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
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.
You may find yourself asking “if no one in my household smokes, why can I smell secondhand smoke inside my apartment?”. The CDC has determined that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke, and over 2 million nonsmokers have died in the US since 1964 from health problems related to secondhand smoke. The best
In a world filled with several options for expensive, “cutting edge” air purifiers and filters, there are several simple steps that can be taken to improve the indoor air quality naturally. This post will highlight what to do, or what not to do, to improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) naturally.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At Indoor Science, we compiled a list of the most prevalent indoor moisture problems for 100 homes in the Chicago area over the span of 6 months from August 2017 to January 2018. These were homes in which we performed mold or moisture inspections. In this blog post, I will discuss some of the
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
We receive this question a lot from clients who may have air quality concerns after a renovation project. Many times people think they are doing the best thing by purchasing products with a label that states “Low VOCs” or “No VOCs”. After painting, they may notice a strong odor or even experience respiratory-related health issues.
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,
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
With the freezing temperatures outside, we can be assured that winter has finally arrived in Chicago. Now that furnaces are running, we are often asked to investigate the possibility of elevated carbon monoxide and/or a gas leak in a client’s home. Many clients have a tendency to confuse these two health hazards. Let’s review
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Just as I thought that I would have my hands full with the issues in my attic, I was forced to contend with another issue – radon! As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, we want the radon levels in our home to be under 4.0 pCi/L. I have tested the levels in
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
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