Design Mold Growth on Drywall

Published on January 27th, 2009 | by Linda Kincaid, MPH, CIH

22

Mold Testing Chicanery


Mold Growth on DrywallA couple buying their first home spent $660 for mold testing.  The roof over the garage had leaked, and there was dark fuzzy growth on a 2-foot by 2-foot area of drywall.  Their mold testing and remediation company recommended immediate remediation…  At an additional cost of $1500.

How much of this cost was needed?  None of it.  The buyers could have better used the money to buy a bucket and a sponge.  They would have had ample funds left to repair their roof.

Growth that looks like mold is generally mold.  Damp drywall is a perfect growth medium.  Mold cannot grow without water, but any organic material that stays wet is likely to grow mold.  There is no need for lab tests to confirm that mold is indeed mold.

I was shocked to hear the buyers paid $100/sample for lab tests.  The lab I generally use for mold has a list price of $35/sample.  My price (as a regular client) is $19/sample.  The company in question made an unreasonable profit on testing.

The company also did not educate the buyers that to control mold, they must control moisture.  If moisture is controlled, mold will not grow.  If the water leak is not fixed, mold will re-grow after remediation.

Was professional remediation necessary?  Not in this case.  EPA recommends professional remediation for mold growth of 10 square feet or more.  The moldy area in the buyer’s garage was about 4 square feet.  They could have safely cleaned it themselves.

Should homeowners be wary of companies that do both testing and remediation?  Absolutely!  A testing company that also does remediation will often recommend additional work.  Many regulatory agencies require “third party testing”, and homeowners should consider doing the same.

Is mold testing ever necessary?  Sometimes it is a good idea.  EPA recommends mold testing after large-scale remediation.  An ERMI test can provide useful information to a physician diagnosing a health problem.  But it most cases, a homeowner can identify mold as well as a professional.

Mold photo courtesy of EPA and Terry Brennan.

EFCA Deal May Clear Way For Action In September.(Employee Free Choice Act of 2009)(National Labor Relations Act)

Mondaq Business Briefing July 22, 2009 Efforts to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (“EFCA”) have been stalled while Senate Democrats work to obtain the necessary 60 votes for cloture and bring the matter to the Senate floor. The proposed law would amend the National Labor Relations Act to: prohibit secret ballot elections as the method of determining employee support for union representation, mandate binding arbitration if the parties cannot agree to a contract, and greatly enhance penalties on employers who resist the unionization of their employees unlawfully. in our site national labor relations act

Multiple reports in the last few days indicate that Senate Democrats have made a deal that will result in a Senate vote this September, where passage is anticipated. Supporters of the deal—spearheaded by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.)—hope it overcomes the reservations of moderate Democrats who have expressed opposition to the bill as it is presently constructed.

The proposed deal would replace card-check provisions with an election within five to 10 days from the date of filing a petition. The National Labor Relations Board’s internal rules currently require an election within 45 days of the date of the petition. Consequently, under the modified EFCA, an employer may have little time to form an effective counter-campaign if it waits until receiving notice of the petition before taking action. Since the deal proposes to eliminate the 12-day period (under current procedures) during which an employer can contest the appropriateness of a voting unit and the status of supervisors, unprepared employers may have to accept almost any bargaining-unit construct proposed by the union.

Other possible, but unconfirmed, aspects of the deal include a denial to employers of the right to require employees to attend meetings on work time to discuss unionization issues, a requirement that union agents be given full access to the workplace following the filing of a petition, and the right of the union to employees’ names and addresses immediately upon the filing of the petition.

The deal would leave in place mandatory arbitration to set the terms of a first contract and enhanced penalties on employers (up to $20,000 per occurrence and treble back-pay damages) that unlawfully interfere with or discriminate against employees engaged in union organizing activity.

