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Thursday, May 17, 2018

10 Facts About Black Mold That You Need to Know

Have you ever seen black mold in your home?

Were you concerned that it was the “Toxic Black Mold” that we have been hearing about in the news?

These are common questions that people are asking, and desperately looking to find the answers. 

It has been well documented that mold spores are common indoors and outside. Mold requires moisture, an organic food source, timing, and the right temperature to thrive.

Any type of mold infestation can be devastating when it invades our homes, so why is this particular Black Mold so hazardous… yet intriguing?


Here Are 10 Facts About Stachybotrys Mold That You Need to Know

1. The “Toxic Black Mold” People Are Most Concerned About Is Called Stachybotrys Chartarum or Stachybotrys Atra.
For the purposes of this article I have interchanged the names Stachybotrys, Black Mold and Stachy to mean the same thing.

Yes, exposure to this specific type has been linked to several health issues, such as headaches, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, rashes, lymphoid disorders, damaged organs, flue-like symptoms or worse.

In fact, this particular mold gained wide scale recognition as one of the most harmful fungi, especially in the United States. Back in 1993-1994, there was a serious outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage affecting infants in Cleveland Ohio.

Research revealed that Stachybotrys Chartarum growing inside the home of the sick infants.

Since that time there have been a number of other cases involving “Toxic Black Mold” across the nation, resulting in lawsuits and problems for building owners on how to address this issue.

However, there is much debate regarding the specifics on this topic with regard to medical claims… yet the common consensus is that people get sick when they ingest or breathe the harmful mycotoxins from this fungus.

It should also be stressed that several other non-related mold types, including Aspergillus can be dangerous as well. Some of these other molds are black, as well as green, blue, pink, brown, white and yellow.

Anytime you see a moisture issue and resulting mold in your home or building, the situation must be addressed in short order. Call in a professional for best results.


2. According To The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black Mold, And All Other Mold Is Not Toxic…
The term “Toxic Mold” is apparently incorrect. Instead, it is the mycotoxins released from this fungus that are considered toxic. I have included a link at the bottom of this article for more clarification on this.



3. Black Mold May Or May Not Produce Toxins.
According to another article written in Mold-Help.org blog, there are a variety of conditions that will determine whether a mold will produce toxins. Although this mold has the ability to produce health compromising toxins, they do not always release the poisons.

It depends on a number of factors, such as the surface it is grows on, the temperature, the food source and humidity.


4. Stachybotrys Is A Wet, Sticky Mold.
Stachy spores are clumped together in a sticky coating so they do not usually travel well in air currents like many other mold types. However, if they dry out or become disturbed, they can be disbursed.

Dry mold is not really dead; it lies dormant and can still be dangerous. In the dry state it can take on the appearance of soot.

Due to its sticky make up, Stachy is best collected and tested by taking physical swab or tape surface samples. They can then be sent to a microbial lab for analysis.

Inspectors may suspect that a home has Stachybotrys, (based on visible observation) yet still choose to conduct air samples to determine if any other kinds of mold are present.

Knowing that these spores do not travel well in the air, you should be especially concerned if the only one tiny Stachybotrys clump is revealed in a lab report. This is a clear indication that thousands more are likely to be present.


5. Excessive Prolonged Moisture Leads To Stachybotrys growth.
This fungus needs to be exposed to moisture for long periods of time (1-2 weeks) before it begins to colonize.

Other mold types commonly found in a home, such as Aspergillus, Penecillium and Cladosporium, can grow within 24-48 hours.

Indoors, it grows best on organic cellular materials like insulation paper backing, drywall, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper or any other paper based materials.


6. Poisonous Toxins Released By Stachy, And Other Molds Are Called Mycotoxins.
These poisons (mycotoxins) are what make people ill when they are ingested or inhaled. Another reason this mold has been called Toxic Black Mold is due to the fact that it produces more mycotoxins than most other types of indoor mold.


7. Toxic Black Mold Is Not Always Visible.
This mold is not easily seen for a number of reasons. It needs to be sitting in moisture for at least a week to begin growing. Visible leaks are usually dealt with right away, so it wouldn’t have the time to colonize.

A small leak that develops over time can start the process when the leak is not visible. Problems begin without us knowing, as many leaks are concealed behind walls, and under carpets, floorboards above the ceiling in and areas that have been saturated for long periods of time.

