Blog Archives

Mold may set off asthma in middle-aged men

By Annie Rahilly-Melbourne, http://www.futurity.org

Reducing the presence of mold in the home may reduce asthma in middle-aged adults, according to new research.

In a follow-up of a longitudinal health study conducted in Tasmania, over 5,700 participants completed respiratory and home environment questionnaires and had skin-prick tests for allergies.

The results revealed that recent presence of mold in the home was associated with “non-allergic” asthma in middle age, particularly in men whose risk was about four times that of women.

Lead author John Burgess of the University of Melbourne and University of Tasmania says most studies of mold and asthma had concentrated on children and adolescents.

He adds that in this study, published in the Journal of Respirology, the asthma and related symptoms were more common as mold exposure increased. Read More

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

Front-load washing machines may contain hidden mold

Electrolux washing machine

Electrolux washing machine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

By Kara Kenney, http://www.theindychannel.com

 

Mold could be growing inside your washing machine, and you may never even know it, according to attorneys representing consumers.

 

Lawyers accuse some top companies of making defective front-loading washing machines, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.

 

Attorneys have also accused some manufacturers of knowing about the mold and trying to cover it up.

 

Many people love front loaders because they use less water, they’re quieter and they look sleek.

 

But some consumers across the country claim the machines ruined their clothes and wasted their money.

 

Ruth Ogden, of Gas City, bought a Whirlpool Duet front loader around 2004 and said after a year or so, she started noticing an odor in her clothes.

 

“It smelled like an old, dirty dishrag,” said Ogden.

 

For years, Ogden blamed her son.

 

“My son was as typical teenage slob, and we all thought the odor from him was getting into our clothes,” said Ogden, adding that she threw out clothes worth hundreds of dollars.

 

Ogden said she pulled out the soap dispenser one day and discovered mold and mildew growing in the machine.

 

“I used bleach, I used vinegar, I used ammonia, I used baking soda. I bought the Affresh things they sell,” said Ogden.

 

Whirlpool’s Duet Washer, like the one Ogden purchased, is the focus of a class-action lawsuit.

 

Attorneys allege the washers, sold between 2001 and 2008 without a steam feature, have “serious design defects” that can cause mold and mildew.

 

“The bottom line is the washers don’t clean themselves properly, the way a properly designed washer should clean itself,” said Mark Chalos, an attorney representing consumers in the class-action suit. 

 

Chalos alleges Whirlpool failed to properly warn consumers.

 

“They knew they had a problem with these machines going back years,” said Chalos.

The Call 6 Investigators found similar lawsuits against other top companies, such as LG, Bosch, GE, Sears and Kenmore.

 

Most of the machines named in lawsuits were sold between 2001 and 2008.

 

A lawsuit filed last month against Electrolux, the parent company of Frigidaire, alleges the company concealed material facts regarding some of its Frigidaire front loaders, including “defects in the stainless steel drums.”

 

“We filed suit against Electrolux to get compensation for persons like Ms. Fleming who own front load washers that suffer from the same mold defect,” said attorney Paul Weiss, who represents consumers, in an email to RTV6. “This is a problem that manufacturers like Electrolux have long known about, but have failed to fix or remedy.”

 

“We are vigorously defending ourselves in this matter,” said Eloise Hale, spokeswoman for Frigidaire, in an email to Kenney.

 

Attorneys told the Call 6 Investigators millions of consumers could be affected by mold problems in their washers and not even realize it.

 

Read More

 

Mold in food: Here is what you need to know

Chobani Greek Yogurt

Chobani Greek Yogurt (Photo credit: Janellie)

 

By Cathy Payne, USA TODAY

 

You may want to give some items in your fridge the cold shoulder.

 

The recent recall of Chobani Greek yogurt brought new attention to the issue of mold that develops in food, when it’s harmful and what to do about it. On Sept. 5, the company that makes Chobani yogurt voluntarily recalled containers with the code 16-012 and best-by dates of Sept. 11 to Oct. 7.

 

The Food and Drug Administration received a total of 170 complaints associated with Chobani yogurt as of Sept. 13. The various issues reported continue to be cramps, nausea, headache and diarrhea. The complaints were submitted by individuals in Arizona, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Indiana and Florida.

 

“These reports about a product only reflect information as reported and do not represent any conclusion by the FDA about whether the product actually caused the adverse events,” says Tamara Ward, a spokeswoman for the agency.

 

Read More

 

 

Bacteria, Mold Found In Vacuum Dust

Dust bunnies

Dust bunnies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Posted by http://www.huffingtonpost.com

 

Think the dust created by your vacuum only contains harmless hair and dust bunnies? A new study suggests more nefarious organisms could be lurking.

 

The study, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, shows that mold and bacteria — with some bacteria even carrying antibiotic resistance genes, as well as the Clostridium botulinum toxin gene — are present in aerosolized vacuum dust. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland, the Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Quebec, and the Universite Laval.

 

“Human skin and hair have been shown to be strong sources of bacteria in floor dust and air indoors, which can be readily resuspended and inhaled,” the researchers wrote in the study. “Our results show that although vacuum operation is typically brief, vacuum emissions can release appreciable quantities of human-derived bacteria. Such emissions could potentially lead to inhalation of infectious or allergenic aerosols.”

 

While researchers did not actually show in the study that the bacteria and mold in the vacuum dust caused health problems, they noted it does illustrate the “potential capability of vacuum cleaners to disseminate appreciable quantities of molds and human-associated bacteria indoors and their role as a source of exposure to bioaerosols.” Read More

 

 

More Mold In The Air Is Bad News For Allergy Sufferers

By Dr. Maria Simbra, http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com

It’s not spring pollen season. It’s not fall ragweed season. If you’re sneezing and stuffy right now, it could be mold allergies.

“I would say it’s one of the top. It’s up there,” says Dr. James Deangelo, of Allergy and Immunology Associates.

Outdoors, mold is in hay, straw, grass and leaves. But it’s indoors, too.

“You can see it growing, for example on a tree bark, or perhaps see it indoors growing on the walls. It will be black, green, different colors,” Dr. Deangelo points out.

The allergy is from what you can’t see – the mold spores. So small you can’t see them, but you inhale them.

“If you have a very hot rainy day, and right after the rain you feel that nasal congestion,” he describes. Read More

 

Excellent paper on mold allergy by the Mayo Clinic

by Shawn Garza

The well-respected Mayo Clinic has released a paper on mold allergies that contains a wealth of information on the subject.  Topics include:

  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Causes
  • Risk Factors
  • When to Seek Medical Advice
  • and more

At QuanTEM Laboratories, we believe that mold in the home or business can cause allergic reactions, but should not be a cause for fear.  It’s always best to call in a professional mold inspector and insure that any mold-like substance be tested by an accredited laboratory prior to any remediation activity.

This excellent paper by the Mayo Clinic can be viewed for free HERE