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:
- Obtain references from your health department, insurance company, friends and neighbors
- Know your contractor (check references)
- Check with the Better Business Bureau
- Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured (including professional liability insurances)
- Obtain a copy of their license and insurance certificates. Make sure their liability/general liability covers mold.
- Hire contractors certified by reputable trade organizations such as AEE, IAQA, IIRC, ASCR, AIHA, NADCA
- Differentiate between a “Restoration contractor” and a “Remediation contractor.” Most restoration contractors are not knowledgeable in environmental remediation techniques and protocols.
- Certified contractors should follow a strict code of ethics (ask for a copy of their respective “code of ethics” they plan to work with)
- For mold/bacteria damaged buildings, request pre-remediation (baseline study) and post-remediation environmental testing be performed.
- 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.
- 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