Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New York City Department of Health Info on Fiberglass

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has a webpage dedicted to fiberglass information and health effects. The site is located at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/epi/fiberglass-fact.shtml and provides information on

What is fiberglass?
Who is most likely to be exposed to fiberglass?
What are the health effects of fiberglass?
How can workers reduce their exposure to fiberglass?
How can building occupants or others reduce their exposure to fiberglass?
Are there medical tests to evaluate exposure to fiberglass?
How can I get more information?

For answers to the above questions as well as additional information go to the NYCDOHMH website

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Great Article on Avoiding Potential Toxins in Your Building

A great article on potential toxins in building can be found at The Cooperator website. The article discusses potential toxins in buildings that property managers, supervisors, owners, etc. should be aware of including asbestos, lead, CO, Radon and Mold.

Source: http://cooperator.com/articles/1847/1/Avoiding-Toxins-in-Your-Building/Page1.html

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mold In The Workplace - CDC Information

As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website, http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm - listed are some facts about mold. One of the items listed is about mold in the workplace as follows:

I’m sure that mold in my workplace is making me sick.

If you believe you are ill because of exposure to mold in the building where you work, you should first consult your health care provider to determine the appropriate action to take to protect your health. Notify your employer and, if applicable, your union representative about your concern so that your employer can take action to clean up and prevent mold growth. To find out more about mold, remediation of mold, or workplace safety and health guidelines and regulations, you may also want to contact your local (city, county, or state) health department.
You should also read the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidelines, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, at


Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace by OSHA

As per the U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine, Office of Science and Technology Assessment http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. This safety and health information bulletin provides recommendations for the prevention of mold growth and describes measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and workers involved in mold cleanup and prevention. This bulletin is directed primarily at building managers, custodians, and others responsible for building maintenance, but may also be used as a basic reference for those involved in mold remediation. By reading this safety and health information bulletin, individuals with little or no experience with mold remediation may be able to reasonably judge whether mold contamination can be managed in-house or whether outside assistance is required. The advice of a medical professional should always be sought if there are any emerging health issues. This document will help those responsible for building maintenance in the evaluation of remediation plans. Contractors and other professionals (e.g. industrial hygienists or other environmental health and safety professionals) who respond to mold and moisture situations in buildings, as well as members of the general public, also may find these guidelines helpful. The information in these guidelines is intended only as a summary of basic procedures and is not intended, nor should it be used, as a detailed guide to mold remediation. These guidelines are subject to change as more information regarding mold contamination and remediation becomes available.

The remainder of the guide can be found at http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html

Monday, December 1, 2008

USEPA Publications and Resources on Mold

As per the USEPA's website (http://www.epa.gov/mold/), several publications and resources are listed for mold related issues.

Publications and Resources

Read "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" (también disponible en español como un archivo en formata PDF (PDF, 20 pp, 1.17MB)).

If you are a building manager, custodian, or other person responsible for commercial buildings and school maintenance, read "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings". (This guidance also applies to residences.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

USEPA PSA on Dealing with Mold

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, recorded public service announcements (PSA) to provide information to people in the hurricane affected areas. Topics featured in these PSA's include:

"Dealing with Mold" (:30 secs, 472kb, MP3) en Español
Mold is a serious problem in flooded areas.

The key to controlling mold growth is by controlling moisture — and doing it quickly. If you have a mold problem at home, wash it off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.

Be sure to get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. You may have to replace absorbent materials — such as ceiling tiles and carpet — that become moldy.

For more information about mold cleanup, call 1-800- 438-4318.

Source: From U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

U.S. EPA honors Postal Service for pledging to remove nearly 8,000 pounds of lead from its vehicle fleet / First USPS region in nation to voluntarily

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 11/19/08) As part of the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today honored the Pacific Area of the U.S. Postal Service for its commitment to voluntarily replace all lead wheel weights for approximately 31,000 fleet delivery vehicles -- removing more than 8,000 pounds of lead from its workplace operations and potential deposition into the environment.

The USPS’s 34 vehicle maintenance facilities in California and Hawaii will perform about 70,000 tire balancing services annually eliminating nearly 8,000 pounds of lead in the workplace and approximately 500 pounds in the environment from wheel weights that fall off onto roadways.

“The U.S. Postal Service will not only remove thousands of pounds of hazardous lead from our environment, but recently also helped the EPA launch its National Lead Free Wheel Weight Initiative to encourage the transition away from using lead for wheel weights,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “The U.S. Postal Service Pacific Area’s leadership serves as a model both for public and private fleets to get the lead out.”

“Given the size and scope of Postal Service operations, we can reduce our environmental footprint by pursuing the development of sustainable business practices that protect the environment, maintain a safe workplace, and are fiscally prudent,” said Patrick Langsjoen, Pacific Area environmental specialist for the U.S. Postal Service. “Participating in the lead free wheel weight initiative fits well with our larger corporate sustainability strategy.”

The EPA’s lead-free wheel weight initiative engages partners in the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of wheel weights to participate in a voluntary effort to accelerate the transition to steel weights. Lead can enter the environment and create potential human exposures by weights falling off tires and being washed into storm sewers or waterways.

Quick Facts:
· Wheel weights are clipped to the rims of every automobile wheel in the United States in order to balance tires.
· Lead weights will be phased out in California by the end of 2009 under a court settlement between Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health against Chrysler and the three largest makers of lead wheel weights for the U.S. market: Plombco Inc. of Canada, Perfect Equipment Inc. and Hennessey Industries.
· There are 200 million autos and light trucks on the nation's roadways, with 16 million new autos produced annually in the United States.
· An average of 4.5 ounces of lead is clipped to the wheel rims of every automobile in the United States.
· Approximately 50 million pounds of lead is used annually to produce tire weights worldwide in autos and light trucks.
· It is estimated that 1.6 million pounds are lost in the United States when wheel weights fall off during normal driving conditions (e.g., hitting a pot hole).
· It is estimated that half a million pounds of lead each year is released into the environment in California from wheel weights falling off vehicles.
· Local service stations may have steel weights available, and consumers can request them in lieu of lead weights.

The National Partnership for Environmental Priorities encourages public and private organizations to form partnerships with the EPA to reduce the use or release of toxic. Lead is a chemical of concern for the EPA because it bio-accumulates in the food chain, damages ecosystems and can cause brain damage in humans, especially children.

The EPAs goal is to partner with industries, municipalities and federal facilities to reduce the use or release of 4 million pounds of priority chemicals by 2011. The EPA also encourages all consumers to ask their tire vendors to provide lead-free wheel weights.

For more information on the EPAs National Partnership for Environmental Priorities Program, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/minimize/partnership.htmn
For more information about USPS, please visit: http://www.usps.com

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/85f6da001abb40a8852575060082293f?OpenDocument

Thursday, November 13, 2008

EPA Settles with Three Maryland Schools and One School District to Ensure Safe Management of Asbestos

PHILADELPHIA (November 12, 2008 ) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled four cases in Maryland in an effort to ensure the safe management of asbestos-containing materials in schools.

In separate consent agreements with EPA, the Board of Education of Dorchester County Schools, St. Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Md., the First English Evangelical Lutheran Church preschool and kindergarten in Baltimore, and Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church School in Kingsville, Md., have settled alleged violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), the federal law requiring schools to inspect and manage asbestos-containing building materials.

The AHERA violations the three individual schools and the one school district were cited for include failing to include all school buildings in the management plan, failure to conduct an initial inspection of all school buildings to determine if there was any asbestos located in the facility, failure to submit an asbestos management plan, failure to conduct reinspections of all friable and nonfriable asbestos every three years, and failure to provide annual notification of the management plan to parents, teachers, and employee organizations.

