Mold in the news issue #174

At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of mould related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. We share these links every time we can on all of our social media channels.
Please share this information so that we can continue to increase awareness of mould and mould related illnesses.

Mold Awareness
September is Mold awareness month and got mold? has put together a 4 part segment to help educate our readers, Here are the first 3 articles.
Part 1 – Interesting facts about mold & the most common types and varieties of mold
Part 2 – What you should look for when buying or renting a home 
Part 3 – What mold is and what you should do if you find it in your home

Mold In Public Buildings, Homes & Schools
The house that Colleen Weesies described as her family’s “dream” has turned into what she now calls her family’s nightmare. 
After mold was discovered inside walls on all three levels of their home, the Weesies have had to uproot their lives and move into their garage and two in their driveway.

Georgia’s peanut farmers are having problems this year with white mold. White mold disease has always been a problem for Georgia peanut farmers, according to University of Georgia plant pathologist Tim Brenneman. The disease has been even more of a nuisance due to the hot and humid weather conditions this growing season.

Pittsburgh’s UPMC Presbyterian probing itself within the deaths of two sufferers. A hospital in Pittsburgh is investigating whether or not the deaths of two sufferers are linked to infections from mould they could have contracted whereas in an intensive care unit.

A mold problem at Wilson County school had some students displaced over the summer. Wilson County Schools received its most recent mold report last week for Watertown Elementary School. Mold assessments on September 9 and 14 showed no disease-causing or toxic-producing molds were amplified in the indoor environment.

Minor mold issues at a pair of Clarksville-Montgomery County schools were addressed prior to the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, officials say. Elise Shelton, the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System director of communications, said some mold was found at Northeast High School in both a textbook storage room and in the choir and band rooms at the end of July. Additionally, Northeast Middle had a mechanical system failure the week before school started, and they have scheduled the ducts to be cleaned as a precautionary measure.

BPL assessing rare book section after mold outbreak. A significant mold outbreak has forced the Boston Public Library to close its Rare Books Department for five to 10 weeks after staff found fuzzy white spores on a medieval manuscript and other prized items in the renowned repository for ancient publications and artifacts. The library routinely battles mold, but has never faced an outbreak “to this scale,” according to Laura Irmscher, the chief of collections strategy. Mold was discovered on a reference book by a staff member Monday in the main library in Copley Square, Irmscher said.

U.S. court catching flak over moveFederal officials are planning a major renovation to stem water and mold damage at Pensacola’s federal courthouse, but a government document released Tuesday alleges court staff may have jumped the gun by vacating the building.

Health Department official talks about mold and public health. Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 reporter Bob Mayo sat down with an Allegheny County Health Department official to get the big picture on mold and public health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mold awareness month part 1 of 4

Mold awareness month part 1 of 4

September is Mold awareness month and got mold? wants to help educate our readers on how to prevent mold before it starts and where to look. It’s not uncommon to have mold in your home, as many of you know already mold exists in our every day lives anywhere you go there are spores floating in the air. There are probably a few micro-sized spores floating past you right now as you read this.

For the first part of mold awareness month, we would like to re-share an article written:

20 Interesting facts about mold & What are the most common types and varieties of mold.

1. Mold is Linked to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), also known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), is a combination of illnesses or aliments that are in direct relation with an individual’s place of work or home environment…read more
2. Spraying Bleach on Mold is not Recommended
There seems to be lots of mis-information on the Internet recommending that you spray chemicals on mold. This article explains why spraying mold will in fact make the situation worse…read more
3. There is a Link Between Mold and Miscarriage
There are countless stories of women being exposed to mold during pregnancy and suffering miscarriage or birth defects….read more
4. Vitamin D Supplements Help Fight Mold Allergies
If you are suffering from allergies caused by mold exposure, you may want to consider taking vitamin D supplements…read more
5. Mold Causes Rashes
Mold is an allergen. One of the prevalent symptoms of mold exposure is skin rashes….read more
6. Mold Will Not Eat a Happy Meal
Mold will eat almost anything including wood, fabrics, plastics, concrete, and even metals. However, mold will not eat a McDonald’s Happy Meal….read more
7. Dead Mold Spores Are Just As Harmful as Live Spores
There seems to be a misconception that getting rid of mold by applying bleach or chemicals is the answer to the problem. This is actually not the case because dead mold spores are just as harmful to the human lung as live spores….read more
8. Mold is Used in Biological Warfare
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring substances produced by mold and are pathogenic to animals and humans. An estimated more than 300 mycotoxins are produced by some 350 species of fungi. The T-2 mycotoxin, which is classified as a trichothecene mycotoxin, is elaborated from the fusariam, aspergillus, and stachybotrys (black mold) species of mold….read more
9. Mold is Linked to Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This demyelination affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other….read more
10. Mold in Schools Cause Sickness
CNN recently reported about a third-grader, Matthew Asselin, in Winsted, Connecticut who missed 53 days of school because he was getting sick at school. The sickness was caused by mold….read more
11. Mold Inspections Are Important When Buying a Home
The basic problem with mold is that it can be hidden. Home inspectors are not mold remediation specialists and do not have the expertise required to identify potential mold issues. Home buyers are well advised to invest in both a home inspection and mold inspection before purchasing a home, particularly if there is any indication that there are potential moisture issues….read more
12. Mold is Linked to Cancer
Aflatoxins are a type of mycotoxin produced by the Aspergillus species of mold. This common mold tends to grow on crops: primarily corn, peanuts, and grains. When we eat enough of these moldy foods, or eat animals that eat them, we can get liver cancer. For this reason, the FDA has established a maximum allowable level of total aflatoxin in food commodities of 20 parts per billion (ppb) and 0.5 ppb in milk products. There are other cancers associated with mold as well, including testicular, breast, and lung cancer….read more
13. Christmas Trees Cause Allergies Because of Mold
During the winter months, asthma and sinus complaints tend to increase. According to Dr. John Santilli, complaints from patients increase during the holiday season. This prompted a study of Christmas trees that made the following conclusion…read more
14. Mold Damage Costs More Than Half A Trillion Dollars Per Year
Earlier this year, we published an article that examined What is the True Economic Cost of Mold? Two key conclusions emerged from this article: 1. Mold adds $3.5 billion dollars to the annual US health care bill. 2. 21 percent of all asthma cases in the US are attributable to dampness and mold exposure. This figure may be higher after new research emerged this year….read more
15. Mold is a Crisis for First Nations
In 2006, the Auditor General and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommended that the government address the problem of air quality and mold in First Nations homes….read more
16. Mold Causes Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
According to the CDC a condition known as “hypersensitivity pneumonitis” can occur if a person is constantly exposed to mold. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis causes permanent lung damage and scarring and will eventually lead to bacterial pneumonia….read more
17. Mold Can Damage the Systems of Your Body
Untreated, exposure to indoor molds can have long term health consequences. According to mycotoxin expert Dr. Harriet Ammann, exposure to indoor molds can damage the systems of your body in the following ways…read more
18. Almost All Sinus Infections are Caused by Mold
In the 1990s the Mayo Clinic published findings from a study that suggests that NEARLY ALL chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the membranes of your nose and sinus cavities) is caused by mold, but blamed on bacteria—then mistreated using antibiotics….read more
19. Mold is Thought to be a Cause of Asthma
Up until now, mold was considered an asthma trigger that could exacerbate the condition and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes there is some link between the onset of asthma and damp buildings…read more
20. Mold is Linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
There is some speculation that there is a link between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and mold growth. A study in New Zealand speculates that environmental poisoning may be the cause of infant mortality….read more
One of the objectives of mold remediation professionals is to determine what type of mold is present in a property. This is important because it will help the professional and the property owner determine the relative health risk that the mold poses and how best to remediate it. Unfortunately, not all molds are the same, in fact there are over 1.5 millions species of mold in the world. However, only about 100,000 have been identified.
Mold is a fungus, as are mushrooms and yeast, and has a biologicial function as nature’s recycler consuming dead organic matter. Understanding it’s biological importance is essential to understanding why it poses health hazards. For the purposes of mold inspections and remediation, one of our goals is to identify whether or not the mold is allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic.
1.  Allergenic Molds

Allergenic Molds: Not usually life-threatening but are most problematic for individuals with allergies or asthma. The challenge is figuring out what mold is triggering the reaction. Children are particularly susceptible to mold allergies.

Not usually life-threatening but are most problematic for individuals with allergies or asthma. The challenge is figuring out what mold is triggering the reaction. Children are particularly susceptible to mold allergies.
2.  Pathogenic Molds

Pathogenic Molds: Produce an infection of particular concern if your immune system is weak or compromised. This type of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia. An example is Aspergillus fumigatus, which can grow in the lungs of immune-compromised individuals.

Produce an infection of particular concern if your immune system is weak or compromised. This type of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia. An example is Aspergillus fumigatus, which can grow in the lungs of immune-compromised individuals.
3.  Toxigenic Molds (aka “toxic molds”)

Toxigenic Molds: Toxic molds produce mycotoxins that will make anyone sick. Possible reactions include immune suppression and cancer. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which can be inhaled, ingested, or touched. An example of this is aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxin grows on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.

Toxic molds produce mycotoxins that will make anyone sick. Possible reactions include immune suppression and cancer. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which can be inhaled, ingested, or touched. An example of this is aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxin grows on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.
In order to determine the exact species of mold, mold inspectors will usually recommend that a tape or swab sample is taken. Sometimes, air quality tests may also be recommend because air borne mold spores are not visible to the eye; such a test will enable the inspector to report back on the concentration of indoor spores. Samples are then sent to accredited laboratories who analyze them to determine the exact species. Over the years, we have received many lab reports that have identified these five most common indoor molds.
1.  Alternaria

Alternaria is commonly found in your nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic responses.

Alternaria is commonly found in your nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic responses.
2.  Aspergillus

Aspergillus is usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust. This mold produces mycotoxins which is a poisonous chemical compound.

Aspergillus is usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust. This mold produces mycotoxins which is a poisonous chemical compound. This mold variety can cause lung infections, aspergillosis.
3.  Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a very common outdoor fungus that can find its way indoors and grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials. This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.

Cladosporium is a very common outdoor fungus that can find its way indoors and grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials. This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.
4.  Penicillium

Penicillium is a very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. It is known for causing allergies and asthma. Some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.

Penicillium is a very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. It is known for causing allergies and asthma. Some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
5.  Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys is extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs. This mold can be found on wood or paper.

Stachybotrys is extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs. This mold can be found on wood or paper.

 

Check out part two of our 4 part sequence here!

 

National Dog Day – Thank you to the Mold Dogs!

National Dog Day – Thank you to the Mold Dogs!

Air sampling and related mould inspection techniques are expensive and laboratory analysis of the samples can take up to three weeks (depending on the particular test) before the results are known.

Traditional air sampling cannot pinpoint the source of mould; it merely confirms the presence of mould in the overall space where the sample was taken. The dog, on the other hand, is trained to alert to the exact location of the mold. In situations involving isolated contamination sites the Mold Dog is most often accurate within 1-2 metres of the actual source of contamination.

This means that costly air sampling can be limited to the contaminated areas and at the same time samples can be taken at the suspected contaminated site thus ensuring a higher degree of accuracy in the air samples themselves. If destructive (bulk) sampling is preferred, then the Mold Dog provides assurance that destructive testing will not be a ‘hit-or-miss’ proposition.

Another important benefit of pinpointing mould sources is that the cost of remediation (repairs) can be reduced dramatically by repairing only those areas which are actually contaminated.

(As a rough rule of thumb, a dog can inspect an average 2 storey house (2000 sq. ft.) in approximately 2 hours.)

Dogs have been used for years by military and law enforcement agencies to detect bombs and drugs, among other things. In Europe, dogs have been used to detect mold for over 20 years.

Mold frequently grows in hidden places, inside wall cavities, underneath floors and in inaccessible areas and is often not visible until the problem is more advanced. When moisture builds up from leaky pipes, roofs, basements or high humidity, conditions are ideal for mould growth. Moulds are easily disturbed and their spores can become airborne causing a possible threat to the building or the health of the occupants. Exposure to some types of molds can cause serious health effects such as respiratory infection, asthma attacks, skin rashes, eye infections, ear infections, nosebleeds and headaches. In rare cases toxic mould can cause cancer and even death.

Certified Mold Dogs detect and pinpoint exact areas of mold, which leads to lower remediation costs for homeowners and insurers.

A mold dog can get to places faster than people, and can detect mold in places that people can’t reach. Human inspectors might be in a building for four hours performing Indoor Air Quality tests and sampling and even using thermal imaging cameras before finding the mold where as a mold dog can sniff it out and represents the newest tool for consumers in North America to detect and more importantly, pinpoint mold in structures, thus lowering remediation costs.

We’ve been asked many times if its safe to expose dogs to such environments, but its been proven by vets that dogs don’t react quite as badly as humans do when being exposed to mold and spores. The reality of it is, it’s about as safe as using the dogs for bomb sniffing. Dogs are trained to be cautious and aware of the surroundings. They can identify the areas and notify the humans faster then getting test results, resulting in a faster response time. The only thing they can’t do is supply you the quote for the work.

Flooding hits Chestermere and Langdon Alberta

chestermere flooding

Severe thunderstorms cut power to traffic lights and homes while heavy rains inundated neighbourhoods Sunday morning, slamming Langdon and Chestermere with overland flooding.

Flooding hits Chestermere and Langdon Alberta

Parts of Chestermere & Langdon were under water Sunday. Residents in some areas of the city just east of Calgary awoke to water pooling in basements, streets and parks.

