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Who is Required to have a Florida Mold License?

Florida Mold LicenseThis question just can’t seem to be answered by those that want to preform mold inspections or mold remediation and are on the hunt for a licensing loop hole.

So who in the State of Florida is required a have license to preform Mold Assessments and/or Mold Remediation. The answer is simple.

Anyone who advertises themselves as a professional providing mold assessments and/or mold remediation.

Mold Assessment
If you provide mold assessments and you advertise your company or yourself as a mold inspection company or inspector you must be licensed by the state as a mold assessor.  
  • You cannot add someone else’s license number to your business card.  That’s not legal, honest, or ethical.  These actions will be reported to the State as unlicensed activity.
  • You cannot call the collection of air samples for mold spores an indoor air quality test to avoid the need to obtain a mold assessors license. The collection of air samples for mold spores is a mold sample not an indoor air quality test so let’s just be honest with our clients and call it what it is and get licensed.
  • You cannot assess the extent of mold damage on a home where you intend to provide the remediation.  The law is very clear on this and is one of the primary reasons for the law, conflict of interest.  Just call an independent licensed assessor to provide an assessment and then you can provide your estimate.  

Mold Remediation
If you provide mold remediation and you advertise your company as a mold remediation and emergency services company you must have a Mold Remediation license and the license holder must be onsite supervising the mold remediation.
  • You cannot provide mold remediation under a general contractor’s license if you are advertising yourself as a mold remediator.  
  • You cannot provide mold remediation following a written mold remediation protocol under a general contractor’s license.  You are no longer working within the scope of a Division 1 contractor.  You are working within the scope of a mold remediator that requires a mold remediator’s license.
  • You cannot provide mold remediation outside of a Division 1 Contractors scope of work FL GC - Mold Law Declaratory Statement 10-12-2011

So why did the state of Florida decided to require a license for mold related services?
The Florida Legislature finds it necessary in the interest of the public safety and welfare, to prevent damage to real and personal property, to avert economic injury to the residents of this state, and to regulate persons and companies that hold themselves out to the public as qualified to perform mold-related services.

Now let’s get to the individuals that believe they don’t require a mold license. First home inspectors and the answer is yes, a home inspector requires a mold assessor’s license to conduct a mold inspection and yes the collection of samples to identify the presence of mold requires a mold assessor’s license.

As for the duct cleaners and air conditioning contractors, the answer is also yes. Anyone removing or identifying mold in a home or business requires a mold assessment or mold remediation license and that includes those in the air conditioning and duct cleaning business.

There are exceptions to the law and those are listed below. Which brings us to the general contractor? Does the GC need a mold license? No. As the law currently states the prohibitions in the law do not apply to a Division 1 contractor as stated below.

468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.—
(1) A person may not:

(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold assessment to a structure on which the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company provided a mold remediation within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s. 489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold remediation and offers to perform the mold assessment, the contract for mold assessment provided to the homeowner disclose that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.

(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s. 489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold assessment and offers to perform the mold remediation, the contract for mold remediation provided to the homeowner disclose that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.


A Florida Licensed Mold Assessor or Mold Remediator must first take and pass one of the examinations approved by the department and administered by the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC).

The ACAC has certifications for both the Assessor and Remediator, such as the CIEC Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant Required: 8 years’ experience consulting on indoor environmental issues including asbestos, lead, HVAC, building science, chemicals, mold and microbial contamination, or the CMC Council-certified Microbial Consultant Required: 8 years’ experience in designing and conducting microbial sampling regimens, or the CMRS Council-certified Microbial Remediation Supervisor Required: 5 years’ experience remediating microbial issues in the indoor environment, and the CMR Council-certified Microbial Remediator Required: 2 years, experience remediating microbial issues in the indoor environment.

I would much prefer that my Mold Assessor or Mold Remediator be Licensed by the state and have the ACAC qualifications.

Mold assessment is a process performed by a mold assessor that includes the physical sampling and detailed evaluation of data obtained from a building history and inspection to formulate an initial hypothesis about the origin, identity, location, and extent of amplification of mold growth of greater than 10 square feet.

Mold remediation is the removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, of mold or mold-contaminated matter of greater than 10 square feet that was not purposely grown at that location; however, such removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, may not be work that requires a license under Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, unless performed by a person who is licensed under that chapter or the work complies with that chapter.

These items are offered as examples of services you do need to hire a person with a Florida license and services you do not need to hire a person with a Florida license. The list is not all inclusive. If you have specific questions, please contact the department at 850.487.1395 or review the rules for the profession at www.myfloridalicense.com. You should also check with your county or city to learn whether or not a local business tax receipt or certificate of competency is required for services that do not require a state license. Please visit our Unlicensed Activity page to learn more about how you can help us combat Unlicensed Activity.

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Needs a License

Does not need a License

Advertising or representing oneself to be a Mold Assessor or Remediator.

A residential property owner who performs mold assessment on his or her own property.

Taking samples for purposes of testing for the presence of mold.

A person who performs mold assessment on property owned or leased by the person, the person’s employer, or an entity affiliated with the person’s employer through common ownership. This exemption does not apply if the person, employer, or affiliated entity engages in the business of performing mold assessment for the public.

 

A person who performs mold assessment on property operated or managed by the person’s employer or an entity affiliated with the person’s employer through common ownership. This exemption does not apply if the person, employer, or affiliated entity engages in the business of performing mold assessment for the public.

 

A person working solely as an officer or employee of a governmental entity.





Here are some Florida Mold License FAQ’s Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.
Q    What are the statutes and rules that govern the mold-related services Profession?
A    Chapter 468, Part XVI of the Florida Statutes and Rule 61-31 of the Florida Administrative Code
Q    What are the statutes and rules that govern the Home Inspection Profession?
A    Chapter 468 Part XV of the Florida Statutes and Rule 61-30 of the Florida Administrative Code.
Q    Where can I obtain the laws and rules of the profession?
A    The laws and rules may be obtained on the website at www.MyFloridaLicense.com > Our Businesses & Professions > the license you are looking for > Statutes and Rules.  If you need further assistance, you may call the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395

Q.    If my company does both Mold Assessments and Mold Remediations, will I be required to get two (2) licenses (one for Mold Assessor and one for Mold Remediator?
A.    Yes, in addition, please note Section 468.8419(1)(d), F.S., provides that an assessor may not “perform or offer to perform any remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months.” Section 468.8419(2)(d), F.S., provides that a remediator may not “perform or offer to perform any assessment to a structure on which the mold remediator or the remediator’s company provided a mold remediation within the last 12 months.”

