I think the answer is here Gerry.
Re: Mould and testing
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Hi Gents –
Mr. DeForrest, let me address your comments first since it is exactly the things that you said in your post that would be the rope by which I would hang you in court and demonstrate that your services constituted gross negligence. Imagine that your report cost the seller to loose an important sale (or other claims), and now they are going to sue you for their damages claming gross professional negligence, and gross incompetence. They hire me as a rebuttal witness. As it turns out, I defeat you in court without ever having to even visit the subject property. I demonstrate that your report alone destroys your credibility, and demonstrates gross incompetence.
Here’s is how I would do it: (Everyone should know that the following is a DEMONSTRATION ONLY and that DeForrest Home Inspections is in no way involved in litigation or that the following example is actually meant to impugn the good reputation of DeForrest Home Inspections.)
Rebuttal witness writes:
“We have reviewed the DeForrest Home Inspections report, and we have found several fundamental errors and omissions which render the DeForrest Home Inspections report fatally flawed in its nature and unusable. Nowhere in the DeForrest Home Inspections report were we able to locate where the inspector applied standard mandatory data quality objectives in the collection of their data. The collection of the data is far outside accepted science, and the premise of the data lacks scientific acceptability and therefore the work does not appear to meet the standards set by Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C.Cir. 1923).
It is an established and industry accepted fact that particle migration (such as spores) is mainly influenced by particle properties, ventilation conditions and airflow patterns. (1) Particle concentrations in general, (2) and spore concentrations in particular within a structure exhibit large spatial variations which tend to be compartmentalized within a given space. Furthermore, it is a well established and a common industrial hygiene precept that short term samples such as those collected by the DeForrest Home Inspections personnel exhibit large temporal variations. (3) Generally, the geometric standard deviation of interday and intraday airborne concentrations lie between 1.2 and 2.5 geometric standard deviations. (4) These large variations are similar to those seen by other authors, specific to airborne mould concentrations. (5)(6)(7). However, the DeForrest Home Inspections report entirely failed to provide a statement on confidence, error and/or precision regarding their data (see Daubert V. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. 113 S.Ct. 2728, 125 L.Ed. 2d 469, 482-485 (1993)), rendering the samples and data, and, ultimately, the analysis, meaningless.
Classic air sampling strategy indicates that reasonable confidence in estimating an average ambient airborne concentration is achieved when at least 70% of the exposure time is measured,( 8 ) and states that random grab samples are the least desirable technique for estimating the average exposure. (9) Yet we note that DeForrest Home Inspections used exclusively single random grab samples whose total sampling time was less than 1% of the anticipated exposure time. Thus the sampling design error in the DeForrest Home Inspections was uncharacterized and resulted in huge uncertainties in the reported results.
Other foundational and scientifically accepted classic air sampling references (10)(11) have estimated that for each daily study period (expressed as 8 hours), between eight and eleven random grab samples are needed to obtain adequate confidence in the average airborne concentration estimate. As it is, DeForrest Home Inspections only collected five indoor samples and five outdoor samples which cannot provide adequate confidence in estimating the spore concentration in the subject property. Essentially, DeForrest Home Inspections failed to use accepted scientific protocols and instead, they guessed the spore concentrations at the expense of the homeowner.
Based on our review, the lack of DQOs in the sampling performed by the DeForrest Home Inspections demonstrates the way DeForrest Home Inspections artificially increased the cost of their services and lent a pretence of credibility by puffing up their report with Latin names and exotic numbers, without providing any actual valid data. (At this point, I would probably provide a three or four page discussion on DQOs, and how without DQOS, one has numbers, but no data, and how you violotated about six different ASTM standards).
We have found that the DeForrest Home Inspections report relied exclusively on myths and misconceptions regarding moulds in the home. The report indicates the inspector lacked any real knowledge and had no factual basis for making their conclusions, and that their conclusions were unsupported by scientific fact. For example, in their report, DeForrest Home Inspections repeated an often quoted, but entirely false premise that:
But if the levels are higher inside than the outside there might be a problem.
This false premise has become the hallmark of the charlatan and the untrained “mould inspector” who collects indoor and outdoor samples without any understanding of sampling theory of aerobiology. It is entirely untrue that counts higher indoors than outdoors in anyway indicates a problem, and we have noted that DeForrest Home Inspections did not provide any valid scientific references or peer reviewed scientific literature to support their false claims that “…if the levels are higher inside than the outside there might be a problem.”
For a start, nowhere in the DeForrest Home Inspections report do we find a qualitative or quantitative statement regarding the outdoor vs. indoor coupling. As such, DeForrest Home Inspections has entirely ignored the fact that on the day of their visit, opposing windows in the subject property were open, and their “elevated” indoor counts were actually outdoor counts, and not representative of the indoor concentrations at all.
