Classes/ Education for Mold

I’ve been considering obtaining education for mold. Not remediation, but in depth training or at least more then I received when I took classes for the national examine. I’d appreciate any information concerning the company I’ve attached a web site for or any other you know of. I’m also wondering what the liability is, Is a second E&O policy required. I’m not well versed in this area so your comments and thoughts are appreciated. Thanks


My personal thoughts are don’t inspect for mold, but thats just me.

A friend of mine who was certified by one of the overnight mold certification training (nonsense schools) is in the middle of a lawsuit by MetLife, the home insurance company who is challenging his findings in court, and also suing him personally for $200,000.00 in damages for samples taken without the proper protocols.

I looked at the insurance company attorney and forensic hygienist findings in the case and to be honest I don’t think he has a pot to pi$$ in for defense, although his lawyer who has cost him about $40,000.00 in legal fees already seems to think he might, but the case has not been heard yet and his legal bill is still growing.

This seemed like a simple do you have mold or not situation that turned into a nightmare for my buddy when the insurance company refused to pay for repairs to the property because of the lack of a genuinely qualified professional doing the survey in the first place.

**And the homeowner is suing him also for another $200,000.00…:shock: **

I’m just glad I have better things to do than put my livihood on the limb for a few extra bucks I consider ripping folks off for because of the whole mold issue nonsense in the first place.

Prior to entering the home inspection field, I worked for a demolition contractor in the Chicagoland area. We totally demolished a $1.2 million home that was contaminated with mold but an inspector was not involved with the mold problem.:shock: :shock: :shock:

Dale the point you make was one of my concerns. Isn’t the HI business bad enough ? You may have made the statement that seals it for me, thanks.


Have you read Caoimhín P. Connell’s posts?..that in itself from a hygienist is enough to make a person sway from the subject–period…:smiley: …these pro’s (industrial hygienist’s) will make the one day (or one month) certified look like a Jack-A$$…everyday of the week, and also in court…:shock:

[FONT=Verdana] Re: Mold test
Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
Good morning, Gents-

Great comments. Mr. Warner, regarding the ESA you say: “Their material and education clearly state that it is widely accepted to provide indoor and outdoor samples in order for the lab to make a comparison of the levels and indicate elevated interior counts or not.”

That may be, but just because a brand new (formed only three years ago), small, local, obscure, training company with an handful of employees suddenly says “Do it this way” doesn’t wipe away decades and decades of procedures and methods that have been developed and validated by hundreds of international professionals. There are dozens of self-proclaimed commercial entities that are publishing “standards” that carry no weight whatever, and are not used by real experts; the IESO “standard” is a good example. On the other hand, there are real standards organizations such as ANSI, ASTM, ASHRAE, NFPA and others that put out real standards; additionally, there are standard texts that are “bibles” for air sampling that have been around for decades, I have included some of those references at the end of this post. IMHO, until one has read and understood at least these, one should not be taking samples.

If what ESA is teaching is blatently wrong (which you claim), what recourse do we have to rectify our erroneous teachings.

The ESA is at liberty to teach whatever they want. They can teach that one spore per cubic meter of air is extremely dangerous, and any building that contains a single mould spore should be evacuated and burned to the ground. (That may sound silly, but one of the bigger CMI courses employ a kook who used to teach that very thing).

ESA is claiming that Certified IHs are part of their team. Again the word “certified”.

Certification in industrial hygiene is merely a club, not a statement of competency in industrial hygiene. For example, last year when I testified before the Colorado Department of Health regarding an upcoming regulation, the Board Explicitly stated: “If you restrict assessments to Certified Industrial Hygienists, the board WILL reject the regulation since ABIH certification is NOT a stamp of competence in industrial hygiene, or anything else for that matter.” Just last week, I taught the Biosafety section for ABIH certification. I was followed by a CIH, MPH, CSP, who came right out and told the attendees that if they think their certification would make them competent Industrial Hygienists, then they should leave the room, since, he stated, some of the most incompetant industrial hygienists he ever met were CIHs. Certification USED to mean something, now, it’s just a club. This is not a new argument, see my discussion in the AIHA Journal June, 1998, ( [FONT=Times New Roman]]([/FONT]).

Hello Mr. Bennett:

Taken some one on in court is not what it is about.
Of course not, and I never stated as such. Indeed, I don’t generally sue people. However, incompetence frequently leads one to court, am I am hired by “the other side” to provide valid scientifically sound rebuttals. Maintaining the highest degree of competency for the benefit of one’s client is what it’s all about.

Question — Did your test show mold – Yes or No
Which test? I have performed several thousands over the last 18 years, in hundreds of houses, from Bakersfield to Boston, and Montana to Bucerias, Mexico. Regardless, ALL mould tests “show mold” as you would put it; it’s only a matter of detection limits. ALL houses, ALL HOUSES, contain moulds. ALL HOUSES contain Stachybotrys atra, ALL HOUSES contain the Aspergilli and Penicillia, ALL HOUSES contain the Cladosporia. So if your only data quality objective is to determine if the “test shows mould” then I want to be your lab, since I can charge you lots of $$$$ and only ever have to produce one report to cover all your samples. (Wanna buy a bridge?)

