Humidity control tips

September 18, 2013

By Daryl Watters

HUMIDITY CONTROL IN THE HOME

 

One of the leading causes of mold in warm humid climates is humidity.
Everyone knows that leaks causes mold and that leaks must be repaired as soon as possible  to prevent mold growth. However few take elevated humidity seriously, people will live with high humidity for weeks, months, or even years and think nothing of it. Yet it is humidity that causes a thin sometimes almost invisible layer of mold to grow on clothes in our closets, on furniture, and on walls ceilings, and floors.

This surface mold is sometimes referred to as mildew, microscopic analysis will reveal the presence of mostly Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium and others. Culturing or DNA analysis reveals much of the powdery white mold to be Penicillium chrysogenum and the black colonies to be Cladosporium. My specialty is dealing with these very specific types of mold problems. The above mold identity observations are based on my own analysis and lab analysis of hundreds of samples.

To prevent such growths from spreading throughout your entire property and potentially covering all your belongings follow these steps:

1) CLOSE WINDOWS AND DOORS
Most importantly stop humidity at it’s source. Do not keep windows and doors to the exterior open excessively on warm humid days.

1) VENTILATE SHOWERS
Also in line with source control, ventilate bathroom air to the exterior during and for several minutes after all showers. After doing mold inspections and humidity investigations in South Florida for a decade I can safely say that outdoor air infiltration and showers are the two leading sources of humidity in homes in my area and likely yours as well.

2) SEAL ENTRAINMENT HOLES
Seal openings in AC closet walls and ceilings. You will not find this one in a book or any other source. I cannot find it anywhere but I can tell you without about that this one can and does cause humidity problems. Openings even a few inches across in an AC closet wall will allow the AC to pull humid air out of the walls. This humidity will then be free to circulate through your AC and through your property. Sure the Will remove some humidity but it can only do so much.

3) CHECK ON V.S. AUTO SETTINGS 
Set your thermostat to auto and not to on. This is another one of those tips that are not well known. Setting your thermostat to on will cause your AC to circulate humid air without drying it, this is obviously a bad thing. Setting it to auto will force the AC to dry and cool your air when it circulates it.

4) LIMIT FRESH AIR INTAKE IN HVAC SYSTEMS.
In commercial buildings introducing fresh outdoor air into your AC system can be beneficial, and even a building requirement, it dilutes indoor pollutants such as volatile organic compounds and body odor. However in warm humid areas outdoor air being pulled into the AC system will very often overwhelm the AC units ability to dry air and will cause condensation, humidity, and mold inside the system. Some of the buildings and homes with the foulest smelling mold problems are in such a condition because of the introduction of fresh outdoor air. This is truly a case of good intentions resulting in a very negative outcome.

Of course there are other factors to consider such as boiling foods, detached dryer vents, humidistat use, and improperly sized AC units. The above considerations however should cover most situations.  One other thing I did not mention is using a dehumidifier. These devices can be quite effective at removing humidity from your air but they do not solve the problem only mask it. It is almost always possible to cure the problem with a proper understanding of what is causing the problem.

A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc. Is a mold testing and air quality consulting firm specializing in investigating mold and humidity problems in South Florida.

Toxic Mold Syndrome

September 18, 2013

> Subject: Toxic Mold Syndrome?
>
> Message: I am concerned that I may have Toxic-Black Mold Syndrome.
>
> For the past 2 years I have experienced the following symptoms:
>
>

Question: Black discharges/grey spores in my phlegm—normal CT Scans

Answer: Spores of toxic and other household molds are usually around  2 to
10 microns more or less, thus you cannot see them in your phlegm.

Question: Sinus infections but tests have ruled out that possibility and not
a  chronic sinus issues

Answer: Over 90% of all sinus infections are caused by mold according to a
mayo clinic study a few years ago, it is thus very likely that your
infections start out as mold, typically a common mold called Alternaria
altanata. As the infection progresses it is taken over by bacteria in the
sinuses and the mold does not show up in culture because it is crowded out,
or because the lab only looked for and singled out bacteria during
culturing. You do not have to believe this mold inspector, A year ago at a
seminar I learned this from one of the doctors who discovered this mold &
sinus
infection link years ago.  This has been common knowledge among most doctors
for a few years but some have not caught on yet.

Question:> Illness prone with increased susceptibility to colds and flu bugs

Answer: This is a somewhat common and a possible clue that you may have
possible mold or other allergens, If you have allergy to mold, or if you
have
asthma, then you may develop allergy and asthma symptoms in moldy homes,
this
damages the protective mucous linings and some doctors and scientists
believe that this increases the chances of catching
cold. I have seen it to many times on mold inspections.