EPA did not find that students or other building occupants were exposed to asbestos as a result of the alleged violations. The schools that were cited have now certified their compliance with the AHERA requirements.

Under AHERA, EPA may agree to reduce or eliminate penalties due to the schools’ cooperation with EPA, compliance activities and expenditures. The four Maryland settlement agreements are:

1. EPA inspected St. Timothy’s School, Stevenson, Md., and cited it for failing to maintain copies of updated management plans in the school, failing to inspect the athletic complex, and failing to provide annual notification to parents, teachers, and employees. The school has spent at least $17,195 to come into compliance, so there is a zero penalty amount.

2. EPA inspected 13 schools in the Dorchester County Public School district, headquartered in Cambridge, Md. The violations vary from school to school but include failure to conduct reinspections of nine facilities every three years and failure to make management plans available for inspection. Dorchester County Public Schools has spent at least $55,250 to comply with AHERA regulations, so there is zero penalty amount.

3. EPA cited First English Evangelical Lutheran Church, Baltimore, Md. for AHERA violations discovered during inspections by the Maryland Department of the Environment, which included failure to have an initial inspection conducted at the facility to determine whether there was any asbestos in the facility prior to its use as a school, and failure to submit an asbestos management plan for the facility. EPA determined the civil penalty to be $5,500. The school has spent $3,000 on compliance and agrees to an additional penalty of $2,500.

4. EPA cited Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kingsville, Md., for failing to include the parish hall, a school building used for recreational activities, in the management plans. The school has spent $5,682 to come into compliance, so there is a zero penalty amount.

Asbestos was once widely used in building materials due to its insulation and fire retardant properties. Damaged or disturbed asbestos may release fibers which, if inhaled, create a risk of asbestosis, lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses. However, intact, undisturbed asbestos materials generally do not pose a health risk, if managed in accordance with AHERA safeguards. For general information about asbestos and its regulation, visit www.epa.gov/asbestos. Information on asbestos in schools is available at www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html.

Today’s action contributes to EPA's record-shattering enforcement results for the 2008 Fiscal Year. To date, EPA has concluded enforcement actions requiring polluters to spend an estimated $11 billion on pollution controls, clean-up and environmental projects, an all time record for EPA. After these activities are completed, EPA expects annual pollution reductions of more than three billion pounds.

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/e9e2fdab6e1904e0852574ff006a6447!OpenDocument

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mold Resource and Information Links

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency New Residential Mold Guide http://epa.gov/mold/

"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" by the US EPA http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldguide.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/mold

U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyMold Resources http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/moldresources.html

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, March 2001 http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home

As per the USEPA http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldbasics.html

Why is mold growing in my home?

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.

How do I get rid of mold?

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's YOUR Environment and now EPA.gov is YOUR Web Site

EPA is opening the doors on a new, more interactive, and task-oriented Web site designed to meet users' needs. We've heard from our audience – the American people – and they are interested in more than just reading about EPA programs on the Web. Citizens want to participate in protecting the environment in which they live and work. People want an active voice in what happens at EPA. They want to find topics of interest to them quickly.

"EPA has heard the voice of the people loud and clear! We're going to do everything possible to make participating in environmental protection a reality," said Molly O'Neill, EPA's Chief Information Officer and assistant administrator for the Office of Environmental Information. "We're using Web 2.0 technologies to give citizens a Web site that is more interactive, uses multimedia tools, and is better organized by what they want to do or know. "

The new design includes:

Links to immediate actions people can take to protect the environment at home or in their community:

How can I make my home more energy-efficient?
What and where can I recycle?
How do I learn about environmental conditions in my community?
What can my community do to help to prevent pollution?

Interactive media like blogs so people can:
Post comments to our blog "Greenversations"
Comment on proposed regulations
Bookmark EPA pages with Digg It.

Web 2.0 Tools to inform people on EPA activities:
RSS news feeds to provide information to subscribers
Videos and podcasts
Widgets to put EPA information on their Web site.

Take YOUR new Web site out for a "test drive": www.epa.gov
And please use the blog (http://blog.epa.gov/blog/ ) to let EPA know how it runs.

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/F5D93C8B0829072C852574BF0054DCAD

Sorting Hurricane Debris Can Help Clean Up Communities

AUSTIN, Texas -- As families begin cleaning up after Hurricane Ike, state and federal officials offer directions on how to carefully pre-sort their household debris to help cleanup and disposal efforts.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are partners in the disaster recovery, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management.

"The first recommendation we have is to follow the guidelines in your community," said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman.

"The debris created by a hurricane has unique challenges," State Coordinating Officer Joan Haun added. "We want everyone to help clean up and start getting neighborhoods back to normal, and we want them to do it safely."

Texas residents should separate their household debris in piles as follows:

* Household garbage - bagged trash, discarded food;
* Construction debris - wood, drywall, carpet, furniture;
* Household hazardous waste - motor oil, batteries, bug sprays;
* Vegetation debris - tree branches, leaves, logs;
* "White" goods - refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioners;
* Electronics - televisions, radios, computers;
* Orphan containers - butane or propane tanks, chlorine cylinders.

If possible, residents should clearly mark debris containers before disposing. To prevent spills, leaking containers should be placed in plastic bags. Household hazardous waste should never be poured down drains or storm sewers.

If your community offers curbside pick up, please leave all household debris at the curbside. Do not leave debris leaning against trees or poles or on private property, as this makes it harder to retrieve the debris.

If your community does not offer curbside pick up, please contact your local waste disposal agency for instructions.

Once household debris is gathered, it will be processed for final disposal.

For information on local environmental regulations go to http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/

For EPA information on hurricane response, visit: http://www.epa.gov/hurricanes

More information about the Texas Hurricane Ike disaster is available at http://www.fema.gov/

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/0BC408BC588886F7852574D700772FDD

Sunday, November 2, 2008

EPA Encourages Homeowners Impacted by Hurricane Ike to Take Proper Measures To Safeguard Drinking Water

EPA Encourages Homeowners Impacted by Hurricane Ike to Take Proper Measures To Safeguard Drinking Water

Release date: 10/21/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas - October 21, 2008) - Homeowners who are still concerned about the quality and safety of their drinking water following Hurricane Ike are encouraged to be pro-active in ensuring that all proper measures to safeguard drinking water in the home are taken.

As a result of flooding and the speed and direction of ground water flow, some pumps and wells used to provide drinking water for homes may be contaminated with bacteria and other pollutants. What follows are some tips that will help in taking the appropriate steps in securing safe drinking water.

Only water that has been disinfected should be used for drinking, cooking, making any prepared drink, or for brushing teeth. Bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters should be used. If residents do not have bottled water, there are ways to ensure that the water is safe for consumption and use. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to boil water. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, it should be filtered through clean cloths or allowed to settle. Then, clear water can be drawn off for boiling. Residents should boil the water for one minute, let it cool and store it in clean containers with covers.

If boiling is not a possibility, chemical disinfection of filtered and settled water collected from a well, spring, river, or other surface water body will still provide some health benefits and is better than no treatment at all. Residents can disinfect contaminated water with household bleach by adding 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stirring it well and letting it stand for 30 minutes before use.

If a resident has a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after floodwaters recede. When emergency disinfection is necessary, disinfectants are less effective in cloudy, murky or colored water. After filtering until it is clear, or allowing all dirt and other particles to settle, clean and clear water may be drawn off for disinfection.