It is well known that non-problematic houses may have significantly higher indoor spore counts than outdoors. For example, in the graphic below,
( http://www.forensic-applications.com…evononprob.jpg ) we have presented the results of a study (16) conducted by this reviewer (Connell) wherein actual simultaneous indoor and outdoor contemporaneously collated samples were collected from non-problematic houses (no mould problems). As can be seen, in a significant number of the properties, (yellow triangles to the left of the blue line) had spores counts in excess of the outdoor counts – even for closed mode sampling (insignificant outdoor coupling).
Similarly, in another study (17) performed by this reviewer (Connell) we collected simultaneous indoor and outdoor contemporaneously collated samples from problematic houses (significant mould problems). As can be seen, in the following graphic ( http://www.forensic-applications.com/misc/evoprob.jpg ) in a significant number of the properties, (yellow triangles to the right of the blue line) had spores counts less than the outdoor counts (outdoor coupling also qualified).
DeForrest Home Inspections attempts to defend its nonsensical indoor vs. outdoor comparison by citing the “IESO Standard,” (12) a document frequently cited by untrained and poorly trained “mould experts” who lack any real knowledge in aerobiology. However, the IESO is not a recognized standards authority, and does not establish national consensus standards as claimed. The “standards” used by DeForrest Home Inspections are not considered to be scientifically valid, and do not carry any weight in legitimate discussion amongst bone fide indoor environmental quality experts.
Essentially, the IESO “standards” were initially developed a couple of years ago by a particular laboratory in an effort to promote sales. The “standards” referenced by DeForrest Home Inspections (IESO 2210) are mostly myth-based procedures devoid of any actual scientific merit, and lacking any credibility. The “standards” make a central point of using outdoor airborne mould levels as comparison to sample indoor levels. However, this is an example of argumentum ad populum in the light of state-of-knowledge; essentially IESO makes the case that “since everyone else seems to be doing it, it must somehow be correct.” However, it has long been known, that there is no correlation between indoor and outdoor spore concentrations in the circumstances under discussion.
By comparison, bone fide national consensus standards organizations would include ASHRAE(13), ANSI (14) and ASTM International. (15). These organizations publish “technically exhaustive” standards that will carry weight of law, and are frequently incorporated directly as actual mandatory code.
The promulgation of true standards is an arduous process involving literally hundreds of experts. For example, this reviewer (Connell) in the capacity of a recognized Industrial Hygienist is on the ASTM International Indoor Air Quality Committee (D22.08 ). We (several dozens of us) have been engaged in the promulgation of an indoor mould assessment standard for over three years. The process involves the vetting of the language and the science by a broad spectrum of scientists, medical personnel, engineers, public policy experts, and others before the standard will see the light of day. Ultimately, an entire ASTM standard could be held up on the opposition of just one expert, until consensus is achieved. By contrast, the IESO was formed in 2002, and the “standard” was instantly published without any external peer review or assessment of validity. (At this point, I would probable provide a discussion on how the IESO documents are in stark contradiction to decades old ASTM standards on sampling protocols).
Even the IESO indicates it’s lack of technical merit in it’s own standards. IESO 2210, (used by DeForrest Home Inspections) explicitly states in it’s own language, that the standard is not technically exhaustive, and should only be used to determine if an appropriate specialist (e.g. an Industrial Hygienist) is required for further investigation. Indeed, the IESO 2210 clearly states:
7.0 Applicability and Limitations
7.3 The results and recommendations made by the inspector relative to this standard are not a warranty, surety, or guarantee of any nature or kind.
By this statement, the IESO is explicitly and honestly telling the world that the standard carries no weight.
DeForrest Home Inspections makes further foundationless statements in its report such as:
Visible mold should be tested to see what type it is and at what levels they are and then determine if it needs remediation.
In making this statement, DeForrest Home Inspections implies that if mould of a particular genus or species is present, then it should not be remediated. However, DeForrest Home Inspections does not provide any information on which genera or species it would permit to remain in the subject property. If, on the other hand DeForrest Home Inspections does not hold the opinion that a specific mould genera should be permitted to remain, then what is to be gained by needlessly spending additional fees to identify the “type” except to further artificially increase its invoices?
Similarly, DeForrest Home Inspections has provided absolutely no threshold as to which “levels” would constitute the need for remediation. Finally, DeForrest Home Inspections concludes that “Visible mold should be tested…” but does not provide a reference for this assertion that is not held or supported by any recognized body of experts.