Question — Can the test be done again and get the same results --Yes or No
Which test?

Question — Is the level high enough to be a health issue
Which level, and what kind of health effect in what kind of person are you referring?

Question — Would you live there

Should all the people selling “mold home test kits” like Home Depot etc be take out of the business??
They should be sued.

I think I already answered that question. The practices and procedures for good sampling, based on sound sampling theory have been around for decades and decades. Just use those (I’ve listed a couple of standard references below); this may be new to the home inspection industry, but it isn’t anything new to microbiologists or Industrial Hygienists; who have been doing this since I was in diapers (and when I was born, there were only 48 States in America!).

If the public is to receive a service to keep them safe it has to be affordable and available.
And it is. I love it when someone calls me up and asks me over the phone to interpret their “mould test” and before I do it, I predict their results without ever having seen the lab result; and I do it for free (how affordable is that?). And them point out to them the fact that if someone could guess their lab results, sight unseen, why did they waste their money collecting a sample?

One Inspector in Florida is ready to do a school – He has been doing Mold for a few years – we are talking a lot of $$ and we are talking a lot of kids going to that school — So help us out here.
I have been helping out; that is why I take the time to make these posts. If you would like to hire me, then please let me know. At $95 per hour, and $200 per hour for legal cases, I’m very reasonable.

BTW a home owner should have the same AFFORIDABLE information.
They do. To my knowledge, it costs nothing to read my posts here, or my web sites, or indeed, download thousands of legitimate academic papers and documents (see the references below).

----- Radon testing - lead testing – CO2 – testing — Smoke testing – Sound testing – Temperature testing etc. is all off the shelf –
Is it? I am paid a lot of money to perform sound/noise monitoring. I performed work for the FBI on the Oklahoma City bombing case. As I remember, my tests were extremely complex, and required a very high level of understanding in the physics of sound and physiology. Radon testing is, for you, off the shelf, because you do not interpret the data; as I have discussed on this board in the past, virtually ALL of your “radon” readings are wrong, but you cannot get in trouble for it IF you have followed the US EPA protocols, since the EPA established those DQOs and interpretive tables, and a “certified” radon person, merely follows the cook-book instructions. In my case, as an ex Radiation Safety Officer, (who used to teach radiation toxicology to workers at the Rocky Flats Nuclear facility and having performed Radiation Endangerment Audits for Sandia National Labs), I am held to a slightly higher standard, and therefore, I NEVER follow the EPA protocols, since they are not valid (for reasons I have already described in earlier posts). As far as testing other items, such as CO2, of CO, or radon, or anything- everything I said about mould holds true for those as well- sampling theory doesn’t change just because the contaminant changes! (What a concept!)

I really want to tell them that I can not test for mold and no one else can either.
Tell them as you please, however, testing for mould can be done, and can be done correctly, and has been done for decades following valid, sound, tenable sampling theory using properly established DQOs to perform hypothesis testing. All of which seems to be ignored by the vast majority of those who are conducting “mould testing.”

You see I too understand that testing without very controlled conditions, which we do not have, can be very far in the green at one point and then in the red a short time later.
I don’t see that at all. We DO have very controlled conditions, and I use them all the time to perform scientifically sound testing, producing very tenable results, and I have been doing so for years.

Give us a real simple reason to get out of the business.
I don’t want you out of the business, I just don’t want to see you in court getting sued for following myths and misconceptions and the ESA nonsense instead of doing things the right way. I want you to understand what you are and are not doing, so that you can provide a useful service to your clients instead of just running around willy-nilly collecting useless samples that are misinterpreted 99.9% of the time.

Remember our test can be reproduced – even if not exactly but probably within normal testing tolerance to say that a building is a hazard or not.
No it can’t. And it you can, then you are REALLY screwing it up.

PLEASE your LOW LEVEL thoughts – remember we see you as the expert and at this time do not want to challenge you — but I am thinking
Based on my experience, most HIs are not low-level thinkers; they are highly technical, highly educated professionals who are keen to know the facts, and avoid the pitfalls of misconception. I have met a lot of you guys in the field, and I love ya, Man! And that is why I share this technical info on your chatboard, instead of waiting till you get sued and then sneak up and pounce.

Thanks for the great input!

What a great day to be alive! Cheers,
Caoimhín P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)


Sampling References:

Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual, US DHEW, PHS, CDC, National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, 1977

Cox and Wathes, Bioaerosols Handbook, Lewis Publishers, 1995 (ISBN 0-87371-615-9)

Wells WF, Airborne Contagion and Air Hygiene, Harvard University Press, 1955

Cadle RD, The Measurement of Airborne Particles, Wiley Publishers, 1975 (ISBN 0-471-12910-0)

ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement, 1995* (There is an ancillary discussion put out by the US DoC, NIST called “American National Standard for Expressing Uncertainty–U.S. Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement*, ANSI/NCSL Z540-2-1997*” that can be obtained from NIST, free of charge.)*

NIOSH/NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods, publication 94-113, 4th Ed. with Appendices

[[/FONT]How can one quantify healthy home counts to unhealthy home counts period? Even your data has changed as noted. From 15% to 13% probability is a rather large difference mathematically.