Boiling and chemical treatment are two general methods used to effectively disinfect small quantities of filtered and settled water. Boiling is the surest method to make water safe, but when done correctly, chemical disinfection is just as effective.

Information on home water treatment units is available from EPA by phone at 1-800-426-4791 or the U.S. EPA’s website at: http://www.epa.gov/region6/disaster/pdf/private_wells.pdf.

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/7F3CCC484C8A0F5F852574E9005F6DFE

Friday, October 31, 2008

Unified Command Continues To Make Great Strides in Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

Pasadena, TX - Oct. 23, 2008 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Texas General Land Office (TGLO) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) have made great strides as the Unified Command in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. From the outset, the four agencies have been committed to identifying, assessing, and overseeing the cleanup of post-hurricane pollution hazards throughout southeast Texas.

“By tapping into the strengths and resources of the agencies that make up the Unified Command, we’ve been able to achieve a great deal in a limited time,” said Incident Commander Althea Foster. “Our mission is to ensure the environmental health and safety of affected communities. We are out in the field every day, doing just that.”

Through air, land and wetlands operations, the Unified Command has been able to reach the common goal of minimizing environmental impacts from the release of oil and hazardous materials. EPA’s ASPECT aircraft has been essential in pinpointing and targeting areas that were hard hit by the hurricane. Through the equipment in ASPECT, detailed chemical information on possible chemical releases can be safely obtained and quickly provided to first responders. In 15 flight missions, totaling 63 hours of flight time logged in the air, EPA’s ASPECT aircraft collected digital aerial photographs, infrared imagery and video. This information gave EPA a clear picture of storm-affected areas. Nearly 900 facilities, including chemical facilities, oil and fuel storage facilities, crude and gas collection and processing facilities, water treatment and wastewater facilities and other facilities falling under EPA jurisdiction, were assessed.

Unified Command ground operations identify and remove orphan drums and containers that may contain hazardous substances. Special attention is given to removal efforts in wetland areas, to ensure minimal impacts on these sensitive environments. More than 28,000 containers have been collected throughout southeastern coastal Texas. A toll-free hotline helps the communities affected by Hurricane Ike report orphan drums and containers. The communities’ assistance has been invaluable to the Unified Command and has helped speed recovery efforts.

The Unified Command has also visited over 1,500 wastewater and drinking water facilities to ensure each facility continues to function properly. In addition, more than 250 oil incidents have been assessed and responded to through ground and air patrols. The Unified Command has identified more than 4,600 “targets” for assessment and removal. Targets are defined as containers or debris lines.

The skills and strengths of each of the four agencies make the Unified Command a strong and effective force in hurricane recovery. Through reconnaissance work, assessments, containment and recovery, much has been accomplished, and the work carries on. For more information on the hurricane response, visit: http://www.epa.gov/hurricanes.

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/70D8C4F0D67FBA2B852574EB00764DEF

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Problem with Indoor Mold?

Have a Problem with Indoor Mold? -

As per the USEPA ( http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/Indoor/mold.htm ) The problems of moisture and mold in building structures have increased for many of the same reasons that Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has become a more significant problem. Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma and can also trigger allergies in sensitive individuals. Floods, broken pipes, roofs or other shell leakage problems can now result in higher moisture levels and more mold inside buildings. Since all molds require water or moisture, the key to preventing or controlling mold growth is to remove the source of water or moisture. If you have a mold problem and would like to know what to do, EPA has an excellent guide on its Mold Resources web page.

Source: USEPA

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sampling for Mold as Per OSHA

Sampling for Mold

Is it necessary to sample for mold? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Air sampling for mold may not be part of a routine assessment because decisions about appropriate remediation strategies often can be made on the basis of a visual inspection.

Your first step should be to inspect for any evidence of water damage and visible mold growth. Testing for mold is expensive, and there should be a clear reason for doing so. In many cases, it is not economically practical or useful to test for mold growth on surfaces or for airborne spores in the building. In addition, there are no standards for “acceptable” levels of mold in buildings, and the lack of a definitive correlation between exposure levels and health effects makes interpreting the data difficult, if not impossible.

Testing is usually done to compare the levels and types of mold spores found inside the building with those found outside of the building or for comparison with another location in the building. In addition, air sampling may provide tangible evidence supporting a hypothesis that investigators have formulated. For example, air sampling may show a higher concentration of the same species of mold when the HVAC is operating than when it has been turned off. This finding may convince the investigators that the mold is growing within, and being disseminated by, the HVAC system. Conversely, negative results may persuade investigators to abandon this hypothesis and to consider other sources of mold growth or dissemination. If you know you have a mold problem, it is more important to spend time and resources removing the mold and solving the moisture problem that causes the moldy conditions than to undertake extensive testing for the type and quantity of mold.

If you are in doubt about sampling, consult an industrial hygienist or other environmental health or safety professional with experience in microbial investigations to help you decide if sampling for mold is necessary or useful, and to identify persons who can conduct any necessary sampling. Due to the wide difference in individual susceptibility to mold contamination, sampling results sampling may have limited application. However, sampling results can be used as a guide to determine the extent of an infestation and the effectiveness of the cleanup. Their interpretation is best left to the industrial hygienist or other environmental health or safety professional.

Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals with specific experience in designing mold-sampling protocols, sampling methods for microbial contaminants, and interpretation of results. For additional information on air sampling, refer to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists’ document, “Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control.” In addition, sampling and analysis should follow any other methods recommended by either OSHA, NIOSH, EPA, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, or other recognized professional guidelines. Types of samples can include: air samples, surface samples, bulk samples, and water samples from condensate drain pans or cooling towers.

Microscopic identification of the spores/ colonies requires considerable expertise. These services are not routinely available from commercial laboratories. Documented quality control in the laboratories used for analysis of the bulk, surface, and other air samples is necessary. The American Industrial Hygiene Association offers accreditation to microbial laboratories (Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program (EMLAP)). Accredited laboratories must participate in quarterly proficiency testing (Environmental Microbiology Proficiency Analytical Testing Program (EMPAT)).

Source: http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html
OSHA's A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace- Safety and Health Information Bulletin

Monday, October 27, 2008

EPA Funded Studies Link Dampness and Mold to Significant Respiratory Problems and to High Costs of Medical Treatment

EPA Funded Studies Link Dampness and Mold to Significant Respiratory Problems and to High Costs of Medical Treatment

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a meta-analysis which suggests that building dampness and mold are associated with increases of 30%-50% in respiratory and asthma related health outcomes. EPA funded this study, and a related analysis which estimates that 21% of asthma in the US is linked to exposures to mold and dampness in homes, and that this costs the nation an estimated $3.5 billion annually in treatment costs.

Access the Articles and Read the Abstracts online

Meta-analyses of the associations of respiratory health effects with dampness and mold in homes W. J. Fisk, Q. Lei-Gomez, M. J. Mendell, Indoor Air July 2007

Public health and economic impact of dampness and mold D. Mudarri and W. J. Fisk Indoor Air 17:3;226-235, June 2007www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0668.2007.00474.x

Source: http://www.epa.gov/asthma01/news.html

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wipe Out Lead Poisoning - National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

Release date: 10/20/2008

Contact Information: (news media only) Dale Kemery, 202-564-4355 / kemery.dale@epa.gov (Other inquiries) Priscilla Flattery, 202-564-2718 / flattery.priscilla@epa.gov; En español: Lina Younes, 202-564-4355

(10/20/08) National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 19-25, is set aside to educate parents and children about the dangers of lead exposure, especially lead-paint hazards in housing. As part of the observance, many states and communities will conduct education and awareness events.

