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Safe Non-Chemical Mold Removal and Repair

testingMost homeowners’ first concern when discovering mold in their home is the health hazard, whether it be from the mold itself or the chemicals used to eradicate the mold infestations. That worry may be even greater if the household includes children and/or pets. If you are knowledgable about the different kinds of chemicals used to do away with mold, you can see how some homeowners may have reservations about the process. Even the old adage of using bleach can cause a health hazard if not applied in a safe manner. That is why it’s imperative to call a professional you can trust.

Earlier this week a client called requesting our standard $85 mold inspection for their home in Whittier. After a thorough inspection of the suspicious area, we found a large mold infestation that spread into the downstairs closet. Like most homeowners, their main concern was if the use of any chemicals used to remove the mold would be harmful to their family, dog and two cats. This is where Home Pro’s expertise excels other mold service providers and we were able to bring the homeowner’s frets to rest. We provided our safe non-chemical Cryonite Freezing Process as an alternative to the common chemical and moldicide process. This non-chemical approach uses safe CO2 gas to freeze the mold on contact and eradicate the infestation. This non-chemical treatment is not only safe but also very economical.

Here at Home Pro Environmental we were very pleased to have been able to free this customer of mold and concerns for the health of their family in a safe way while still being easy on the pocket. Give us a call anytime to schedule your $85 certified mold inspection directly at 562-818-6946.

Mold Testing Protocol Post Repairs

01If you are like most people you would think once a mold company has finished a job, the workers have cleaned up and your bill is in hand, that you are safe to run free in your home breathing in all the air you want without any harm, right? Well, think again! According to most mold professionals, in many cases, post-repair mold testing is not being done. Of course we all want to save money, but this may not be the time to skimp. If post mold testing is actually being done, the mold removal company is likely the one doing it. However, most service providers recommend that a Certified Hygienist be called in for post mold testing. While this is certainly a good idea, it may be rather costly and unnecessary, especially in relatively mild cases of mold infestations.  Industrial Hygienists are certified by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and equipped with the most current and useful knowledge on Indoor Air Quality. Companies that are performing mold testing without the use of a third party may inherently cause a conflict of interest.

There are at least three goals of mold testing that need to be achieved in the post-repair process:

1. Is mold present in the suspected areas?

2. What kind of mold is it?

3. How much mold is present?

Testing again after repairs will verify if the mold levels were reduced to equal or lesser levels than the levels of mold found from the air outside. When testing for mold post-work, swab or air samples are taken. Air sampling involves a small pump that is calibrated to draw a certain amount of air through a small plastic canister for a specific amount of time. A common method is to draw 15 liters of air for 5 minutes. The “air cell” is then taken to a certified Lab for analysis. Usually an outside air sample is taken to compare the level of mold in your home to the level of mold found naturally outside. If the level of mold inside your home is higher than the level of mold found outside, then most service providers will recommend some type of remediation work. Generally, the cost of each sample to be processed by the lab is around $35. On average most homes tend to require 3-4 samples to get the information needed to make a common sense decision on how extensive the problem may be and how to repair it.

Another good practice is mold testing pre-repair. Mold spores can live anywhere in your home which can make it difficult to find the exact original source of the mold infestation. You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems.  Mold can hide in places such as the back side of dry wall, underneath wallpaper or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, as well as inside roofing materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).

Most mold companies will use a moisture meter to help find areas of moisture in your home that may encourage mold growth. It is always in the best interest of the consumer to hire a service provider that uses common sense when deciding how a mold project should be completed. Homeowners can stay involved in the decision making process by asking the right questions which is why it is important to stay knowledgeable on the subject.

For more information concerning mold and mold remediation, please call Larry directly at 562-818-6946.

Asbestos Home Inspection: Better Safe Than Sorry

asbestos-abatementAsbestos is not a word you want to hear when it comes to your home. All homeowners should be concerned if it’s discovered that their home has any asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos is a group of minerals with thin microscopic fibers. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, chemicals and do not conduct electricity. Because of this, asbestos is excavated and used widely in the construction and automotive world, as well as other industries. When products containing asbestos are disturbed, the tiny fibers are released into the air. If breathed in, those tiny fibers can become trapped in the lungs and stay there for many years. Over time these fibers can accumulate and lead to serious health problems such as asbestosis and two well-known cancers: mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Mined and used commercially since the 1800s, asbestos has been used in many products, including: car brake shoes and clutch pads; building materials, including ceiling and floor tiles; paints; coatings; adhesives; plastics; vermiculite-containing garden products; and some talc-containing crayons. Due to federal regulations and health concerns, asbestos is much less widely used now than it was just a few decades ago.

Asbestos exposure may occur in the workplace, home, or community. Most cases of asbestos poisoning occur in asbestos workers; however, there is some evidence that family members of workers heavily exposed to asbestos face an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, possibly due to the exposure of asbestos fibers brought into the home on the clothing, skin, and hair. Cases of mesothelioma have also been seen in people living close to asbestos mines.

Several factors are involved in how asbestos exposure affects an individual, including:

  • Level and length of asbestos exposure
  • Size, shape and chemical makeup of the asbestos fibers
  • The presence of other lung diseases
  • Smoking also increases the risk of problems related to asbestos exposure

There are different forms of asbestos. Although all forms are considered hazardous, different types of asbestos fibers may be associated with different health risks. For example, the results of several studies suggest that amphibole forms (which have longer, more durable fibers) may be more harmful than chrysotile forms (which have curly fibers), particularly for mesothelioma risk, because they tend to stay in the lungs longer. The most common diseases caused by asbestos are asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Asbestosis is fibrosis (scaring and thickening) of the lung tissue from high exposure to asbestos. This inflammatory condition of the lungs can cause shortness of breath, tremendous strain on the heart muscle, and eventually leads to death typically due to heart failure. Unfortunately there is no treatment for asbestosis.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, chest cavity, or abdomen. If fibers are inhaled they penetrate the lung walls and cause cancer. If swallowed the fibers will penetrate to the stomach and cause cancer in the abdomen. This cancer is awfully aggressive and unfortunately has no cure either.

Lung cancer is a very common type of cancer and is among the deadliest. Many victims of lung cancer are already dying of asbestosis. Unless the cancer can be detected and surgically removed at an early stage, it spreads by blood and lymph nodes, leading to an early death.

Studies have shown an association between asbestos exposure and other cancers as well, including cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, throat, kidney, brain, bladder, voice box, gallbladder, and others. However, the evidence is inconclusive.

Most cases of asbestos-related cancer and other health problems occur 15 or more years after initial exposure to asbestos. Although these diseases take time to develop, once diagnosed the disease usually progresses rapidly and eventually leads to death. Now may be the time to take advantage of our $150 (plus lab sample cost) asbestos inspection to make sure your home is free of any asbestos-containing materials. Call Larry directly today at 562-818-6946.