Midwest Flooding-Beware of Mold Toxins

Midwest Flooding - Beware of Tricothecenes Mycotoxin (Mold Toxins)
*Award-winning indoor environmental consulting firm Pure Air Control Services offers advice for finding qualified contractors to assist in identification and remediation of mold cleanup
*by TransWorldNews *

Iowa City, Iowa 7/14/2008 03:26 PM GMT - In the aftermath of June’s devastating floods in the Midwest, world renowned microbiologist Dr. Rajiv Sahay, Director of Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab), a division of Pure Air Control Services reminds residents to be wary of what floodwaters leave behind—specifically, potential tricothecene mycotoxins (toxic mold) growing on walls, behind walls, in the ceilings, under the carpets, or in their ductwork… Also, he warns of what unqualified disaster restoration firms leave behind…trouble.

Common manifestations of trichothecene toxicity are depression of immune responses and nausea, sometimes vomiting. The first recognized trichothecene mycotoxicosis was alimentary toxic aleukia in the USSR in 1932; the mortality rate was 60%.

In several cases, trichothecene mycotoxicosis was caused by a single ingestion of bread containing toxic flour or rice. In experimental animals, trichothecenes are 40 times more toxic when inhaled than when given orally. Trichothecenes were found in air samples collected during the drying and milling process on farms, in the ventilation systems of residential houses and office buildings, and on the walls of houses with high humidity. In addition, there have been some reports showing trichothecene involvement in the development of “building related illness”. The symptoms of airborne toxicosis apparently disappeared when the buildings and ventilation systems were professionally cleaned.

EDLab and Pure Air Control Services recommend that consumers and business owners use the following minimum guidelines to qualify and quantify any contractors they hire:

  1. Obtain references from your health department, insurance company, friends and neighbors
  2. Know your contractor (check references)
  3. Check with the Better Business Bureau
  4. Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured (including professional liability insurances)
  5. Obtain a copy of their license and insurance certificates. Make sure their liability/general liability covers mold.
  6. Hire contractors certified by reputable trade organizations such as AEE, IAQA, IIRC, ASCR, AIHA, NADCA
  7. Differentiate between a “Restoration contractor” and a “Remediation contractor.” Most restoration contractors are not knowledgeable in environmental remediation techniques and protocols.
  8. Certified contractors should follow a strict code of ethics (ask for a copy of their respective “code of ethics” they plan to work with)
  9. For mold/bacteria damaged buildings, request pre-remediation (baseline study) and post-remediation environmental testing be performed.
  10. Request a post remedial environmental clearance study. This is essential to assure good indoor air quality (health and safety) and may be required when you sell your home.
  11. Request that the microbiology laboratory used is accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program (EMLAP). Be careful that the lab of record is accredited and that the consultant and the remediation firm have not forged laboratory data. Call the laboratory directly for confirmation if you have any questions. See related article: (Fla. Couple Charged with Faking Mold Remediation Lab Results)
    Contractors who perform mold cleanup services should do so according to established industry standards and guidelines, including but not limited to**:**
  • **ACGIH Bioaerosols: **Assessment and Control
    *** EPA **Mold Remediation for Homeowners

  • New York City Department of Health - Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of
    Fungi in Indoor Environments

  • **EPA **Mold Remediation for Schools and Commercial Buildings

  • IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Water Damage Restoration, Guide for mold remediation

  • NADCA ACR 2005, Assessment, Cleaning and Restoration of HVAC Systems

Be careful with mold organizations that do not enforce their so called code of ethics. There is several contractors in my area that belong to IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association) that are just screwing unexpecting consumers on improper mold cleanup, in most cases making the environment even worst. I have complained to the IAQA and have not gotten any response. I have decided, a while back, to no longer a member of an organization that does not care about the consumer. IAQA is to us environmental inspectors as ASHI is to home inspectors. A lot of hype and corrupt to the core.

Just a couple of thoughts,
[li]IAQA anyone can join (Indoor Air Quality Association) We only recommend inspectors that are AmIAQC certified, haven’t been burned yet / we hope.[/li][li]AmIAQC BOARD certifies professionals, 2 years minimum experience, test etc. (American indoor Air Quality Council) not an instant certification.[/li][li]The [SIZE=2]American Indoor Air Quality Council operates independent, third-party accredited certification programs for indoor environmental consultants, microbial consultants, microbial remediators, indoor air quality administrators and residential mold inspectors.[/li][li]IICRC S520 is Standard for Mold Remediation, IICRC S500 is Standard for Water Damage Restoration.[/ul] I wish the folks in the midwest the best of luck, we have our share of low lifes here in Florida and storms draw them like a magnet.[/li]
Doug Wall

I use to belong to IESO, a top notch organization, but since they allied theirselves with IAQA I will have nothing to do with them. I have sent letters both to IESO and AmIAQC but have gotten no response. If you belong to one you belong to the other two, you have no choice in the matter. It is like ASHI members being made to join a coalition for home inspector licensing.

After the third complaint on this message board, IAQA has finally responded to me. I will send them my complaints again as soon as I get caught back up with work. I am very interested in their reply and if they are going to act on my complaints.
They have requested me to remove a comment about them but they waited to long, I am unable to edit my comment anymore. Odds are I would of been reinstating it again anyway if they do not take action on my complaints. I will keep everybody posted if they walk up to the plate and take responsibility.

I am a four-time board-awarded certificate holder with the AmIAQ. I’ve been an author, speaker, and I’ve been an instructor. There is something important that anyone that teaches others comes to understand is that you can teach a course, even book knowledge, but you can’t teach work ethics. I’m sure there are those in the NACHI that do poor work. It is bad for everyone in the industry (no matter who you decide to earn your degree with), but there are some very hard working, industry contributing, professional people and companies that are educated by the IAQA and board-awarded through the AmIAQ. I’m sorry you’ve had some bad experiences, and I hope that all of your concerns are answered. However, I will say this: policing our industry is a delicate matter. I haven’t heard of one organization that has proclaimed to have that as their mission. I’ll give you an example: here (in the midwest) there are a couple of NACHI recognized persons performing mold inspections that do not do anything but collect non-viable samples, ship them to a lab, then give the lab results to the people, telling them that they can’t interpret the data, “Call Jason. He’s the expert with this stuff.” I think that is bad too, but I don’t blame the NACHI for not stepping in and changing the way they do business. The irony is that I am a IAQA member and a board member of the AmIAQ (after sixteen years of hard work and dedication to my Clients and the Industry), and I get the referrals from a NACHI recognized people. I’m not downing anyone. But I think when we see a fault in our industry we should all come together to work on it. Perhaps also reporting things to the NACHI (as well as the IAQA and others AIHA, AmIAQ, IICRC, etc.) and ask them to come to a better working relationship in relation to how we do business as an industry will better serve all hard working peoples in the industry and their clients. Best wishes to you all.