The theme for this year’s lead week, “Let’s Wipe Out Lead Poisoning – Renovate Right!” highlights EPA’s March 2008 rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices during renovation, repair and painting activities. Under the new rule, beginning in April 2010 contractors performing projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

To view a Green Scene podcast on this subject, please visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/MMWebCon.nsf/HTML/KCHK-7K7PWU?OpenDocument

For additional information on Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and events in your area, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/lead

To learn more about lead renovation go to: http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm

Saturday, October 25, 2008

EPA fines six Arizona charter school operators for asbestos violations Schools failed to have inspections completed and asbestos management plans

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined six Arizona charter school operators a combined total of $11,600 for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act violations.

In April 2007, EPA inspectors discovered that all but one of the school operators failed to conduct inspections to determine if asbestos-containing material was present in school buildings and all had failed to develop asbestos management plans. The schools have since completed inspections or otherwise obtained the appropriate documentation to establish that no asbestos-containing material is present in their school buildings. All of the schools have developed asbestos management plans.

“All schools, including charter schools, need to conduct asbestos inspections and have asbestos management plans,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Asbestos in schools has the potential for endangering the health of students, teachers, and others, including maintenance workers.”

The schools are:

* Valley Academy: The operator Valley Academy, Inc. was fined $2,400.
* Paradise Education Center: The operator, Paragon Management, Inc. was fined $2,100.
* Horizon Community Learning Center: The operator Horizon Community Learning Center, Inc. was fined $2,100.
* Happy Valley School: The operator Happy Valley School, Inc. was fined $2,100.
* Edu-Prize Charter School: The operator Edu-Prize, Inc. was fined $2,100.
* Challenge School: The operator Challenge School, Inc. was fined $800.

Federal law requires schools to conduct an initial inspection using accredited inspectors to determine if asbestos-containing building material is present and develop a management plan to address the asbestos materials found in the school buildings. In certain circumstances, an inspection is not required if the school has a signed statement from the architect or builder stating that a new building was constructed with no asbestos-containing materials.

All six schools established that no asbestos-containing materials were used in their school buildings. Schools that do not contain asbestos-containing material must still develop a management plan that identifies a designated person and includes the architect’s statement or building inspection and the annual notification to parents, teachers, and employees regarding the availability of the plan.

The EPA’s rules also require the school to appoint a designated person who is trained to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Finally, schools must conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections, properly train the maintenance and custodial staff, and maintain records in the management plan.

Local education agencies must keep an updated copy of the management plan in their administrative office and at the school, which must be made available for inspection by parents, teachers, and the general public.

For on asbestos in schools visit: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbestos_in_schools.html

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/5725995f34568986852574d4006653e6?OpenDocument

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mold can cause adverse health effects - FEMA

Mold is an ever-present problem following storm flooding and can be a significant health risk if care is not taken, warn officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA).

They urge residents and owners of flooded property to take action now to identify mold and take steps to clean it up and not wait until inspectors arrive.

Health officials say problems from exposure to mold can follow if it is disturbed through improper cleanup procedures. Also, mold is easily transferred from one surface to another. Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions (allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity, and asthma) and the elderly appear to be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold.

Symptoms can include nose and throat irritation, wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks in individuals who have asthma, and lower respiratory tract infections in children. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions also may be susceptible to more serious lung infections.

Mold growth is a common occurrence in flood-damaged homes and damp environments. Mold can become a problem in your home if there is enough moisture available to allow mold to thrive and multiply. Mold discoloration comes in a variety of colors from white to orange and from green to brown or black. Whatever color, it characteristically gives off a musty or earthy smell.

There is no practical way to eliminate all mold spores in the indoor environment, but there are many ways to help control moisture and mold growth. Care must be taken to clean and completely dry any areas of the home that have gotten wet from floodwaters to prevent structural damage and adverse health effects from mold.

The following are a few suggestions to help in preventing mold:

  • Rebuild or retrofit with water-resistant building materials such as tile, stone, deep-sealed concrete, galvanized or stainless steel hardware, indoor/outdoor carpeting, waterproof wallboard and water-resistant glues.
  • Clean fabrics such as curtains and upholstery often and keep them dry. Store clean fabric items in well-ventilated areas.
  • Consider having air ducts cleaned and inspected professionally or replaced.
  • Reduce moisture in the air with dehumidifiers, fans and open windows or air conditioners.
  • Do not use fans if mold already exists; a fan will spread the mold spores.
  • Routinely check potential problem spots. Disinfect often with a 10 percent solution of bleach - about 1-1/4 cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Don't add ammonia as mixing bleach and ammonia will create toxic fumes.

For more information, contact the following sites online: Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/mold.shtm or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at www.epa.gov/iaq/molds.

Individuals also may obtain a free copy of FEMA's publication, Mold & Mildew: Cleaning Up Your Flood-Damaged Home, Publication No. 606, by contacting FEMA Publications at 1-800-480-2520.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Source: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=45099

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Clean Mold Thoroughly and Safely - FEMA

AUSTIN, Texas -- Disaster recovery specialists caution that mold and mildew can begin to grow within 24 hours after a flood and can be found throughout the house, including the attic, basement and crawl spaces. Health officials encourage those who realize they have mold to act quickly to eliminate the problem. Taking steps to clean up mold properly ensures a healthy home, especially for those who may suffer from allergies and asthma.

All materials are likely to become moldy if they are wet for too long. Thus, the first step in the mold cleanup process is to consider the condition of all items in a flooded area:

  • Wood furniture and other porous materials can trap mold and may need to be thrown away.
  • Harder materials, such as glass, plastic and metal, can be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Carpeting is a problem because drying it out does not remove mold spores. Carpets with heavy mold and mildew need to be discarded.

All wet surfaces should be cleaned, disinfected and dried as quickly as possible. Specialists offer the following suggestions to ensure safe and effective cleanup:

  • Open windows for ventilation and wear rubber gloves and eye protection for cleaning. Consider also using an N-95 rated mask if heavy concentrations of mold are present.
    Wash all areas and washable items that came in contact with floodwaters with a non-ammonia soap or detergent.
  • Rinse thoroughly and disinfect the area with a solution of 10 percent household bleach and 90 percent water. Never use bleach with ammonia. The fumes are toxic.
  • Cleaned areas need to dry for several days. Heat, fans and dehumidifiers help.
  • All odors should be checked out. It is possible for mold to hide in the walls or behind wall coverings. Find all mold sources and properly clean them.
  • Materials that cannot be cleaned, such as wallboard, fiberglass and cellulose insulation, should be removed and discarded. Then clean the wall studs where wallboard has been removed, and allow the area to dry completely.

