Originally Posted By: jfarsetta
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
off base here… So, since this is our first (and hopefully not the last) exchange of information, strap yourself in. I love a good argument, and you have managed to push the right buttom on this one…
Inspectors like me?
You know nothing
about me. You know little if anything about my background. For all you know, I have first-hand experience with toxic allergens. Maybe I have lung troubles. Maybe I have a comprimised immune system. Maybe I have asthma. Do you know anything about me, Scott?
Are you so sure that my position is wrong, or baseless, or without merit? Am I one of the scammers who is neither trained nor experienced beyond a one-week seminar in mold testing?
No, Scott, you know nothing
about me, or what kind of inspection I perform... But beyond my tirade...
Governmental agencies are setting the guidelines here; they HAVE
to. Just as with Radon, some thresholds must be established as far as what will and will not be acceptable levels. Problem is, that no one can make that determination.
Mold has been with us since the begining of time. I suspect there is no more mold in houses or apartment buildings today then there was in the structure you grew up in. And what did your mom or dad do to fix it? They dried it up, and likely washed it with a little bleach. Bingo, it was gone...
Now you have the genius mold inspectors
, trained how to make a buck; and the testing labs using somewhat subjective thresholds (yes, until governmental agencies bless them, they are subjective)
Truth is, any lawyer can make a case from any amount of mold. And God forbid
you advise someone to clean it with a biocide (like Chlorox), the lawyers will say they the advice you gave them caused irreperable harm to their lungs! So much for the blood-sucking ambulance chasing trial lawyers... They have the public whipped into a frenzy. People in the southeast have burned their homes down because of deadly black mold
. Is that enough of a panic for you, Scott? Is it justified? Is it rational? Is it valid?
So what do I do? I referr my clients to the CDC and the EPA Web sites. I perform no testing and recommend they follow the EPA and CDC guidelines. If they see something and insist on knowing what it is, I take mold samples using swatch or tape, seal them, and transport them to a state and EPA certified lab for identification. I am not in the analysis business; they pay the lab directly. I don't even see the results.
So what do you do when you find mold, Scott? Do you recommend they find the food (moisture, cellulose), eliminate it, dry it up, and clean the mold. What's wrong with that advice? Oh, that's right... there's NOTHING wrong with it, because that is what a mold remediator does!
Oh, yeah, that's what the EPA, CDC, NY City, LA County, and every other governmental body having jusisdiction
tells you to do.
And what the h*ll is "if you tell a client to just fix the leak and remove the mold growth you are failing to consider the potential air born spores that may cause health hazards" supposed to mean or prove?
My advice is the EXACT
advice that EVERY
governmental authority has determined is the best solution
for the problem. In fact, the only time they recommend that testing be performed is either for (1) investigation requested by a health care professional, or (2) verifying the work performed by a mold remediator. My position is clear, and is in sync with all but the mold labs, mold educators, "trained" inspection companies who have turned this into a tragic joke for those who ARE affected by mold
, and of course, the lawyers.
Your comment as to the presence of spores begs a question... so, is it recommended that testing be performed?
If so, then who recommends it?
The reality is that testing is recommended only under extreme
So where did my advice go wrong, in your eyes?
What qualifications do you possess that makes you an (a) environmental expert, (b) an allergen expert, (c) a trial attorney, or (d) a CIH? Have you visited the EPA or CDC sites? Have you read the data?
Dont get me wrong... people CAN
get sick from exposure to mold. But then again, people get sick from all kinds of stuff
. One friend of mine insisted they were ill from mold in their home. Problem was, a team made up of Board Certified ENT and Allergist/Immunologist told the person they tested NEGATIVE
for sensitivity/reaction to mold. So much for the mold theory... Turns out they had a reaction to pesticides applied by their landlord, who contaminaed the entire home. In the end, my advice to them turned up the truth, not some bogus catchall suspicion of mold causing headaches, breathing, and sinus disorders.
The truth is, that unless and until the person inspecting the premesis is trained in industrial hygenics or another field closely related to what they need to have the education and experience in, they have no business performing the inspection or holding themselves out as qualified to do so. To Joe Myer's point, the statement you add to your report may be viewed as self serving, but may ultimately place the burden on YOU, as the inspector, to notify the buyer of a potentially unhealthy condition.
