Category Archives: Mold Inspections

CPSC Identifies Manufacturers of Problem Drywall Made in China

Chinese DrywallWASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing today the names of the problem drywall manufacturers whose drywall emitted high levels of hydrogen sulfide in testing conducted for the agency by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). There is a strong association between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion.

 

Of the samples tested, the top ten reactive sulfur-emitting drywall samples were all produced in China. Some of the Chinese drywall had emission rates of hydrogen sulfide 100 times greater than non-Chinese drywall samples.
“Homeowners who have problem drywall in their homes are suffering greatly”, said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “I appeal to these Chinese drywall companies to carefully examine their responsibilities to U.S. families who have been harmed and do what is fair and just”.
At the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings in Beijing May 24-25, U.S. officials pressed the Chinese government to facilitate a meeting between CPSC and the Chinese drywall companies whose products were used in U.S. homes, and which exhibit the emissions identified during the testing procedures. The Strategic and Economic Dialogue represents the highest-level bilateral forum to discuss a broad range of issues between the two nations.
The following list identifies the top 10 drywall samples tested that had the highest emissions of hydrogen sulfide, along with the identity of the manufacturer of the drywall and the year of manufacture, from highest to lowest.
– Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd.: (year of manufacture 2005) China
– Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China
– Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co.: (2005) China
– Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd.: (2006) China
– Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China
– Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China
– Shandong Chenxiang GBM Co. Ltd. (C&K Gypsum Board): (2006) China
– Beijing New Building Materials (BNBM): (2009) China
– Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2009) China
– Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co.: (2009) China

Other Chinese drywall samples had low or no detectable emissions of hydrogen sulfide as did the drywall samples tested that were manufactured domestically. They include: Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin: (2009) China; Tiger ***ShiGao JianCai***liangpianzhuang: (2006) China; USG Corporation: (2009) U.S.; Guangdong Knauf New Building Material Products Co. Ltd.: (2009) China; 3/8″ drywall manufacturer uncertain (date uncertain): China; Knauf Plasterboard (Wuhu) Co. Ltd.: (2009) China; CertainTeed Corp.: (2009) U.S.; Georgia Pacific Corp.: (2009) U.S.; Dragon Brand, Beijing New Building Materials Co. Ltd.: (2006) China; CertainTeed Corp.: (2009) U.S.; Pingyi Baier Building Materials Co. Ltd.: (2009) China; Sample purchased in China, manufacturer unknown: (2009) China; Panel Rey S.A.: (2009) Mexico; Lafarge North America: (2009) U.S.; National Gypsum Company: (2009) U.S.; National Gypsum Company: (2009) U.S.; Georgia Pacific Corp.: (2009) U.S.; Pabco Gypsum: (2009) U.S.; Temple-Inland Inc.: (2009) U.S.; and USG Corporation: (2009) U.S.
Last month, CPSC released the results of drywall emissions tests by LBNL. The studies showed a connection between certain Chinese drywall and corrosion in homes. In addition, the patterns of reactive sulfur compounds emitted from drywall samples show a clear distinction between certain Chinese drywall samples manufactured in 2005/2006 and other Chinese and non-Chinese drywall samples.
To date, CPSC has spent over $5 million to investigate the chemical nature and the chain of commerce of problem drywall. Earlier this year, CPSC and HUD issued an identification protocol to help consumers identify problem drywall in their homes. Last month, CPSC and HUD issued remediation guidance to assist impacted homeowners.

Go here for the CPSC article: https://www.cpsc.gov/content/cpsc-identifies-manufacturers-of-problem-drywall-made-in-china

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc

Some facts about mold

There have been a lot of questions about mold lately. Many inspectors offer mold testing / taking air samples. The following statements from the CDC (Center for Disease Control)  and the Florida Department of Health hopefully will answer some of your questions.

Please remember that mold cannot grow without a source, water. Removing the mold without first locating and repairing the source will not get rid of the mold. It will only return. Many times this will require that the walls be removed, which is always a good idea because you should be checking for any hidden damage, which also needs be removed. Many times they need to be removed to locate the problem. I am not a fan of testing in most cases. It is expensive and you are only confirming what you already knew – that you have a moisture problem that needs to be repaired.

If you decide to have your house tested, follow the guidelines listed below. Make sure the person taking the samples is a licensed mold assessor in the State of Florida. Ask them how they are going to interpret the results for you and are they going to write a protocol for removal based on those results.

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I heard about “toxic molds” that grow in homes and other buildings. Should I be concerned about a serious health risk to me and my family?

The term “toxic mold” is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.

What is Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra)?

Stachybotrys chartarum (also known by its synonym Stachybotrys atra) is a greenish-black mold. It can grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth. It is not necessary, however, to determine what type of mold you may have. All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.

What should people to do if they determine they have Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) in their buildings or homes?