Question:> Chronic fatigue

Answer: I here about chronic fatigue from clients sometimes. I know of no
truly scientific
studies that support this, but if you do not sleep well because of allergy
or asthma, or if you are depressed on anxious over your overall condition
then depression, anxiety, or lack of sleep, might cause fatigue, I am
not a doctor this is not a medical statement it is just a common sense
theory and it is not my own but once again I read it from some scientific
studies.

Question:> Increased asthma symptoms–such as wheezing and breathing issues
> Allergy symptoms, tested but none positive

Answer: This is a very common and likely clue that you may have possible
mold or
other allergens, in fact mold triggers asthma symptoms in persons suffering
from asthma, and it increases a childes chances of developing asthma by
double
this fact is from a reputable study as well.

> Excessive Post-Nasal Drip
This is a very common and likely clue that you may have possible mold or
other allergens, in fact mold triggers allergic reactions in persons
suffering from allergy this is well known by al doctors.
>
Question: > All symptoms began when I moved into a new apartment, 2 years
ago.

Answer: Both happened at the same time, wow this is the best clue that you
may have
possible mold or other allergens in your condo.

Question:> The air system revealed that acrimonium was found.
What ? did your air system talk to you and tell you you have acromonium?
I can almost guarantee you have rodents or  roaches, releasing allergens and
making you sick, or you have dust and humidity that
causes dust mites, or mold releasing allergens and causing these problems.
Most likely you have mold.

Question: I also had a lung chest X-ray and it was normal.

Answer: Chest X ray will not show exposure to allergens or asthma triggers,
some x
rays show fungal infection.
>
Question:  > Do you think I could have Black Mold Syndrome?
>
Answer: No you do not likely have any Black Mold Syndrome. But at the same
time I
would bet you just about anything you have something releasing allergens,
most likely mold hidden
in your condo walls or AC.
You have been reading bias non scientific fear monger stuff online.
Stop worrying about toxic mold you are not likely being poisoned you are
more likely having allergic reactions to mold.
I do not care if you tested neg for some allergens, you may be allergic to
some
specific mold or allergen in your condo that you were not tested for.
Regardless of toxin vs allergen you still need help.

> Any additional information, help, or referrals would be greatly
> appreciated. Thank you for your help and time!

I have to say once again I am not a doctor you need to see a general doctor
for a
referral to a allergy doctor. This is not medical advice just guidance
telling you to see a good allergy doctor or mold inspector.
A knowledgeable doctors best advise may be to tell you to hire a good mold
inspector to find the problem.

Have an inspection done by a certified indoor environmental consultant or
certified indoor environmentalist who can find the problem if any, and who
can advise you or your landlord on how to have it professionally remediated.
for certified inspectors go to iaqa.org

Think about moving to another apartment if any mold problems are found and
not resolved.

Read only non bias mold info  written by epa,  centers of disease control, your
state health dept, doctorfungus.org, institute of medicine, etc. I know all the symptoms you described are blamed on toxic black mold, but people who want to make money off you after scaring you will blame everthing under the sun on toxic mold. In reality most everything you described sounds like allergy related reactions, in the real world toxic reactions are typically from eating toxic mold not breathing it in, but most people do not know this.
I will pos

> Subject: Toxic Mold Syndrome?
>
> Message: I am concerned that I may have Toxic-Black Mold Syndrome.
>
> For the past 2 years I have experienced the following symptoms:
>
>

Question: Black discharges/grey spores in my phlegm—normal CT Scans

Answer: Spores of toxic and other household molds are usually around  2 to
10 microns more or less, thus you cannot see them in your phlegm.

Question: Sinus infections but tests have ruled out that possibility and not
a  chronic sinus issues

Answer: Over 90% of all sinus infections are caused by mold according to a
mayo clinic study a few years ago, it is thus very likely that your
infections start out as mold, typically a common mold called Alternaria
altanata. As the infection progresses it is taken over by bacteria in the
sinuses and the mold does not show up in culture because it is crowded out,
or because the lab only looked for and singled out bacteria during
culturing. You do not have to believe this mold inspector, A year ago at a
seminar I learned this from one of the doctors who discovered this mold &
sinus
infection link years ago.  This has been common knowledge among most doctors
for a few years but some have not caught on yet.