Q.    Will there be additional requirements by DBPR to have an “applicators” license if the mold remediator applies chemicals to contaminated surfaces during a remediation?
A.    No,
please see the definition of remediators as it allows the remediator to treat and do preventive activities.

Q.    Is there a provision that would allow those licensed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) to perform mold related services as long as they stay within the scope of their current licenses?
A.    Yes,
Section 468.841 F.S., exempts persons from the provisions of Chapter 468, Part XVI, when acting within their authorized scope of practice as licensed under Federal, state or local codes or statutes. Any person acting on this exemption must not hold himself or herself out for hire as a licensed assessor or remediator or any title implying licensure under Chapter 468, Part XVI.
468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.—
(1) A person may not:
(a) Effective July 1, 2011, perform or offer to perform any mold assessment unless the mold assessor has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).
(b) Effective July 1, 2011, perform or offer to perform any mold assessment unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.
(c) Use the name or title “certified mold assessor,” “registered mold assessor,” “licensed mold assessor,” “mold assessor,” “professional mold assessor,” or any combination thereof unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.
(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s. 489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold assessment and offers to perform the mold remediation, the contract for mold remediation provided to the homeowner disclose that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.
(e) Inspect for a fee any property in which the assessor or the assessor’s company has any financial or transfer interest.
(f) Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold remediator or mold remediator’s company for the referral of any business to the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company.
(g) Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold remediator or mold remediator’s company for the referral of any business from the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company.
(h) Accept an engagement to make an omission of the assessment or conduct an assessment in which the assessment itself, or the fee payable for the assessment, is contingent upon the conclusions of the assessment.
(2) A mold remediator, a company that employs a mold remediator, or a company that is controlled by a company that also has a financial interest in a company employing a mold remediator may not:
(a) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation unless the remediator has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).
(b) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.
(c) Use the name or title “certified mold remediator,” “registered mold remediator,” “licensed mold remediator,” “mold remediator,” “professional mold remediator,” or any combination thereof unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.
(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold assessment to a structure on which the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company provided a mold remediation within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s. 489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold remediation and offers to perform the mold assessment, the contract for mold assessment provided to the homeowner disclose that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.
(e) Remediate for a fee any property in which the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company has any financial or transfer interest.
(f) Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.
(g) Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.
(3) Any person who violates any provision of this section commits:
(a) A misdemeanor of the second degree for a first violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) A misdemeanor of the first degree for a second violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(c) A felony of the third degree for a third or subsequent violation, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
468.841 Exemptions.—

(1) The following persons are not required to comply with any provisions of this part relating to mold assessment:

(a) A residential property owner who performs mold assessment on his or her own property.
(b) A person who performs mold assessment on property owned or leased by the person, the person’s employer, or an entity affiliated with the person’s employer through common ownership, or on property operated or managed by the person’s employer or an entity affiliated with the person’s employer through common ownership. This exemption does not apply if the person, employer, or affiliated entity engages in the business of performing mold assessment for the public.
(c) An employee of a mold assessor while directly supervised by the mold assessor.
(d) Persons or business organizations acting within the scope of the respective licenses required under part XV of this chapter, chapter 471, part I of chapter 481, chapter 482, or chapter 489 1are acting on behalf of an insurer under part VI of chapter 626, or are persons in the manufactured housing industry who are licensed under chapter 320, except when any such persons or business organizations hold themselves out for hire to the public as a “certified mold assessor,” “registered mold assessor,” “licensed mold assessor,” “mold assessor,” “professional mold assessor,” or any combination thereof stating or implying licensure under this part.
(e) An authorized employee of the United States, this state, or any municipality, county, or other political subdivision, or public or private school and who is conducting mold assessment within the scope of that employment, as long as the employee does not hold out for hire to the general public or otherwise engage in mold assessment.
(2) The following persons are not required to comply with any provisions of this part relating to mold remediation:

(a) A residential property owner who performs mold remediation on his or her own property.
(b) A person who performs mold remediation on property owned or leased by the person, the person’s employer, or an entity affiliated with the person’s employer through common ownership, or on property operated or managed by the person’s employer or an entity affiliated with the person’s employer through common ownership. This exemption does not apply if the person, employer, or affiliated entity engages in the business of performing mold remediation for the public.
(c) An employee of a mold remediator while directly supervised by the mold remediator.
(d) Persons or business organizations that are acting within the scope of the respective licenses required under chapter 471, part I of chapter 481, chapter 482, chapter 489, or part XV of this chapter, are acting on behalf of an insurer under part VI of chapter 626, or are persons in the manufactured housing industry who are licensed under chapter 320, except when any such persons or business organizations hold themselves out for hire to the public as a “certified mold remediator,” “registered mold remediator,” “licensed mold remediator,” “mold remediator,” “professional mold remediator,” or any combination thereof stating or implying licensure under this part.
(e) An authorized employee of the United States, this state, or any municipality, county, or other political subdivision, or public or private school and who is conducting mold remediation within the scope of that employment, as long as the employee does not hold out for hire to the general public or otherwise engage in mold remediation.

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
Indoor Air Quality Solutions, IAQS
Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
Certification by American Council for Accredited Certification ACAC CIEC #0711048
Council-certified Environmental Thermography Consultant ACAC CETC #1005013
Accreditation by Council for Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB)
Florida State License Mold Assessor MRS4
www.FloridaIAQ.com