Additional information on cleaning up after a flood is available at the following web sites: www.fema.gov, www.redcross.org, www.epa.gov, www.cdc.gov, www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem and www.dshs.state.tx.us.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Source: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=46188

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Website Links For Mold Resources and Information

Indoor Air - Mold This page provides information about mold resources.URL: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/index.html

Mold Resources This page discusses how mold is produced and the associated risks to human health and property.URL: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldresources.html

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home This guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems.URL: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldguide.html

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution - Biological Pollutants Provides information about biological pollutants.URL: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/biologic.html

Indoor Environment Management Branch: Children's Health Initiative: Toxic Mold Outbreaks of the fungi Stachybotrys atra (S. atra) have been identified as being associated with the deaths of infants in Cleveland, Ohio.URL: http://www.epa.gov/appcdwww/iemb/child.htm

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings This document provides information about mold remediation in commercial buildings and schools.URL: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/index.html

Asthma Triggers - Molds Molds can trigger asthma episodes in individuals with an allergic reaction to mold.URL: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/asthma/molds.html

IAQ Tools for Schools Kit - IAQ Coordinator's Guide: Appendix H: Mold and Moisture Provides information about mold and moisture.URL: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/tfs/guideh.html

Healthy School Environments: Mold and Moisture Provides information about mold and moisture in schools.URL: http://cfpub.epa.gov/schools/top_sub.cfm?t_id=41&s_id=31

Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers: Appendix C: Moisture, Mold and Mildew Provides information about mold, mildew and moisture.URL: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/pdf_files/appenc.pdf

Monday, October 13, 2008

Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers

The Building Air Quality, developed by the EPA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, provides practical suggestions on preventing, identifying, and resolving indoor air quality (IAQ) problems in public and commercial buildings. This guidance provides information on factors affecting indoor air quality; describes how to develop an IAQ profile of building conditions and create an IAQ management plan; describes investigative strategies to identify causes of IAQ problems; and provides criteria for assessing alternative mitigation strategies, determining whether a problem has been resolved, and deciding whether to consult outside technical specialists. Other topics included in the guide are key problem causing factors; air quality sampling; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; moisture problems; and additional sources of information.

The entire document can be found at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/baqtoc.html

How Do You Know When You Have Fnished Remediation/Cleanup

How Do You Know When You Have Finished Remediation/Cleanup?
As per the US EPA's website http://www.epa.gov/iedmold1/i-e-r.html#Table%202:%20Mold%20Remediation%20Guidelines%20(7)
  • You must have completely fixed the water or moisture problem.
  • You should complete mold removal. Use professional judgment to determine if the cleanup is sufficient. Visible mold, mold-damaged materials, and moldy odors should not be present.
  • If you have sampled, the kinds and concentrations of mold and mold spores in the building should be similar to those found outside, once cleanup activities have been completed.
  • You should revisit the site(s) shortly after remediation, and it should show no signs of water damage or mold growth.
  • People should be able to occupy or re-occupy the space without health complaints or physical symptoms.
  • Ultimately, this is a judgment call; there is no easy answer.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings

The US EPA has a documented entitled "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings". As per the US EPA's website www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html -

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has been increasing as the public becomes aware that exposure to mold can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions. This document presents guidelines for the remediation/cleanup of mold and moisture problems in schools and commercial buildings; these guidelines include measures designed to protect the health of building occupants and remediators. It has been designed primarily for building managers, custodians, and others who are responsible for commercial building and school maintenance. It should serve as a reference for potential mold and moisture remediators. Using this document, individuals with little or no experience with mold remediation should be able to make a reasonable judgment as to whether the situation can be handled in-house. It will help those in charge of maintenance to evaluate an in-house remediation plan or a remediation plan submitted by an outside contractor. Contractors and other professionals who respond to mold and moisture situations in commercial buildings and schools may also want to refer to these guidelines.

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on.

Many types of molds exist. All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed, but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to moisture buildup. Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building, and unvented combustion appliances. Delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings. Moisture problems in portable classrooms (see IAQ Design Tools for Schools - Portable Classrooms for more information) and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems.

When mold growth occurs in buildings, adverse health problems may be reported by some building occupants, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems. Remediators should avoid exposing themselves and others to mold-laden dusts as they conduct their cleanup activities. Caution should be used to prevent mold and mold spores from being dispersed throughout the air where they can be inhaled by building occupants.

This exerpt was taken from http://www.epa.gov/mold/intro.html

Friday, October 3, 2008

OSHA Asbestos Information Page

Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and is highly regulated. An estimated 1.3 million employees in the construction and general industry face significant asbestos exposure on the job. Heaviest exposures occur in the construction industry, particularly during the removal of asbestos during renovation or demolition. Employees are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during automotive brake and clutch repair work.OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asbestos rules are intertwined.

The site provides links to information relevant to asbestos in the workplace. Go to source link below for more information:

Source: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Synthetic Mineral Fibers - Fiberglass Hazards

As per OSHA - Synthetic mineral fibers are fibrous inorganic substances made primarily from rock, clay, slag, or glass. These fibers are classified into three general groups: fiberglass (glasswool and glass filament), mineral wool (rockwool and slagwool), and refractory ceramic fibers (RCF). There are more than 225,000 workers in the US exposed to synthetic mineral fibers in manufacturing and end-use applications.

There is insufficient evidence that synthetic mineral fibers cause respiratory disease in humans. Results from animal experiments have led to conservative classifications of certain synthetic mineral fibers as possible human carcinogens. Specifically, insulation glass wool, continuous glass filament, rock (stone) wool, and slag wool are not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans. The following resources aid in recognizing synthetic mineral fiber hazards in the workplace.


Friday, September 26, 2008

EPA Provides Water Well Precautions and Actions

Release date: 09/18/2008

(Dallas, Texas – September 18, 2008) Homeowners with water wells need to take special precautions and actions in the aftermath of hurricanes. What follows is a "how to" concerning the steps homeowners should take to ensure a safe return to water well operation. Because of the extensive flood area and the speed and direction of ground water flow, your well may not be a safe source of water for many months after the flood. The well can become contaminated with bacteria or other contaminants.Waste water from malfunctioning septic tanks or chemicals seeping into the ground can contaminate the ground water even after the water was tested and found to be safe. It will be necessary to take long range precautions, including repeated testing, to protect the safety of drinking water.

For remainder of press release please visit the source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/324e040292e1e51f85257359003f533a/9f01a66fa1df931e852574c800621c67!OpenDocument

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

EPA Issues Notice to Galveston Residents

Attention Returning Galveston Residents

Release date: 09/23/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or Francisco Arcaute at 213-798-1404 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas – September 23, 2008) Before drinking, cooking or brushing teeth, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends these water precautions for residents returning to Galveston:
a) If possible, use bottled water that hasn’t been exposed to floodwaters;
b) If none is available, boil water. For cloudy water, filter with a cloth; draw off the clear water and boil for one minute. Then store in a clean container with a cover;
c) If you can’t boil water, add 1/8 of a teaspoon of household bleach for each gallon of water. Stir well, and let it stand 30 minutes before using.
d) Pay attention to local authorities, who will announce when it is safe to use and drink water or flush toilets.

EPA has several recorded public service announcements (PSAs) offering safety tips on how to safely operate a generator, how to properly use household cleaners, how to handle and dispose of hazardous materials, and how to safely deal with asbestos and mold, among other useful information. To listen to these PSAs or to learn more information on how to respond to disasters, please visit http://www.epa.gov/hurricane.For more information about EPA, go to http://www.epa.gov/region6.

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/dc16a9e4257d2b6a852574cd005ce11f?OpenDocument

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Asbestos Advisor PC Compliance Program

The Asbestos Advisor is an interactive compliance assistance tool. Once installed on your PC, it can interview you about buildings and worksites, and the kinds of tasks workers perform there. It will produce guidance on how the Asbestos standard may apply to those buildings and that work. Its guidance depends on your answers. It can provide general guidance and may, also, be focused on a particular project. It provides pop-up definitions through "hypertext".

