Blog Archives

An Artist Who Paints Portraits With Mold

By Margaret Rhodes, http://www.wired.com

MoldphotoFilm is an exceedingly delicate material. It’s highly flammable, can’t always go through TSA checkpoints, and, as it turns out, can be easily destroyed by fungus.

A few years ago South Korean artist Seung-Hwan Oh read a BBC article about this fungus problem affecting film archives. He realized they were right: “I noticed that mold on badly stored film can eat away and destroy its contents,” he says. “And then I realized that I may deliver the idea of impermanence of matter applying this natural disaster into my work.”

It’s a heady notion, but when Oh talks about ‘impermanence’ he’s talking about the “idea that all the matter, including all the life forms, collapse in the spatial-temporal dimension we belong to.” It’s his inspiration in this series, and it’s based on the second law of thermodynamics, which states that as usable energy in the universe gets used—to power life, and grow organisms—unusable energy increases and creates a state of growing randomness and chaos.

Put differently, Oh started letting mold grow on his film. Rather than worrying about fungus, he embraced it.

To do that Oh had to set up a micro-fungus farm in his studio. Film gets stashed away in a warm, wet environment where fungus can grow. Oh will sometimes take mold that grows naturally on bread and rice and paste it into the prints, but that’s about as much control as he can exercise over the outcome. Read more

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10 Reasons Why Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Mold Test Kits Are Not Accurate or Advised

moldkitPosted by Shane Hupp, http://tickerreport.com/

While it might be tempting to use DIY Mold Tests—petri dishes set out over a period of time to determine mold presence—to diagnose your household mold, these over-the-counter methods can be deceiving and inaccurate. The results lack enough credibility that lawyers, doctors, insurance companies, and remediation companies do not accept the results.

Consumer Reports, in fact, rated four different brands of DIY mold tests “Not Recommended,” citing the following: “In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit; old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point; not very reassuring for post remediation use.”

All homes will contain when air samples are collected because mold is a common part of the environment. DIY kits, then, are essentially useless for diagnosing the complexity of your airborne mold contamination and should be handled by professionals. The EPA agrees: “Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by…professional organizations.”

While DIY tests can be used for entertainment value, much like a Chia Pet, true mold concerns should be handled by companies that understand the diagnostic process necessary to qualify and quantify potentially hazardous mold growth. Read more

Woman finds mold in Chandler apartment, alleges cover-up

By Rebecca Thomas, http://www.kpho.com/

moldyapartmentThis week’s record rainfall caused roofs to leak all across the Valley.

But for a Chandler woman, a leaky roof revealed an even bigger problem, one she said put her family’s health in danger.

“I woke up in the morning and my ceiling was gaping open,” Jessica Ford said.

She said water began gushing into her apartment during Monday’s storm.

Ford immediately called the management office at Laguna Village, near Arizona Avenue and Elliott Road and maintenance crews brought over an industrial fan to dry things out.

“They plugged it into this outlet while my wall was still damp,” Ford said about the counterproductive measure, since her ceiling was still leaking.

There was obvious water damage to her daughter’s room, with water pockets bulging from the ceiling.

Ford said a maintenance worker cut the ceiling open on Wednesday and what she saw shocked her.

“Mold, tons of black mold,” she said.

Again, Ford called management to report the problem and got a voicemail Thursday addressing the issue.

“That drywall has a colored backing on the back of it and that is what the discolored spots are,” said a woman who identified herself as Andrea and said she works with Laguna Village’s corporate office. “It’s actually not mold and there’s no mold that’s been seen.”

Not convinced, Ford took a sample of the sheet rock and gave it to a friend who is a biology professor.

He looked at it under a microscope and said he found very high concentrations of Stachybotrys Chartarum.

It’s a black mold known to cause respiratory problems, especially in people who have asthma, like Ford’s 6-year-old daughter. Read more

An Unintended Effect of Energy-Efficient Buildings: Toxic Mold

By Sarah Zhang, http://gizmodo.com

Energy-efficient buildings can be wonderful at keeping out drafts and keeping down heating bills. But the same air-tightness, unfortunately, is also perfect for trapping humid air where toxic mold can go to party.

The Alberta Court of Appeal in Canada has been a mold-filled ghost building since 2001, after renovations to the handsome, 87-year-old sandstone building went awry. When the renovated and newly energy-efficient building reopened, according to ClimateWire, judges and attorneys complained of fatigue, irritated lungs, and watery eyes.

Air quality samples pointed the finger at mold growing inside the walls. The cracks and leaks of the pre-renovation building had been a crude form of air-quality control—albeit not very energy efficient. The new airtight building, however, trapped moisture to breed toxic mold. Read More

Upton library gears up to fight mold

By Mike Gleason, http://www.milforddailynews.com

The Upton Town Library is plagued with mold, and officials hope that fixes planned over the next few months will solve the problem.

Library officials were alerted to the problem by bad odors.

“Historically, there has been a problem like this with the library,” Library Trustee Chairman John Robertson Jr. said. “We did feel we eliminated the problems and apparently, over time, we had. It was recently noticed, though, that an odor had returned to the library.”

In May, the library hired Gordon Mycology Laboratory in Littleton to inspect the building. The laboratory’s report, issued in July, detailed what it called “unacceptable” or “abnormal” levels of mold on building materials in the first-floor children’s section and unfinished basement, as well as evidence of rodents nesting in the walls.

“The first floor is not currently providing a healthy environment, particularly for mold-sensitized individuals or those with respiratory conditions or immune system deficiencies,” the report reads. “Ideally, although likely not possible, the library should not be occupied until the mold and moisture problems have been fully resolved.”

The report further recommends that people avoid the basement until the problem is fixed. It does note, however, that air samples from the first floor showed low mold levels consistent with indoor environments. Read More

 

Ulrich holding landlords responsible for unsafe mold conditions

By Bianca Fortis, http://www.timesledger.com

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) is working to pass a bill that addresses dangerous mold conditions in properties as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Should the bill pass, the city Department of Health will have the authority to inspect abandoned and vacant properties for mold growth. If mold is present, the department can issue notices of violation. If the property owner does not comply and address the problem, the DOH will do the remediation and then bill the property owner.

“These homes are a public nuisance and blight on our communities,” Ulrich said in a statement. “You don’t have to be a scientist or medical doctor to know how dangerous and unhealthy mold can be. I am optimistic that this legislation will force the banks and absentee landlords to take responsibility for these properties once and for all.” Read More

 

 

Home mold problems up in wake of wet summer

Mold and rust on the wall

Mold and rust on the wall (Photo credit: Cornell Fungi)

 

By Sabian Warren, http://www.citizen-times.com

 

With record rainfall in the mountains this spring and summer, experts say it’s a good idea to check your home’s basement or crawl space for an unwelcome and stealthy intruder – mold.

 

Area home repair companies that tackle mold problems report a sharp increase in the number of cases, which are usually caused by water that seeps underneath homes and – in some cases – goes undetected by the occupants for some time.

 

“We’ve seen a 100 percent increase in the last month,” Sharon Green, owner of Paul Davis Restoration in Fletcher, said of her July calls for service related to water damage and mold. “It’s something that, unfortunately, people don’t look at a lot. Most people don’t go in their crawl space.”

 

Experts say indoor mold can cause respiratory problems for people who are in close proximity, and the dampness that mold needs to thrive, if left unchecked, can lead to structural damage in a home. Read More