Blog Archives

How did housing inspectors repeatedly miss mold that disabled tenants say existed for years?

By Barnett Wright, http://www.al.com/

MoldceilingFor years, federal, state and local housing officials conducted inspections at a housing development for disabled and elderly residents in Tarrant. Repeatedly their reports made no mention of mold – even though one former resident says he had experienced problems with mold there since 2005.

But now – after media reports of dissension between two housing boards responsible for safety issues at the development — mold has been found in more than two dozen units in the Spring Gardens apartments.

A series of inspections – some annually — had turned up no traces of mold. Read more

Firefighters test positive for toxic mold exposure

By John Dzenitis, http://www.wpbf.com/

firefightersmoldTwo firefighters have tested positive for toxic mold exposure, and the firefighters’ union believes old, run-down fire stations are to blame.

The two firefighters worked at Station No. 7 in Vero Beach and Station No. 10 in Fellsmere. In recent years, O’Connor said the firefighters have been complaining about leaky roofs at their stations, as well as mold and dead rats in the ceiling.

“We became very concerned when a lot of guys were complaining about watery eyes, upper respiratory infections, runny noses,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor claims the county has largely ignored firefighters’ complaints, and not enough money has been allocated to fixing up fire stations with serious health concerns. Read more

Is toxic mold the real hidden culprit in haunted houses?

By David Sommerstein, http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/

moldghostsA team of researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., are the North Country’s answer to the “Ghost Hunters.”

They have a hunch that the reason some people see ghosts is not necessarily because a place is haunted. It may be because a haunted house has a lot of mold, and breathing it alters people’s states of mind.

Shane Rogers, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Clarkson, is into paranormal activity and ghosts in general. As a scientist, he studies some icky things, like manure and mold. He put his interest together and developed a hypothesis. Maybe people who see ghosts are actually just breathing in toxic mold? “There are reports of people who have been exposed to mold who have reported things like anxiety and depression.”

Rogers also knows many alleged haunted houses are old and dilapidated and more likely to be infested with mold. He said, “If you’re in a place where you’re exposed to mold, and you’re feeling a little anxious, and you see something strange or you feel something strange, if you’re in an old house that’s a little scarier, you might be more likely to ascribe it to a haunting, whereas in a newer house, perhaps not.” Read more

Teachers, Students Say Jordan Elementary Mold Made Them Ill

By Liz Collin, http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/

jordan elementaryHospitalized children, and their parents, say it’s because of what they’re breathing at school.

Halle Wassenberg, 7, spent months seeing different doctors.

“It made me feel yucky,” she told WCCO. “It didn’t feel good at all.”

She’s one of three students in the same classroom to leave Jordan Elementary School this year. Two teachers have also left. They all blame mold for making them sick. The school maintains the building is safe.

But a WCCO Investigation found mold concerns months ago were kept from parents. Read more

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

High levels of toxic mold found in herbal medicines

By J Baulkman, UniversityHerald Reporter

herbal-supplementsBotanical medicines such as licorice, Indian rennet and opium poppy could contain dangerous levels of toxic mold.

A new study from researchers at the University of Peshawar in Pakistan found that the medicinal plant market goes untested for health hazards, putting herbal medicines at a higher risk of contamination with toxic mold.

An estimated 64 percent of people use medicinal plants to treat illnesses and relieve pain. The herbal medicine market is worth $60 billion globally, and growing fast. Despite the increasing popularity of herbal medicine, the sale of medicinal plants is mostly unregulated.

“It’s common to use medicinal plants in our country and to buy from local markets and shops,” Samina Ashiq, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement. “There’s a common misconception that just because they’re natural, the plants are safe. We knew from experience that this wasn’t the case, but we wanted to really test it and quantify the contamination.”

For the study, researchers analyzed 30 samples of plants known for their medicinal properties, including licorice, Indian rennet and opium poppy. They found that 90% percent of the samples were contaminated with mold, and the levels exceeded permissible limits in 70 percent of the samples.

They then grew the molds to find out if they produced toxins that could be harmful to human health. Nineteen percent of the molds produced aflatoxins, and 12 percent produced ochratoxin A. Overall, 31 percent of the molds growing on the plants they tested produced harmful toxins. 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

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