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Mold Information

Mold growth in homes is not acceptable, health concerns primarily but also destruction of building materials can be a result..  In SW Florida it's hard to say if high humidity or water intrusions are the biggest source of mold contamination in homes.  Since a water intrusion such as a window, roof or plumbing leak can also cause high humidity levels in a home or structure.  If a leak is large enough the HVAC system cannot remove the excess moisture from the air, hence you can have a "humidity bloom" on furniture, drapes and carpet, etc. 

Home owner/buyer information on Mold, Mold Inspections, Mold Testing, Mold Remediationfor Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Estero, Ft Myers, Sanibel Island, Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, and all of Florida.

Please contact our office to schedule:
Radon Tests / Mold Assessments (inspections) & Sampling
Formaldehyde & VOC Tests / Allergen Screening

Radon & Mold Professionals Toll free: (800) 881-3837
195 5th Street, Bonita springs, FL 34134 .... (239) 498-4619
188 1st Street, Bonita Springs, FL 34134 .... (239) 948-9717
radonandmoldprofessionals@gmail.com or radonandmoldprofessionals@comcast.net

Infrared photo documenting wet area
Licenses2014/PHOTO3.jpg
digital photo showing location in Naples home

Florida is one of the few states that has mold related services laws to protect consumers. Mold Assessors / Inspectors cannot inspect and do remediation on the same job within 12 months. Mold Assessors (inspectors) have a different license than Mold Remeditators (removal/cleanup). Some inspector / remediators always find something to cleanup  - Hire an independent inspector or remediator.

The ACAC board Certified Indoor Environmentalists at Radon & Mold Professionals are Florida state Licensed Mold Assessors (Inspectors).

We are a Florida Department of Health certified Radon Measurement Business RB1938 with 5 certified radon measurement technicians.

We have performed thousands of radon tests and thousands of mold tests and mold inspections in Southwest Florida since 1999. 
 We carry $2 Million in Liability with E&O insurance for mold and "Chinese Drywall" inspections, we also have E&O for mold CLEARANCE inspections. 
  •  Florida Licensed Mold Assessors (Inspectors)   - 1st licensed Mold Assessor in Collier County, # 2 in state & 1st licensed Mold Assessor in Lee County, #5 in state.
  • Environmental Inspections / testing  performed by ACAC board Certified Indoor Environmentalists (CIE) 
  •  Florida DOH Certified Radon Measurement Business.  RB1938
  • Florida DOH certified Radon Measurement Technicians (5)
 ACAC Board Certified Indoor Environmentalists
John Cosgrove, CIE  /  State of Florida Mold Assessor License # MRS 5
Doug Wall, CIE    /  State of Florida Mold Assessor License # MRS 2
Greg Gomez, CIE /  State of Florida Mold Assessor License #MRSA 763

Detailed reports with source identification, documentation and recommendations for corrections based on nationally accepted industry remediation standards.
Infrared Thermal Imaging Cameras used on all jobs.
Bore scopes, laser particle counters also used.

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www.radonmoldhelp.com       www.naplesmoldinspection.com       www.certifiedradonmold.com

One very important aspect of the new law the consumer should understand is that Mold Inspections and Home Inspections are two different professions, with separate licenses and regulations.

 

July 2011  (new mold rules for all Federal Government Entities) The US government has "mold remediation specifications" that require the use of mold assessors that hold at least one of certain certifications for federal mold assessment / inspections.http://www.wbdg.org/ccb/DOD/UFGS/UFGS%2002%2085%2000.00%2020.pdf  

  •  American Board of Industrial Hygienist,  (CIH)
  • ACAC Certifications, CIE, CIEC, CMC, etc:
  • Council-Certified Indoor Environmentalist,  (CIE)
  • Council-Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant,  (CIEC)
  • Council-Certified Mold Consultant,   (CMC)

 Homeowners and businesses should require the mold assessor they hire to at least meet the federal government's minimum requirement for a mold assessor

