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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Is October “Mold Season” in Chicago?

“This is the time of year for mold around Chicago.” This isn’t a quote from an allergist, but rather Dusty Baker, the manager of the Washington Nationals (and past Cubs manager).  He made this statement at a press conference after game 4 of the NLDS baseball playoffs, which was postponed due to rain. This was

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It Can Happen To Me

I have been living in my home for a number of years now and really don’t have any reason to go up in my attic.  I would need to get a ladder out and set it up in the middle of my hallway and access the attic through a small door in the ceiling.  But

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ERMI Testing Vs. Air Samples

Very often we receive calls from very concerned people that need help determining if they need an Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) test or not.  The range of knowledge in the general public for this type of test varies.  In this post, I will highlight a few points to keep in mind when deciding on

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Microbiomes, Buildings, and Human Health

An informative report was published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report highlights how a building can influence changes in the microbiology inside the building which can impact human health.  In this blog post, I summarize some of the key points from the consensus study report.   It may be helpful

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Bio-Contaminants in Water-Damaged Buildings

[The following is a chapter I submitted for a workshop on water damage, with a target audience of property managers.  It is a good primer on the contaminants found during water damage.]   Microorganisms are all around us.  In fact, they are in and on our bodies as well!  The vast majority of these organisms

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Mold Clearance Testing

One of the key parts of an effective mold remediation project is one that is often overlooked. “Post remediation verification” (PRV), or “clearance” is the process that evaluates the performance of a mold remediation project. This step should always be done by an unaffiliated, third-party testing company to assure an unbiased assessment. This assessment is

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Featured Mold – Cladosporium

  Cladosporium is the most common culturable mold genera found in the world(1,2), found anywhere from the Amazon to the Arctic. Cladosporium grows in colonies that are dark in color, ranging from black/brown to green. In the outdoors, Cladosporium commonly grows on decaying plants and soil. Cladosporium levels in the outdoor air vary greatly by

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Is That A Cat Skeleton?

For the past three months, I have spent several days a week crawling on my hands and knees (and occasionally on my stomach), wearing a Tyvek suit, a respirator, gloves and lugging equipment underneath unlit residential buildings. What was the purpose (besides building character)?  To help clients of ours assess mold and water issues in

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PAACB Certification

Laboratories who analyze samples for mold typically have accreditation from the AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) Laboratory Accreditation Program, LLC. This accreditation is for the lab as a whole covering everything from the facilities, equipment, standard operating procedures (SOP), and even record keeping. What may be surprising to some is that this accreditation does not

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Baby, it’s cold outside!!

During this time of year, I love to hear the old song “Baby, it’s cold outside!” play on the radio.  It sums up winter time in the Chicago area.  And with this frigid weather, we retreat to the comfort and warmth of our homes.   But the warmth that we feel inside our homes can

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Featured Mold – Aspergillus and Penicillium

Aspergillus and Penicillium are two of the most common mold genera that we see in air samples.  When dealing with spore trap lab results, you will often see these types listed together in groups such as Aspergillus/Penicillium, Asp/Pen, or Pen/Asp. Visually, spores of these genera are so similar that analysts can not differentiate them, so

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Da Vinci & Mold

Da Vinci died hundreds of years ago, but his creations during his 67 years on earth leave a legacy that stands the test of time.  Nature, however, always finds a way to leave it’s mark.  This article highlights how Aspergillus halophilicum leaves several marks all over the famous painter’s face. http://www.aspergillus.org.uk/content/da-vincis-self-portrait-damaged-aspergillus  

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D’oh! The Simpsons have Air Quality Problems

With each passing year, the general public becomes more and more aware of indoor air quality (IAQ) issues. I thought it was because of my educational outreach efforts.  Come to find out… people are more aware because of The Simpsons!   I found over 20 indoor air quality related quotes from Simpsons episodes using the new website Frinkiac.com.

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Humidity In Winter

With winter now upon us, let’s take a minute to think about humidity in your home. Maintaining proper humidity levels during the cold months is more important than just comfort. Low humidity can cause things from annoying static electricity build up to asthma attacks, but also having high humidity can cause a whole other mess

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Interpretation of Mold Tests

In Chicago and beyond, there are some mold inspectors that don’t really do an inspection at all.  They do basic mold testing, such as collecting a few air samples, and neglect to do a visual inspection of the home or evaluate the moisture problems leading to the growth. To make matters worse, these inspectors typically

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