Question:> Illness prone with increased susceptibility to colds and flu bugs

Answer: This is a somewhat common and a possible clue that you may have
possible mold or other allergens, If you have allergy to mold, or if you
have
asthma, then you may develop allergy and asthma symptoms in moldy homes,
this
damages the protective mucous linings and some doctors and scientists
believe that this increases the chances of catching
cold. I have seen it to many times on mold inspections.

Question:> Chronic fatigue

Answer: I here about chronic fatigue from clients sometimes. I know of no
truly scientific
studies that support this, but if you do not sleep well because of allergy
or asthma, or if you are depressed on anxious over your overall condition
then depression, anxiety, or lack of sleep, might cause fatigue, I am
not a doctor this is not a medical statement it is just a common sense
theory and it is not my own but once again I read it from some scientific
studies.

Question:> Increased asthma symptoms–such as wheezing and breathing issues
> Allergy symptoms, tested but none positive

Answer: This is a very common and likely clue that you may have possible
mold or
other allergens, in fact mold triggers asthma symptoms in persons suffering
from asthma, and it increases a childes chances of developing asthma by
double
this fact is from a reputable study as well.

> Excessive Post-Nasal Drip
This is a very common and likely clue that you may have possible mold or
other allergens, in fact mold triggers allergic reactions in persons
suffering from allergy this is well known by al doctors.
>
Question: > All symptoms began when I moved into a new apartment, 2 years
ago.

Answer: Both happened at the same time, wow this is the best clue that you
may have
possible mold or other allergens in your condo.

Question:> The air system revealed that acrimonium was found.
What ? did your air system talk to you and tell you you have acromonium?
I can almost guarantee you have rodents or  roaches, releasing allergens and
making you sick, or you have dust and humidity that
causes dust mites, or mold releasing allergens and causing these problems.
Most likely you have mold.

Question: I also had a lung chest X-ray and it was normal.

Answer: Chest X ray will not show exposure to allergens or asthma triggers,
some x
rays show fungal infection.
>
Question:  > Do you think I could have Black Mold Syndrome?
>
Answer: No you do not likely have any Black Mold Syndrome. But at the same
time I
would bet you just about anything you have something releasing allergens,
most likely mold hidden
in your condo walls or AC.
You have been reading bias non scientific fear monger stuff online.
Stop worrying about toxic mold you are not likely being poisoned you are
more likely having allergic reactions to mold.
I do not care if you tested neg for some allergens, you may be allergic to
some
specific mold or allergen in your condo that you were not tested for.
Regardless of toxin vs allergen you still need help.

> Any additional information, help, or referrals would be greatly
> appreciated. Thank you for your help and time!

I have to say once again I am not a doctor you need to see a general doctor
for a
referral to a allergy doctor. This is not medical advice just guidance
telling you to see a good allergy doctor or mold inspector.
A knowledgeable doctors best advise may be to tell you to hire a good mold
inspector to find the problem.

Have an inspection done by a certified indoor environmental consultant or
certified indoor environmentalist who can find the problem if any, and who
can advise you or your landlord on how to have it professionally remediated.
for certified inspectors go to iaqa.org

Think about moving to another apartment if any mold problems are found and
not resolved.

We are in West Palm Beach Florida and provide mold testing and inspections is South Florida. Visit my webpage:
Read only non bias mold info  written by epa,  centers of disease control, you
state health dept, doctorfungus.org, institute of medicine, etc. I know all the symptoms you described are blamed on toxic black mold, but people who want to make money off you after scaring you will blame everything under the sun on toxic mold. In reality most everything you described sounds like allergy related reactions, in the real world toxic reactions are typically from eating toxic mold not breathing it in, but most people do not know this.
I will post this to my blog without your personal info.

Good luck.

t this to my blog without your personal info.

Good luck.

Why does air become more humid as it cools down and more dry as it heats up? Think of it this way, evaporate one cubic meter of water into the warm humid outdoor air inside a space the size of your back, side, and front yard and you will not detect much humidity in that vast amount of warm expanded air, cool that volume of air and it shrinks, let’s say you shrink it to the size of the interior of you home, obviously your home is smaller than the yard it sits on. Now you have less air volume but the volume of humidity ( evaporated water in the air ) remains the same and that humidity is squeezed closer together now, the result is more humidity in the air per given area and the relative humidity goes up. Cool that same air down even more, cool it down to such a degree that it occupies a space the size of one cubic meter.

Now that air that was the size of your front back and side yard and contained one cubic meter of water vapor now is one cubic meter of air and contains one cubic meter of water. Now the air is saturated with water, it is at 100% RH, we call this dew point and the water vapor molecules join together to form droplets of water we call condensation and mold now has water to grow.