Version 2.0 reflects updates for revisions, corrections and clarifications of the rule published by OSHA in Federal Register September 29, 1995 and August 23, 1996. The program is not intended to replace or amend the official text of the regulation, as published in 29 CFR 1910.1001 (general industry), 1915.1001 (shipbuilding), and 1926.1101 (construction). The Asbestos Advisor computer program is intended to provide an introduction to the scope and logic of the regulation and summary guidance to facilitate compliance. Effort has been made to insure the accuracy of information provided by the program, but the guidance provided by the program should not be relied upon as being comprehensive or binding on the government. The Asbestos Advisor's option listed as "Provide detailed text of regulations" allows the user to view and print the full regulation texts associated with selected topics. Users are encouraged to subsequently read the full text of the OSHA Asbestos Standards (29 CFR 1910, 1915, and 1926), and to seek appropriate legal counsel.

For complete information and to download program go to www.osha.gov/dts/osta/oshasoft/asbestos/index.html

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found In The Home

As per the document: Consumer Product Safety Commission andEnvironmental Protection Agencyand theAmerican Lung Association (The Christmas Seal People) - Asbestos In The Home
CPSC Document #453

Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found In The Home

  • Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
  • Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation.
  • Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
  • Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
  • Older products such as stove-top pads may have some asbestos compounds.
  • Walls and floors around woodburning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
  • Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
  • Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/453.html

Credits: the American Lung Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

OSHA deploys staff and resources to safeguard cleanup and recovery personnel in areas hit by Hurricane

National News Release: 08-1280-NAT
Sept. 5, 2008
Contact: Sharon Worthy David Sims
Phone: 202-693-4676 202-693-1898

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA deploys staff and resources to safeguard cleanup and recovery personnel in areas hit by Hurricane Gustav

WASHINGTON -- To help protect crews performing cleanup and recovery operations in the wake of Hurricane Gustav from hazards such as downed power lines and falls from heights, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has sent safety and health experts into storm damaged areas of Mississippi and Louisiana.

"OSHA is helping employers protect their employees from the many potential dangers they can encounter in this difficult but important work," said Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. "We want to ensure that the men and women working to restore the homes of other people make it safely back to their own homes at the end of the day."

In southern Mississippi, regional OSHA personnel monitored more than a dozen cleanup and recovery operations involving downed electrical lines, fallen tree limbs, sand drifts and other debris left behind by floodwaters and high winds. They advised employers on how to minimize safety and health risks to their employees on the job and made certain that worksite hazards they encountered were promptly corrected.

OSHA deployed staff to the Louisiana State Police's Emergency Operations Center and the federal Joint Field Office coordinating relief efforts, both located in Baton Rouge, La. OSHA personnel provided technical assistance throughout the affected areas and distributed educational materials to employers on such topics as how to safely operate chain saws and portable generators.

The agency also deployed its Specialized Response Team (SRT) to Baton Rouge to support OSHA's regional operations. The SRT includes industrial hygienists, engineers, and other occupational safety and health experts who are highly trained in identifying and mitigating hazards associated with catastrophic events. The team arrived with a trailer housing specialized monitoring devices as well as respirators, gloves and other personal protective equipment for use in assessing safety and health hazards.

In addition to the technical expertise being offered in the field, the Labor Department's hurricane recovery assistance Web page at http://www.dol.gov/opa/hurricane-recovery2008.htm provides online resources to help ensure that cleanup and recovery efforts for Gustav and future hurricanes are conducted in the safest way possible. Employers and employees looking for more information or with specific questions should call the department's toll-free helpline at 866-4-USA-DOL (487-2365).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/ .

Dealing with Debris and Damaged Buildings

As per the EPA - EPA's guidance has been requested on the demolition of structurally unsound buildings damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Various federal regulations apply to building demolition activities. Areas of primary federal concern include asbestos demolition requirements, the proper disposal of electrical equipment containing PCBs (i.e., distribution transformers and capacitors) and storage tanks. EPA recognizes the difficult circumstances faced in demolishing structurally unsound buildings damaged by Hurricane Katrina may make full compliance difficult. However, in any event, you should take the actions set forth below to the extent feasible.

Efforts to restore the damaged areas to their pre-disaster condition often involve removing or repairing damaged structures. There may be a natural tendency at this stage to overlook certain hazards, such as asbestos, that are not immediately life threatening. However, such hazards are serious and may manifest themselves many years from the time of exposure and should be taken into consideration. Given the health hazards associated with asbestos, PCBs, lead, and other harmful substances, it is reasonable that adequate measures be taken during emergency situations to minimize exposure to such materials from the demolition of buildings.

The following guidelines are provided to help minimize the health, safety and environmental risks associated with the demolition of structurally unsound buildings (structures that remain standing but are in danger of imminent collapse). In the case of such buildings it would be unsafe to enter or inspect a structure to determine the amount, types, and location of building materials containing asbestos, PCBs, lead, or other harmful substances. This guidance does not apply to the demolition of hurricane damaged but structurally sound buildings.
This guidance remains in effect through December 31, 2005, and applies only to areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

To the extent feasible, efforts should be made to perform the following steps:

Go to to http://www.epa.gov/katrina/debris.html for remainder of article

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Asbestos Exposure: Questions and Answers - Part I

As per the National Cancer Institute:

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers and can be separated into thin, durable threads. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos has been widely used in many industries.

There are two subgroups of asbestos: chrysotile, which has curly fibers and is in the serpentine family of minerals; and amphibole asbestos, which has straight, needle-like fibers and includes actinolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and amosite asbestos. Chrysotile asbestos is the form that has been used predominantly in commercial applications worldwide (1, 2).

How is asbestos used?

Asbestos was mined and used commercially in North America beginning in the late 1800s. Its use increased greatly during World War II (3, 4). Since then, asbestos has been used in many industries. For example, the building and construction industry has used it for strengthening cement and plastics as well as for insulation, roofing, fireproofing, and sound absorption. The shipbuilding industry has used asbestos to insulate boilers, steampipes, and hot water pipes. The automotive industry uses asbestos in vehicle brakeshoes and clutch pads. Asbestos has also been used in ceiling and floor tile; paints, coatings, and adhesives; and plastics. In addition, asbestos has been found in vermiculite-containing consumer garden products and some talc-containing crayons.

In the late 1970s, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces because the asbestos fibers in these products could be released into the environment during use. Additionally, in 1979, manufacturers of electric hairdryers voluntarily stopped using asbestos in their products. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all new uses of asbestos; uses established prior to 1989 are still allowed. The EPA also established regulations that require school systems to inspect for damaged asbestos and to eliminate or reduce the exposure to occupants by removing the asbestos or encasing it (2).

In June 2000, the CPSC concluded that the risk of children’s exposure to asbestos fibers in crayons was extremely low (1). However, the U.S. manufacturers of these crayons agreed to eliminate talc from their products. In August 2000, the EPA responded to reports it received about the adverse human health effects associated with exposure to asbestos-contaminated vermiculite by conducting a series of tests to evaluate the extent of the risk. The EPA investigation concluded that the potential exposure to asbestos from some vermiculite products poses only a minimal health risk to consumers. The EPA recommended that consumers reduce the low risk associated with the occasional use of vermiculite during gardening activities by limiting the amount of dust produced during use. Specifically, the EPA suggested that consumers use vermiculite outdoors or in a well-ventilated area; keep vermiculite damp while using it; avoid bringing dust from vermiculite use into the home on clothing; and use premixed potting soil, which is less likely to generate dust.

The regulations described above and other actions, coupled with widespread public concern about the health hazards of asbestos, have resulted in a significant annual decline in U.S. use of asbestos. Domestic consumption of asbestos amounted to about 803,000 metric tons in 1973, but it had dropped to about 2,400 metric tons by 2005 (3, 5).