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Latest Top (6) News

Latest Top (6) News


Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Insulation Complaint Investigations
Like it or not, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation and the “Green” movement are here to stay.  Unfortunately, there are homes where the application has led to reports of nuisance odors and occupant sensitivity.  These occupant related complaints have led to a rise in SPF insulation investigations by many who have little understanding of SPF insulation and how sealing yourself in with SPF can negatively impact the indoor environment even when correctly applied.When it comes to the investigation of nuisance odors associated with the application of spray polyurethane foam SPF insulation, I’ve found that most of the investigations typically involve little more than varied attempts at trying to chemically associate the odor with the off-gassing of the SPF.I’ve been assessing spray polyurethane foam insulation SPF for many years on too many properties in too many states to list. I’ve assessed a dozen or so product lines both closed and open cell for manufactures, builders, homeowners, and applicators. The properties ranged from universities, community centers, offices, homes, both new construction and retrofit applications.In my experience, SPF investigations can be categorized in three distinct categories. The first two seem to be the primary areas of SPF investigations. The first category is simply miss-applied SPF, the second is presence of pre-existing or recently introduced contaminants and the third would be occupant exposure and sensitization during SPF application.By using these three assessment categories, I have had great luck in identifying the catalyst of the odor and associated complaint.  It has also helped raise awareness that it’s not always the SPF.The First Category – Category 1 Miss-Applied SPF Insulation CategoryThese nuisance odors are directly associated with incorrectly applied SPF insulation and can be addressed by either correcting the areas of misapplied foam or by removing and re-insulating the areas. Misapplied includes improper ventilation during the application, incomplete application, off ratio application, and also includes the SPF in direct contact with recessed can lights in the attic, keyless light fixture bulbs, dryer vents, and/or furnace and chimney flues, all of which can heat the SPF and cause a tremendous amount of chemical odors.Category 1 is relatively cut and dry and requires the onsite inspection of the SPF and the collection of no air samples.  The inspection of the foam and the determination of correct and complete installation is a critical first step.I‘ve been on SPF insulation investigations where Consultants or Indoor Environmental Professionals (IEP’s) who were hired to assess the SPF insulation never actually looked at the SPF insulation.  Many never even made a site visit.  They simply hire someone local to collect a few air samples for volatile organic compounds, VOC’s.  Many have no knowledge of how to assess the correct or complete installation of the SPF insulation.  Many IEP’s show up with all manner of air sampling equipment and begin and end their investigation with the collection of air samples intending to identify the chemical signature of misapplied SPF insulation.  There has been enough review of collected air samples to show that’s just not going to happen.For all who want to conduct SPF insulation inspections, start with understanding what correct and complete installation is according to the manufacturer who produced the foam you’re inspecting.  Know and understand the whole house design considerations with SPF.  Be open minded and scientific with your assessment and don’t automatically assume it’s the SPF.Consultants and IEP’s assessing homes with reported SPF related complaint must remember the substantial change that has just been made to the home. These changes alter the performance and conditioning of the home. The Consultants and IEP’s must take into consideration the ventilation and conditioning of the sealed attic.A sealed home must have a design consideration for the ventilation of the living space and for moving air through the newly acquired real-estate of the attic. Many of the top SPF manufactures include language similar to the following. “All buildings insulated, and air sealed with SPF Insulation must be designed to include adequate mechanical ventilation and outdoor air supply for optimum IAQ (Indoor Air Quality). For mechanical ventilation see ASHRAE Standard 62 – Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality or any other acceptable good engineering practice.” That’s a solid statement. The Spray Foam Coalition of the ACC Center for the Polyurethanes Industry also states on page 23 of their Guidance on Best Practices for the Installation of Spray Polyurethane Foam, “SPF applications typically improve air sealing of the structure and it is important for building owners to understand how this impacts the overall building and the potential need for new or additional ventilation.” In addition, the Spray Foam Coalition of the American Chemistry Council, ACC Center for the Polyurethanes Industry also states on page 24 of their Guidance on Best Practices for the Installation of Spray Polyurethane Foam in the Retrofitting Attics section under the heading of HVAC Systems (Attics); “The contractor and the homeowner should be aware that retrofitting an existing attic by employing an unvented attic assembly technique can result in the existing HVAC system becoming “oversized” in relation to the new demand. This situation is of special concern in the southern and coastal climate zones where the HVAC also serves to reduce or otherwise manage moisture levels of buildings in order to improve comfort and prevent moisture related problems, such as mold and mildew. If an existing HVAC becomes “oversized” due to the increased thermal efficiency of the unvented attic assembly, the HVAC system may begin to short cycle, or to quickly turn on and off, as it works to manage temperature. This short cycling of the HVAC system may have negative impacts on the comfort and efficiency of the building and possibly on the lifespan of the system. Involve an HVAC consultant to adapt the system to the new, more efficient building envelope associated with the spray foam retrofit.”Far too often the homes issues are directly related to inadequate cleaning of the attic, no design consideration for conditioning the attic, and not meeting the minimum ventilation rate set by ASHRAE Standard 62 – Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.The Second Category - Category 2 Pre-Existing or Recently Introduced ContributorsThis category cannot be stress enough to the professionals that are investigating SPFI. This category runs the gamut and can include some rather odd contributors to occupant discomfort and nuisance odors that become much more concentrated when the SPFI is installed.   