There is a gradual progression of wetness in that ever changing volume of air and that gradual progression of wetness is measured in Relative Humidity percentage when testing your air. Around 60% to 65% Relative Humidity is all that is needed for mold to grow; we do not need 100% or condensation for it to grow.
Open doors and windows are often not a problem in northern or western regions but in hot humid Florida outdoor air often causes mold problems if the AC is on or off, but with the cold AC turned on condensation problems becomes even more of a problem in and around AC units and ducts.

www.floridamoldtesting.net

To open or close my windows

January 30, 2013

SHOULD I OPEN MY WINDOWS IF I HAVE MOLD ?

Often our clients with mold problems are told that opening doors and windows improves indoor air quality because it dilutes pollutants. Well that is true if you want to dilute indoor air pollutants.

If it is humid outdoors, for example around 60%RH or higher, then opening doors and windows can very easily cause mold problems that far out ways the benefits of the influx of fresh outdoor air. Hot humid air is even more of a threat than cool humid air.

Humidity problems comes from outdoor humid air when doors and windows are open and it becomes a serious problem when the AC unit is not used on a regular basis to help dry the humidity from the air.
If doors and windows are open when the AC is in use, then some of that hot humid outdoor air that enters the property be dried by the AC but an AC unit cannot typically dry all the air entering the property and entering the AC unit. The humidity that is not dried will become condensed under these new cooler conditions especially inside the AC unit, this is because most fluid media including air condenses or becomes smaller when it is cooled. Because the hot humid air is now condensed inside the cold AC the humidity in that air squeezes closer together and this causes the humidity in that air to rise to an even higher level than it was when it was outside.

Simple quick answers that are always correct are few and far apart in regard to mold problem advice, but in most cases it is not advisable to open doors or windows for extended periods of time if it is above 60%RH outside. If the outdoor air is rain free, dry, and clean and you are safe from intruders climbing in your window then opening your window may be beneficial as it may let in fresh outdoor air and dilute your moldy indoor air.

www.floridamoldinspectors.us

www.floridamoldtesting.net

Question:
> Message: Kitchen air tested; 3000 Penicillium, Aspergillus, mold spores per cubic meter of air.
> Is this a dangerous level that we could erradicate ourselves with
> cabinet removal and drywall replacement plus chemcial treatment?
Answer 
Airborne spore level information from the center of a room alone tells you very little about likely conditions on your walls, behind cabinets, or in your walls, you cannot use air born spore info to tell you about the difficulty of a mold removal job because such data is only a very small part of the big picture.
  • You also have to consider very roughly how much wall area is covered with mold, is very large amounts of mold possibly hidden in the walls?
  • Is an AC return near your work area that could pull contamination in during removal?
  • Are the workers wearing proper protection to prevent something called organic dust  toxic syndrome or other problems?
  • Are you sure the workers do not have asthma, or immune system problems?
  • Do you have dehumidifiers to dry the interior wall voids?
  • And of course has the initial moisture intrusion problem been discovered and repaired?
If the contamination is believed to be more than say 10 square foot then it is best to first have a mold inspection done and then have a professional mold remediator removed the problem. To be safe I am recommending you have it inspected regardless of size because it may be more than you thought. Certified mold inspectors have proper training to diagnose such conditions and we can provide a written remediation protocol addressing the types of  concerns brought up in this e mail. Remediators have special equipment and training to help correct such problems.
Please do not reply to this e mail, this could go back and forth forever, if you need help visit us at or at our other site and give me a call or schedule a mold  inspection appointment.
P.S.
By the way it sounds like you had a swab Jockey test your air.
In the industry we call inspectors who provide a lab report and a meaningless inspection report, or no mold inspection report at all swab jockeys, two day wonders, and pump jockeys, because most states have no license for mold inspectors and most of us just take an inexpensive two day course teaching how to sample your air, they buy a pump and a few sample swabs from the lab, then go out and give you a false feeling of security because you feel that a certified mold inspection was done, when all that was done was the air was sampled and this revealed spores in your air. Wow your air has spores, and you know the scientific names of those spores and the numbers or spores. Only problem is you probably knew you had mold and spore level problems before the inspector came out or you would not have called him and paid him for consultation. Often homeowners do not understand that a disservice was done until months or years later when an unresolved problem gets out of control. It seems that many such inspectors have legal problems and leave the industry after a year or so. Sample analysis has it’s place but what some inspectors do not know is that it is only 5% to 50% of the picture depending on the specific investigation.