Source: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/asbestos

Monday, September 15, 2008

Asbestos Safety and Health Topics

As per the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) 's website www.osha.gov - Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and is highly regulated. An estimated 1.3 million employees in the construction and general industry face significant asbestos exposure on the job. Heaviest exposures occur in the construction industry, particularly during the removal of asbestos during renovation or demolition. Employees are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during automotive brake and clutch repair work. OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asbestos rules are intertwined. The following questions link to information relevant to asbestos in the workplace.

Please visit www.osha.gov for relevant links

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Guidance Document for the Management of Asbestos

Guidance Document for the Management of Asbestos-containing Material (ACM) (Updated 09/10/2008) as published on the NJDEP (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection)

As per the NJDEP's website" The information outlined herein is intended to serve only as guidance to persons interested in understanding the regulation of asbestos disposal in New Jersey. This guidance must be consulted in conjunction with the solid waste regulations at N.J.A.C. 7:26 et seq. and other relevant regulations to understand the complete requirements for disposal of asbestos containing materials. For the reader's convenience, an unofficial version of N.J.A.C. 7:26 et seq. can be found using the "NJ Regulations" selection on the Department's Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste web page at http://www.state.nj.us./dep/dshw or directly by using the Web link http://www.state.nj.us./dep/dshw/resource/rules.htm "

Source Page http://www.state.nj.us/dep/dshw/rrtp/asbestos.htm

Remediating Mold / Water Damaged Materials After a Hurricane or Flood

As per OSHA / U.S. Department of Labor:

  • Discard all water-damaged materials, materials that are visibly coated with mold that cannot be properly cleaned, such as porous materials (e.g., carpeting, drywall, insulation), and materials that have been wet for more than 48 hours
  • Wrap and seal the items that will be discarded in plastic bags or sheets to reduce the spread of spores. These materials can usually be discarded as ordinary debris
    Minimize dust disturbance to reduce the spread of fungal spores
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke in work areas
  • Provide natural or local exhaust ventilation during all cleaning steps
  • Clean hard and non-porous materials using a detergent. After rinsing, if needed, disinfect with an appropriate biocide such as bleach. Don’t mix bleach with ammonia-containing products
  • After an area has been cleaned and is completely dry, vacuum the area with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum. HEPA vacuums are also recommended for cleaning up dust that may have settled on surfaces outside the work area

Source: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hurricane/mold.html

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane eMatrix by OSHA

As per OSHA website Purpose and Use of This Matrix

Work conditions change drastically after hurricanes and other natural disasters. In the wake of a hurricane, response and recovery workers will face additional challenges, such as downed power lines, downed trees, and high volumes of construction debris, while performing an otherwise familiar task/operation.

In this Hazard Exposure and Risk Assessment Matrix, OSHA provides information on many of the most common and significant additional hazards that response and recovery workers might encounter when working in an area recently devastated by a hurricane. This Matrix highlights a number of tasks and operations associated with disaster response and recovery. The Matrix is designed to help employers make decisions during their risk assessment that will protect their employees working in hurricane-impacted areas.

source: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hurricane/index.html

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mold Remediation Course

Mold Course as per EPA

If you are an environmental and/or public health professional, take the Mold Course - Introduction to Mold and Mold Remediation for Environmental and Public Health Professionals.

This web-only course contains information on mold prevention and remediation. It is designed primarily for environmental and public health professionals. The Mold Course has nine chapters; these chapters are further divided into smaller lessons. At the end of each chapter there is a voluntary quiz to test your understanding of the material covered. Each chapter may be accessed at any point in the course using the menu on the left side of the page. If you would like to take a short quiz on your current mold knowledge, begin with the Pre-Test. A Mold Image Library contains mold-related images in seven categories: mold in the environment; magnified mold; moisture and moisture damage; prevention; mold in buildings; finding mold and moisture; and cleaning and remediation. These photos may be used for presentations and educational purposes without contacting EPA.

Read more about the course

Source: US EPA

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Plan the Mold Remediation Before Starting the Work

As per the US EPA's website:

Remediation Plan:

Assess the size of the mold and/or moisture problem and the type of damaged materials before planning the remediation work. Select a remediation manager for medium or large jobs (or small jobs requiring more than one person). The remediation plan should include steps to fix the water or moisture problem, or the problem may reoccur. The plan should cover the use of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and include steps to carefully contain and remove moldy building materials to avoid spreading the mold.(2) A remediation plan may vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the job, and may require revision if circumstances change or new facts are discovered.

The remediation manager's highest priority must be to protect the health and safety of the building occupants and remediators. It is also important to communicate with building occupants when mold problems are identified.(3) In some cases, especially those involving large areas of contamination, the remediation plan may include temporary relocation of some or all of the building occupants.

The decision to relocate occupants should consider the size and type of the area affected by mold growth, the type and extent of health effects reported by the occupants, the potential health risks that could be associated with debris, and the amount of disruption likely to be caused by remediation activities. If possible, remediation activities should be scheduled during off-hours when building occupants are less likely to be affected.

Remediators, particularly those with health-related concerns, may wish to check with their doctors or health care professionals before working on mold remediation or investigating potentially moldy areas. If you have any doubts or questions, you should consult a health professional before beginning a remediation project.

Source: http://www.epa.gov/iedmold1/i-e-r.html#f-2

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mold Remediation - Key Steps

As per the US EPA, the key steps in mold remediation are:

* Consult health professional as appropriate throughout process
* Select remediation manager
* Assess size of mold problem and note type of mold-damaged materials
* Communicate with building occupants throughout process as appropriate to situation
* Identify source or cause of water or moisture problem
* Plan remediation, adapt guidelines to fit situation, see Table 1 & Table 2
* Select personal protective equipment (PPE)
* Select containment equipment
* Select remediation personnel or team
* Choose between outside expertise or in-house expertise
* Remediate
* Fix water or moisture problem
* Clean and dry moldy materials See Table 2
* Discard moldy items that can't be cleaned
* Dry non-moldy items within 48 hours See Table 1
* Check for return of moisture and mold problem
* If hidden mold is discovered, reevaluate plan

Source: http://www.epa.gov/iedmold1/i-e-r.html

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How to Identify the Cause of a Mold and Mildew Problem

Mold and mildew are commonly found on the exterior wall surfaces of corner rooms in heating climate locations. An exposed corner room is likely to be significantly colder than adjoining rooms, so that it has a higher relative humidity (RH) than other rooms at the same water vapor pressure. If mold and mildew growth are found in a corner room, then relative humidity next to the room surfaces is above 70%. However, is the RH above 70% at the surfaces because the room is too cold or because there is too much moisture present (high water vapor pressure)?

The amount of moisture in the room can be estimated by measuring both temperature and RH at the same location and at the same time. Suppose there are two cases. In the first case, assume that the RH is 30% and the temperature is 70oF in the middle of the room. The low RH at that temperature indicates that the water vapor pressure (or absolute humidity) is low. The high surface RH is probably due to room surfaces that are "too cold." Temperature is the dominating factor, and control strategies should involve increasing the temperature at cold room surfaces.

In the second case, assume that the RH is 50% and the temperature is 70oF in the middle of the room. The higher RH at that temperature indicates that the water vapor pressure is high and there is a relatively large amount of moisture in the air. The high surface RH is probably due to air that is "too moist." Humidity is the dominating factor, and control strategies should involve decreasing the moisture content of the indoor air.