Mold growing in homes and buildings, whether it is Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) or other molds, indicates that there is a problem with water or moisture. This is the first problem that needs to be addressed. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution(https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#note) of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Mold in or under carpets typically requires that the carpets be removed. Once mold starts to grow in insulation or wallboard, the only way to deal with the problem is by removal and replacement. We do not believe that one needs to take any different precautions with Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), than with other molds. In areas where flooding has occurred, prompt drying out of materials and cleaning of walls and other flood-damaged items with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution(https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#note) of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water is necessary to prevent mold growth. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. If a home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage. (See: After a Hurricane or Flood: Cleanup of Flood Water) Moldy items should be removed from living areas.

I found mold growing in my home; how do I test the mold?

Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the reaction of individuals can vary greatly either because of the person’s susceptibility or type and amount of mold present, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal. Furthermore, reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established.

A qualified environmental lab took samples of the mold in my home and gave me the results. Can CDC interpret these results?

Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.

The Florida Department of Health also states that in most cases, mold testing is not necessary:

How can I tell if there is mold in my home, or should I test my home for mold?
Indoor mold growth can usually be seen or smelled. In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is not needed. There are no health or exposure-based standards that you can use to evaluate a mold sampling result. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend mold testing or sampling to see if you have a mold problem, or to see what kind of mold might be growing. Sampling for mold in the air can be expensive and, if done, should only be done by experienced professionals. Investigate a mold problem; don’t test.

How can I tell when Stachybotrys chartarum is present in my home?
Many molds are black but are not Stachybotrys. For example, the black mold often found between bathroom tiles is not Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys can be identified only by specially trained professionals through a microscopic exam or by cultures. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend that people sample mold growth in their home. All indoor mold growth should be removed, regardless of type.

How Should Mold Be Cleaned?
Mold should be cleaned as soon as it appears. Persons who clean the mold should be free of symptoms and allergies. Small areas of mold should be cleaned using a detergent/soapy water or a commercial mildew or mold cleaner. Gloves and goggles should be worn during cleaning. The cleaned area should then be thoroughly dried. Throw away any sponges or rags used to clean mold.

If the mold returns quickly or spreads, it may mean you have an underlying problem, such as a water leak. Any water leaks must first be fixed when solving mold problems.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspector

 

 

Do I need a Mold Inspection

untitledI always get asked on every inspection if a mold is included in the inspection. I am going to try an clarify that during this post. Too many inspectors are looking for an easy way to increase their inspection fees and mold sampling is one of them. But do you really need to have it done?

It is my belief that all home inspections include a mold inspection, except for taking air or swab samples and having them analyzed by a laboratory. If you hire someone to do a mold inspection what are they going to do? They are going to look for moisture intrusion or plumbing leaks. This is exactly what you home inspector is supposed to be doing. The only difference is that the mold inspector will charge you $300.00 to $500.00 to take samples and send them to a laboratory for analysis. The question then becomes: do you need those samples?

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) it is not necessary to test for mold:

“Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal. Furthermore, reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established.”

It is important to keep in mind that every house will have mold. Per the CDC: “Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.”

If you do decide to test for mold keep in mind that the CDC states: “Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable, or normal quantity of mold have not been established. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.”

Two things are important in the above statement. First: you will need a physical inspection of the contaminated area. This is something that is usually not done on a home inspection or a mold inspection, as it requires a destructive investigation.  This would have to be done after the inspections are completed, with the consent of the seller. And second, the source of the moisture needs to be identified. This, once again may require the destructive investigation.

Most mold inspections that I have seen only include the lab results and do not give recommendation for remediation. Here in Florida the laws are very lax about who can take a mold sample and how the reporting should be done.

Remember that most mold can be seen or smelled. Before any remediation can be done, the source needs to be located and fixed. I agree with the CDC that, in most instances, mold testing is something that does not need to be done. I think the media has scared too many people with the mold issue, and many inspectors are taking advantage of this by convincing their clients that this is something they need to do. It is a great add-on to their income and unfortunately the client never gets the report or information that they need or understand.

Please do not get me wrong. There will be those times when testing should be done. When someone has a severe allergy or chronic condition, testing may be a viable option, and those results should be reviewed by a medical doctor. The CDC states: “You should first consult a family or general health care provider who will decide whether you need referral to a specialist. Such specialists might include an allergist who treats patients with mold allergies or an infectious disease physician who treats mold infections. If an infection is in the lungs, a pulmonary physician might be recommended. Patients who have been exposed to molds in their workplace may be referred to an occupational physician. CDC is not a clinical facility. CDC does not see patients, diagnose illness, provide treatment, prescribe medication, or provide referrals to health care providers.

I will never advise my clients not to get a mold inspection, but I will explain to them my position on the issue and let them decide for themselves. Hopefully they will do the proper research and make the decision that best suits them. After all, it is their health and their money.

Posted by Bill Siegel Florida Home Inspection Team Inc. 305-490-2513. Miami Home Inspection