 
Misconceptions about Mold

 Mold Services Group

"Mold and mildew are the same thing. Mildew is often the term used for mold growth on clothing or fabric. Clothing and fabric can have a high organic content making them great food sources for mold. The term toxic mold has most often been applied to the Stachybotrys mold and can be misleading. While the Stachybotrys mold has the potential to be hazardous, there are many other species of mold like Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, and Alternaria that are very common and can be just as unhealthy if present at high enough levels. Any mold growth on a surface with an organic content (ie. paper, cloth, wood, sheet rock, etc) has the potential to be Stachybotrys or one of these molds known to have potential negative health effects. There are even more types of molds that have the potential to cause health problems in sensitive individuals if present at high enough levels. Any significant amount of visible mold will likely cause elevated levels of mold spores in the air. Just because the mold is not Stachybotrys, it does not mean that the mold is not a problem and that it cannot be harmful. Immediate steps should be taken to eliminate any mold growth indoors, regardless of the type, and care should be taken in completing the mold abatement."

Mold Services Group

"If you have Stachybotrys in your home you have to get rid of all your personal belongings."
When Stachybotrys is present there is a risk of cross contamination of spores to clean areas because the Stachybotrys spores are sticky and may stick to the surfaces of furniture and other belongings. These spores may cause allergic responses in sensitive individuals. If Stachybotrys contamination is extensive in a home it may be safer and more cost effective to throw away the personal belongings rather than treat them and risk bringing the mold spores into a new residence. If the contamination is not extensive and the airborne levels are not very high, it is possible to treat the belongings, as long as the mold is not growing on the belongings themselves. If Stachybotrys is growing on a wall or other surfaces in a home, it can release spores into the air that will settle on the surface of furniture and other belongings. As long as there is no moisture on those surfaces the spores will not form active growth. Since the spores are primarily just on the surface of the furniture, they can be treated and removed. Soft furniture items may require additional cleaning to remove spores.

Mold is a name given to any growing fungus. When present on clothing or in advertising campaigns it is often called mildew.  Mildew is sometimes referred to as the footprint of mold.

Visible mold and/or a musty odor are two signs of a mold problem. Not all mold, though, is visible. Mold can grow in wall spaces, attics, and beneath carpet. Hidden mold growth can release dangerous spores to the air. A home that has suffered water damage or is unusually humid should be inspected for excessive mold growth by an experienced certified mold inspector.

No house is completely free of mold. Molds are very common outside, so some mold spores will always be present in the air indoors as well. We are exposed to the outdoor  levels of molds when we go outside, and in most cases do not experience any adverse reactions,  exceptions are hay fever or allergy like symptoms in some sensitive individuals when outdoor levels are high. Mold growth inside a building is not normal. If mold is growing on a surface inside a home, it will create indoor levels of spores that are higher that what the body is normally used to, which can overwhelm our natural defenses to mold spores and cause adverse reactions. When a home is inspected/ tested for mold, it is checked to make sure that the levels of molds indoors is comparative to the background levels, and that mold is not actively growing inside.

Mold growth is common whenever an organic food source (something derived from a plant or animal, such as paper, wood, and cardboard) comes in contact with moisture for any extended period of time. In order to control mold growth, you must control either the food source or the moisture source.

New York City Department of Health (DOH), the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA), and the Mt. Sinai Occupational Health Clinic  ….. Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments.

2.1 Visual Inspection

A visual inspection is the most important initial step in identifying a possible contamination problem. The extent of any water damage and mold growth should be visually assessed. This assessment is important in determining remedial strategies. Ventilation systems should also be visually checked, particularly for damp filters but also for damp conditions elsewhere in the system and overall cleanliness. Ceiling tiles, gypsum wallboard (sheetrock), cardboard, paper, and other cellulosic surfaces should be given careful attention during a visual inspection. The use of equipment such as a boroscope, to view spaces in ductwork or behind walls, or a moisture meter, to detect moisture in building materials, may be helpful in identifying hidden sources of fungal growth and the extent of water damage.

