Thanks Sanjay Gupta!
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
A groundbreaking public health study, led by Brown University epidemiologist Edmond Shenassa, has found a connection between damp, moldy homes and depression. Results are published in theAmerican Journal of Public Health.PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A groundbreaking public health study has found a connection between damp, moldy homes and depression. The study, led by Brown University epidemiologist Edmond Shenassa, is the largest investigation of an association between mold and mood and is the first such investigation conducted outside the United Kingdom. Shenassa said the findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, came as a complete surprise. In fact, after a few U.K. studies published in the last decade had suggested a link, Shenassa and his skeptical team set out to debunk the notion that any link existed. “We thought that once we statistically accounted for factors that could clearly contribute to depression – things like employment status and crowding – we would see any link vanish,” said Shenassa, the lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Community Health at Brown. “But the opposite was true. We found a solid association between depression and living in a damp, moldy home.” Shenassa noted the study, an analysis of data from nearly 6,000 European adults, does not prove that moldy homes cause depression. The study wasn’t designed to draw that direct conclusion. However, Shenassa’s team did find a connection, one likely driven by two factors. One factor is a perceived lack of control over the housing environment. The other is mold-related health problems such as wheezing, fatigue and a cold or throat illness. “Physical health, and perceptions of control, are linked with an elevated risk for depression,” Shenassa said, “and that makes sense. If you are sick from mold, and feel you can’t get rid of it, it may affect your mental health.” The study was a statistical analysis of data from the Large Analysis and Review of European Housing and Health Status (LARES), a survey on housing, health and place of residence conducted in 2002 and 2003 by the World Health Organization (WHO). To conduct the survey, WHO interviewers visited thousands of homes in eight European cities and asked residents a series of questions, including if they had depressive symptoms such as decreased appetite, low self-esteem, and sleep disturbances. WHO interviewers also made visual checks of each household, looking for spots on walls and ceilings that indicate mold. Shenassa’s team analyzed LARES data from 5,882 adults in 2,982 households. “What the study makes clear is the importance of housing as indicator of health, including mental health,” Shenassa said. “Healthy homes can promote healthy lives.” Shenassa and his team are conducting follow-up research to see if mold does, indeed, directly cause depression. Shenassa said that given the results of the current study, he wouldn’t be surprised if there is a cause-and-effect association. Molds are toxins, and some research has indicated that these toxins can affect the nervous system or the immune system or impede the function of the frontal cortex, the part of the brain that plays a part in impulse control, memory, problem solving, sexual behavior, socialization and spontaneity. The research team includes Allison Liebhaber, a former Brown undergraduate; Constantine Daskalakis of Thomas Jefferson University; Matthias Braubach of WHO; and Mary Jean Brown of the Harvard School of Public Health.Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call the Office of Media Relations at (401) 863-2476.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Note: The EPA suggests the following: "Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that your home or building is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building". Unfortunately, it is thought that most, if not all, heating and air conditioning systems will support mold growth at some point. Stopping the use of an air conditioning system due to suspected mold growth would make most buildings very uncomfortable during hot and humid weather. Should you turn off an air conditioner if a mold problem in the system is found? Ideally, yes. The system should be shut down while cleaning or mold removal is performed. If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call a professional
AMT Environmental has experience testing and coming up with a solution for remediation of buildings damaged by contaminated water.