My inspection agreement has a specific dislaimer regarding mold. My website (www.advancedinspections.net) has the following information on mold:
"BASIC INFORMATION ON MOLD
What is mold and where is it found?
Mold (fungi) is present everywhere - indoors and outdoors. There are more than 100,000 species of mold. At least 1,000 species of mold are common in the U.S. Some of the most commonly found are species of Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.
Mold is most likely to grow where there is water or dampness - such as in bathrooms and basements.
How can mold affect your health?
Most types of mold that are routinely encountered are not hazardous to healthy individuals. However, too much exposure to mold may cause or worsen conditions such as asthma, hay fever, or other allergies.
The most common symptoms of overexposure are cough, congestion, runny nose, eye irritation, and aggravation of asthma.
Depending on the amount of exposure and a person?s individual vulnerability, more serious health effects - such as fevers and breathing problems - can occur but are unusual.
How can you be exposed to mold?
When moldy material becomes damaged or disturbed, spores (reproductive bodies similar to seeds) can be released into the air. Exposure can occur if people inhale the spores, directly handle moldy materials, or accidentally ingest it.
Also, mold can sometimes produce chemicals called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins may cause illness in people who are sensitive to them or if they are exposed to large amounts in the air.
Large exposures are typically associated with certain occupations (e.g., agricultural work).
How does mold grow?
All molds need water to grow. Mold can grow almost anywhere there is water damage, high humidity, or dampness. Most often molds are confined to areas near the source of water.
Removing the source of moisture - such as through repairs or dehumidification - is critical to preventing mold growth.
What should you do if mold is present in your home or apartment?
Although any visible mold can be sampled by an environmental consultant and/or analyzed by a laboratory specializing in microbiology, these tests can be very expensive - from hundreds to thousands of dollars. There is no simple and cheap way to sample the air in your home to find out what types of mold are present and whether they are airborne.
Even if you have your home tested, it is difficult to say at what levels health effects would occur. Therefore, it is more important get rid of the mold rather than find out more about it.
The most effective way to treat mold is to correct underlying water damage and clean the affected area.
How should mold be cleaned?
Mold should be cleaned as soon as it appears. Persons cleaning mold should be free of symptoms and allergies.
Small areas of mold should be cleaned using a detergent/soapy solution or an appropriate household cleaner. Gloves should be worn during cleaning. The cleaned area should then be thoroughly dried. Dispose of any sponges or rags used to clean mold.
If the mold returns quickly or spreads, it may indicate an underlying problem such as a leak. Any underlying water problems must be fixed to successfully eliminate mold problems.
If mold contamination is extensive, a professional abatement company may need to be consulted.
Will my health or my child?s health be affected, and should we see a physician?
If you believe that you or your children have symptoms that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should see a physician. Keep in mind that many symptoms associated with mold exposure may also be caused by many other illnesses. You should tell your physician about the symptoms and about when, how, and for how long you think you or your children were exposed.
For more information on mold, visit the EPA and CDC Web Sites at:"
[i]For those interested, my separate inspection agreement regarding when the client insists he/she wants samples taken is as follows:
MOLD SAMPLE GATHERING AND TRANSPORT
Date of Work:
Scope of Work:
Client acknowledges that he has retained the services of Inspector for the purpose of gathering samples at a property located at ________________________ in the town of ________________________. The purpose of gathering these samples is to help to identify substances of unknown origin on certain surfaces within the structure. Samples will be gathered using a combination of contact tape or swatch removal. Samples will then be transported to Cornell University Cooperative Extension labs for analysis and identification. Client further acknowledges that Inspector's role is to gather and transport samples as required, and is not involved in the identification or analysis process. Client further acknowledges and understands that the samples will be analyzed for the purposes of identification only. Habitability of the home will not be determined as a result of sample analysis. Client has been advised to seek information on mold and mold testing from governmental sources, such as the EPA and CDC websites.
Cost of Inspection and sample gathering and transport:
Cost of sample analysis (payable to Cooperative Extension): $25 per sample
Acknowledged and accepted by: _________________________________ (Client)
Scott, inspectors like me see the truth for what it is. Inspectors like you, if you go beyond the sanctioned, published, and accepted data, are the targets for the lawyers. This is why our E&O policies have mold exclusions. BTW, my attorney has no problem with my policy nor advice with regard to this sticky matter...