Considering Bioaerosol Sampling
http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldcourse/chapter7/lesson2.html

"remember that a negative sampling report must not be used in place of a visual survey. Factors such as barometric pressure, inside and outside temperatures, activity levels, and humidity may dramatically reduce or increase the spore levels within a building. Air sampling for mold provides information on what was in the air only for the moment when the sampling occurred. It is important, therefore, that sampling not replace visual inspection."

 
There are several non profit organizations that train and certify their members for mold related work.
 
Of the non profit organizations, two, IAQA and ESA have "standards" for their members to follow.
Standards are published testing protocol for mold assessors/inspectors with step by step guideline for:
when to test
where to test
how to test
Standards are based on "best scientific data available" not on best guess for testing.
 
Many analytical labs give very informative one or two day training classes and or seminars that aid mold assessors/ inspectors. (Note: remember labs want mold inspectors to do lots of samples)  Some labs even "certify" those who complete their class.
Most serious mold inspectors attend many of these classes thru out the year.  The professional mold inspector may use several different labs, some good labs don't do all the various test analysis.
 
 

Non-Profit Environmental Associations
that certify Mold related members

Florida now has a new law regulating the mold businesses and home inspectors.
 Department of Business and Professional Regulation will issue licenses and enforcement for Mold Inspectors and home inspectors.  This new mold law will affect mold inspectors and home inspectors in Orlando, Naples, Bonita Springs, Ft Myers, Miami, Weston, Port Charlotte, Marco Island, Sanibel Island, Sarasota, Jacksonville, Tampa, St Pete, and all of the cities in Florida.
ACAC certifications seem to meet the rquirements of the new Florida Mold law, therefore we do not list information about "certifications" that do not meet the NOCA standard 1100; the ANSI approved national standard for IAQ certifications.

*  The CIEC and CMC programs are dual-accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)
    and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB).
*  18 other ACAC programs are accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB).
*  ACAC examinations are compliant with standards published by APA, AERA and NCME.
*  ACAC is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), formerly known as NOC    

http://www.iaqcouncil.org

 

"Instant" certification is not available.  Each of our certifications is board-awarded, which means the IAQ Council certification board reviews each applicant’s file, including the application, examination score, documented field experience and attention to application details before awarding certification.  All experience may be verified before the applicant's file is sent to the certification board.  This type of certification process is worthy of the time it takes... up to 6 weeks following the study/review course and successful examination."

 

Experience required.

IESO standards  

 

  • Moisture meters can be intrusive (pictured) or non intrusive (not shown).  Intrusive moisture meters makes holes in material being checked.  Many moisture meters have attachments such as 4 inch probes for checking hard to reach areas such as inside a wall.

 

 

  • Infrared Thermal Imaging cameras are very helpful in finding water intrusion in a home that often is not visible to the naked eye.  This is a non intrusive method that should be verified by a moisture meter.  Though thermal imaging cameras are very useful, most inspectors don't have them.  Camera prices start at about $7500. and are not economical for the average inspector.  

 

 

 
Moisture meters and InfraredThermal Imaging cameras
are invaluable tools for finding and documenting water intusion.
(mold needs food & water to grow)

Links concerning Mold / Indoor Air Quality

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
"This guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems."

Mold Resources
"This page discusses how mold is produced and the associated risks to human health and property."

Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
"This document provides information about mold remediation in commercial buildings and schools."

Asthma Triggers - Molds
"Molds can trigger asthma episodes in individuals with an allergic reaction to mold."

California Department of Health & Safety - General overview of molds, including health effects and cleanup      http://www.cal-iaq.org  

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - Fact sheet with general overview on mold and health effects   http://www.cdc.gov

The Environmental Protection Agency - General information on molds, how to control mold growth and remediation guidelines  http://www.epa.gov/iaq 

Environmental Microbiology Laboratory
- General overview of lab services, summary and description of sampling methods excellent literature on different mold genera   http://www.emlab.com/app/main/Welcome.po

Premier Air quality Association for
Mold and Air Quality Professionals

 
 
 
 
 
Mold related Links

  • Mold spores are a common component of house dust. Dusting with a damp cloth or electrostatic cloth rather than a feather duster can help to remove these spores rather than making them airborne.