[FONT=Arial][size=2]How can the word “usually” be used in any scientific approach? “Usually” denotes uncertainty as is the root disagreement with any mold sampling and accepted “healthy” levels. [/size][FONT=Arial]Good question. REAL science (as you call it) is EXACTLY a discussion of uncertainty, and indeed, the quantification of uncertainty. We call it “precision” and distinguish it from “accuracy” (one or two or three mould samples being neither).

The reason my data stand up in court is EXACTLY because I not only understand the uncertainty, (since I purposely find the uncertainty) but also because I articulate that uncertainty in my reports.

Scientifically, it either is or it isn’t, not usually is or is not. Is this a hypothesis you are currently testing, or accepted theory for indoor home health?

Not true. When dealing with samples, there is no sample that is definitively “true” or “not true.” There is no sample, whatever, that is devoid of uncertainty. The issues I’m discussing here are not “hypotheses” neither are they “hypothetical statements” rather they represent good science. And so, yes, it is accepted and has been accepted for centuries, it is known as “the scientific method” wherein we establish an hypothesis, then we test the hypothesis pursuant to properly laid out questions and limits. When you take an air sample for mould, using the more common techniques, there is virtually no ligitimate probability that the count you received as “data” is the actual mean count for that house.
ESA’s accepted and taught standards are being used as a “general rule” as well. [/FONT]I agree that comparison of samples taken inside and outside may not be a quality comparison, but it is a starting point. Are your findings of 500 to 900 count/m3 accepted industry standard? I’m not trying to pick a fight, I just want more than an “I’m right and your wrong” discussion since from your website even you are unsure of healthy limits.“You mean if i swab something and it comes back as mold and then i do and air test and find mold at levels that prolab says is too high, it is not WRONG?”How am i suppose to do mould/mold testing then? ](“”)

I am hugely grateful for your effort to make this post. (Just when I thought I knew it all.)

I made a concious decision to stay away from the mold sampling business for several reasons. One of those reasons is that there are no standards, true standards, regardng what acceptable and unacceptable levels of mold is in a dwelling are, let alone any granularity as to what those levels are, per species of mold found.

One of the things preached is to take a baseline sample from the exterior, followed with samples from rooms within the dwelling. If the readings taken from inside the home are higher than those from outside the home, then there is a mold problem. But is there?

I asked my primary care physician (who is also a Board Certified pulmonologist) what new developments/standards are out there for mold. He told me that mold was indeed a problem for some. He told me that severely immunocomprimised people who are exposed to large quantities of aspergillis can die within 6 months if they remain exposed. He told me that others can develop flue-like symptoms, asthma, etc, if continually exposed to high levels of mold, over a long period of time. So, what has changed from a knowledge standpoint? Little.

The EPA has it right when it says that if you see mold or smell mold, you have mold and should find the source of the moisture, eliminate it, and remediate the mold.

It scares the hell out of me when I hear of a homeowner calling a mold testng and remediation company. Think these firms will find mold? You bet.

As to the lawsuit mentioned earlier inthis thread, I knew it was just a matter of time. A inspector from Washington State, who has since retired, was thoroughly trained in the field. Over three years ago, he echo’d the exact sentiments we see on this thread.

There is also a danger in having what a court perceives as “special knowledge”. If a person believes that you are trained, then you have special knowledge. This means that you are automatically obligated to search for things, even though you may not be getting paid for it. It also means that you can be hung out to dry for missing something. When you do report it, you can be sued for damages by those responsible to pay. This is what MetLife is doing here. They rebut the test results as part of the hysteria surrounding mold.

We had an inspector sued for $30 million dollars recently here in Rockland County, because he missed mold. By the way, he performs mold testing.

Finally, the husband of a client of mine got sick from something in his rec room. It hapened after he noticed wet stains at the bottom of his walls. He found mold, and cut away the sheetrock. In doing so, he probably disturbed some mold spores. He got quite ill. He hired a mold testing and remediation company, who informed him how dangerous the situation was. He sought alternative medical treatment for mold in his system. Whether the health problem was caused by mold or not is secondary; he got sick from SOMETHING. Feeding the situation is a slew of websites from self-proclaimed mold health experts, who feed on the fears of others.

The only “testing” I ever perform is to take a simple tape sample, and bring it to Cornell University’s horticulture lab for identification and analysis. They hand out the EPA guide to mold…

They dont distinguish between “nusiance mold” and “toxic mold”, either. This is the new gimmick. Key word: TOXIC MOLD" Definition: $$

Mold analysis reports are detailed, as to spores, species, and counts. Problem is that the data is pretty meaningless.

"Mr. Inspector… do I have mold?
“Yes, you have mold… and apparently quite a lot of it from what this report says.”
“But, Mr. Inspector… what does it all mean?”
“Well, miss, it means you have mold, and from what I have read in this report, quite a lot of it.”

I’m not in the mold business.