If EFCA passes with the provisions contemplated in the deal, an employer that wishes to have an effective strategy to remain union-free must, at a minimum, consider the following measures:

Have employee policies, systems and procedures that neutralize employee desires for third-party representation;

Have employees in units that are the most difficult for unions to organize and that can be proven, within 24 hours of the filing of a union petition, to be the only appropriate units for union representation;

Designate which employees are supervisors, as defined by the National Labor Relations Act, and be able to prove it;

Train supervisors with regard to unions, the employer’s position on unions, how unions organize, the early signs of union activity, reasons why the workplace should be union-free and how to talk to employees about unions;

Have an effective and ongoing employee-education program about unions, including the meaning of union authorization cards, the individual and organizational costs of unions and why unions would not be advantageous for employees in that workplace;

Have a rapid-response program that will launch an effective campaign against unionization from the instant organizing is detected and, if organizing is not detected until the petition is filed, that will have employees ready to vote “No” to a union within five working days.

If you would like more information about EFCA, please see our earlier published alerts on The Employee Free Choice Act: Is Your Organization Prepared? and Employee Free Choice Act Moving Forward Ahead of Schedule: Is Your Company Ready? If you would like more information regarding ways to prepare your company for the anticipated changes to the National Labor Relations Act and its provisions, please contact any member of the Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact. go to website national labor relations act

This article is for general information and does not include full legal analysis of the matters presented. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The description of the results of any specific case or transaction contained herein does not mean or suggest that similar results can or could be obtained in any other matter. Each legal matter should be considered to be unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the authors or attorneys in our firm is not a solicitation to provide professional services and should not be construed as a statement as to any availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which such attorney is not permitted to practice.

Duane Morris LLP, a full-service law firm of more than 650 attorneys, offers innovative solutions across diverse industries in the United States and internationally to address the legal and business challenges of today’s evolving global markets.

Mr James Redeker Duane Morris LLP 30 South 17th Street Philadelphia 19103-4196 UNITED STATES Tel: 2159791000 Fax: 2159791020 URL: www.duanemorris.com Click Here for related articles




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  • http://www.environmentaladministrators.com Rick Hollister

    Mold Testing Chicanery:
    I do not know the entire circumstances in this case but am not sure the author has all the facts either. When I go into project that is as a Environmental Investigator, I walk in with at least $30.000 dollars worth of equipment. I also walk in with 15 years of field experience. after the use of Infrared Photography, Moister meters ,particle counters ,air pumps ,media lap top to document everything done.i.e time place sample took photo’s all your notes. I then secure my samples per lab protocols then I express mail to the lab. Then I return to the office and prepare my report witch is usually 20 30 pages long with IR and digital photo’s. I then meet with the client and sit down and explain the results and recommendations. Now given all that if you break down your cost off gas, insurance, up keep of equipment, FedEx cost media witch is not all free, hours spent on the preparation and investigation and report time you might make $37 per sample.

    There are bad people trying to over charge for just lab reports to be handed to them. I have busted many bad remediators and responsible for the detection and prosecution of one of the worst in Fla.
    I think for you to throw all of us in the pool because of some rouge unscrupulous people is irresponsible. I am proud of my industry and support stricter licencing and Testing. next time you talk to Terry Brennen tell him I said hi.
    Rick Hollister CEO, CEI, CMR
    Environmental Administrators, Inc
    Tallahassee Fl

  • http://www.environmentaladministrators.com Rick Hollister

    Mold Testing Chicanery:
    I do not know the entire circumstances in this case but am not sure the author has all the facts either. When I go into project that is as a Environmental Investigator, I walk in with at least $30.000 dollars worth of equipment. I also walk in with 15 years of field experience. after the use of Infrared Photography, Moister meters ,particle counters ,air pumps ,media lap top to document everything done.i.e time place sample took photo’s all your notes. I then secure my samples per lab protocols then I express mail to the lab. Then I return to the office and prepare my report witch is usually 20 30 pages long with IR and digital photo’s. I then meet with the client and sit down and explain the results and recommendations. Now given all that if you break down your cost off gas, insurance, up keep of equipment, FedEx cost media witch is not all free, hours spent on the preparation and investigation and report time you might make $37 per sample.