At this point is it too late and people begin to experience health effects, or eventually see the signs once it has established a presence. By this time, the subsequent damage can be vast and expensive.


8. This Black Mold Has A Very Distinctive Odour.
Some would describe it as a potent, damp, stale, musty or rotting earthy wood smell. If this strong type of odour is present, yet different from other rooms in the home, then the area should be investigated for mold infestation. Consider this a priority.


9. Over Time, Stachy Will Usually Dominate Other Molds.
Through testing and analysis we know that this mold grows best when exposed to moisture for at least a week, or more. When its food source is low in nitrogen and high in cellulose, (organic materials) Stachy is happy… us and other molds, not so much.

Although different mold colonies will likely grow beforehand, once the Stachy takes form, it will dominate the environment completely.


10. Dry Mold Will Grow Again When Exposed To Moisture.
It’s true… Stachybotrys and several other mold types can sit dormant for thousands of years until it gets wet, allowing new growth to take form.

For this reason, I strongly recommend calling in a professional remediation contractor to discard all contaminated items, and or building materials.


In summary, Stachybotrys Chartarum/Atra fungi produce potent mycotoxins that are capable if making people and animals very sick, which have been documented and exposed by the media since the 1990s.

The elderly, infants and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk to illness caused by exposure to mycotoxins. However, anyone exposed to fungal poisons can develop health complications.

Although Stachybotrys has been branded as “Black Toxic Mold”, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that this term is not accurate… but rather, the poisons released by the mold are toxic when inhaled or ingested.

Their ability to produce these toxins does not always happen as it depends on a number of environmental conditions.

Stachybotrys is different from other fungi for the following reasons:
  • It takes much longer to grow
  • Is less commonly found that other fungi types such as Aspergillus, Penecillium and Cladosporium
  • It is held together by a wet, sticky gelatinous structure
  • It produces higher mycotoxins than other molds
  • It is often difficult to detect until it establishes a firm colony
  • In appearance, it can closely resemble many other black/dark green mold types. So the only definitive way to identify it is through a microbial lab analysis.
Dry mold should be removed completely or it will regenerate when exposed to moisture.

When moisture or mold issues have been discovered it is imperative to take quick action by calling a reputable, experienced inspector and or a remediation contractor. 

Inspect it All Services is fully equipped to do mold inspections, air and tape testing and mold remediation. We send all our air and tape tests to a 3rd party labratory. We get a detailed and comprehensive report from the lab outlining the types of mold found, spore counts, toxicity and suggested remediation levels. If you have any questions or concerns don't hesitate to call us, information is free!


Resources:
http://www.mold-help.org/content/view/429/

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#Q1



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

We're Hiring!



Junior Construction Manager

Inspect it All Services is a locally owned and operated business. We specialize in Disaster clean up, property restoration, construction, air quality testing and residential & commercial building inspections. We are a family owned business that is expanding and growing rapidly.


We are looking for a reliable and experienced trades person for rebuild and construction work. We want that person to be a part of our family and the right fit is important to us. We want someone that is skilled in multiple trades. We want you to be able to frame, insulate, drywall & tape and paint as well as be a skilled in carpentry work. This job will require a variety of skills and a hardworking attitude.


Applicants must meet ALL the following requirements:

  • Minimum 5 years experience in construction and or property restoration and mitigation (An asset but not required would be trades and IICRC certificates)
  • Strong work ethic / self starter
  • Ability to work flexible schedule, be on call, work out of town and work longer work days if required
  • Possess a valid driver's license and clean driver's abstract
  • Good physical condition & mechanical aptitude
  • Strong communication skills are a MUST
  • Ability to work in confined spaces
  • Ability to supervise 1-2 people
  • Criminal record check
  • Provide own hand tools


Please email your resume to info@inspectitall.ca or drop off your resume to the office at 1254 Cornwall Street, Regina.

No phone calls please.  





Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Facts About Snow Mould

Spring is on the way! And the warmer temperatures provide the perfect conditions for melting snow on lawns and driveways.

As much as we are jumping for joy for this, hiding beneath larger piles of snow is a less than welcome sign of spring – a fungus called snow mould. Spores from the mould can cause sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes and, in more severe cases, trouble breathing. Spores are the reproductive cells of the mould.