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Dry ice blast cleaning is quickly establishing itself as a favored method of cleaning in mold remediation (mold removal). Dry ice blasting is superior to cleaning mold compared to traditional labor-intensive techniques such as sanders, scrapers and wire brushes. The dry ice process cleans as thoroughly or more so and in dramatically less time. Also, compared to soda blasting, dry ice blast cleaning is as fast and creates far less mess.What Is Dry Ice?Dry ice pellets are made by taking liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) from a pressurized storage tank and expanding it at ambient pressure to produce snow. The snow is then compressed through a die to make hard pellets. The pellets are readily available from most dry ice suppliers nationwide. For dry ice blasting, the standard size is 1/8-inch high-density dry ice pellets.What Is Dry Ice Blasting?It is a process in which a blasting gun fires dry ice particles (rice-sized) at supersonic speed to impact and clean a surface. The particles are accelerated by compressed air, just as with other blasting systems. Upon impact the dry ice sublimates (goes from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid phase). The substrate (surface) is left free of mold spores.There are three phases in the dry ice blasting process. Energy transfer works when dry ice pellets are propelled out of the blasting gun at supersonic speed and impact the surface. The energy transfer helps to knock off the contaminant with little or no damage to the surface.Micro-thermal shock occurs when the freezing effect of the dry ice pellets hitting the contaminant creates a micro-thermal shock (caused by the dry ice temperature of -79º C) between the surface contaminant and the substrate. This phase isn’t as much a factor for removal of mold as it is with resins, oils, waxes, food particles and other contaminants. For substances such as these, the thermal shock causes cracking and delamination of the contaminant, furthering the elimination process.The final phase, gas pressure, has the dry ice pellet explode on impact and, as the pellet warms, it converts to a CO2 gas, generating a volume expansion of 400 to 800 times. The rapid expansion underneath the contaminant on the substrate forces off the contaminant from behind. The energy transfer and gas pressure dynamics cause the contaminant to be relocated, becoming airborne (as with mold spores) or falls to the ground. The mold spores then need to be removed by HEPA filters. Since the dry ice sublimates into a gas, no media remains to be cleaned up.Operating Details As for air system requirements, a large number of applications using dry-ice blasting equipment only require between 80 to 100 psi and 120 to 150 CFM. An evaluation of system air is usually recommended to determine if the facility has sufficient capabilities to run dry ice blasting equipment at the levels desired for each specific application. Remediators utilizing a stand alone diesel compressor would require a 185 CFM tow behind compressor.Mold Remediation ProcessUtilizing dry-ice blasting technology does not alter the mold-cleaning process very much. Take the example of a second floor residence with no attic and having drywall on walls and ceiling being infested with mold. First, the second floor needs to be isolated from the first floor. Next, negative pressure needs to be created using a HEPA-filtered air scrubber. If there is any severely damaged carpeting and drywall, it should be double bagged and discarded. For the sake of this example, we will say that one half of the ceiling and all exterior wall drywall needed to be stripped and removed.At this point, dry-ice blasting can be utilized to clean the plywood and support beams. The blasting gun can easily be managed to target the desired mark. Specific nozzle types best suited for cleaning wood can be utilized, e.g. a fan-shaped nozzle, creating a pattern several inches wide, can be used to “sweep” up and down boards and beams. The dry ice being fired on the wood can typically remove mold in a way that is clearly visible and in a methodical manner. Once the blasting phase is complete and all surfaces have been vacuumed and cleared of sawdust and other debris, mold remediators should follow up by applying a micro-biocide spray to remediated areas to inhibit future growth.SafetyA few details need to be considered to operate dry-ice blasting equipment. Blasting in an enclosed area is generally safe with proper ventilation. However, because CO2 is 50 percent heavier than air, and containments may limit ventilation enough where excessive levels of CO2 may accumulate, to maintain negative pressure differentials exhaust air volume may need to be greatly increased. In small areas or ones such as crawl spaces, great care should be given to sustaining proper air levels. If the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for CO2 (5,000 ppm or 0.5 percent for an eight-hour time-weighted average) is exceeded, supplied-air respirators must be used.Ear protection is necessary, as the process can get very noisy. Second, because the temperature of dry ice can be as low as –79oC (-109 oF), insulated gloves should always be worn when working with it. It is also very important that full personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn.BenefitsWith dry ice blasting as it pertains to mold removal, it is common to see a 60 percent time savings over other methods. Blasting can also effectively and easily clean in tight spaces that would be difficult for hands or tools to reach.When the dry ice changes from a solid to a gas, the volume expansion over surfaces such as wood, concrete or stone efficiently results in a stripping effect removing the mold from the surfaces. Typical results show less than 1 percent of toxic mold spores remain.Dry ice sublimates and leaves no media for cleanup. The blasting process will generate saw dust, just as sanding would; however, when compared to other blasting methods, the time and cost to address the secondary waste generated by the media is eliminated.
