COMPREHENSIVE HOME INSPECTION
"Protecting Your Biggest Investment"

TOXIC BLACK MOLD IS EVERYWHERE... Humid or dry, in cold or warm climate, in Mississippi and Tennessee, Alaska or Arizona, New York or Los Angeles mold grows and causes property damage and exacerbates or causes diseases. More and more people throughout the country are having mold related medical problems. Why now? Two main reasons: One is we now spend about 93% of our time indoors and the second reason is that since the oil embargo in the early 70's, everything is built more efficient. This "sick building" syndrome is the leading cause of illness because of mold.

 

Mold Information

Defining Mold - The presence of mold, water damage, or musty odors should be addressed immediately. In all instances, any source(s) of water must be stopped and the extent of water damage determined. Water damaged materials should be dried and repaired. Environmental sampling is then recommended to determine the type and extent of the existing mold. Mold is a structural, health and environmental problem. Some mold defects can't be seen and will only be detected through sampling.

Stachybotrys

This mold is a slow growing fungus. It grows well on high cellulose materials like straw, grass, saw dust, lumber and drywall plaster board or ceiling tiles. Like a fungi, it requires a moisture source. About15 species of Stachybotrys can be found worldwide, but it is most common in the Western U.S. Generally, this mold grows where the relative humidity is above 55 percent or the material is water-saturated. In studies conducted in North America, Stachybotrys was found in 2 to 3 percent of home environments sampled.

Disease - Stachybotrys atra spores are breathed into the lungs. Persons with chronic exposure to the toxin report cold or flu-like symptoms with sore throat, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, dermatitis, intermittent local hair loss and general malaise. The toxins may also suppress the immune system. Infants may be particularly susceptible to the effects of these inhaled mycotoxins because their lungs are growing very rapidly. Mycotoxins are lipid-soluble and are readily absorbed by the intestinal lining, airways, and skin.

How to Control Stachybotrys - Homes and buildings with water damage should be repaired, the source of moisture eliminated, and all moldy material should be removed.Reduce humidity in the home with adequate venting of appliances such as dryer vents bathroom and kitchen cooking vents, etc. Even "excessively sealed" homes with inadequate air exchange can cause high humidity inside from showers, cooking, laundry, etc. Although some molds can be killed by cleaning the moldy surface with chlorine, Stachybotrys oten has a germ, mycelium, that is buried inside the water damaged surface that may be inaccessible to chlorine. It is best to remove all of the water damaged material.

Aspergillus

A group of molds which is found everywhere world-wide, especially in the autumn and winter in the Northern hemisphere. Only a few of these molds can cause illness in humans and animals. Most people are naturally immune and do not develop disease caused by Aspergillus. However, when disease does occur, it takes several forms.

Disease - The type of diseases caused by Aspergillus are varied, ranging from an ‹allergyŠ-type illness to life-threatening generalised infections. Diseases caused by Aspergillus are called aspergillosis. The severity of aspergillosis is determined by various factors but one of the most important is the state of the immune system of the person.

Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA) - This is a condition which produces an allergy to the spores of the Aspergillus moulds. It is quite common in asthmatics; up to 20% of asthmatics might get this at some time during their lives.

Aspergilloma - The type of diseases caused by Aspergillus are varied, ranging from an ‹allergyŠ-type illness to life-threatening generalised infections. Diseases caused by Aspergillus are called aspergillosis. The severity of aspergillosis is determined by various factors but one of the most important is the state of the immune system of the person.

Aspergillus Sinusitis - The type of diseases caused by Aspergillus are varied, ranging from an ‹allergyŠ-type illness to life-threatening generalised infections. Diseases caused by Aspergillus are called aspergillosis. The severity of aspergillosis is determined by various factors but one of the most important is the state of the immune system of the person.

Invasive Aspergillosis - The type of diseases caused by Aspergillus are varied, ranging from an ‹allergyŠ-type illness to life-threatening generalised infections. Diseases caused by Aspergillus are called aspergillosis. The severity of aspergillosis is determined by various factors but one of the most important is the state of the immune system of the person.

Penicillium

Some Penicillium species are fairly common indoor fungi, even in clean environments. This particular specie of fungi can proliferate in abundance in indoor environments. P. species can be found at the sub-basement levels offices and rooms, in libraries, auditorium, storage room of paper materials and also in ventilation systems. Some P.species can produce small, nondescript conidia and complex mixtures of metabolites that are more or less toxic.

Like all other molds, spores have the highest concentrations of mycotoxin, although the vegetative portion of the mold, the mycelium, can also contain the poison.

Disease - Exposure to the various penicillium toxin can result in the following ill health effects:

  • Patulin, a toxin from P. expansum: cytotoxic and/or carcinogenic
  • Citrinin, a toxin from P. citrinum, - expansum & - viridicatum: nephrotoxic
  • Ochratoxin, a toxin from P. cyclopium & -viridicatum: nephrotoxic

Poria

Two major differences between poria and ordinary decay fungi are that ordinary decay fungi require the structure to provide the water (green wood, rain and plumbing leaks, condensation), while poria provides its own water through rhizomorphs connected to moist soil outside the structure, and poria dies quickly when deprived of water, while ordinary decay fungi usually just go dormant. These differences make both the detection and control of poria very different from those of ordinary decay fungi. An inspector who does not accurately diagnose poria infection can make a company responsible for repairing extensive decay, including that already repaired, within less than one year; or, in the extreme, razing and rebuilding the entire structure. This presentation provides illustrations of how to diagnose, evaluate and control poria infections and an opportunity to question two people with experience with this fungus.

Radon Information

What is Radon?

Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water.

The release of this radioactive gas enters the air you breathe, causing a potential health risk to you and your family.

Radon gas can be found in just about anywhere. It can get into any type of building -- homes, offices, and schools -- and build up to high levels.

What you should know about Radon

Radon is a cancer causing radioactive gas. You cannot see radon and you cannot smell it or taste it, but it may be a problem in your home. This is because when you breathe air-containing radon, you increase your risk of getting lung cancer. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

You should test for radon. Testing is the only way to find out about your home's radon level. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing of all homes below the third floor for radon.

You can fix a radon problem. If you find that you have high radon levels, there are ways to fix a radon problem. Even very high levels can be reduced to acceptable levels.

If you are buying a home. EPA recommends that you obtain the radon level in the home you are considering buying. An EPA publication "The Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide" is available through most State Health Departments or Regional EPA offices listed in your local phone book. EPA also recommends that you use a certified or state licensed radon tester to perform the test. If elevated levels are found it is recommended that these levels be reduced. In most cases, a professional can accomplish this at reasonable cost or homeowner installed mitigation system that adheres to the EPA's approved methods for reduction of radon in a residential structure.

What are the Risk Factors?

The EPA, Surgeon General and The Center for Disease Control, have all agreed that continued exposure to Radon gas can cause lung cancer.

In fact, there position on the matter is that all homes should be tested for radon gas exposure, and all homes testing over 3.9 pCi/L should be fixed.

How Does Radon Enter the Home?

Typically the air pressure inside your home is lower than the pressure in the soil around your home's foundation.

Due to this difference, your house acts like a vacuum, drawing radon gas in through foundation cracks and other openings of your home.

Radon may also be present in well water and can be released into the air in your home when water is used for showering and other household uses.

Potential Entry Points:


1 Cavities inside walls 2 Cracks in solid floors 3 Construction joints
4 Cracks in walls 5 The water supply 6 Gaps in suspended floors
7 Gaps around service pipes