It’s something that comes around every year. It likes the cold. It thrives in the zero-to-seven-degrees temperature range and it likes environments where there is plenty of organic material. The trick is to get the snow to melt quickly. As soon as the snow is exposed to good temperatures, the mould doesn’t survive.

Snow mould spores are not in the snow but grow in the moist soil underneath. Once the snow melts, the mould leaves circular grey or pink patches of unhealthy looking grass. But by that point, the spores have escaped into the air.

Is snow mould preventable? You bet! The best way to prevent snow mould is to spread snowdrifts out instead of leaving them piled up. Also, not mulching the lawn in the fall, cutting the grass short and getting rid of damp leaves also helps to prevent snow mould.

If people find their yard infected by snow mould, it helps to rake the affected patches gently to loosen up matted areas and promote drying. People should wear masks while raking, as loosening the mould up may cause them to inhale it. Even when not allergic to snow mould, people should keep their house and yard clean and mould free.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

5 Steps Every Homeowner Should Take After A Blizzard

The storm has passed, but its dangers haven't. Here's how to keep your home, your property and even your neighbors safe and sound after a blizzard.

In addition to beauty, quiet, and days off from school, a heavy snowstorm brings a range of hazards to homes and property, some of which can cause expensive damage or endanger your family. These five steps will help you keep your home and your family safe.

1. Lighten the load on the roof


Head outside and walk the perimeter of your house, looking at the roof line. Are your gutters and eaves decked in icicles? Your roof may be forming an ice dam, where ice freezes into hard ridges that prevent snow melt from draining off your roof. Without anywhere to go, water will find its way into your home. Extreme snowstorms can also stress the roof through the weight of the snow. This is especially true as old snow compacts under fresh snow in subsequent storms. 

If you live in a single-story home, you can help prevent ice dams and reduce stress on your roof by removing snow with a roof rake. If your house is more than one floor, or if you suspect an ice dam has already formed, contact a professional rather than trying to handle it yourself.

2. Clear your walkways


In many cases, property owners may be liable for healthcare costs or other damages if anyone - including neighbors, postal carriers, and solicitors - slips or falls on their property's wintry walkways. In order to prevent injuries to your family and others, make sure to buy a snow shovel and stock up on ice melt before the start of winter, and clear your walkways promptly after a storm. 

If you know a snowstorm is coming, applying ice melt ahead of time can make the removal process easier since it lowers the freezing point of water. When it's time to clear the walkways, shovel away the bulk of the snow first. Then, spread a layer of ice melt and wait for chemistry to kick in. As residual ice and packed snow start to melt, remove it with a shovel or broom, and apply a final layer of ice melt to prevent it from re-freezing. Adding a layer of sand can provide traction, too.

Pro Tip: Commercial ice melt tends to be gentler on plants and landscaping than salt, and there are pet-safe formulations as well. But if you're caught by surprise - or if the winter is so brutal that there's no ice melt to be found - rock salt also works well in a pinch.

3. Clear snow and ice from furnace vents


Because most ways of heating a home can produce deadly carbon monoxide gas, cases of carbon monoxide poisoning tend to spike in winter. This is especially true following heavy snow and ice events because the vents that carry carbon monoxide out of the home can become blocked by snow or freeze over. Gently remove snow from furnace vents, keeping the openings clear so that gasses can vent properly. Remove snow from around your gas, electric, and water meters as well.


4. Check your trees

Heavy snow and ice can bend and break tree branches, causing damage to homes and to the trees themselves. It's best to have an arborist inspect your trees before winter and remove any potentially dangerous branches. But even if you've taken this step, a very heavy snow or ice storm can cause branches to threaten your home or property. 

You can carefully remove snow from sagging tree limbs with a broom or a long pole. Work gently - the cold may have made the branches brittle - and be sure to stand out of the way of the falling snow. 

If your trees are coated in heavy ice, your best bet is to wait for the ice to melt. Trying to chip the ice away will damage the trees. If branches are heavily iced and leaning dangerously over your home, consult an arborist for advice.

5. Give your neighbors a call

Once you've checked your own home for problems, consider contacting your neighbors to make sure they're OK. A power outage or a failed heating system can be particularly dangerous for seniors or people with disabilities. Find out if your neighbors need help clearing their walkways, and if they have enough supplies to last until the snow melts. 