Monday, May 6, 2013
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS MISDIAGNOSIS DUE TO MOLD EXPOSURE
Misdiagnosis of the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis Related to Mold Exposure?What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis? The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Many researchers believe infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi cause RA.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS?
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis come and go, depending on the degree of tissue inflammation, and are in step with the common symptoms of mold exposure. When body tissues are inflamed, the disease is active. When tissue inflammation subsides, the disease is inactive (in remission). Remissions can occur spontaneously or with treatment and can last weeks, months, or years. During remissions, symptoms of the disease disappear, and people generally feel well. When the disease becomes active again (relapse), symptoms return. The return of disease activity and symptoms is called a flare. The course of rheumatoid arthritis varies among affected individuals, and periods of flares and remissions are typical.When the disease is active, symptoms can include fatigue, loss of energy, lack of appetite, low-grade fever, muscle and joint aches, and stiffness. Muscle and joint stiffness are usually most notable in the morning and after periods of inactivity. Arthritis is common during disease flares. Also during flares, joints frequently become red, swollen, painful, and tender. This occurs because the lining tissue of the joint (synovium) becomes inflamed, resulting in the production of excessive joint fluid (synovial fluid). The synovium also thickens with inflammation (synovitis).Rheumatoid arthritis usually inflames multiple joints in a symmetrical pattern (both sides of the body affected). Early symptoms may be subtle. The small joints of both the hands and wrists are often involved. Symptoms in the hands with rheumatoid arthritis include difficulty with simple tasks of daily living, such as turning door knobs and opening jars. The small joints of the feet are also commonly involved, which can lead to painful walking, especially in the morning after arising from bed. Occasionally, only one joint is inflamed. When only one joint is involved, the arthritis can mimic the joint inflammation caused by other forms of arthritis, such as gout or joint infection. Chronic inflammation can cause damage to body tissues, including cartilage and bone. This leads to a loss of cartilage and erosion and weakness of the bones as well as the muscles, resulting in joint deformity, destruction, and loss of function. Rarely, rheumatoid arthritis can even affect the joint that is responsible for the tightening of our vocal cords to change the tone of our voice, the cricoarytenoid joint. When this joint is inflamed, it can cause hoarseness of the voice. Joint symptoms in children with rheumatoid arthritis include limping, irritability, crying, and poor appetite.Since rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, its inflammation can affect organs and areas of the body other than the joints. Inflammation of the glands of the eyes and mouth can cause dryness of these areas and is referred to as Sjogrens syndrome. Dryness of the eyes can lead to corneal abrasion. Inflammation of the white parts of the eyes (the sclerae) is referred to as scleritis and can be very dangerous to the eye. Rheumatoid inflammation of the lung lining pleuritis causes chest pain with deep breathing, shortness of breath, or coughing. The lung tissue itself can also become inflamed, scarred, and sometimes nodules of inflammation (rheumatoid nodules) develop within the lungs. Inflammation of the tissue (pericardium) surrounding the heart, called pericarditis, can cause a chest pain that typically changes in intensity when lying down or leaning forward. The rheumatoid disease can reduce the number of red blood cells (anemia) and white blood cells. Decreased white cells can be associated with an enlarged spleen (referred to as Felty’s syndrome) and can increase the risk of infections. Firm lumps under the skin (rheumatoid nodules) can occur around the elbows and fingers where there is frequent pressure. Even though these nodules usually do not cause symptoms, occasionally they can become infected. Nerves can become pinched in the wrists to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. A rare, serious complication, usually with long-standing rheumatoid disease, is blood vessel inflammation (vasulitis). Vasculitis can impair blood supply to tissues and lead to tissue death (necrosis). This is most often initially visible as tiny black areas around the nail beds or as leg ulcers.
How Do I Find a Qualified Mold Inspector or Mold Inspection Company?