    There are bad people trying to over charge for just lab reports to be handed to them. I have busted many bad remediators and responsible for the detection and prosecution of one of the worst in Fla.
    I think for you to throw all of us in the pool because of some rouge unscrupulous people is irresponsible. I am proud of my industry and support stricter licencing and Testing. next time you talk to Terry Brennen tell him I said hi.
    Rick Hollister CEO, CEI, CMR
    Environmental Administrators, Inc
    Tallahassee Fl

  • T.H

    Yes the EPA recommends remediation if 10 Sq Ft. of
    mold is present….However if the mold that is present is Stachybotrys the homeowner should not do the cleaning it should be remediated by a certified remediator.regardless of the Sq.Ft.

  • T.H

    Yes the EPA recommends remediation if 10 Sq Ft. of
    mold is present….However if the mold that is present is Stachybotrys the homeowner should not do the cleaning it should be remediated by a certified remediator.regardless of the Sq.Ft.

  • http://www.SolutionsIEC.com Jason Yost

    I agree with Mr. Hollister. I also perform indoor environmental tests and consultations, much as Mr. Hollister has described in his post. What I would add is that a professional can listen and help determine what kind of test best fits the needs of the Client and their situation. There are several ways a home can be tested for mold, ERMI is but one of them. Ignorant testing and sampling of a moldy environment along with unprofessional analyses of laboratory results or a water-damaged situation can be dangerous and lead to more problems. It is better to get the job done right the first time (by both the independent Indoor Environmental Professional and the Microbial Remediator). Having a professional consultant that will not only investigate but consult you through a situation should empower you to move forward with your trained Microbial Remediator at not only wiping away mold from a surface, but removing it from the surface and air without causing more harm with chemicals and disruption of microbes into the air. I would warn the author of getting too general with something that has too many variables for their black and white reporting.

  • http://www.SolutionsIEC.com Jason Yost

    I agree with Mr. Hollister. I also perform indoor environmental tests and consultations, much as Mr. Hollister has described in his post. What I would add is that a professional can listen and help determine what kind of test best fits the needs of the Client and their situation. There are several ways a home can be tested for mold, ERMI is but one of them. Ignorant testing and sampling of a moldy environment along with unprofessional analyses of laboratory results or a water-damaged situation can be dangerous and lead to more problems. It is better to get the job done right the first time (by both the independent Indoor Environmental Professional and the Microbial Remediator). Having a professional consultant that will not only investigate but consult you through a situation should empower you to move forward with your trained Microbial Remediator at not only wiping away mold from a surface, but removing it from the surface and air without causing more harm with chemicals and disruption of microbes into the air. I would warn the author of getting too general with something that has too many variables for their black and white reporting.

  • Don Bright, CRMI

    I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Hollister.

    I personally was appalled when reading this article.
    I could not believe that any respected publication would print this article with out checking into the facts further.

  • Don Bright, CRMI

    I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Hollister.

    I personally was appalled when reading this article.
    I could not believe that any respected publication would print this article with out checking into the facts further.

  • http://www.IndoorAirAnswers.Com Linda Kincaid

    As the writer of this post, I would draw the readers’ attention to the relevant recommendations from EPA. EPA is the appropriate authority on environmental issues.

    “In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary.”
    (http://www.epa.gov/mold/preventionandcontrol.html)

    “If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself”
    (http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldcleanup.html)

    “We do not believe that one needs to take any different precautions with Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), than with other molds.”
    (http://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#Q12)

    As for my credentials: I have a Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley, where I concentrated on industrial hygiene and exposure assessment. I am also a Certified Industrial Hygienist, the pinnacle certification for health and safety professionals.

    Most mold certifications require a high school diploma. Typical mold certification courses include 16-24 hours of training.

