Friday, December 21, 2012

How can people clean up their homes in a way that controls mold?

How can people clean up their homes in a way that controls mold?
As per the USEPA - Mold is a common issue after flood waters recede. Take things that were wet for two or more days outside. Items that stayed wet for two days have mold growing on them even if you can’t see it. Take out items made of cloth, unless you can wash them in hot water. If you are using bleach as a disinfectant, use only one cup of bleach for every gallon of water. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners and wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, goggles and N-95 mask during cleanups.
For more info go to
+Mold and Asbestos Information

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Youtube Video About Air Check Mold Test Kit For Home Owners

December 19 2012 - Test your home or office for mold with the same testing method used by Professional Mold Inspectors and Certified Industrial Hygienists to test air quality. The Examinair Mold Testing Kit from will tell you exactly how much of each type of mold is in the air you are breathing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mold Prevention Strategies for Hurricane and Flood Aftermath

December 18 2012 - The CDC website provides comprehensive documentation on prevention strategies to follow after a hurricane and flood.  This is particularly timely with the Hurricane Sandy / Superstorm event

As pewr the CDC 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.

Full report Here

Monday, December 17, 2012

EPA Guidance on Hurricane Debris and Homes - Asbestos Exposure

As per the USEPA website - specificaly for the 2005 Hurricane / Katrina - Federal asbestos regulations do not apply to the demolition of structurally unsound buildings by private individuals who contract directly with the demolition contractor for the demolition of a residential building they own having four or fewer units. However, EPA strongly recommends, for health reasons, that anyone conducting demolition activities follow this guidance.

Identifying Asbestos Containing Materials
Asbestos-containing products, which may be part of this debris, include: asbestos-cement corrugated sheet, asbestos-cement flat sheet, asbestos pipeline wrap, roofing felt, vinyl-asbestos floor tile, asbestos-cement shingle, millboard, asbestos-cement pipe, and vermiculite-attic insulation.
All structures (both residential and commercial) built before 1975 may contain significant amounts of asbestos. In particular large structures built before 1975 typically contain asbestos pipe wrap, siding, ceiling tiles, and other building materials high in asbestos content. Additionally, structures built after 1975 may also contain asbestos.

Notification and Expertise
Persons conducting demolitions should notify the appropriate state/local air quality management program as early as possible prior to the start of the demolition, but in any event, no later than the following workday after starting the demolition.
At least one person, either a government official or private contractor, trained in the asbestos NESHAP regulations should be on site or available by cell phone during the demolition to provide assistance and guidance.

In all instances, workers should use equipment specifically designed to protect them from asbestos exposures during demolition and handling of debris, especially respirators, as required under OSHA.
Heavy equipment that is used to demolish structures or that is run over debris from the hurricane will rupture the building materials and may cause asbestos to be released. Therefore, it is very important to wet the structure before demolition and keep the structure wet during demolition. Wetting the structure is crucial because it reduces the potential for air migration of asbestos.
EPA recommends knocking down each structure wall-by-wall, folding it in on itself to minimize excess breakage of asbestos containing material.

Keep the debris wetted and covered until it is possible to consult with the asbestos trained person to segregate out asbestos containing material to the extent feasible. If asbestos is known to be present but can not be safely segregated, dispose of all the debris as if it is asbestos containing materials as discussed below.

Removal of Asbestos Containing Material
After you have collapsed the structure, if feasible, place the asbestos containing material into leak proof wrapping. If the volume of the material precludes use of leak proof wrapping, continue to wet the asbestos containing material and use heavy lifting equipment to place the asbestos containing material into waiting dump trucks. Whenever possible, use a plastic liner in the bottom of the bed of the dump truck to minimize the leakage of contaminated water from the dump truck. If the asbestos containing material has been further broken up during the loading process, wet it down again after you load it into the dump truck.
Cover the dump truck with a tarp, sealing it so that debris and dust can not be released during transport.
Placard (with a large sign) the dump trucks as they are being loaded and unloaded with asbestos-containing building materials. The placard should read:
“Warning: Asbestos Hazard. Stay Away”

Disposal of Asbestos Containing Material
Truck the debris to a landfill allowed to receive asbestos. Contact state authorities for a list of asbestos approved landfills.
Maintain your waste shipment records.

Are Some Molds more hazardous than Others

Are some molds more hazardous than others?

According to the Minnesota Dept of Health - Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds called mycotoxins although they do not always do so. In some circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. Many, if not most, molds can produce potentially harmful substances, whether it’s allergens, mycotoxins, or other compounds. Hence, all indoor mold growth should be removed promptly, no matter what type(s) of mold is present or whether it can produce toxins.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

EPA Hurricane Sandy Response to Mold Question

December 13 2012 - As per the USEPA website -

What do I do to clean up mold and what do I wear?

