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Most teddy bears are covered in food poisoning bacteria, tests reveal

By Plymouth Herald, http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/

bacteria bearEighty per cent of teddy bears are contaimianted with bacteria linked to food poisioning and a quarter harbour bugs commonly found in faeces.

That is according to new resaerch carried out by Dettol – which also found that 90 per cent of children regularly drop their teddies on the floor and 75 per cebt of bears aren’t washed after a child has been ill.

New laboratory research also revealed cuddly toys have the highest levels of bacteria in the family laundry basket.

Microbiologists swab-tested a variety of children’s teddies and found that over 80% were contaminated with staphylococcus spp (a pathogen associated with food poisoning) and almost a quarter contained coliforms, indicating a possible presence of harmful organisms. Read more

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Mold-infested home with no clear owner a ‘serious’ health threat to neighbors

By Tom Perkins, http://www.mlive.com

mold houseOn any sunny, summer afternoon on Hawthorne Avenue in Ypsilanti Township, the unmistakable stench of mold and mildew wafts down the street.

 

That’s because a vacant house at 1070 Hawthorne is flooded with several feet of water and infested with mold, and officials say that’s a health threat to neighbors who have complained about issue at the property for several months.

 

At its June 17 meeting, the Board of Trustees formally approved township staff seeking a court order to bring the house up to code or to have it demolished.

 

In all likelihood, the home will soon be razed said Mike Radzik, director of the office of community standards.

 

“The basement has been flooded, it’s full of water, the stench can be smelled at the sidewalk and neighbors’ houses,” Radzik said. “We’ll be going after whichever bank we find owns it, but at this point we’re probably going for demolition because it’s so far gone that even Habitat for Humanity won’t want it.”

 

Who the township holds financially responsible for the probable demolition is unclear, Radzik said, because it isn’t known who holds the mortgage.

 

The original occupants were kicked out after foreclosing in January leading the the township to contact the owner of record, Columbus, OH-based US Bank National Association.

 

That bank said the mortgage was sold to Chase Bank, which assured the township it would send an agent to secure and clean the property.

 

But the house was left open and debris and junk littered the yard. The utilities were also left on for several months, causing a pipe to burst and the basement to flood. The continuously flowing water led to a $5,655 water bill for the property.

 

Chase Bank then told the township it no longer held the mortgage and didn’t know where it went.

 

“Meanwhile, neighbors continued to complain about a growing stench emanating from the house,” Radzik said. “It presents a serious health and safety threat to neighboring residents due to the unabated mold that is causing a strong stench to permeate the area.”

 

The home has been padlocked and township officials cleared the blight and junk from the yard. Radzik said he township would continue to seek the mortgage holder and bill the bank once they’re found, or place a lien on the property to recover the costs of cleaning the property, securing the home and the likely demolition. Read more

 

Experts say deal with mold before health issues arise

By Marisa Lagos, http://www.sfgate.com

Health experts say any apparent mold growth or dampness needs to be taken care of swiftly or it could lead to asthma or other respiratory problems.

These health issues could be particularly acute for children and firefighters, who are already vulnerable, but should be of concern to healthy adults as well, said Dr. Mark Miller, director of UCSF’s Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit. Many families on Treasure Island are already worried that polluted soil is causing health problems, including respiratory issues, in their children.

“From a practical standpoint, if there is mold in a house, it needs to be remediated – and if you can see it or you can smell it, it’s there,” Miller said. “It’s always the result of moisture of some sort, and the first thing you have to do is do something about the moisture … certainly people with underlying respiratory disease and asthma are more prone to have effects, and we are always particularly concerned about the very old and very young. And firefighters already have respiratory-related problems. You don’t want to pile more things on.”

Mark Mendel, an epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health, said wiping off mold or painting over it is an insufficient approach and that state law requires landlords to fix dampness in homes. He said expensive tests aren’t actually necessary, because if you can smell or see mold at all, it’s a problem.

“Painting over it is absolutely not acceptable and not effective … you need to find out where the water is coming from and fix it,” he said. “You need to dry damp materials, and some you have to get rid of – if you have carpet or ceiling tile that’s been wet more than a couple days, you really need to get rid of it. In addition to drying or removing any damp material, you need to remove any mold.”

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Hidden mold in dream home points to larger industry concern

By Gitte Laasby,  Journal Sentinel http://www.jsonline.com

The beautiful two-story stone-faced Sheboygan County home with the impressive Lake Michigan view was supposed to be a retreat for Mequon resident John Liebl and his wife, Beth, once they retire.

Instead, the couple are now seeing well over $250,000 of their retirement savings vanish to remedy and replace rotten exterior walls. The Liebls’ contractors say it’s a warning tale to every home buyer about the damage that can result when cheap building materials are combined with questionable workmanship.

“This was to be our weekend retreat. It’s turned into a nightmare,” John Liebl said. “What the guys are telling me is, had we not discovered this, in three to four years it would have been a complete tear-down. I don’t think we have any recourse.”

Bruce Nordgren, partner in Mequon-based Northgreen Builders LLC, which is now rebuilding the Oostburg-area home, calls the Liebls’ experience “a prime example of what’s going on in our industry.”

He predicts many more mold cases will come to light in the coming years.

“I’ve been building for 37 years now. I’m horrified by what we’re doing as a construction industry,” Nordgren said. “We’ve got to start looking at some of the things we’re doing….

“In the last five years, we’ve repaired so much stuff. It’s the products that we’re using. It’s the techniques, it’s all kinds of things. If it doesn’t change, (this) is going to happen.”

A home inspection before the Liebls purchased the house, built in 2004, in September of 2010 uncovered only minor defects. Those were remedied and the couple moved into the home, which was fully decorated and painted. Beth noticed a musty smell, but nothing showed.

It wasn’t until September 2012 when the Liebls hired Northgreen Builders to enclose the courtyard of their U-shaped house that signs of trouble appeared.  Read More