These include the HVAC system, air exchange rate, storage of materials in the now sealed space, insect and or rodent activity, routine pest control applications, the previous insulation condition and material, proper ducting of kitchen and bath fans. The possibilities are endless, and all must be considered. Remember that what has accumulated in the attic is now semi-conditioned air that is shared with the attic and living space of the home.For example, if the home is a 60-year-old ranch that had open cell SPF installed at the roof sheathing and the attic was not cleaned to help save a few bucks, the bath fans are ducted to the attic space, and the home once had a rodent issue that was treated with poisons. Well to say the least you have a huge list of contributors to occupant discomfort and nuisance odors. Most of the SPF insulation investigations I am called in to review all of these issues were overlooked simply because of the recent application of SPFI.It’s not necessarily the SPF insulation that’s producing the odor or contaminates that are causing occupant discomfort, but the SPF insulation is what eliminated the natural ventilation of the attic which prevented the odors and contaminants from accumulating in the home. The SPF insulation has now trapped the odors and contaminants within the conditioned space of the home which now includes the sealed attic. In many cases, the home is no longer meeting the minimum ventilation rate and is accumulating VOC’s from daily use products.Many of the homes we consult on are blower-door tested and don’t even come close to the minimum ASHRAE air exchange rate. That attic air is now a part of the occupied space and has 60 years of accumulated who knows what. Easily it could include the accumulation of dust, debris, fiberglass, rodent and insect activity, prior application of pesticides, maybe even vermiculite. Which we have found within sealed SPF attics.This is a huge aspect of an SPF insulation investigation that I find all too often overlooked. As a professional investigating SPF insulation, you have to ask questions beyond the obvious who was the evil SPF insulation manufacturer.You have to ask relevant questions such as; “What is the condition of the new sealed attic space?” “What have the occupants been sealed in with?” “How is the ventilation rate being met?” “How is the conditioned space actually being conditioned?” “Is there any design consideration for controlling the sealed attic space?” Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple, particles, pathway, and pressure. Remember to keep an opened mind; it’s not always the SPF insulation.Many new construction homes have SPF insulation. Most will have outdoor air supply but many wont have any means of dehumidification. The introduction of the hot humid outdoor air in many climate zones will inevitably lead to the closing of the outdoor air supply. Tis will then lead to the accumulation of the daily use VOC’s. Sometimes as Consultants and IEP’s we’re hired to provide a very specific service. SPF insulation investigations are very specific. However, are we hired to help the homeowner identify what in their home may be contributing to their symptoms or are we there to prove the homeowner hypothesis that it’s the SPF insulation?IEP’s often go in with blinders on and lose focus on the true intent of the investigation which in my opinion should be “What is contributing to occupant discomfort and complaint?” The IEP should approach the home as a system and be open to all potential contributors to occupant complaint. The chief characteristic that distinguishes the scientific method of investigation from other methods of investigation is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself, supporting a theory when a theory's predictions are confirmed and challenging a theory when its predictions prove false. Scientific investigation is generally intended to be as objective as possible in order to reduce biased interpretations of results. This is often overlooked when the IEP conducts an investigation focused on making the evidence support their hypothesis without objective challenge.IEP’s must remember that while the SPF insulation may be the issue unless you can say there are no other issues within the home you have not completed your investigation you have just begun.The Third Category – Category 3 Sensitization Due to ExposureThis category includes all occupants who have become sensitized or allergic to the odors given off from SPFI. With sensitization occupants have either re-entered the property shortly after the foam is applied, well before the manufacturer recommended re-occupancy time of 24 to 48 hours while the SPF insulation is still curing and off-gassing, or in the most severe cases of occupant sensitivity the exposure was actually took place during the application of the SPF insulation.Sensitization of the occupants can be a result of many issues such as occupants that don’t want to spend the money for a hotel stay, early re-entry or occupancy, the curious application observer, to the painfully stupid like the builder above. However, occupant sensitization can also be the result of the lack of proper ventilation during the application. Venting of the off-gassing of the SPF insulation during application is critical and often not conducted at all. In all cases of occupant sensitization that I have been involved with the SPF insulation application was not properly vented to the exterior which created a substantial accumulation of the off-gassing chemicals within the property. These trapped volatile organic chemicals VOC’s are what sensitizes the occupants who have either re-occupied too early or were present during the SPF application.Sensitization occurs when the occupants are overexposed to the trapped volatile organic chemicals VOC’s and become sensitized. From that point on, any exposure to even a minute amount of the chemical causes a reaction. The process of sensitization can make a home unlivable for people who become sensitized.Homes that have improper ventilation during the application process of the SPF insulation are also included in the misapplied category and almost always have identified areas of misapplied SPF insulation (SPFI).This category is unique in that any attempt at reducing the occupant’s exposure to the SPF insulation that they are now sensitized to may not be of any relief. I have had no luck in providing sensitized occupants relief from the home they are now sensitive to. I have been involved in everything from the introduction of outdoor air through a pre-filter and dehumidifier to control the temperature, humidity, particles, path, and pressure to full removal of the SPF insulation. Unfortunately, the sensitized bell just can’t be un-rung.My advice to clients that have become sensitized to the SPF due to exposure during the application or as a result of premature occupation is to establish the installed condition of the SPF, improve the homes ventilation design to accommodate the SPF sealed home, and to sell the home once the improvements are complete. John P. Lapotaire, CIEC Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant Indoor AIr Quality Solutions, IAQS Microshield Environmental Services, LLC www.Microshield-ES.com  www.CFL-IAQ.com www.FloridaIAQ.comhttp://www.microshield-es.com/moldinspectiontesting.html http://www.orlandomoldinspection.us/ http://www.microshield-es.com/nuisanceodor.html http://www.floridaiaq.com/moldremediationprotocol.htmlhttp://www.floridaiaq.com/moldclearancetesting.html

Tue, 24 Jul 2018 12:55:03 -0700


Roof Leaks and Category 3 Water Damage
The New Restoration Money GrabI want to be clear that the restoration industry is dedicated to quickly responding to those in need during some of the most difficult times. These trained professionals are on call 24 hours a day and have the equipment and training to restore any property to its pre-loss condition. However, there are those that look at a loss as little more than an opportunity to make money with little or no consideration for the property owner.These are the restoration contractors who are misclassifying water damage from roof leaks. This is advantageous to restoration contractors but not to the property owners. In today’s restoration of roof leaks, the roofers refer a restoration contractor to any observed ceiling stains. The restoration contractor then recommends an IEP, Indoor Environmental Professional, to evaluate the water stain to determine the best approach to the restoration of the ceiling stain. Keep in mind that in virtually every case, the stains have long since been dry and have had no negative impact on the occupants either in odor or health. The stains were simply a visual issue that the property owner intended to correct with paint.This is where it obviously becomes over complicated. The restoration contractor will restore the ceiling stain based on the IEP’s recommendations, which far too often involves the containment and removal of the ceiling stain because the stain is reported as Category 3 water; therefore, an exposure risk to the occupants. The IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration defines Category 3 water as grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. The most specific aspect of Category 3 water is that it can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. Without confirmation of the contamination we’ll never know the true category of the water.Regardless, this theoretical exposure risk is explained to the property owner who becomes convinced that they should allow the IEP and restoration contractor to help them with the stain. Of course, the IEP and restoration contractor explain to the homeowner that it will be a covered loss and that they will help them by handling the claim and invoicing with the insurance company via the AOB (assignment of benefits). Neither the IEP nor the restoration contractor can ensure coverage.I can assure you that we’ve had ceiling leaks for as long as we’ve lived in shelters and until recently, we’ve never declared a ceiling stain grossly contaminated and a health risk to occupants. I can’t imagine how the ceiling stain would pose an exposure risk to the occupants unless they licked the ceiling.The problem is that these IEP’s, roofers, and restoration contractors have identified a new untapped revenue stream. The roofers report the ceiling stains to the restoration contractors for a small cash referral fee, avoid the “M” word (mold) by using an IEP to declare the stain as Category 3, and pursue the ceiling stains as restoration of water damage. With a signed AOB, the IEP and restoration contractor invoice the insurance company for the assessment and water damage restoration.Bear in mind that this is not the typical approach to any small water damage or ceiling stain. An active water leak, maybe. But a small ceiling stain, not hardly. By enlisting a willing IEP, the restoration contractor can easily state that he or she is only following the IEP’s recommendations. The work was preformed and the AOB signed. The restoration contractor will then use one of the many restoration law firms to sue the insurance company for payment if the insurance company declines the loss. In most cases, the property owner is unaware of the litigation involving the work performed in their property.Unfortunately, the way the AOB laws are written, the restoration attorney would not have to pay the insurance companies legal fees if they lose the case. However, the “one-way attorney fee statute” requires insurance companies to pay legal fees against any named “or omnibus insured” who wins a court judgment or decree in an action against the insurer.Courts interpret “omnibus insured” as meaning any assignee of the insured, and in cases against property insurers, that usually means water restoration contractors. Armed with the AOB, the contractors and their attorneys started realizing that huge money could be made challenging claims denials or settlement offers. This has led to the boom on category 3 ceiling stain restoration.To get back to the unnecessary restoration of a ceiling stain, we need to review how the classification of water is established. The classification of water damage is defined by the IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration which sets the standards for the cleaning industry and water damage restoration as either Category 1, 2, or 3.According to the IICRC’s S-500 standard there are three categories describing the type of liquid involved in a water loss. These three categories refer to the degree of contamination involved. From the IICRC website http://www.iicrc.org/the-basics-water-damage-restoration-training-a-23.htmlCategory 1. This is liquid from a clean and sanitary source, such as faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, etc. But, category one can quickly degrade into category two.Category 2. This category of liquid used to be called grey water and is described as having a level of contaminates that may cause illness or discomfort if ingested. Sources include dishwasher or washing machine overflows, flush from sink drains, and toilet overflow with some urine but not feces. Category 3. This is the worst classification and is grossly unsanitary. It could cause severe illness or death if ingested. It used to be called black water and sources include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth.So how could the classification of water be so abused? It’s all in the IICRC Category 3 definition. It’s a wording issue. As you read below, the definition clearly states that Category 3 water can include but are not limited to several various sources. That doesn’t mean that all are Category 3, or that Category 3 water is limited to that list. It simply means that all water could be Category 3 under the right circumstances. To establish the presence of Category 3 water, samples of the suspected area would need to be collected. The method used could either be by culturing a sample for bacteria or with the use of ATP. Either way, the presence of Category 3 water would need to be confirmed.The IICRC Definition of Category 3 Water IICRC S500 2015 page 14Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. Examples of Category 3 water can include, but are not limited to: sewage; waste line backflows that originate from beyond the trap regardless of visible content or color; all other forms of contaminated water resulting from flooding from seawater; rising water from rivers or streams; and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment, such as wind driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms, or other weather related events if they carry trace levels of contaminants (e.g., pesticides or toxic organic substances).The critical aspect of category 3 water is that it can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed.The IICRC Definition of Category 2 Water S500 2015 page 14“Category 2: Category 2 water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. Category 2 water can contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological). Examples of category 2 water can include but are not limited to: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines; overflows from washing machines; overflows from toilet bowls on the room side of the trap with some urine but no feces; seepage due to hydrostatic pressure; broken aquariums and punctured water beds.The critical aspect of category 2 water is that it has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. Category 2 water can contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms. The IICRC Definition of Category 1 Water S500 2015 page 13“Category 1: Category 1 water originates from a sanitary water source and does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. Examples of Category 1 water sources can include but are not limited to: broken water supply lines; tub or sink overflows with no contaminants; appliance malfunctions involving water-supply lines; melting ice or snow; falling rainwater; broken toilet tanks, and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives.”The critical aspect of category 1 water is that it does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. It’s important to remember that category 3 water is NOT potable water. Potable water, is water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation. You cannot use category 3 water as a drinking source or to prepare your food. Category 1 water may have come from a potable source but can change to category 2 or 3 once it contacts other surfaces.So how do these guys creatively categorize the water stain as category 3? They use a combination of source and duration. They believe that the water as it passes through the insulation and drywall becomes category 3. If that argument meets with resistance, then they use the duration of loss as altering the category from 1 to 3.The rain itself isn’t Category 3. Rainwater is predominantly evaporated water from a variety of sources such as lakes, rivers, and oceans. According to IICRC S500, atmospheric rainwater is defined as Category 1. We discussed that previously, falling rainwater is listed as an example of category 1 water.Below are ways that the category of water can deteriorate according to the IICRC.S500 2015 page 13“Category 1 water can deteriorate to Category 2 or 3. Category 1 water that flows into an uncontaminated building does not constitute an immediate change in the category.” “However, Category 1 water that flows into a contaminated building can constitute an immediate change in the category.”S500 2015 page 13Category 2 water can deteriorate to Category 3. Once microorganisms become wet from the water intrusion, depending upon the length of time that they remain wet and the temperature, they can begin to grow in numbers and can change the category of the water.”According to the IICRC, the category can change. It doesn’t say that it will change. These roof leaks can be very short lived and may not deteriorate in category and may not need containment or removal. That’s the value in an IEP, and unbiased opinion of the category of water supported by sampling and the explanation of occupant risk to the water damage.The opportunistic restoration contractors are claiming that the water is automatically Category 3 or the length of time that the Category 1 or 2 affected building materials remained wet and deteriorated the Category 1 or 2 water to Category 3. This is ridiculous and only benefits the restoration contractor. Property owners should base the need for removing a ceiling stain on exposure risk and cost, not policy coverage. A few years ago, nobody would consider making a hole in their ceiling because they had a small stain from a roof leak. Let’s face it nobody wants a nasty repair in the middle of their living room ceiling. But today many restoration contractors are convincing property owners that they need extensive restoration to their homes because of the risk of exposure to category 3 water.Let’s explore the occupant risk to the different categories of water damage and the possible need for removal of water damage stains.Option 1The roof leak began as water that does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. No need for extensive restoration. The area is dry and out of reach.Category 1, examples include: broken water supply lines; tub or sink overflows with no contaminants; appliance malfunctions involving water-supply lines; melting ice or snow; falling rainwater; broken toilet tanks, and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives.Option 2The roof leak deteriorated to water that has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. No need for extensive restoration. The area is dry and out of reach.Category 2, examples include: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines; overflows from washing machines; overflows from toilet bowls on the room side of the trap with some urine but no feces; seepage due to hydrostatic pressure; broken aquariums and punctured water beds.Option 3The roof leak then deteriorated to water that can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. No need for extensive restoration. The area is dry and out of reach.Category 3, examples include: sewage; waste line backflows that originate from beyond the trap regardless of visible content or color; all other forms of contaminated water resulting from flooding from seawater; rising water from rivers or streams; and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment, such as wind driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms, or other weather related events if they carry trace levels of contaminants (e.g., pesticides or toxic organic substances).Unless the ceiling is compromised and/or there is visible mold on the ceiling there is no need for extensive restoration. The area is dry and out of reach therefore not an exposure risk to the occupants.Clearly Option 1 or 2 are the typical classifications of a ceiling stain resulting from a roof leak. Some would argue Option 2. However, neither would require containment and removal due to the risk of occupant exposure. I think anyone reasonable would conclude that a simple ceiling stain from a short-term roof leak would not cause a significant adverse reaction to humans if contacted or consumed because the water has long since dried and the area out of reach. Remember the ceiling stains that we’ve been called in to assess were all dry and posed absolutely no exposure risk to the occupants. Could it be category 3, yes. But does it need to be removed for the safety of the occupants, usually not. Unless the ceiling is compromised and/or there is visible mold there is no need for extensive restoration. The area is dry and out of reach therefore not an exposure risk to the occupants.Any area of water damage can deteriorate to category 3. The S500 provides examples of that. According to the S500 reference guide the restoration contractor is responsible for categorizing the water. If retained, the IEP has the responsibility to confirm the category of water before they recommend substantial restoration of a ceiling stain. Can a roof leak be category 3? Sure, but you better confirm before you begin removing a simple stain in any home I’m involved with as an IEP. The restoration contractor’s objective is to profess occupant risk to the category 3 water stain that would lead the property owner to initiate an insurance claim. The categorization of roof leaks as category 3 to suggest that the stained area would cause a significant adverse reaction to humans if contacted or consumed is simply being used to gain access to yet another home for yet another claim and another invoice.Please share this with your friends and family. We do not need this level of unnecessary water damage restoration just because the system is set in a way that would allow leveraging payment for the unnecessary restoration.Stay safe and informed my friends. John P. Lapotaire, CIEC Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant Indoor AIr Quality Solutions, IAQS Microshield Environmental Services, LLC www.Microshield-ES.com  www.CFL-IAQ.com www.FloridaIAQ.comhttp://www.microshield-es.com/moldinspectiontesting.html http://www.orlandomoldinspection.us/ http://www.microshield-es.com/nuisanceodor.html http://www.floridaiaq.com/moldremediationprotocol.htmlhttp://www.floridaiaq.com/moldclearancetesting.html