Exerpted from http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fact Sheet on Natural Disaster Recovery: Fungi

OSHA.gov - Flood conditions contribute to the growth and transmission of many kinds of fungi, some of which can cause sickness. Cleanup workers are at increased risk of exposure to airborne fungi and their spores because they often handle moldy building materials, decaying vegetable matter, rotting waste material, and other fungus-contaminated debris. The fungal material is carried into the respiratory tract when airborne dust particles are inhaled.

There are many different kinds of fungi, including mildew, molds, rusts, and yeasts. Most of these are harmless, but some can cause respiratory and other disorders when workers inhale or come into contact with fungi. Inhalation is the route of exposure of most concern to flood cleanup workers. The recommendations below offer strategies for workers renovating flooded buildings, homes, and structures to protect themselves while handling building materials that are visibly contaminated with fungi.

For workers cleaning up flooded buildings, homes, and other structures, excessive moisture or water accumulation indoors will encourage the growth of the fungi that are already present. Some fungi have the potential to cause adverse health effects such as allergic responses and asthma attacks. Individual who are sensitive to molds may have signs and symptoms of allergic reactions such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, and wheezing. These individuals should minimize fungal exposure by wearing respirators, gloves, and eye protection. They should also seek to eliminate fungi, as described below.

See source document by http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/fungi.html

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mold Removal After a Disaster (Hurricane / Flood)

A video public service announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is avaliable for download at: http://www.emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/video/moldremoval.asp

The video discusses how to safely remove mold after a hurricane, tornado or flood.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Health Concerns Associated With Mold After Hurricanes

Health Concerns Associated with Mold in Water-Damaged Homes After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita --- New Orleans Area, Louisiana, October 2005

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall on August 29 and September 24, 2005, respectively, large sections of New Orleans (Orleans Parish) and the three surrounding parishes (Jefferson, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard) were flooded for weeks, leading to extensive mold growth in buildings. As residents reoccupied the city, local health-care providers and public health authorities were concerned about the potential for respiratory health effects from exposure to water-damaged homes. On October 6, CDC was invited by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) to assist in documenting the extent of potential exposures. This report summarizes the results of that investigation, which determined that 46% of inspected homes had visible mold growth and that residents and remediation workers did not consistently use appropriate respiratory protection. Public health interventions should emphasize the importance of safe remediation practices and ensure the availability of recommended personal protective equipment.

Remaining report can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5502a6.htm

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mold Prevention and Possible Health Effects Report

The duration and extent of flooding and the number of structures flooded as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita make the likelihood of massive mold contamination in buildings a certainty. Many structures remained flooded weeks after the hurricane and became saturated with water. Some early observers suggested that as many as 60% to 80% of residential structures in New Orleans sustained severe flood damage. Outside New Orleans, extensive hurricane damage without prolonged flooding occurred. This more typical pattern of destruction as a result of wind and rain will result in problems with mold, but will not be as extensive as in New Orleans.

This publication provides comprehensive information on how to limit exposure to mold and how to identify and prevent mold-related health effects. It will be especially useful to public health practitioners, health care providers, building managers, custodians, and others who are responsible for building maintenance. Contractors and other professionals (e.g. environmental consultants and other health or safety professionals) who respond to mold or moisture situations in buildings will also find the information of use, as might the public.

The entire publication can be found at http://www.epa.gov/hurricane/pdf/2005_moldreport.pdf

How to Disinfect Well Water After A Flood or Hurricane

If your well becomes submerged due to flooding, it may have become contaminated with bacteria. The Department of Health recommends disinfecting the water in wells that have been submerged. If you notice a change in taste, odor, color or appearance, it is recommended that you use bottled water.

Follow these steps to disinfect (chlorinate) your well water:

Prior to chlorination, draw off enough water for about 24 hours of household use not for drinking, but for flushing the toilet. Bypass any water conditioning equipment.

Remove the well cap, and pour one gallon of bleach into the well. (NOTE: Dug wells require 2 gallons of bleach.)

For remainder of article, please visit Anne Arundel County, Maryland Department of Health website http://www.aahealth.org/a2z.asp?ID=24

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mold Prevention in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Floods Report by CDC

Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods

Summary -

Extensive water damage after major hurricanes and floods increases the likelihood of mold contamination in buildings. This report provides information on how to limit exposure to mold and how to identify and prevent mold-related health effects. Where uncertainties in scientific knowledge exist, practical applications designed to be protective of a person's health are presented. Evidence is included about assessing exposure, clean-up and prevention, personal protective equipment, health effects, and public health strategies and recommendations. The recommendations assume that, in the aftermath of major hurricanes or floods, buildings wet for >48 hours will generally support visible and extensive mold growth and should be remediated, and excessive exposure to mold-contaminated materials can cause adverse health effects in susceptible persons regardless of the type of mold or the extent of contamination.

For the majority of persons, undisturbed mold is not a substantial health hazard. Mold is a greater hazard for persons with conditions such as impaired host defenses or mold allergies. To prevent exposure that could result in adverse health effects from disturbed mold, persons should 1) avoid areas where mold contamination is obvious; 2) use environmental controls; 3) use personal protective equipment; and 4) keep hands, skin, and clothing clean and free from mold-contaminated dust.

Clinical evaluation of suspected mold-related illness should follow conventional clinical guidelines. In addition, in the aftermath of extensive flooding, health-care providers should be watchful for unusual mold-related diseases. The development of a public health surveillance strategy among persons repopulating areas after extensive flooding is recommended to assess potential health effects and the effectiveness of prevention efforts. Such a surveillance program will help CDC and state and local public health officials refine the guidelines for exposure avoidance, personal protection, and clean-up and assist health departments to identify unrecognized hazards.

For remaining report visit source listed below:

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5508a1.htm

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hurricane - Mold Prevention, Control, Cleanup

Keeping mold under control

Mold can cause serious health problems. The key to mold control is moisture control. After a flood, remove standing water and dry indoor areas. Remove and discard anything that has been wet for more than 24-48 hours.

Safely cleaning a flood-damaged home (cdc.gov)

repair your flooded home (redcross.org)

Mold cleanup in schools and commercial buildings. information for building managers, custodians, and others who are responsible for commercial building and school maintenance.

General - Mold, moisture, and your home


Cleaning up mold

What to Wear

Mold - Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects BrochureMold Remediation in schools and Commercial Buildings Brochure

Source: http://www.epa.gov/hurricanes/what_to_do.htm#mold

Monday, September 1, 2008

Antimicrobial Information Hotline

Antimicrobial Information Hotline

(703) 308-0127/(703) 308-6467(FAX)
Monday-Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST
email: Info_Antimicrobial@epa.gov

The Antimicrobials Information Hotline provides answers to questions concerning current antimicrobial issues (disinfectants, fungicides, others) regulated by the pesticide law, rules and regulations. These cover interpretation laws, rules, and regulations, and registration and re-registration of antimicrobial chemicals and products. The Hotline also provide information health & safety issues on registered antimicrobial products, product label and the proper and safe use of these antimicrobial products.

Source: http://www.epa.gov/iedmold1/relatedlinks.html#Antimicrobial%20Information%20Hotline

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Can Mold Cause Health Problems

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.

Source: www.epa.gov/mold/moldbasics.html

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How Can People Decrease Mold Exposure

How can people decrease mold exposure?

Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by keeping humidity levels between 40% and 60%, and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.

If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:

Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types. You can get it free by calling the EPA Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse at (800) 438-4318, or by going to the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html. [external link]
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm