Irreversible HVAC Contamination

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Irreversible HVAC Contamination

Background

The homeowner is a 64-year-old man who complains of chronic sinus and respiratory issues while in his home. The symptoms subside when he leaves the home for an extended period of time. His children, who are adult age and do not live with him, noticed that every time they visit they leave the home with a musty smell on their clothes. Concerned about the potential of an unusual mold condition within his home.


Initial Inspection & Testing

We performs a comprehensive assessment of the entire home. Mold contamination is detected in the basement, ambient living areas, and the attic. The basement is unfinished and the foundation walls and wood framing members are exposed. The contamination within the basement was observed on exposed ceiling sheathing, joists, and contents throughout the entire basement.


The HVAC unit is located in the basement area. It was replaced by the homeowner approximately 4 years prior to the inspection. However, its original and installed when the home was built about 30 years ago. Within the ambient living areas, mold was detected on most of the contents throughout the entire first-floor living area. Within the attic, mold contamination was detected on the attic roof decking and rafters.



This case study will demonstrate the following points:


1. Spore count concentration used in clearance does not necessarily mean the environment is cleaned of mycotoxins.


2. The presence of certain populations of mold spores is important to identify and is a relevant indicator of the potential presence of mycotoxins.


3. Low spore count concentrations, or what is perceived to be a comparable concentration to outside controls, does not mean the environment is clean of mycotoxins.


4. Due to the difficulty in reaching interstitial areas within the HVAC system and associated ducts and returns, it is improbable to thoroughly clean the HVAC system and associated ducts and returns once they have contaminated with mold and mycotoxins.

Due to the severity of the health issues with the homeowner, the population of molds detected in the HVAC system/associated ducts and returns, it was advised to remove the HVAC system and ductwork. However, the homeowner did not want to replace the system and had a cleaning of the system and ducts performed instead.


Post Remediation Verification Sampling of the HVAC system was declined by the client saying he felt because it was cleaned and should suffice. A month after everything was cleaned the homeowner was still experiencing adverse health issues while in the home. He felt more symptoms when the HVAC system was running. As a result, further testing was performed in the HVAC system.

Based on traditional accepted Post  Remediation Results, PRV air and results would be considered and suggest that the home was within a normal fungal ecology and or condition one state.  The HVAC system was not replaced as suggested.

However,  according to the homeowner, the HVAC system and associated ducts and returns were cleaned. Post Remediation Verification Sampling of the HVAC system was declined by the client saying he felt because it was cleaned and should suffice.

A month after everything was cleaned the homeowner was still experiencing adverse health issues while in the home.   He felt more symptoms when the HVAC system was running. As a result, In May of 2014 further testing was performed in the HVAC  system. A spore trap was placed in the main supply duct line to measure potential mold spore concentrations coming out of the system.      


Additionally,  both composite regular  Microscopy (swab sample)  and MsQPCR based on the ERMI panel of mold species were  collected from the HVAC filter, inside the main duct line, supplies, and returns;

It was suggested again to the homeowner to replace the HVAC system and associated ducts and returns. Nothing was done for several months, However, the homeowner decided to have the system cleaned again by a different company. This time the company employed removed the fiberglass insulation and removed the motor to clean and sanitize. The coils were not removed. The ducts and returns were cleaned again.



In December, the client was still experiencing adverse health issues after the system was cleaned. The client requested to sample in the Ambient living area – Family room and an EPA 36 surface and Mycotoxin samples within the HVAC system that was cleaned for the 2nd time.


After the system was cleaned twice.  The first time was a basic cleaning of the ducts and the second was a complete cleaning where the motor was removed and cleaned.   The coils were not removed. What is evident is that the second cleaning actually disturbed the spores harbored throughout the system and actually caused more distribution of both mold and mycotoxins through the duct system.  Below is what the Ductwork looks like after cleaning.


The results of the air sample detected elevated mold spore counts of Pencillium / Aspergillus.   Additionally a somewhat important indicated was the background debris was a 2 vs. 1 compared to outdoors.   Background debris is dirt and dust in the air. The results of the EPA 36 show several mold genera. Also, the Mycotoxin sample detected the Presence Of Trichothecenes. The results indicate that there is still mold contamination within the HVAC System and associated ducts and returns.  

Once the system was cleaned again, both an EPA  36 and Mycotoxin was collected from the HVAC system and associated ducts and returns. The  results of the EPA 36 and Mycotoxin were as follows:


The population of molds detected in the HVAC system- associated ducts and returns, with the EPA 36, it was advised to ensure the removal of all potential distribution sources the HVAC system and ductwork be replaced. The final EPA 36 and Mycotoxin still detected the presence of several mold general in the EPA 36. Stachybotrys was still detected. Additionally, mycotoxins were still detected in the system. Although lower concentrations, it is probable that both the spores and mycotoxins are still harboring within interstitial areas within the system that cannot be reached. It is improbable to thoroughly clean the HVAC system and associated ducts and returns once they have contaminated with mold and mycotoxins.



1. Spore count concentration used in clearance does not necessarily mean the environment is cleaned of mycotoxins.


2. The presence of certain populations of mold spores is important to identify and is a relevant indicator of the potential presence of mycotoxins.


3. Low spore count concentrations, or what is perceived to be a comparable concentration to outside controls, does not mean the environment is clean of mycotoxins.


4. Due to the difficulty in reaching interstitial areas within the HVAC system and associated ducts and returns, it is improbable to thoroughly clean the HVAC system and associated ducts and returns once they have contaminated with mold and mycotoxins.

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Mold Influenced Tragedy

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Mold Influenced Tragedy

Living away from home comes with its own set of responsibilities. Making sure you’re on top of your schooling, finances, and looking towards a bright future. One thing that is commonly overlooked is our health.

It's so important to stay in touch with your body and stay alert to your environment. For most, the day to day environment around you seems like a blur. We have just recently grown more aware of our global impact and have started taking action by increasing more earth-friendly ways of living. However, we are skipping an important step- and you don’t have to step very far.

Mold is ubiquitous. Mold is a type of microscopic fungi that can be found anywhere. Mold creates tiny spores that reproduce and spread. When these spores are inhaled, it can bring more harm than commonly known. The toxicity of certain molds can be amplified as time goes by. The longer your environment’s mold goes untreated, the more harm done to your lungs, your sinuses, and your overall body. Unbeknownst to many, the home environment can be a harmful host of these hidden dangers that are making residents sick in their very own home.

It’s your first year of independence as you unpack your stuff into your newly acquainted dorm room. You hurry to classes you’ve enrolled for, you tackle new opportunities and you have choices in what feels like the beginning of your life.

All of those dreams were tragically taken from an understudy of the University of Maryland last November. Terrifying claims that mold might be at fault may make you consider your own health and how the environment can influence you.

Olivia had been sick most of her first semester living in her dorm that was infested with mold. Mold exposure is known to cause respiratory issues, even trigger conditions such as thrombophlebitis, vasculitis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and sinusitis.

Unfortunately, these individuals with compromised immune systems or existing respiratory illnesses are at an expanded risk. Autoimmune disorders occur when someone’s immune system spins out of control and targets their body instead of fighting foreign invaders like viruses, toxins, or bacteria.

It is estimated that 25% of Americans immune system can’t fight these intruders. They can even overwhelm the immune system leading to the individual to suffer infections that may become fatal. This makes identifying the cause a real challenge, and when mold is hidden, it is extremely easy to miss the link between toxic mold exposure and a worsening health problem.

In the case of Olivia Paregol, she had suffered from Crohn’s Disease (an autoimmune disease) before contracting Adenovirus from the University’s campus.

What is Adenovirus? Symptoms, such as a sore throat, sneezing, runny nose, cough, headache, fever, and chills. Adenoviruses can infect the respiratory system, eyes, gastrointestinal tract, and bladder. In some cases, adenoviruses can affect the brain and spinal cord. When infections are more severe, symptoms can last much longer and if treated improperly, could be life-threatening.

The 18-year-old student lived in one of the 4,600 dorms that were later evacuated for cleaning. This Adenovirus 7 outbreak was accelerated and sustained by mold.

Olivia’s condition crumbled after more than a week of relentless coughing, a severe sore throat, fever, and chest congestion. Her lungs began to fill up with fluid.

After a short hospitalization, Olivia continued to fight for her life until her Kidneys and Liver failed. She passed away on November 18, 2018.

These cases of aggressive mold and the pathogens related to exposure to them are becoming more common. Illness from mold are one of the biggest health issues impacting us today that is not addressed effectively in the mainstream medical system. It’s so important to be in touch with your surroundings, and link your environment with your health.

If you’re unsure the safety about your environment- please see out free quick guide below. For a more in-depth inspection contact (a certified professional.)


Source:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/national/wp/2019/05/16/feature/university-of-maryland-mold-adenovirus/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.cbdcb5430838

https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bs-md-adenovirus-cdc-umd-congress-20190605-story.html

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2019/06/04/3-maryland-lawmakers-call-on-cdc-to-review-guidelines-for-adenovirus-outbreaks/


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Mold Knowledge Bomb & Guest Mark Levy | Heal Thy Self w/ Dr. G

Mold is the hottest topic in medicine right now...why? Because we are just now beginning to understand the extent of its implications. It is as debilitating as it is insidious.

Christian Gonzalez N.D, who specializes in Naturopathic & Functional Medicine and Oncology interviews with Mark Levy, the Founder of The Mold Guy Inc.

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Our Process To a Healthy Home

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Our Process To a Healthy Home


They say home is where the heart is. A home should be one’s sanctuary. A place to be for safety, comfort and if necessary, healing. As safe and secure many feel their home is, hidden perils can find there way into peoples homes that can impact human health and make one’s home hazardous. Whether it be mold, harmful VOC’s from paints and household cleaner chemicals, an invisible gas that can cause lung cancer called radon, to lead, asbestos, and other silent and unseen hazards. Unbeknownst to many, the home can be a harmful host of these hidden dangers that are making residents sick in their very own home.

Beyond visibly seeing mold in your home, there are other signs that can suggest a mold problem. Whether you have had recent water damage, noticed a musty odor, or developed allergies from being inside your home, these could all be signs that there is mold growing indoors.


Our Learning Process

Understanding the history of the building such as floods, leaks, etc. Understand the occupant's health, if they're hypersensitive, certain types of testing may need to be done to provide species in the environment based on our their needs.

Our Investigation Process

We do a  full top to bottom inspection of the home. From the crawl space and basement to the attic, opening the air handler units, looking inside the ductwork, and inspecting the exterior of the building. We use an infrared camera to see the temperature in the wall and floor-ceiling cavities moisture meters to check all running water sources.

Our Testing Process

MOLD TESTING

We are an industry leader in mold testing and black mold testing in commercial, residential, schools, hospitals and hotels. We send all samples to a third party accredited lab to provide you with the most accurate and fast results possible.

ERMI AND MYCOTOXIN SAMPLING

Determining the presence and amounts of heavy metals, (such as Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, Aluminum), requires sophisticated equipment and training which we have the ability to provide.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY TESTING

Poor indoor air quality can be caused by many different pathogens. Our Certified Professionals have the training and background to investigate the source of the issue and understand proper testing methodologies to identify the pathogen.

ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING

Environmental Testing includes Dust Testing, VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) Testing, Indoor Allergen Testing, Bacteria Testing, and Chemical Testing to help provide a safe environment.

INFRARED INSPECTIONS

Infra-red inspection allows for a non-intrusive thermal assessment to determine potential hidden moisture and water problems in areas such as finished basements, wall and ceiling cavities, ceilings, high water table areas, flood-prone,  basements and rooms, pipe leaks, roof leaks and more.

Our Analyze Process

Being able to understand how the information gathered from the testing may impact the occupant of the home specifically those with health issues even low levels of any type of water damage molds such as Stachybotrys, Chaetomium or certain species of Aspergillus may be an indication of a mold issue.

Our Report Process

We report how to utilize the data to produce the remediation protocol specifically for individuals with health conditions. These protocols include source removal of contaminated building materials, removal of contents, and proper containment to protect the building during the source remediation find particular remediation after the source has been removed. We also suggest next steps for prevention of any future issues.

Our Education Process

It's important to relay this information to our client in a matter that is easy to follow. We create a road map to a healthy home.

In the end, when you’re dealing with any mold situation in your home, it’s best to leave the job to a professional. Removing mold yourself can be risky, as some types of mold can be bad for your health, including those pesky mycotoxins. No matter what type of mold, mycotoxin or not, you should have mold remediation done immediately.

The information contained on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not represent a health diagnosis, therapeutic recommendation or prescription for treatment. We urge you to consult and obtain medical advice from a licensed, trained, and competent medical provider for concerns with health issues.


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“IF THE WATER ISSUE HAS BEEN FIXED, THEN THE MOLD IS DEAD, RIGHT?”

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“IF THE WATER ISSUE HAS BEEN FIXED, THEN THE MOLD IS DEAD, RIGHT?”

The short… NO.


Mold becomes dormant with no active water source. However, the colony will roll in and out of active stages with just humidity in the air. Mold is all about source removal. Removing water without removing the mold can make the problem worse.


Imagine a rose that hasn’t been watered. It’s dry, wilted, and flaky. If you try to pull off a pedal the entire rose would fall apart, and fragments would fall everywhere. Well, just like the rose dry mold fragments are particulate matter.


3 main categories of particulate matter

PM10 - A single human hair is 7 times thicker

PM2.5 (Mold Spores) - A single human hair is 28 times thicker

PM0.1 (Ultra Fine Particulates) - A single human hair is 700 times thicker



The particulates produced by mold have been medically labeled as more dangerous to human health than mold spores themselves. Once inhaled, particles can affect the heart and lungs and in some cases cause serious health effects. Many studies directly link the size of particles to their potential for causing health problems.


We recognize the source of mold, mycotoxins, and other indoor natural pathogens, and create a guide for remediation and proceeded with upkeep.


Our thorough and detail oriented inspection process is set to achieve two goals:

Identify the Source Areas: Are there current or previous conditions in the building that are allowing for mold and other indoor pathogens to grow?

Identify Cross Contamination: How are these source areas dispersing or cross-contaminating the general living spaces and/or heating and air conditioning systems?

Understanding these two components is extremely important. This gives us a picture of the whole home and allows us to set the necessary remediation strategy and next step action items.





The information contained on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not represent a health diagnosis, therapeutic recommendation or prescription for treatment. We urge you to consult and obtain medical advice from a licensed, trained, and competent medical provider for concerns with health issues.


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Mold Free Mother's-to-be

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Mold Free Mother's-to-be


An expecting mother has a great deal to take in. Changes in her eating routine, her environment, and her child development are continually evolving.


According to the CDC, Inhaled in large quantities, toxic molds like stachybotrys will cause health problems. The people at greatest risk of health effects associated with mold exposure are those with respiratory conditions, allergies, asthma, and sinusitis, as well as infants and children, elderly people, individuals with a weakened immune system and pregnant women.



Toxic molds have been distinguished as a genuine health hazard by the Center for Disease Control, the FDA, and the World Health Organization. The health danger relies upon the individual being exposed, type of mold and the amount of exposure, yet as a rule, they incorporate an assortment of respiratory issues, skin problems, chronic illness, and neurological implications.



According to a 1994 Cleveland, Ohio, public health report, out of eight infants repeatedly exposed to potent toxins from mold and suffering from pulmonary hemorrhage, five infants suffered recurring illness once they returned home after hospital treatment, reports AAP. One infant eventually died from pulmonary hemorrhage.



With regards to the air you (and your child) breath, there's no reason to take risks. If you have just found out that you are pregnant, or if you are just starting to worry about mold, you should get your home or workplace tested. No matter what type of mold, mycotoxin or not, you should have a mold inspection done immediately.

 

Connect with a professional today 1- 888-247-7232.

 

The information contained on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not represent a health diagnosis, therapeutic recommendation or prescription for treatment. We urge you to consult and obtain medical advice from a licensed, trained, and competent medical provider for concerns with health issues.



Source:

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/publications/books/housing/cha05.htm


http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;101/4/712


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Does Your Pet Have Mold Illness?

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Does Your Pet Have Mold Illness?

On the off chance that you speculate your pet has been exposed to mold toxins, take all pets in the family home to the veterinarian as quickly as possible, regardless of whether they are not displaying indications.


Usually in multi-pet families that one pet will show manifestations before the others. If the veterinarian verifies that your pet is suffering because of dangerous mold exposure, don't take your pets back to your home where the mold exists. You may need to board them or discover a relative or companion who is willing to take them in while you get an inspection and testing to identify where the source of the problems are located. The veterinarian may endorse prescriptions to support your pet's symptoms and may likewise propose that your pet take an anti-infection to avoid or treat an optional condition that may happen because of your pet's debilitated immune system.


If you speculate your pet has been exposed to toxic mold, don't delay to look for veterinary help.


Our focus is to help guide those with complex medical issues back to health through the environmental assessment of their homes and buildings. We identify sources of mold, mycotoxins, and other indoor environmental pathogens, then create roadmaps for restoration, continued maintenance, and proper re-build and design. Call us today to speak with an Indoor Environmental Professional about our process in more detail and how we can help you!



SOURCES:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6251577/


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10 Questions To Find A Qualified Mold Inspector

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10 Questions To Find A Qualified Mold Inspector

There are so many mold inspectors out there, but there aren’t many who really know what they’re doing. 

So that begs the question. Who do you call? It’s all about interviewing them before they come to your home.

With 10 simple questions you can filter out the companies that won’t provide the comprehensive inspection and testing methodologies that you deserve!

 

 

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Is Black Mold the Only Dangerous Mold?

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Is Black Mold the Only Dangerous Mold?

In a word, NO.

While black mold symptoms (aka Stachybotrys chartarum symptoms) may be the most widely publicized due to its link to several infant deaths in the Cleveland area since 1993, it is not the only mold that poses health risks. In fact, it is not even the only mold that is dark in color...

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5 Easy Tips To Limit Mold Growth and Exposure

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5 Easy Tips To Limit Mold Growth and Exposure

Mold spores can survive for extended periods of time, and they can attach themselves to dirt and dust. What I see on almost a daily basis is that a lack of basic cleaning along with clutter results in reservoirs where dirt and dust gather, creating prime locations for mold spores to harbor themselves...

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Mold’s Health Effect on Hypersensitive People

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Mold’s Health Effect on Hypersensitive People

Let me start by saying this.

Hypersensitivity is Very Real and Very Debilitating.

In my time with The Mold Guy I’ve seen several types of indoor air quality related issues, but the ones that stand out the most are those that involve hypersensitive clients. The truth is...

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