Fundamentals of Asbestos Air Clearance Testing

  Let’s say you found an asbestos-containing material and you had it professionally abated.  Now you’re left wondering if the contractors really removed the microscopic asbestos fibers or if these carcinogens are still floating in the air.  Asbestos air clearance testing refers to the process in which the work area is visually evaluated to ensure that

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Air Quality Concerns for Pregnant Women

I can remember like it was yesterday when we took our firstborn home from the hospital.  My wife and I spent countless hours getting our daughter’s bedroom ready with new paint, furniture, and decorations.  In looking back at those preparations, I think that there was something else that I should have done; I should have made a greater effort in improving the air quality of our home prior to our trip to the hospital.  

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PCM vs. TEM Asbestos Air Testing

For asbestos air testing, there are two primary sampling methods: PCM (Phase Contrast Microscopy) and TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy). Both methodologies analyze for fiber concentration through pumping the ambient air into filtered air cassettes. The process usually involves running a number of high volume air pumps depending on the size of the property to achieve a volume of 1,200 liters of air. In this blog post, I will discuss the benefits and drawbacks to each method of testing.

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What do mold inspections cost?

This might be the most common question we receive. Unfortunately, there are no “one size fits all” type answers to this question. Think to yourself “How much does it cost to go to the dentist”? Well if you are just going in for a routine cleaning your cost could be less than $100, but if you need major work done it could be $1000’s. Much like seeing the dentist, each mold situation is so unique pricing can vary. Our mold assessments can cost up to $1000 (and occasionally higher for special projects), but the average cost for a typical residential project is about $600.

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Why Should I Test My Home for Radon?

I recently attended a conference to expand my knowledge of radon. What I learned was not only informative but also a bit alarming. As we mentioned in previous blogs, radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Because there has been such an emphasis on the smoking aspect of lung cancer, radon’s contribution to this has often been overlooked. This is a shame because testing and mitigation systems can greatly reduce your chances of this major disease. Consider these statistics from the EPA’s website.

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How Long Before I Get My Mold Report?

In the world of indoor air quality measurements, the turnaround time (TAT) for getting results can vary drastically. While it is possible to give immediate feedback for some indoor air quality parameters, others can take a few days or even a few weeks depending on the type of sampling. The timing is dependant on the type of sample that is taken and consequently the amount of time the laboratory needs to analyze the sample. In this blog post, I’ll cover the turnaround time for our most common mold work.

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How Do You Test For Asbestos?

A common question we receive when clients are concerned about asbestos is “How do you test for asbestos?” In fact, there are many ways asbestos can be sampled. These methods include bulk, air, and dust sampling. In this blog post, I will go over these methods and how to decide which testing is best suited for your situation.

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Is Mold In An Attic A Big Deal?

The answer is that it all depends.  Let me try to explain.  Mold needs moisture in order to grow.  No moisture; no mold.  In an attic space, moisture can occur from a leak in the roof or from condensation due to elevated levels of humidity (typically from improper ducting from a bathroom exhaust fan).  Mold

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Can You Inspect My Attic for Mold?

We receive many calls from property owners who are concerned about mold in their attic.  Most attics tend to be unfinished with exposed sheathing, wood supports, and insulation.  Because of this unwelcoming environment, property owners rarely go into their attics which can leave undetected mold problems for long periods of time.  In October of 2017,

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Featured Asbestos – Crocidolite

    When most people imagine what asbestos looks like, they often think of a white fibrous mass. However, asbestos varieties come in different shades such as brown and blue. The blue asbestos is called Crocidolite. For my fellow geology enthusiasts, Crocidolite is actually the name of the fibrous form of the blue mineral known

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Mold Certifications

The mold industry can seem like the wild west. In most states, including Illinois, there are no requirements for someone to call themselves a mold inspector. You may find someone who advertises themselves as being “certified” and features all kinds of official looking seals and stamps on their website, but how do you know if

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House Dust: Think Dust Mites!

A few weeks ago, I blogged about some of the components of house dust.  This week, as promised, I will discuss the presence of house dust’s most famous contaminant: dust mites.   Dust mites are microscopic arachnids, which means they are in the same family as spiders.  They do not bite like bed bugs, but

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I’m Dreaming of a White…. Asbestos?

  As we have discussed in previous blog posts, asbestos is a versatile substance. Although it is typically only thought of being used in building materials, its usage eventually branched out to Hollywood. Due to the texture and pale color of chrysotile, a common form of asbestos, it was sometimes used as a snow substitute

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What’s in House Dust?

House dust can contain many different particles and contaminants.  The type of dust and the composition can vary depending on climate, region, the number of occupants, and the activities performed in the space.  Researchers estimate that one-third of dust originates from indoor sources such as fabric fibers, human skin cells, animal fur, decomposing insects, food

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Foreclosures And Hidden Mold

A funny thing happened during a recent inspection.  The client had purchased a home roughly four years ago.  She was concerned when a visiting relative complained of having symptoms of her mold allergy while in the property.  The client called a mold company to come in and do air testing.  Picture her shock when she

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Questions From The Field

    During one of my recent inspections, a client presented me a list of questions after the assessment. I often encounter these questions in the field, so I picked out some of the best questions and I am providing the answers below. Q1. Is everything in a room where mold spores are present assumed

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Mold Testing In Winter

Winter brings a unique situation for environmental consultants. With the colder weather and snow cover on the ground that comes with winter in Chicago, there are usually very low outdoor mold levels. Occasionally we can even see outdoor air samples that have no spores present. If you recall from my last blog post on interpreting

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Fundamentals of Mold Remediation

My new book, “Fundamentals of Mold Remediation“, was published this week.  Over the past few years, I have been collecting my thoughts from designing and evaluating countless mold remediation projects.  I have seen some mold projects done right, and many more projects done wrong.   There are a number of guidelines and standards on mold

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Patio Doors That Make You Weep

Several of our clients have experienced water intrusion around sliding glass doors.  There is a mixed bag of flashing problems that can cause water intrusion.  Flashing materials, weep holes, and weep ropes are used to drain water that gets behind the masonry.   In this image, the black material beneath the vertical bricks is the flashing

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