Odors produced by mold and your health

 

Most inspectors as well as people suffering with mold problems assume that spores are what make people  sick, but is it possible that mold odor alone without spores can cause health complaints such as but not limited to allergy, asthma, and more frequent colds?

 

I have done mold inspections since 2003 and have long suspected a direct and strong correlation between mold odor and building occupant health complaints. It seems that mold odor has more to do with health complaints than spore levels in many cases.

 

It is a well known fact that many manmade volatile organic compounds such as benzene, methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, and formaldehyde to name a few not only have scary names, but can have scary health effects and can contribute to indoor air quality problems such as sick building syndrome and other IAQ problems.

 

Mold odors are also made of volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds produced by mold include chemicals similar to alcohols, aldehydes, amines, ketones and many more.  When volatile organic compounds are produced by mold or bacteria we stop calling them volatile organic compounds and refer to them as microbial volatile organic compounds.  (mVOCs).

 

Mold odors or mVOC’s are typically over looked as a source of health complaints by many mold inspectors who look for spores as the only source of potential health problems. Other inspectors are concerned about the health effects of toxins produced by toxic black mold. During many inspections because visible mold was not obvious and the lab report you receive states that spore levels indoors are low,  inspectors will tell you that you do not have a mold problem, and that your health problems are not related to mold in your home.  This inspector has investigated numerous cases where mold odors were produced inside AC units, behind wall paper, in crawl spaces, or inside walls in many such cases spores were trapped or simply not released by the mold and yet people became ill.

 

After years of noticing this correlation between the occurrence of mold odor and allergy and asthma like health complaints I started to find information on the internet to support these observations.  Please note that the legal and health implications are powerful, even in the lack of elevated spore levels building occupants can still become ill from mold.

 

 

Samples of indoor odor can be taken for quantitative and qualitative analysis by accredited labs using proven and advanced methods of analysis, Prism Analytical labs AKA PATI is one of the few labs that specialize in not just voc analysis but also mVOC or microbial volatile compound analysis. 

 Do not rely on my observations, also see what academic and government mold experts say about this often overlooked issue. Do a search for mold odor and health for yourself and you will see that even if spore levels are low in your home there is no guarantee that you are free of mold problems.

But do not despair, there is hope, simply never rely on spore levels and lab tests alone, always hire an experienced inspector who does much more than take samples, he or she should know something  about building construction or home inspections,  AC systems, science, indoor air quality, and industrial hygiene. The mold inspector must do a very detailed investigation using his or her knowledge and experience and should not just take a few samples. 

 A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc.

 

 