Alberta Emergency Management Agency advised Chestermere residents not to travel if possible.

Chestermere city staff are responding to reports of flooding and remain on “high alert” Tuesday afternoon after a thunder, lightning, hail and rain storm. The city said it had been monitoring water levels after a thunderstorm warning issued Tuesday, two days after flash flooding damaged over 300 homes.

The mayor also urged people to reduce their water usage until the city dries out, and stay out of intersections that are flooded.

The city said earlier on Tuesday it had applied to the provincial government to receive flooding assistance for residents affected by Sunday’s storm.

“City Council and Staff have been in contact with the Provincial Government in order to bring the flood situation to their attention and request funding help for our residents in what is a very difficult time for many people,” said Mayor Patricia Matthews in a statement.

In addition, the city is offering one free basement inspection per affected home for electrical, gas/plumbing and building to any resident affected by the flooding. Power had been restored to Chestermere and all roads were open as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The city said tap water was safe to use, but urged people to scale back to “slow the flow to sewers.”

got mold? encourages people to get inspections done at the earliest that you can! Mold growth starts to occur within 24 hours, since it has already been 72 hours an environmental assessment must be performed, before you start moving out wet building material such as drywall and flooring a proper containment and negative air unit must be set up to avoid contamination of mold spores spreading through your home or office.

Trina Mitchell in Langdon: “So much water, it’s knee deep, so we brought out the kayaks.”

Trina Mitchell in Langdon: “So much water, it’s knee deep, so we brought out the kayaks.”

After flooding residents should:

  • Call your insurance company to report damaged property
    Take pictures of damaged property during/after flooding for insurance purposes
    If you are concerned about your insurance coverage, the City is applying to the Provincial Government for flooding assistance for those affected. It may take some time to hear back from the Provincial Government but the City will post any information we receive on our website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts once we hear anything.
  • CUI will be placing bins around the City for discarding damaged items. Visit www.cuinc.ca for locations
  • The City will be offering one FREE basement inspection per affected home for electrical, gas/plumbing, and building to anyone that needs it. Call them at 403-207-7075 to book an inspection. Homeowners may need to call other professionals for different types of inspections
  • Ensure power, gas, and water supplies/systems are checked by a professional before further use.

 

Thinking of Buying A Home, Look For These Moldy Clues

Thinking of Buying A Home, Look For These Moldy Clues
The busiest time in real estate sales tends to be during the spring and summer. If you are in the market for a new home, you should be aware of mold. Since mold remediation is costly, it is much better to thoroughly investigate a home before buying and inheriting a moldy mess.
Here are three clues that you should look for when you are investigating a home purchase.
WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
A bad musty smell is not a good sign because it could indicate mold growth.
Earthy, musty, mildew and even urine like smells are often an indicator of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOC). Which are gaseous by-products produced during fungal metabolism. MVOC’S are an indicator of active and past mold growth.
WHAT’S GROWING ON THE WALLS?
If you see signs of growth on the walls, ceilings, corners of the basement, then you should be concerned. A small mold growth can easily turn into a large mold growth. It is probably a good idea to find out if the home has had any past moisture issues and if, in fact, they have been fixed.
WHY AM I SNEEZING AND WHEEZING?
Our founder, James C. Watson, is particularly susceptible to mold and in some cases can even sense that there is a mold problem when he walks into a home or office building because he begins to wheeze and can also have difficulty breathing. Keep in mind Watson’s sensitivities can sometimes be caused by smoke and or chemicals, etc. The only way to verify a mold problem is through proper inspection and testing. If you know that you are susceptible to mold and have respiratory problems when you do a walk-through, then there is a good chance that there are mold issues.
These are just three clues you should look for. However, keep in mind, just because you do not find evidence of any of the above does not mean that there is not mold present.
The basic problem with mold is that it can be hidden. Home inspectors are not mold remediation specialists and do not have the expertise required to identify potential mold issues. Home buyers are well advised to invest in both a home inspection and mold inspection before purchasing a home, particularly if there is any indication that there are potential moisture issues. (Buyer Beware! How Reliable is Your Home Inspection?)
Since a home purchase is such a life changing event, once you have narrowed down the potential homes you are considering, it is a wise decision to invest in a mold inspection because home inspectors lack mold expertise.
Since extensive mold in a home can make it virtually unlivable, paying for a specialized mold inspection will save you thousands of dollars and your health.
The cost of a professional mold inspection is negligible when you consider the potential price you have to pay if the mold is unabated. When you are buying a home, it’s always better to be safe than sorry with your money and your health. To learn more about our mold inspection service or if you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below and we will get back to you within 24 hours.