Sun, 25 Mar 2018 10:56:25 -0700


Classification of Storm Water Damage
After the recent hurricanes we have found ourselves faced with the misclassification of rain water from the hurricane as Category 3 water (Cat 3).  The classification of water is defined by the IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration as either Category 1, 2, or 3.After recent named storms many restoration contractors have been opportunistically categorizing rainwater from the storms as Category 3 water.  This benefits the restoration contractor.  With the classification of Cat 3 water the contractors can now remove substantially more building material than would otherwise be necessary.To be clear there will always be Cat 3 water with named storms and flooding.  However, the recent abuse of the Cat 3 water is simply a means of extending the area of loss and increasing the cost to restore.  Don’t get me wrong here.  There are times when it is far more cost effective to bulk remove building material to accelerate the restoration process.  However, there are times when building materials that were wet and then dried, and then classified as Cat 3 with the recommendation of removal.  Double dipping.For example, a 5-story condo building that had no surface water flooding and only wind driven rain entering the sliding glass doors.  The areas that were wet were quickly dried.  The restoration contractor then classified all wind driven rain at the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors as Cat 3, grossly contaminated.   The recommendation was to remove the lower 2 feet of drywall from all the condos.  There was no supporting evidence that the water was grossly contaminated.  The vast majority of the units were occupied during and after the hurricane.  The damage was limited to very small and localized areas at the sliding glass doors.  Yet the restoration contractor recommended the full evacuation of the building so the “Cat 3 Grossly Contaminated” drywall could be removed.So how could the classification of water be so abused?  It’s all in the IICRC Category 3 definition.  It’s a wording issue.  As you read below the definition clearly states that Cat 3 water can include wind driven rain from hurricanes.  That doesn’t mean that wind driven rain is Cat 3, just that like all water it could be Cat 3.  To establish the presence of Cat 3 water samples of the suspected area of the 3rd floor drywall would need to be collected.  The method used could either be by culturing a sample for bacteria or with the use of ATP.  Either way the presence of Cat 3 water at the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors would need to be confirmed.Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. Examples of Category 3 water can include, but are not limited to: sewage; waste line backflows that originate from beyond the trap regardless of visible content or color; all other forms of contaminated water resulting from flooding from seawater; rising water from rivers or streams; and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment, such as wind driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms, or other weather related events if they carry trace levels of contaminants (e.g., pesticides or toxic  organic substances).Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then becomes heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth.  It provides suitable conditions for many types of ecosystems and crop irrigation.Collecting and using rainwater can be a great way to conserve resources.  Some people collect and use rainwater for watering plants, cleaning, bathing, or drinking.  The issue with the collection of rainwater is the method of collection and storage.  If rainwater is collected from a roof for example it can contain contaminants that accumulate on the roof.The rain itself isn’t Category 3.  Rainwater is predominantly evaporated water from a variety of sources such as lakes, rivers, and oceans.  According to IICRC S500, atmospheric rainwater is defined as Category 1.“Category 1: Category 1 water originates from a sanitary water source and does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. Examples of Category 1 water sources can include, but are not limited to: broken water supply lines; tub or sink overflows with no contaminants; appliance malfunctions involving water-supply lines; melting ice or snow; falling rainwater; broken toilet tanks, and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives.”Rainwater is Category 1 Water.  Therefore, rainwater associated with tropical storms or hurricanes is predominantly evaporated water from a variety of sources and according to IICRC S500, falling rainwater is defined as Category 1.The restoration contractors defining wind-driven rain as Category 3 water either haven’t read the S500 or are specifically abusing their misinterpretation to their benefit.  As shown above the IICRC S500 clearly defines rainwater as Category 1 and clearly states that Category 3 water can include wind driven rain from hurricanes.  I think that is pretty clear even to the layman.For the wind driven rain to be categorized as Category 3, the water must have been grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. If rain is to be classified as Cat 3 water we’re all in trouble.  How many times do we see a TV weather forecaster leaning into the wind driven rain of a hurricane as he or she blurts out the weather?  Wind driven rain in Florida takes place virtually every day somewhere. Clearly there are times when wind driven rain can be classified as Cat 3.  The IICRC recognized that and included the possibility in the standard.  To be Cat 3 the wind driven rain must be contaminated from something that was grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents.  There is also the possibility that Category 1 or 2 water deteriorated to Category 3 water over time.  The IICRC S500 addresses that possibility as well.“Category 1 water can deteriorate to Category 2 or 3.  Category 1 water that flows into an uncontaminated building does not constitute an immediate change in the category.” “However, Category 1 water that flows into a contaminated building can constitute an immediate change in the category.”Clearly the interior of an occupied condo is not a contaminated building.“Category 2: Category 2 water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.  Category 2 water can contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms.  as well as other organic or inorganic matter {chemical or biological). Examples of category 2 water can include, but are not limited to: discharge from dishwashers or washing1 machines; overflows from washing machines; overflows from toilet bowls on the room side of the trap with some urine but no feces; seepage due to hydrostatic pressure; broken aquariums and punctured water beds.Category 2 water can deteriorate to Category 3. Once microorganisms become wet from the water intrusion, depending upon the length of time that they remain wet and the temperature, they can begin to grow in numbers and can change the category of the water.”Category 1 and 2 water can to deteriorate in category.  That fact remains undisputed.  However, the method of establishing the category of water appears to be the issue.  It would appear that the opportunistic restoration contractors are assuming that the wind driven rain water is automatically Category 3 or the length of time that the Cat 1 or 2 water remained wet deteriorated the Cat 1 or 2 water to Category 3.The reality is both are nothing more than an unproven hypothesis.  To establish the Category of water that is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed.  The assessor or restoration contractor would have to confirm the if water has trace levels of contaminants (e.g., pesticides or toxic organic substances).In the example provided earlier we talked about a 5-story condo building that was reportedly “grossly contaminated” by Category 3 hurricane rain.  No confirmation of the category was provided.  There was however a substantial estimate for drywall removal and sanitization of the grossly contaminated condos that were continuously occupied during and after the storm.We provided a second opinion on the property and conducted onsite ATP sampling of the reportedly Category 3 contaminated drywall.  We used the Bio-Reveal Protocol for Sampling of Category 1, 2 and 3 Water Loss.  The Bio-reveal® bio-contamination detection system is designed to evaluate the level of surface cleanliness and sanitized hygiene in the indoor environment. This system will not detect specific strains of bacterial, viral or other micro-organisms, rather will measure and document the total surface or liquid conditions where these types of pathogenic organisms may be detected or harbored as a result of dirty, unhygienic or where direct impaction of Category 1, 2 or 3 water contamination may have occurred.  Additionally, the Bio-reveal® bio-contamination detection system can be used to generally quantify the total bacterial concentrations of Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3 water as referenced by the IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration.All areas sampled were found to be well below the “Final hygiene goal for water loss restoration or remediation of building materials or contents to be salvaged.”  The condo owners did not evacuate and the drywall was not removed.  The total savings to the building were significant.The trend of categorizing hurricane rain or wind driven rain as Category 3 needs to be nipped in the bud.  Do not allow a restoration contractor or mold assessor to declare rain water damage from a hurricane as Category 3 just because it came from the sky during a hurricane.  This assumed gross contamination only benefits the restoration contractor as it substantially increases their fee.I hope this helped to clarify the Category of a water loss and prevented the unnecessary removal of building material that could otherwise be restored at a lessor fee. John P. Lapotaire, CIEC Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant Indoor AIr Quality Solutions, IAQS Microshield Environmental Services, LLC www.Microshield-ES.com  www.CFL-IAQ.com www.FloridaIAQ.comhttp://www.microshield-es.com/moldinspectiontesting.html http://www.orlandomoldinspection.us/ http://www.microshield-es.com/nuisanceodor.html http://www.floridaiaq.com/moldremediationprotocol.htmlhttp://www.floridaiaq.com/moldclearancetesting.html