Important Tips To Find A Mold Inspector
Finding a good mold inspector is somewhat akin to finding a good doctor or mechanic. Some time and effort is required and even with that effort, sometimes mistakes and poor choices still happen. However, you can still put the odds in your favor. We would recommend calling at least two (preferably more) mold inspection companies and ask for a price quote. Within the price quote, we recommend you ask the following questions:
Questions To Ask Your Mold Inspector or Mold Inspection Company
What qualifications do you have to perform mold testing?What certifications does your company have? What are the qualifications of your mold inspectors?(Note: Ask what the certification requirements for any certifications they have either as a company or the individuals who will be performing the work. There are many certifications with some requiring much more work than others. Some are probably quite simple and, unfortunately, do not connote qualification to perform a mold inspection. Further, some may require a lot of work, but are not related to nor do they touch on mold itself. Take a moment to look online to find out what's required for any certifications they list.)How many mold inspections did the person who will inspect my property do in the last year? How long he/she been in this line of work?What is your hourly rate?What is your philosophy regarding mold sampling?(Tip: You're looking for conflicts of interest here. Does the mold inspector always recommend mold testing? Or are there situations where he/she says mold testing is not needed?)What are the costs of each air and surface mold sample?How many mold samples do you normally take?Do you perform the mold sample analysis yourself? Do you perform mold remediation?(Tip: You're looking for conflicts of interest here. If they also perform remediation, they have a vested interest in finding mold to clean up.)Do you receive any kickbacks, commissions, or referral fees for sending work to mold remediators?How long has the mold remediator you recommend been in business and what are their qualifications?How long has your mold lab been in business and what are the lab's qualifications?Do you have references from work done in the past year that I can call to ask how the work went?What are your payment terms?(Tip: Be cautious of paying up front for the entire mold testing job.)Make sure you are comfortable with the communication and general style of the people whom you will be working with. You need to feel comfortable that your questions are taken seriously, you are treated with respect, and the mold inspection company has your interests in mind. Finally, if you become uncomfortable with the process once it has started, consider changing to another company.
Next: "Why Should I Use a Mold Inspector Referred by MoldReport?"
Previous: "Can I Use Home Mold Testing Kits Instead of A Mold Inspection?"
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Friday, May 3, 2013
Molds can produce serious illnesses, some of which target the liver. While molds play a helpful role in nature by breaking down dead biological matter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that the spores these molds release into the air for reproduction can carry deadly toxins. One of the deadliest, aflotoxin B1, can damage the liver or even lead to liver cancer.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Ozone, also called activated or pure air, is comprised of three oxygen atoms (O3) whereas atmospheric oxygen is comprised of two oxygen atoms (O2). Ozone is created in nature when oxygen comes in contact with the electrical charge from lightening or ultraviolet radiation. Ozone will usually break down within 20 minutes and revert back to the more stable O2 and a single oxygen atom that is highly reactive. The singlet oxygen atom will oxidize many indoor gases, odors, and VOCs; hence the reason it is generated by many of today’s “air cleaners”. The single atom, however, will also react with the human body causing irritation to the eyes, mucous membranes, and airways. The American Lung Association has declared ozone a concern for human exposure and the EPA considers it to be a contaminant of concern for humans at short term exposure concentrations in excess of .08 ppm. Documented symptoms include decreases in lung function, aggravation of asthma, throat irritation and cough, chest pain and shortness of breath, inflammation of lung tissue, and a higher susceptibility to respiratory infection possibly resulting in bronchitis or pneumonia.
Nick Mayes AMT Environmental consultant.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Hiring a Professional Mold InspectorIt's always best to hire a professional mold inspector to do the mold inspection for you. Thanks to mold inspectors' experience and their knowledge of spots where mold most often hides, you can be sure that if there's any mold in your home that they will find it.
Mold inspectors also use special equipment like moisture meters and fiber optics. This allows them to find hot spots where mold is most likely growing and look into hidden areas such as behind walls. This way they can find any and all hidden mold while barely disturbing your home.