Mold Inspection Fees

February 26, 2008

Curious as to what a mold inspector should charge and why? well that is a common question it depends on a lot of factors such as the size of the property, the complexity of the problem, and how many mold samples are taken.
Below is more info on how much a typical mold inspection fee should be.
QUESTION
Message: I would like the approximate cost of a Mold Inspection on a
home built 2004..approx. 1858 sq ft.
And is it possible to get it done this week.
ANSWER
About $500.00 more or less.
You must call us and give details for a firm testing and inspection fee.
QUESTION
That seems quite a bit on the HIGH side…I would think that about Two hundred would be more in the ballpark.
ANSWER
You are right $500.00 is a lot of money to spend.
But even worse is the fact that the mold inspection industry is completely unregulated in Florida and will be till 2010 when licensing kicks in in our state.
The mold inspection industry is full of people trying to get a few hundred bucks for just taking 2 or 3 samples of your air.
1) Turn a pump on
2) Look impressive and pretend to know something about microbial ecology, HVAC systems, and building forensics while making up pretend facts about mold for one hour or two hours.
3) Collect $200.00 and run to the bank.
1% of the time you get lucky, 99% of the time you wasted your money because all your get is a report saying you have spores in your air. If you need answers as to why you have spores? where they came from? or what to do now? they cannot help you with that in any meaningful way most of the time.
I run into people all the time who have hired budget mold inspectors, budget home inspectors, and budget mold remediators, with two day certifications.
This is not a rare exception but it is a common and sad part of my life to see people suffer needlessly for years because they get a false sense of security after hiring certified yet discount nonprofessionals to safeguard their home and family’s health.
The people who hire cheap “two day wonder” mold inspectors today cough and sneeze for three years and then they later hire professional certified mold inspectors to sue the cheap guys because of poor service.
$200.00 mold inspectors have no idea of how expensive it is to run a mold inspection or mold remediation business and do not realize they cannot do it for $200.00,and they have no Idea of how important it is to make a serious attempt to look out for your health and your families health. 
But when we try to find the cheap guys they are already out of business and are back to doing carpet cleaning, or back to home inspections, or termite inspections, or whatever they were doing a week before they were in your house. 
 Good luck with whoever you choose and do a bit more research before you tell people in other industries what their fees should be. Many inspectors who take this business seriously have bachelors or masters degrees in science or engineering and spend their lives working hard in contaminated buildings and homes so their clients children do not have to spend their formative years going to the emergency room because of constant sinus infections and breath stealing asthma attacks. 
P.S. Watch out, they may tell you $200.00 over the phone then charge you $200.00 to $400.00 extra for samples after getting a foot in the door. 
One of out clients was concerned that mold in their home may cause neurological damage, they believed that their fear was supported by info from a Florida health department website. Lets look at a few quotes from the actual website and at our response to the client below.
This is great info from the Fl Dept of Health, I am going to use some of it’s info on an upcoming report where some scammers in my industry tried to use ozone to get rid of a horrific mold problem in Boynton Beach Florida. They even claimed that their Ozone system was endorsed by the health dept and the EPA. Needless to say the health dept does not endorse ozone use and neither does the EPA. Needless to say the scammers did not get rid of the mold at all.
Re mold and neurological damage the Florida health dept info you send states that mold causes “cold-like symptoms, rashes, sinus inflammation, eye irritation and aggravation of asthma.”these are all well documented extremely common symptoms & we see them all the time, they are related to the bodies immune response / allergic reactions and other similar responses to allergenic chemicals in mold, and are related to gases (Mvoc’s) molds release. Though allergens and Mvoc’s can make people more miserable than most people realize, and though people die from various asthma attacks each year, these symptoms have nothing to do with toxins and are not though to damage nerves.
The health dept website link you sent me states “Some symptoms are more general – such as inability to concentrate or fatigue. Usually, symptoms disappear after the mold is removed.” these symptoms are more rare and controversial but are not related to neurological damage nor mold toxins either, but are thought to possibly be related to not getting deep sleep because of the above reference immune / allergy like symptoms.
So what is the difference ? Who cares? allergen -toxin – Mvoc its all the same is it not?
It is a very significant difference because if they were related to neurological damage from toxins then the symptoms you and others experience would not disappear after the mold is removed, also I would be scared to be around the stuff every day.
In conclusion according to current scientific research, legal expert research that stands up in court, and honest mold inspectors experience, it appears that mold will not likely damage your brain or nerves if you breath it in. If you eat the same very common household toxic molds or some molds that grow on grain crops toxic molds might cause neurological damage, liver cancer, birth defects, compromised immune system,  convulsions, hallucinations, burning sensations, and death. This has happened to thousands of people and animals and is well documented, but long term neurological damage from breathing in mold in the home or office is not strongly supported by the scientific community nor the legal system despite many tries. Of course their are exceptions to many rules, and who knows what future research may revealed about breathing in toxic mold as it relates to the neurological system.
The Florida Dept of Health Website info can be found at:
Our Mold inspection website can be found at:
A Accredited Inspection Service, Inc.
6742 Forest Hill Blvd # 271, West Palm Beach, Florida 33413
888-381-6651

The following info is from two different mold inspections conducted withen three weeks of each other.

The findings on these mold inspections and many other similar mold inspections conducted by us show how proper placement of your AC return is important in detering mold growth and mold odor in your AC ducts.

The inspector inspected the master bathroom as well as the nearby closets where past leakage occurred through a glass block window.The inspector detected two mild distinct odors in the master bathroom that appeared to be related to microbial growth.One of the odors was the result of mold growing in the duct work that services the master bedroom and master bathroom area.In this inspectors experience the specific moldy odor detected in the bathroom AC ducts is almost always created primarily by a type of mold called Cladosporium spherisperium. This is not a toxic mold and does not produce many spores but it creates musty odors that can cause health complaints. This mold like all AC mold needs two things to survive:1)   food2)   moisture.Food is from dust in your ducts so use a good filter in your AC.Moisture is from humidity drawn in through the AC return so control humidity intake.Your AC return is near the bathroom and as a result this return will allow the AC to pull much humidity in from the bathroom after showers and baths, this is called entrainment and this inspector has seen many AC mold problems resulting from of AC returns near humid bathrooms or in other areas where


