MOLD APPEARANCE - STUFF THAT IS NOT MOLD - how to recognize mold and how to avoid wasting money testing or cleaning up stuff that is not mold; what does cosmetic mold look like and can we reliably identify it without testing?
MOLD DOCTORS - ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE - when to see a doctor? what to ask your doctor about mold; directory of mold doctors and experts in environmental medicine, allergists, pulmonologists, etc.
MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ? - how to decide when the mold risk in a building justifies bringing in an expert to inspect, test for mold, write a mold remediation plan, or perform a post-cleanup mold clearance inspection and test.
MOLD EXPOSURE, FOOD HAZARDS - a history of food borne mold related illness, definitions of mycotoxins, aflatoxins, etc., moldy food advice
MOLD EXPOSURE STANDARDS - world standards for mold exposure levels - and discussion of the difficulty of quantitative mold standards
MOLD RELATED ILLNESS GUIDE - Mold-Related Illness: sickness and health risks or complaints caused, or suspected to be caused or aggravated by indoor airborne mold, by physical contact, or other means of mold exposure
MOLD RELATED ILLNESS SYMPTOMS - a long list of all of the known, suspected, or simply documented health complaints voiced by people who have been or are suspected to have been exposed to problematic mold
MOLD TESTING METHOD VALIDITY - building tests taken by themselves (without an expert inspection) are not very reliable for several reasons: the mold detected by some tests (such as cultures) may not be the most significant or dangerous mold present, and a test that does not detect mold does not assure that there is no problem mold present in a building.
Set priorities for building safety when performing an inspection to protect occupants. For example, where an elderly occupant is present, trip and fall hazards could be an immediate threat that needs attention. See ELDERLY & VETERANS HOME SAFETY.
Mold-Resistant Building Practices, advice from an expert on how to prevent mold after a building flood and how to prevent mold growth in buildings by selection of building materials and by anti-mold construction details.
Guidance for Clinicians on the Recognition and Management of Health Effects Related to Mold Exposure and Moisture Indoors,
Copy on file as /mold/Mold_Guide_UConn.pdf] - Eileen Storey, MD MPH, Kenneth H. Dangman, MD PhD MPH, Paula Schenck MPH, Robert L DeBernardo MD MPH, Chin S Yang PhD, Anne Bracker CIH MPH, Michael J Hodgson MD MPH, University of Connecticut Health Center, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Center for Indoor Environments and Health, 266 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 06030-6210, 30 September 2004.
We have edited this file to remove blank pages in order to speed its load-time and to add a link back to this website. This document was designed to help the healthcare provider address patients with illnesses related to mold in the indoor environment by providing background understanding of how mold may be affecting patients.
The guidance was published in 2004, with support from a grant by the U.S. EPA, by the Center for Indoor Environments and Health, or CIEH at the University of Connecticut Health Center. " -- original source: oehc.uchc.edu/images/PDFs/MOLD%20GUIDE.pdf (1.13MB PDF file, slow loading) - this is an absolutely excellent and wide-ranging mold reference available online in PDF format.
Question: My elderly parent with health concerns lives in an older home that has roof leaks. Should we test for mold?
My mothers home is about 45 yrs. old. Recently, we noticed water spots on a wall and ceiling plus in the base ment ceiling tiles. This is a 2-story w/ attached dbl. garage. There has been NO flashing where the garage roof and the 2ns story meet. This is where the problems occur. She has also had many respiratory, memory lapses and constant sinus problems. We have read quite-a-bit on MOLD and believe this might be the problem.
Could you advise us of the best road to take and who to call. - Thanks. W.B., Louisville KY
Reply: Set Priorities and Take a Sufficiently Broad Approach When Looking for Building-caused or Building-aggravated Health Worries
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem. That said, here are some things to consider:
Since you know there is an ongoing leak, you need a competent roofing contractor to install the missing flashing and to inspect the rest of the roof for other flashing or leak problems you may not have noticed. More about roofing inspection, diagnosis, and repair is at ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR.
Ask your doctor, or in this case your mom's doctor if s/he can name specific environmental contaminants that, if present, would be likely to cause or aggravate any of your mom's medical problems.
In the absence of a large visible mold problem, you may be best served by a thorough onsite visual inspection for conditions that might produce mold or other unsafe building conditions;
You could hire a consultant to test for mold (unreliable without an accompanying thorough inspection) but because other hazards could be present, a more complete inspection that covers your mold concern plus other hazards may be more appropriate.
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Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in buildings - References & Products
Allergen Tests in buildings advice about how to test, what to look for, in evaluating the level of dog, cat, or other animal allergens in a building
"IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA, What do they really tell us?" Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, Clinical Laboratory Director, Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic - ELISA testing accuracy: Here is an example of Miller's critique of ELISA
http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/282.cfm - Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
The critique included in that article raises compelling questions about IgG testing assays, which prompts our interest in actually screening for the presence of high levels of particles that could carry allergens - dog dander or cat dander in the case at hand.
http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html contains similar criticism in another venue but interestingly by the same author, Sheryl Miller. Sheryl Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, is an Immunologist and Associate Professor of Basic and Medical Sciences at Bastyr University in Bothell, Washington. She is also the Laboratory Director of the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic Laboratory.
Allergens: Testing for the level of exposure to animal allergens is discussed at http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/animalallergy/diagnosis.shtml (lab animal exposure study is interesting because it involves a higher exposure level in some cases
Allergens: WebMD discusses allergy tests for humans at webmd.com/allergies/allergy-tests
Animal Allergens: Dog, Cat, and Other Animal Dander - Cleanup & Prevention Information for Asthmatics and regarding Indoor Air Quality.
Recognizing Allergens: What various indoor allergens look like - identification photos to help identify pollen, dust mites, animal dander, toxic or allergenic mold - Common Mold and other Allergens, Irritants, Remedies & Advice
Rodent control issues, including dander, fecal, and urine contamination of buildings and Building insulation are discussed at our
Associations: Sick House, Sick Building, SBS - Air Quality, Government, Private Associations and Information Resources
Atlas of Clinical Fungi, 2nd Ed., GS deHoog, J Guarro, J Gene, & MJ Figueras, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, 2000, ISBN 90-70351-43-9 (you can buy this book at Amazon) - The Atlas of Clinical Fungi is also available on CD ROM
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
Ozone Warnings - Use of Ozone as a "mold" remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous.
Rot concerns in buildings-some building mold such as Meruliporia incrassata "Poria" risks serious rot and hidden structural damage
US EPA: Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold
cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.
Rodents, Mice, Squirrel Control - I find high levels of mouse and rodent dander, fecal dust, and urine-contaminated dust in some buildings,
and high levels of these materials in building insulation in those locations. If you have a mouse problem, particularly if mice and their waste (fecals or urine) are contaminating
the building HVAC or building insulation, may need both steps to clean up or remove infected materials and steps to stop an ongoing
rodent problem. If squirrels are a problem, the cleanup needs to include closing off entry openings into the building. Get some
help from a licensed pest control expert.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.