DeForrest Home Inspections underscores its lack of understanding in sample collection and analysis by stating:
Independent labs will examine the tests and determine if remediation should take place.
In fact, no legitimate independent laboratory, following BMPs would ever determine if remediation should take place. The role of a independent laboratory is exclusively to identify and quantify samples without interpretation. Unless a laboratory has visited the site, performed an industry accepted inspection complete with the identification of moisture intrusion issues, such a laboratory would be entirely incapable of determining the need for remediation. It is exclusively the role of DeForrest Home Inspections to determine the need and scope of remediation.
Finally, DeForrest Home Inspections disingenuously attempts to increase its apparent credibility by citing a link to the US DHHS, Centers for Disease Control. However, in so doing, DeForrest Home Inspections purposely ignores the document recently released by the Centers for Disease Control. (18 ) The CDC Mold Work Group, in its section “Chapter 2: Assessing Exposure to Mold” states (in part):
*Sampling for mold is not part of a routine building assessment. In most cases appropriate decisions concerning remediation and need for personal protection equipment (PPE) can be made solely on the basis of visual inspection. *(sic)
In fact, the CDC recognized the frivolity of samples suchb as those collected by DeForrest Home Inspections in the same document when it stated:
Other than in a controlled, limited, research setting, sampling for biological agents in the environment cannot be meaningfully interpreted and would not significantly affect relevant decisions regarding remediation, reoccupancy, handling or disposal of waste and debris, worker protection or safety, or public health.
We do not see that DeForrest Home Inspections performed their sampling “…in a controlled, limited, research setting…”
Overall, we conclude the work performed by DeForrest Home Inspections, and the comments and conclusion based thereon lacked scientific validity, lacked the application of standard practices, lacked the application of pertinent industry standards, lacked credibility, lacked foundation, and lacked value. In our opinion, the work and conclusions of DeForrest Home Inspections constituted gross incompetence in the field of indoor aerobiology.
Etc, etc, etc…… (all of the references I used are provided below at the end of this post).
An important note is that since you didn’t follow proper standards, etc, your E&O carrier denied your claim, and now your insurance policy is rendered useless - YOU have to come up with the punitive damages out of your pocket (got a couple hundred thousand $$$ on hand for emergencies?)
Again, this was just a fun example of how I would handle the case as presented. Now, the above took me aoub t90minutes to prepare; at $195 an hour, I would probably impugn your report for under $500. Good money spent by my client considering the fact that you are being sued for a couple of million.
I hope that sheds some light on the matter. Please feel free to defend your position (with the recognition that I get a second chance on cross examination!)
Caoimhín P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
(1) **Li Y; Heng J; and Chen Z *****Study Of Particle Movement In Ventilation System ***Proceedings: Indoor Air 2002 Anaheim California, 2002
(2) Keady PB; Mainquist L; TrackingIAQ Problemsto Their Source**, ****Occupational **Health & Safety,September 2000
(3) Ayer, HE, Burg J, *Time Weighted Averages Vs. Maximum Personal Sample *(Presented at the AIHA Conference, Boston, MA, 1973)
(4) NIOSH Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual, HEW Publication Number 77-173 (1977)
(5) Spurgeon, J; Data submitted to the ASTM D22.08.02 Committee for review, October 2005
(6) Connell, CP, Sample results: What do they really tell us? Presented at the IAQ in Schools Lecture Series, Corpus Christi, TX, 2003
(7) Eudey L, Su HJ, Burge HA. Biostatistics and bioaerosols. In Bioaerosols, Burge HA, ed. Boca Raton: Lewis Publishers, pp. 269-307. 1995
(8 ) NIOSH Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual, HEW Publication Number 77-173 (1977)
(10) NIOSH Technical Information Exposure Measurement Action Level and Occupational Environmental Variability, HEW Publication 76-131, Cincinnati OH, 45226, (1975)
(11) NIOSH Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual, HEW Publication Number 77-173 (1977)
(12) Indoor Environmental Standards Organization
(13) American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers
(14) American National Standards Institute
(15) Formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials
(16) Connell, CP, Field Measurements for Moulds: Spatial and Temporal Variations; Presented at the ASTM International D22 Committee: 2006 Boulder Conference: Bringing Science to Bear on Moisture and Mold in the Built Environment
(18 ) The CDC Mold Work Group, National Center for Environmental Health, National Center for Infectious Diseases, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October 2005
[FONT=Arial](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.)
On 09/21/06 at 15:07 MST, I edited this post by removing the “smiley faces” created by the number “8” and the incomplete clause “Indeed in the ASTM Standard…” [/FONT]