Archive for ◊ February, 2009 ◊

• Saturday, February 28th, 2009

The best place on the internet to ask your mold question and answers is at

Of course, before you jump in and ask a question, check out the questions that have already been asked.

• Saturday, February 21st, 2009

• Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Mold testing and lab reports are all very fine, but one of the latest mold detecting technology has been around for a very long time.


Dogs can detect mold by scent better than we can; they have more than 200 million scent receptors (as compared to our 5 million) and the wetness of a dog’s nose helps the scent dissolve and disperse. Twelve percent of a dog’s brain is dedicated to scent (though this does vary according to breed) as apposed to one percent in humans.

See a mold dog in action.

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• Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Thanks to a US senator, the General Services Administration is going to be looking into conditions at the Sam M. Gibbons Federal Courthouse. Maintenance work has been scheduled but the progress appears to have halted.

Dodging moldy buckets set out to collect rainwater, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson toured the mold and mildew infested Federal Courthouse built by Clark Construction Group Contractors. Built at a cost of 64.5 million, the building has been plagued with a leaking roof and plumbing issues ever since.

The courthouse is a hot spot for respiratory illness, and adult onset asthma– in other words, suffering from “sick building syndrome”. Seventeen stories worth of mold-affected employees and visitors are looking to hold someone accountable for illness which leaves them barely able to function.

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• Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Addressing environmental health Implications of mold exposure after major flooding.

Does all of this seem painfully obvious to anyone who lives in the real world? I suppose it is a good thing that at least some scientific expertise is being pointed toward the problems presented in mold exposure. Read on to find out what some scientific minds have figured out. Or admitted. Let’s hope this is a legally defensible position.

“Extensive water damage resulting from major flooding is often associated with mold growth if materials are not quickly and thoroughly dried. Exposure to fungal contamination can lead to several infectious and noninfectious health effects impacting the respiratory system, skin, and eyes. Adverse health effects can be categorized as infections, allergic or hypersensitivity reactions, or toxic-irritant reactions. Workers and building occupants can minimize their exposure to mold by avoiding areas with excessive mold growth, using personal protective equipment, and implementing environmental controls. Occupational health professionals should encourage workers to seek health care if they experience any symptoms that may be linked to mold exposure.”

pubmed abstract
Department of Environmental Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA.
AAOHN J. 2008 Mar;56(3):115-20; quiz 121-2.

• Sunday, February 08th, 2009

Wednesday at the World Trade Center in Portland, speakers focused on preventing and removing mold, properly identifying samples and reducing legal liability. Builders and remediators struggle with the mold issue, because with mold, you can take out 99.999 percent of the particles, and the .001 percent that does survive will bring a reoccurrence. Because mold is alive.

The seminar focused largely on preplanning, moisture control and maintenance.

• Friday, February 06th, 2009

Where is YOUR drywall from? It’s not mold, but…

Apparently there’s a Chinese-manufactured drywall which corrodes air conditioner coils. Or more specifically drywall offgassing that is so caustic it corrodes air conditioner coils. (Kind of like my assistant’s ex. But that’s another post.) This particular chinese export appears to be concentrated in Florida (though it’s hard to say if it is the product itself, or the product in Florida’s unique salty/humid conditions. The drywall apparently gives off a nasty sulfuric smell which the Health Dept says is harmless (though we all know how that goes, don’t we? Only time will tell when a state agency says ” no immediate health threat.”)

Sounds like it’s time to call out the troops and do some air quality testing.

• Friday, February 06th, 2009

In Texas, they’re serious about their books. When mold was found in the Godeke Library (Lubbock Texas), they shut down the library and they’re porting out the 80,000 books and things (with the assistance of the inmates of Lubbock County Jail) so that the extent of the mold can be determined–after 18 years of leaks. So far, no one has gotten sick–not patrons, not employees, and not Lubbock County Inmates. What they’re going to do about it is an open question, until the extent of the problem can be determined. In the meantime, readers won’t need to go into book withdrawal–there are 3 more local libraries in the system.

• Thursday, February 05th, 2009

Almost the only thing that the medical profession will concede about mold is that weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection. The buck almost stops there–because medical science in general is reluctant to discuss mold in terms with health. However, when the person in question is a child–especially a child with cancer–even mold is considered fair game.

How is this relevant to an anti-mold crusader like me? Well, in Tampa’s St. Joseph’s Hospital, mold was released during renovation of the ground floor of the children’s oncology center. And that free-roaming mold circumvented construction and ventilation system barriers to contaminate the environment of three children. Yes, their immune systems were already compromised with cancer and chemotherapy. And these three children spent a lot of time in rooms right above the demolition area: in rooms unguarded from contaminated dust and airborne particles generated by the demolition and removal of plaster walls and ceiling tiles one floor down.

Legally, the question remains–did the hospltal follow established protocol during construction? How do we ever know if proper screening of those areas would have prevented the fungal/mold infections?

• Tuesday, February 03rd, 2009

Indoor allergen exposure to sources such as house-dust mites, pets, fungi, and insects plays a significant role in patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. The identification of the major allergens has led to methods that can quantitate exposure, e.g., immunoassays for Der p 1 in settled dust samples. Sensitization and the development of allergic respiratory disease result from complex genetic and environmental interactions. New paradigms that examine the role of other environmental factors, including exposure to proteases that can activate eosinophils and initiate Th2 responses, and epigenetics, are being explored. Recommendations for specific environmental allergen avoidance measures are discussed for house-dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, and fungi. Specific measures to reduce indoor allergen exposure when vigorously applied may reduce the risk of sensitization and symptoms of allergic respiratory disease, although further research will be necessary to establish cost-effective approaches.

Allergy Asthma Proc. 2008 Nov-Dec;29(6):575-9.

By RK Bush

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