Mold can cause serious health problems. The key to mold control is moisture control. After the flood, remove standing water and dry indoor areas. Remove and discard anything that has been wet for more than 24-48 hours.Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. Read more from our clean up guidelines and look to the column on the right for what to wear.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NIOSH Alert For Preventing Respiratory Disease From Dampness in Schools and Offices

December 12 2012

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Occupational Respiratory Disease from Exposures Caused by Dampness in Office Buildings, Schools, and Other Nonindustrial Buildings

Office buildings, schools, and other nonindustrial buildings may develop moisture and dampness problems from roof and window leaks, high indoor humidity, and flooding events, among other things. For this Alert, we define "dampness" as the presence of unwanted and excessive moisture in buildings [AIHA 2008]. This can lead to the growth of mold, fungi, and bacteria; the release of volatile organic compounds; and the breakdown of building materials. We use the term "mold" for a group of fungi that are common on wet materials. Outdoors, molds live in the soil, on plants, and on dead or decaying matter. There are thousands of species of molds and they can be any color. Different mold species can adapt to different moisture conditions. Research studies have shown that dampness-related exposures from building dampness and mold have been associated with respiratory symptoms, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, rhinosinusitis, bronchitis, and respiratory infections in research studies. Individuals with asthma or hypersensitivity pneumonitis may be at risk for progression to more severe disease if the relationship between illness and exposure to the damp building is not recognized and exposures continue.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Part II Mold Factsheet Hurricane and Flood Cleanup Workers

December 10 2012 - This is Part II of a 2 part blog post series.

Part II - As stated on the NYCOSH website


The main way that mold gets into people’s bodies and affects their health is by breathing it in (inhalation). Hurricane and flood cleanup workers should always wear a respirator when working around mold. Workers should:
• use the right respirator and filters and make sure the respirator is “NIOSH approved”
• be fittested for the right model and size by a professional
• know how to put the respirator on and perform seal checks each time it is worn
• change filters or use a new disposable N95 respirator at the beginning of each work day (or more often if necessary).
• Dust masks and surgical masks are not respirators. They do not protect against mold.
• All employers, including contractors, must comply with the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
• OSHA law protects all workers, including undocumented workers.

For small cleanup/ripout jobs (example: up to 3 sheets of sheetrock), use:
• an N95 disposable respirator (a reusable half face respirator with N95 filters is better), and
• non‐latex, vinyl, nitrile, or rubber gloves, and
• tight‐fitting goggles designed to keep out dust (no holes or vents).
A small mold cleanup job is:
• 10 square feet or less of heating, ventilation, or air conditioning equipment, ducts, or insulation,
• or 100 square feet or less of building materials such as ceiling tiles or sheetrock.

For large cleanup/ripout jobs (example: more than 3 sheets of sheetrock), use:
• full‐face respirator with N, R, or P100 filters (or powered air purifying respirator [PAPR] with
HEPA filter), and
• disposable protective clothing that covers the entire body, including head and shoes, and
• non‐latex, vinyl, nitrile, or rubber gloves.
A large mold cleanup job is:
• more than 10 square feet of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, ducts, pipes, and
insulation, or
• more than 100 square feet of building materials such as ceiling tiles or sheetrock, or
• any size area, indoors or outdoors, where a lot of dust is generated during work operations, or
• any place where there is a lot of visible mold.

For any area with known or suspected mold contamination:
• Wet down mold‐contaminated surfaces to prevent mold dust from getting into the air.
• Use HEPA vacuum cleaners only ‐ no dry sweeping or non‐HEPA vacuums.
• Bag, secure, and discard disposable personal protective equipment after it is used.
• Clean reusable personal protective equipment before reusing.
• Wash hands and face with soap and clean water before eating or smoking.
• Shower with soap and clean water before driving or returning home.
• Be aware that you may also be exposed to harmful chemicals like asbestos and lead that may require additional protection.

Mold Factsheet for Hurricane and Flood Cleanup Workers Part 1

December 10 2012

As per the NYCOSH Rain, leaks and floods from hurricanes and other major events can damage homes, schools, and businesses. In many buildings that have water damage, sheetrock, carpets, and other building materials and furnishings become contaminated with mold.
Many damaged buildings that contain mold must be cleaned up. Some workers are hired specifically to remove mold. Other workers remove damaged building materials and furnishings or do cleaning and renovation.

These workers may become temporarily or permanently ill unless they use the right personal protective equipment, including the proper respirator.


Molds are tiny organisms. They are a natural part of the environment. Molds are almost always present both outdoors and indoors. They are usually not harmful. However, some people get sick when indoor amounts of molds become much higher than outdoor amounts, or when certain types of mold that are not usually present indoors start to grow indoors.
Molds multiply indoors when there is moisture (leaks, floods, high humidity) and food (anything organic, including wood, dirt, carpeting, or sheetrock).

Breathing in or touching mold can cause health problems. Both living mold and dead mold can cause health problems. Killing mold (for example, with bleach) does not get rid of all the health hazards.
Exposure to mold can cause several types of health problems:
Irritation. Molds can cause burning eyes, congestion, cough, and postnasal drip.
Allergy. People who have become allergic to molds may develop asthma, causing itchy watery eyes, congestion, cough, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and difficulty breathing.
Poisoning and Infectious Disease. Some molds create chemicals that may cause serious illness. A small number of certain types of molds can cause serious infections. (However, poisoning or infectious disease caused by mold is rare. People with compromised immune systems are most at risk.)
Molds can’t be seen without a microscope. Even though mold growth can sometimes be seen or smelled, workers cannot always tell for sure whether harmful mold is present or not.