 

  • Changing the filter on your HVAC return regularly helps to prevent a buildup of dust and mold spores in your HVAC duct work.

 

 

  •  Bathrooms should not be carpeted, especially with carpeting that extends to the tub and shower. Carpeting and carpet padding is an excellent food source for mold and bathrooms have many potential moisture sources to promote mold to grow. 
  • Relative humidity inside buildings should be maintained between 30 and 50%. Relative humidity over 60% can lead to mold growth and other indoor air quality problems.

 

 

Mold in the ATTIC

Generally mold in the attic space poses only a small risk of exposure to the home/building occupants in the space below.  Due to the fact that in most homes, air does manage to flow upward and outward.  Downward air flow problems can and do happen but not normally.   Roof leaks, poor ventilation and HVAC duct leaks are some of the main concerns when mold is found in the attic.  Roof leaks, plumbing leaks, and condesation (cold air from AC in hot attic or warm air from ducts in a cold attic) with poor ventilation should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.

 

Testing mold that is in the attic can be important if the HVAC system or Air Handler is located in the attic space, common in the south, and may be spreading mold spores to other parts of the home.  If the only mold found is in the attic and occupants have fungal related health problems , it is wise to test.  Ventilated attics are not the place for air samples but swab, tape and bulk samples.

 

It is all to common for building materials to "get wet" during construction, and allowing mold  growth until they dry out.

Water intrusion (moisture) after home is occupied and problems (mold) can "grow".

Mold on windows

The growth of mold on window sills, frames, glass and tracks is a common problem in many of the homes built today. The presence of mold growth on window surfaces should be easily controlled through regular housekeeping and building maintenance and does not adversely impact the air quality unless the growth is extensive and not handled properly. It is more likely of an aesthetics concern to homeowners than a public health issue. Stachybotrys, the mold spore typically referred to as "toxic mold" or "black mold" is rarely found on window surfaces, as the growth conditions on window surfaces (frequent changes in moisture and low organic food sources) are typically not suitable for supporting Stachybotrys growth.

Note:
In Florida, it is a common occurance for lawn sprinkler heads to get accidentally turned so water sprays on windows and exterior walls.
This often causes water intrusion around 1st floor windows.
Thermal imaging cameras and moisture meters are excellent tools for discovering this problem.

 Mold Services Group

What is the cost of a typical mold inspection?

 

"The cost of sampling will vary depending on many factors, such as the number and types of samples collected, the method of laboratory analysis to be used, the type of report needed, and the location of the site. Typical mold inspections, though, average between $800-$1200."

Naples Homes

Please contact our office to schedule:
Radon Tests / Mold Assessments (inspections) & Sampling
Formaldehyde & VOC Tests / Allergen Screening

Radon & Mold Professionals Toll free: (800) 881-3837
195 5th Street, Bonita springs, FL 34134 .... (239) 498-4619
188 1st Street, Bonita Springs, FL 34134 .... (239) 948-9717
radonandmoldprofessionals@gmail.com or radonandmoldprofessionals@comcast.net

John Cosgrove, CIE
Council-Certified Indoor Environmentalist, (CIE)
State of Florida Licensed Mold Assessor / license #MRS 5
FL DOH certified for radon, R1867
John Cosgrove, CIE, Inc.

Doug Wall, CIE
Council-Certified Indoor Environmentalist, (CIE)
State of Florida Licensed Mold Assessor / license #MRSA  2
State of Florida Licensed Home Inspector / license #HI 2202
FL DOH certified radon measurement tech R1751

Greg Gomez, CIE,
State of Florida Licensed Mold Assessor / license #MRSA763
Council-Certified Indoor Environmentalist, (CIE)

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