excessive humidity is drawn in the AC system. Once in the cold ducts the humid air becomes even more humid this causes mold to grow in ducts.We recommend that the AC ducts be cleaned or replaced. If the humidity entrainment problem is not corrected then the mold will return so the AC return will have to be relocated to an area away from the bathroom, consult with your AC contractor about moving it to the master bedroom or master bedroom closet.In addition the bathroom would benefit from additional bathroom ceiling vents to vent humidity out of the bathroom after showers and baths.Above is a photo of your return just a few foot from your bathroom.SPECIFIC AREA FINDINGSAnother odor was detected in the bathroom, this odor was a sewer type odor and likely came from the tubs drain. Typically a P trap in your drain keeps these odors from backing out of the sewer and into our homes, but for some reason stronger than typical odors were coming up from your tubs drain or from the spa jet holes.Start by sanitizing your drain and spa jet pipes with a sanitizer but do not mix chemicals, also keep the drain stopper down when the drain is not in use, hopefully this is all that is needed, if this does not work contact a plumber.Have a plumber review and make any required repairs. This may not be a condition that every plumber is qualified to deal with as it is not the common problem of water simply evaporating from your trap, this may be something different, it may be very simple such as a dirty pipe drain. It may be complex like a missing trap.

SPECIFIC AREA FINDINGS The above mold inspection was conducted in Boca Raton Florida on 1-22-08. The same type of mold odor problem was found 3 weeks later during a mold investigation at a similar luxury home in Wellington Florida near West Palm Beach.   2-12-08 mold inspection  Musty odors were detected, musty or mold odor detection is an important part of any mold investigation because it lets us know that a little mold is present even if it cannot be visually detected. In addition, even when spore levels are low. Minor mold odors were in the following area(s) in the master bedroom when the AC unit was on. The odor detected was typical of that from AC ducts and is not like the odor produced by the many molds that grow in walls. It was detected near the ducts and only when the AC was on.  This was occurring because the AC return is near the master bathroom, this allows the AC to pull humidity into the AC after showers and baths. This humidity condenses in the AC and ducts and allows small amounts of mold to grow in the AC and ducts. This mold inspector has seen this exact same problem in similar homes, and the inspector has seen many mold problems caused under various similar circumstances when AC units pull humidity in, this is called entrainment.  To correct the condition the AC and ducts and main supply plenum for the master bedroom AC will have to be cleaned by a professional who follows NADCA standards and the AC return will have to be moved to a different location in the same zone, a location not so close to the humid bathroom.  Please be aware that this was not a serious mold problem and this does not mean that this is a moldy house, it is a nice house and did not have evidence of a serious mold probelm. This was just your typical minor musty or moldy duct odor and it may not be detected by all persons. Only sensitive persons with allergy or asthma would be affected by such a condition but based on this inspectors experience with this degree of odor some persons can be effects by such odors.

Many people are concerned about the effects of toxic molds on humans. According to the exhaustive 2004 Institute of Medicine study on damp indoor environments, toxic mold exposure in the home and office as well as allergenic mold exposure in the home and office and even exposure to mold odors in such environments often cause many of the same upper respiratory tract problems such as allergy and asthma like reactions.

According to current scientific and medical consensus toxic molds do not appear to be poisoning people in their homes because inhalation of spores does not appear likely to expose a person to high enough doses of toxins to cause a toxic reaction. Of course their may be exceptions and this is the current scientific opinion, this information may change in the future.

In animals and in persons living in third world countries toxic mold exposure often has much worse effects than the allergy and asthma type reactions so common in our world. The reasons is that farm animals, like poor starving people in third world countries often have little choice but to eat foods contaminated with toxic mold.

Some important lesson that can be learned from the information contained in the blog is:

1) Be careful to store pet food, farm livestock feed, and other animal foods in appropriate clean places away from mold, moisture, and excessive humidity. I am not a vet or a farmer so I will not telly you how to store animal feed, but keeping foods below 60% RH would likely be a good idea.

2) Take the same precausions you own families food, and never eat foods contaminated with mold or bacteria, unless of course they are suppose to be contaminated with good bacteria or good molds such products are often quite healthy, (Meso soup, soy sauce, blue cheese, cottage cheese, Sauerkraut, Prosciutto ham, beer etc.) This is making me hungry so I will stop with the list of fermented foods.

3) If you are living in a moldy home, you should not panic over toxic mold, it can likely be remediated and you will likely not have to burn you house down. Contact a properly trained and certified mold testing specialist. Certified indoor environmentalist, and certified industrial hygienist often make the best mold inspectors.

Below is information taken from two trusted web resources, both discuss the effects of the consumption of a specific type of mold toxin (aflotoxin) from a specific toxic mold species (Aspergillius flavus).

In the 1960’s 100,000 turkeys died on farms in England.  The condition was called Turkey X disease .

Later it was found that Turkey X disease was caused by turkey feed made from Brazilian peanuts.

