steps to eliminate moisture buildup. The most common symptoms of mold exposure include runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion and fatigue. If these symptoms improve away from your home, you may have a mold problem.

If you find or suspect mold in your home, consider calling in a professional to inspect your entire home, including floors, walls and ceilings. Professional mold inspectors can also test air samples for dangerous growth. Mold may be hazardous to remove, so consider consulting with a removal specialist who possesses the equipment and specialized knowledge necessary for the safe removal and prevention of mold growth.

Common molds found in the home:

  • Penicillium:This green mold grows on bread as well as in air-conditioning systems, and can be found by leaks and flooded areas. Some people experience allergic symptoms if exposed to penicillium. Symptoms are similar to those of aspergillus exposure.
  • Stachybotrys chartaru: This is a dangerous mold that causes asthma, headaches, memory loss and respiratory infections. This mold is green to black in color and thrives on moist cellulose-containing products such as drywall, wood and paper. Stachybotrys has been identified as one of the culprits of “sick building syndrome.”
  • Aspergillus:This is a common indoor mold found on basement stairs and ceilings, in areas of longstanding high humidity and at the bottom of foundation walls. Exposure to aspergillus can cause itching, rashes, headaches, fatigue and respiratory symptoms.