With these steps, you can be sure to keep your family and your neighbors safe until the snow is finally gone.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Keep Employees Healthy This Winter With Better Air Quality

Employers or employees, we sometimes forget that half our lives are being spent in a workspace that is enclosed, and without any exposure to the outside environment. In short, employers and employees are breathing office air for eight hours or more during the day. And when that indoor air is poor quality, health is impacted. Allergy symptoms can be aggravated, worker performance can be diminished, and sick days can start to rise. For all kinds of reasons, it makes good business sense to keep employees healthy in their work environment with excellent quality indoor air.

Air quality professionals often pinpoint poor ventilation as a major problem in the workplace. It simply means that fresh outside air isn’t circulating properly throughout a given space. Even worse, a poorly performing HVAC system might be circulating air pollutants instead of cleaning the air, as it should be doing. Optimum air ventilation in any living space is critical in providing fresh air, while reducing the prevalence of air pollutants. Poor HVAC maintenance is also a culprit when it comes to poor air quality. Here, high performance air filters allow fresh air to circulate.

When workers complain about indoor air quality, it’s also possible that the air-moisture level is too high. This may just be a case of high indoor humidity, but it may also point to some type of water intrusion. Unfortunately, a moist indoor environment is the ideal breeding ground for mould. This could be something serious, and even, so when mould spores disperse through the HVAC system. When it’s diagnosed, a mould problem can turn an air quality issue from basic discomfort to something both dangerous and hazardous. This is a time for professional attention.

In some workplace environments, construction and/or renovation work can affect the air quality with residual dust, airborne particles, and even off gassing from new building materials. Here, the answer is to provide air filtration equipment at the worksite, so that pollutants aren’t circulated and air quality isn’t compromised. Construction work or not, when poor air quality is reported, it’s important to take immediate action. This would be especially pertinent when the indoor air environment is negatively affecting worker health. It often means that workers have difficulty in performing their tasks, and concentrating on the work at hand – it’s just not business productive.

The truth is, poor air quality necessitates comprehensive testing. And here, an expert technician can identify the source and extent of a problem – whether it’s mould, asbestos, or any other air pollutant that can make someone sick. With reliable test data, a professional air quality firm can identify the scope of indoor air pollution, and provide options for improvement and remediation. While some business owners might decide on a DIY approach in order to save budget dollars, it will not compare with the comprehensive work that highly trained professionals can provide.

The professionals do it right from the start. They thoroughly inspect the air quality issue. They provide accurate assessments/reporting. And they recommend options with effective solutions.

If you want a professional to inspect and or sample your workplace then give us a call! Inspect it All Services is fully qualified in indoor air testing, mold testing and mold remediation. 


Saturday, January 27, 2018

How to Handle Appliance Leaks

Some people may not be aware of this but there are appliances that do leak. These are those appliances that produce moisture and use water in order to work, such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers. These home appliances rarely leak when installed properly and when they are brand new. However, when time passes or when dishwashers and washing machines are not connected to the water source properly, leaking is a huge possibility.

When appliance leaks happen, water damage can occur if the problem is not handled immediately. When you suspect that one or more of your appliances has a leak, here are some things you should do immediately to minimize the damage caused by the situation:


Turn off your water main – you can turn off the water main in your home or simply turn off the water connected to the appliance itself. This will stop the leak and you can have the appliance serviced or the connection fixed.

Remove the appliance from its power source – if it is your refrigerator or other moisture producing appliance causing the leak, removing it from its power source may help. This will stop the appliance from running, thereby stopping it from producing the moisture that is causing the leak.

Dry off the area immediately – don’t allow water that leaked from your appliances to stand where it is since it will cause serious water damage to your floor. Wipe the moisture off immediately to avoid such a problem. If you were a bit late in noticing the leakage, and damage has been done to your floors, you will need to contact a professional specializing in water damage restoration to fix this.

Have your appliances and water connections handled by a professional – to fix as well as avoid these problems, have a professional connect your washing machine and dishwasher to your water source. You should also have appliances repaired by a certified professional if these need to be fixed in order to prevent these leaks from happening again.

For your water damage restoration needs Inspect it All Services is the company to trust. We specialize not only in repairing damage brought about by leaks and water issues, but also in storm damage restoration, mold remediation, and disaster restoration. Contact us or call us at 306-540-6832 today find out more about what we can do for you.