  • http://www.IndoorAirAnswers.Com Linda Kincaid

    As the writer of this post, I would draw the readers’ attention to the relevant recommendations from EPA. EPA is the appropriate authority on environmental issues.

    “In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary.”
    (http://www.epa.gov/mold/preventionandcontrol.html)

    “If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself”
    (http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldcleanup.html)

    “We do not believe that one needs to take any different precautions with Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), than with other molds.”
    (http://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#Q12)

    As for my credentials: I have a Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley, where I concentrated on industrial hygiene and exposure assessment. I am also a Certified Industrial Hygienist, the pinnacle certification for health and safety professionals.

    Most mold certifications require a high school diploma. Typical mold certification courses include 16-24 hours of training.

  • http://www.SolutionsIEC.com Jason Yost

    I am sorry, but I have to correct you on that. The EPA does not have authority over indoor air quality. Their guidlines in a court of law are superceded by applicable State Standards and Regulations: such as the Texas, Lousiana, Florida, and Maryland Regulations and the IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. Again, get all of the facts first. We, as professionals, have to, and should; otherwise, the information we’d give and services we’d perform (much like your article) would be based on ignorance and be a waste. I’ll give you an example: Say John Doe has five square feet of visible mold growth on his drywall in his basement. It isn’t black so he says, ‘what the heck – I can clean it up myself.’ Only to get involved and find that there is hidden mold in the wall, that (although the mold wasn’t the presupposed evil, toxic, black mold) the mold there is something he is personally sensitive toward, and that he is experiencing ill dis-ease while working on the project and there after in his home. The Standards have procedures in place and guidance on responsibilities of “independent Indoor Environmental Professionals” and the Microbial Remediators within them to help prevent these types of situations. Following the advise of your article no one would know that. I’m sorry, but you aren’t fully informed and this is a poorly developed article that can potentially harm someone if taken as gospel.

  • http://www.SolutionsIEC.com Jason Yost

    I am sorry, but I have to correct you on that. The EPA does not have authority over indoor air quality. Their guidlines in a court of law are superceded by applicable State Standards and Regulations: such as the Texas, Lousiana, Florida, and Maryland Regulations and the IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. Again, get all of the facts first. We, as professionals, have to, and should; otherwise, the information we’d give and services we’d perform (much like your article) would be based on ignorance and be a waste. I’ll give you an example: Say John Doe has five square feet of visible mold growth on his drywall in his basement. It isn’t black so he says, ‘what the heck – I can clean it up myself.’ Only to get involved and find that there is hidden mold in the wall, that (although the mold wasn’t the presupposed evil, toxic, black mold) the mold there is something he is personally sensitive toward, and that he is experiencing ill dis-ease while working on the project and there after in his home. The Standards have procedures in place and guidance on responsibilities of “independent Indoor Environmental Professionals” and the Microbial Remediators within them to help prevent these types of situations. Following the advise of your article no one would know that. I’m sorry, but you aren’t fully informed and this is a poorly developed article that can potentially harm someone if taken as gospel.

  • http://www.SolutionsIEC.com Jason Yost

    Additionally, there are higher degrees of learning than a 16 – 24 hour course both in trade associations like the American Indoor Air Quality Council and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, as well as colleges across American, such as Environmental Safety & Health or Environmental Health B.S. degrees. Again, you don’t have all of the facts.

  • http://www.SolutionsIEC.com Jason Yost

    Additionally, there are higher degrees of learning than a 16 – 24 hour course both in trade associations like the American Indoor Air Quality Council and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, as well as colleges across American, such as Environmental Safety & Health or Environmental Health B.S. degrees. Again, you don’t have all of the facts.