Evidence of acute aflatoxicosis in humans has been reported from many parts of the world , namely the Third World Countries, like Taiwan, Ouganda, India, and many others . The syndrome is characterized by vomiting, abdominal pain, pulmonary edema, convulsions, coma, and death with cerebral edema and fatty involvement of the liver , kidneys , and heart.
Conditions increasing the likelihood of acute aflatoxicosis in humans include limited availability of food, environmental conditions that favor fungal development in crops and commodities, and lack of regulatory systems for aflatoxin monitoring and control.
Because aflatoxins, especially aflatoxin B1, are potent carcinogens in some animals, there is interest in the effects of long-term exposure to low levels of these important mycotoxins on humans .In 1988, the IARC placed aflatoxin B1 on the list of human carcinogens. This is supported by a number of epidemiological studies done in Asia and Africa that have demonstrated a positive association between dietary aflatoxins and Liver Cell Cancer (LCC) .Additionally , the expression of aflatoxin-related diseases in humans may be influenced by factors such as age, sex, nutritional status, and/or concurrent exposure to other causative agents such as viral hepatitis (HBV) or parasite infestation.

http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/aflatoxin/aflatoxin.html

Aflatoxicosis and Aflatoxins

Aflatoxicosis is a disease that can affect many species of fish, and results when feed contaminated with aflatoxins is eaten by the fish (Ashley, 1970). Aflatoxins are chemicals produced by some species of naturally occurring fungi (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) commonly known as molds. Aflatoxins are common contaminants of oilseed crops such as cottonseed, peanut meal, and corn. Wheat, sunflower, soybean, fish meal, and nutritionally complete feeds can also be contaminated with aflatoxins.

Four major aflatoxins (AFB1, AFB2, AFG1 and AFG2) are direct contaminants of grains and finished feeds. Factors that increase the production of aflatoxins in feeds include environmental temperatures above 27°C (80°F), humidity levels greater than 62%, and moisture levels in the feed above 14%. The extent of contamination will vary with geographic location, feed storage practices and processing methods. Improper storage is one of the most important factors favoring the growth of aflatoxin-producing molds, and it is a major element that can be controlled by the fish producer.

Implications of Aflatoxins in Fish Feeds

Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is one of the most potent, naturally occurring, cancer-causing agents in animals. The first documented incidences of aflatoxicosis affecting fish health occurred in the 1960s in trout hatcheries. Domesticated rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) that were fed a pelleted feed prepared with cottonseed meal contaminated with aflatoxins, developed liver tumors (Ashley, 1970). As many as 85% of the fish died in these hatcheries. Although cottonseed meal is no longer used as a major ingredient in feed formulations, poor storage of other feed ingredients and nutritionally complete feeds can lead to contamination with aflatoxins.

Aflatoxicosis is now rare in the rainbow trout industry due to strict regulations enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for aflatoxin screening in oilseeds, corn and other feed ingredients. However, interest in the toxic effects on cultured warm-water fishes, such as tilapia (Oreochromissp.) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), has increased as diets for these species are now being formulated to contain more plant and less animal ingredients. This increases the potential for development of aflatoxicosis in these species because, as noted earlier, plant ingredients have a higher potential than animal ingredients for contamination with aflatoxins.

In tropical and subtropical conditions, this potential is further increased due to storage under humid and hot conditions. International trade in affected commodities and exposure to aflatoxins are worldwide concerns and the economic impact due to animal losses can be enormous.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FA095

Daryl Watters is a certified mold inspector, certified home inspector, and certified indoor environmentalist

COMMENT FROM:

Gary Burtle

Good comments on molds and toxins.  Our animals are a barrier between us and these plant-associated toxins.  The subject of fish and aflatoxin is interesting since there is a wide range across fish species for aflatoxin tolerance.  Catfish seem to be 1,000 times more tolerant to aflatoxin B1 than are trout.  Tilapia are also relatively tolerant to aflatoxin.  One study has shown that aflatoxin is eliminated from catfish tissue a day after the catfish quits consuming it.  I would like to see more reserch on peanut, cottoseed, and corn sources of mold toxins related to fish.  The future of aquaculture seems to depend on the development of safe fish feeds.

REPLY FROM BLOG

Thanks for the interesting info on fish feed and micotoxins on the following blog:
https://moldinspector.wordpress.com/2008/01/07/toxic-mold-and-animals/
It is a helpful scientific addition to the pool of knowledge reguarding mold issues.
Please feel free to add a little info on who you are, and link back to your website / your schools website etc from the blog.
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