  • Matt Kerby

    I must agree with the professionals also. I am a Biologist and have been conducting moisture assessments and mold inspections for a few years. If we conducting our inspections and consulting based upon what the EPA dictated we would likely all end up in jail, blamed for numerous health related illnesses and allergies from our clients. In the case you presented, I agree that removing a 2′ x 2′ section of drywall removal in a non-living space probably wouldn’t hurt anybody. However in a living space, i.e: a nursery! less than 10 sq ft. could cause a significant air quality problem and cause serious health effects especially young children, the elderly and immune compromised individuals. You can list all the acronyms and qualifications you want but that doesn’t mean that you know anything about mold and the mycotoxins than can sometimes produce. My brother for example has a P.h.D in Biology and is a college professor, but he doesn’t claim to know how to consult people on handling a potential mold problem in their home. The reason there is no black and white with mold is because it is a living organism that is just as dynamic as we are and because its an allergen it does not affect everyone . You wouldn’t tell your child that even though he has peanut allergies that Daddy doesn’t get sick, so go ahead and eat the peanuts and never mind what that silly doctor. Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as “killer mold”, however this is one of the main causes of sick building syndrome and poor indoor air quality. I cant stress enough that certifications mean very little, while I am a biologist by academic training I learned absolutely everything I know about mold by professionals in the field and hands on experience. Each home or building is unique and should be objectively inspected. Also mold testing is absolutely necessary for real estate documentations/negotiations and in a court of law, ie: tenant landlord and condo issues. I didn’t write this to attack anyone I just would hate for a homeowner to stumble across the article and think that the mold/IAQ industry had no credibility.

  • Matt Kerby

    I must agree with the professionals also. I am a Biologist and have been conducting moisture assessments and mold inspections for a few years. If we conducting our inspections and consulting based upon what the EPA dictated we would likely all end up in jail, blamed for numerous health related illnesses and allergies from our clients. In the case you presented, I agree that removing a 2′ x 2′ section of drywall removal in a non-living space probably wouldn’t hurt anybody. However in a living space, i.e: a nursery! less than 10 sq ft. could cause a significant air quality problem and cause serious health effects especially young children, the elderly and immune compromised individuals. You can list all the acronyms and qualifications you want but that doesn’t mean that you know anything about mold and the mycotoxins than can sometimes produce. My brother for example has a P.h.D in Biology and is a college professor, but he doesn’t claim to know how to consult people on handling a potential mold problem in their home. The reason there is no black and white with mold is because it is a living organism that is just as dynamic as we are and because its an allergen it does not affect everyone . You wouldn’t tell your child that even though he has peanut allergies that Daddy doesn’t get sick, so go ahead and eat the peanuts and never mind what that silly doctor. Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as “killer mold”, however this is one of the main causes of sick building syndrome and poor indoor air quality. I cant stress enough that certifications mean very little, while I am a biologist by academic training I learned absolutely everything I know about mold by professionals in the field and hands on experience. Each home or building is unique and should be objectively inspected. Also mold testing is absolutely necessary for real estate documentations/negotiations and in a court of law, ie: tenant landlord and condo issues. I didn’t write this to attack anyone I just would hate for a homeowner to stumble across the article and think that the mold/IAQ industry had no credibility.

  • Toxic consumer

    The author must have struck a nerve if all these mold mitigators and testers have shown up.

    I would suggest they concentrate on cleaning up the unscruplous in their own industry rather than attacking the messenger.

  • http://reachingforlucidity.net/live/ berlin

    Gut!

  • http://reachingforlucidity.net/live/ berlin

    Gut!

  • http://www.moldremoval.com Mold Inspection

    You are someone I look up to as a role model.

  • http://www.moldremoval.net Toxic Mold

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

  • Lovenorthside

    Rick Hollister is a con man.  I know this because I was an unsatisfied customer where he was so inept he could not do the work he was hired to do, he did work that he was not contracted to do and attempted to justify not returning our money by performing work that cost him time before he was even hired.  He then made threats which should have warranted him to lose his license and cheated us out of hundreds of dollars.  He also has a person named “Jason” listed on the paperwork on filings with the Florida Divisions of Corporations which makes me susicious about the person named “Jason” suddenly posting here and agreeing with Mr. Hollister.  They are performing another scam right before our eyes.

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