Sun, 22 Oct 2017 10:35:21 -0700


What IS a Professional Mold Inspection?
A Professional Mold Assessment To begin we should define a mold assessment and remind consumers that “All molds are created equal.  It is not necessary to determine what type of mold you may have.  All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.”  This is according to Center for Disease Control, CDC.  Consumers should be aware that anyone using the terms “Black Mold” or “Toxic Mold” are preying on their fears.The purpose of a mold assessment is to clearly establish the Cause & origin, Location, and Extent of mold growth A mold assessment is not the identification of the type of mold by sampling.A mold inspector doesn’t simply look for visible signs of a mold problem, but instead looks for signs of the possible cause of the mold problem. There can be many cases with no visible evidence.   However, a professional mold assessor will know what and where to look.  A professional mold assessor will look for water damage, pathways for water movement, and the sources of moisture that are essential for the growth of mold.  Moisture and mold go hand in hand; without moisture there can be no mold growth.If mold is identified in the clients home the mold inspection report should identify the cause of the moisture supporting the mold growth so that the cause can be corrected and the mold once remediated will not return.  The next step is to identify the extent of the mold damage.  This involves the use of a site plan as described by the ASTM D-7338 Standard Guide for Assessment of Fungal Growth in Buildings. The report will be used by the remediation contractor as a scope of work or remediation protocol. A Mold Remediation Protocol outlines the needed actions for any necessary mold remediation. Each plan is individually prepared based on the mold assessment of the property and the size and area of the mold contamination.  A properly prepared Mold Remediation Protocol should be written according to the ANSI Approved IICRC S-520 standard and reference guide for the remediation of mold damaged structures and contents.When incomplete or poorly written, the mold remediation protocol can increase the cost of the mold remediation for the property owner as well as create possible liability for the remediation contractor. Red Flag #1Mold inspections by the mold remediatorThe first “RED FLAG” when hiring a mold inspector is the “Free” mold inspection from the mold remediator.  Nothing is Free.  These free mold inspections are generally from mold remediators wanting to provide you with expensive mold remediation.  This is a huge conflict of interest and should be avoided at all cost.  These inspections typically include little more than the collection of mold samples to confirm the presence of mold and often to use the type of mold to scare the client into believing their mold issue is far more severe than they ever thought.  These guys will make a mold mountain out of a mold hill.To protect the citizens of Florida from these scams, Florida Governor Crist signed Mold legislation (SB2234) into law. The new law regulates the Mold Inspection and Mold Remediation Industry.  The statute became effective July 1, 2010.  Under that statute it clearly states that the assessor cannot provide the remediation. Florida Statutes and Rules  Chapter 468, Part XVI, Florida Statutes468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.—A person may not: Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months.Perform or offer to perform any mold assessment to a structure on which the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company provided a mold remediation within the last 12 months.Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.One would think that the statute would prevent the continued mold assessments by mold remediators.  Unfortunately, this remains the mold industry's #1 conflict of interest.Red Flag #2The sample only mold inspection.Unfortunately, many believe that a mold assessment is simply testing for mold.  Many simply collect a few samples for mold and provide the client with a laboratory report.  These mold samplers provide no relevant or necessary information that would inform the client of the cause and origin of the water supporting the mold or the extent of the mold impacted building material.  Sampling definitely does not provide a scope of work or mold remediation protocol.The government position on mold sampling The Center for Disease Control, CDC. - There are no accepted standards for mold sampling in indoor environments or for analyzing and interpreting the data in terms of human health. Molds are ubiquitous in the environment, and can be found almost anywhere samples are taken. It is not known, however, what quantity of mold is acceptable in indoor environments with respect to health. CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a building. Measurements of mold in air are not reliable or representative. If 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.The Center for Disease Control, CDC's current position is that air sampling for mold is nothing more than a snap shot and that such a snap shot is not reliable, representative or worth the cost. The CDC states very clearly that “Any claim based solely on air sampling results is inherently suspect.” The CDC goes on to state that “There is no reason to respond to questionable testing by conducting more of it. I believe that is a very clear position from a reputable source.“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.”US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, - If you know you have a mold problem, it is more important to spend time and resources solving the moisture problem and getting rid of the mold than to spend it on sampling. If visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with federal mold standards.The Florida Department of Health, - 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.So, should you inspect for mold by just sampling for mold? No, never for the purpose of mold investigation. Why? There are too many variables impacting the results and the sample size is too small for air testing for mold to be reliable. The type of mold will not change the necessary mold remediation. The genus of mold is just not relevant or necessary unless you are trying to frighten a client into believing that they have “Toxic” mold.The industry Standard for Mold AssessmentThe industry has a standard for the assessment of mold.  The ASTM D7338 Standard Guide for Assessment of Fungal Growth in Buildings.  The standard was developed to provide a go-to reference for anyone inspecting for mold in buildings. The standard was developed by Subcommittee D22.08, part of ASTM International Committee D22 on Air Quality.“The lack of consensus standards in the fungal sampling and analysis practice was the driving force behind establishing D22.08,” says its chairman, Lisa Rogers. “All of our efforts are focused on bringing consistency, reliability and accuracy to the practice.”The ASTM D-7338 states that the assessor provide the Identification of Current Water Damage and Suspect Fungal Growth.  All surfaces within the inspection boundary should be systematically evaluated for indicators of moisture damage and fungal growth.  If the source is not apparent, intrusive investigation may be required.  The ASTM D-7338 states that the assessor provide the Classification of Inspection Observations.  Classify each distinct area or area of interest within the inspection boundary as one of the following categories: No apparent fungal growth and no apparent water damage; Water damage having no visually suspect or confirmed fungal growth, Visually suspect or confirmed fungal growth having no apparent water damage, & Water damage having visually suspect or confirmed fungal growth. A site/floor plan should be prepared showing each inspection classification, as determined in 7.5.6. The plan should be sufficiently detailed to allow each area of interest to the assessment to be unambiguously located.Documentation of Suspect Fungal Growth—Wherever suspect or confirmed fungal growth is identified during the inspection, documentation should include: Extent (for example, approximate square footage of suspect growth), Severity (for example, relative darkness or continuity of stain), growth pattern (for example, light versus heavy growth and spotty versus continuous growth), and Clues to apparent cause (for example, exterior wall, condensation near a HVAC vent, associated with water staining). Documentation of Moisture Damage—In addition to documenting the location of moisture damage, as above, further documentation should include: Apparent sources of leaks and other moisture sources, and Apparent timing and duration (for example, whether the moisture has been resolved, active (currently wet) or the moisture source is likely to reoccur What should the client receive at the end of their mold inspection. Mold Inspection Report and Mold Remediation Protocol if necessaryThe written report should be written in accordance with the ASTM D-7338 and signed by the licensed mold assessor that performed the assessment.  The Remediation Protocol should be very specific to the client’s loss.  The protocol should outline the specific material and cleaning process for the mold remediator.  The area of loss should never be ambiguous or left to the remediator to define.  Each plan should be individually prepared based on the mold assessment of the property and the size and area of the mold contamination.  The protocol should include a floor plan clearly identifying the area of loss, the extent of the damage, the mold impacted building material to be removed, and the necessary containment strategy to separate the impacted areas from the unimpacted areas. Questions you should ask your mold assessor before you hire them. Are you licensed by the State of Florida? Do you perform mold remediation? Will you be conducting a visual inspection or just mold testing? Will I be getting a written report from you or the laboratory? How do you interpret the laboratory results? Will you be performing the mold assessment in accordance with the ASTM D-7338 Standard Guide for Assessment of Fungal Growth in Buildings? Are you familiar with the IICRC S-520? What qualifications do you have to perform mold inspection? What certifications do you have? Do you have references from clients within the past year that I can call to ask how the inspection went?John P. Lapotaire, CIEC Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant Indoor AIr Quality Solutions, IAQS Microshield Environmental Services, LLC www.Microshield-ES.com  www.CFL-IAQ.com www.FloridaIAQ.comhttp://www.microshield-es.com/moldinspectiontesting.html http://www.orlandomoldinspection.us/ http://www.microshield-es.com/nuisanceodor.html http://www.floridaiaq.com/moldremediationprotocol.htmlhttp://www.floridaiaq.com/moldclearancetesting.html

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 12:38:21 -0700


Storm Damage Mold Remediation Consumer Alert!
Many across Florida have been directly impacted by the recent storms that wreaked havoc on our beautiful state.In a recent discussion with Richard "Rick" Morrison, Executive Director, Division of Professions Mold-Related Services Licensing Program regarding the possibility of the Governor waving licensure requirements for mold related services.  Rick felt that the state has enough licensed mold professionals to not recommend waving the licensing requirements at this time.Those impacted by the storm and in need of water and mold damage restoration should ensure that the contractors providing services are licensed and in good standing with the state of Florida.  http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/mold/index.htmlI also wanted to take a minute to provide a few questions that you can ask your mold assessor or mold remediation contractor before you make the decision to hire.Are you licensed?Who will be providing the mold assessment?Who will be providing the mold remediation?What will my mold assessment consist of?Will I receive a written report or just a laboratory report? The most common mistake property owners can make is to allow the mold remediation contractor to provide the mold assessment.  Mold remediation is a very profitable business. Many mold remediation contractors use free or deeply discounted mold inspections as a means to acquire expensive mold remediation jobs.  This is the beginning of the “Fear” based approach to mold not the “Fact” based professional approach.Unfortunately, this is a common practice.  The assessment often includes the collection of mold samples and the declaration that the home is contaminated with “Black Mold”.  Sampling of any kind is more often than not necessary and more often than not used to scare the homeowner into believing that their home is contaminated with “Toxic Black Mold” or “Stachybotrys”.  Fear not Fact!If your mold professional brings up the “Black Mold” issue walk him or her right out the door. The Center for Disease Control clearly states, “There is always some mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. Molds have been on the Earth for millions of years. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and the CDC does not recommend performing routine sampling for molds.”  Fact!The type of mold will not change the need for mold remediation nor will the type of mold change the severity of the water and mold damage.  There are over 100,000 molds and over 10,000 have the ability to produce mycotoxins.  There are also a few well know molds that are repeatedly used to scare consumers such as “Black Toxic Stachybotrys”.From the CDC website.  “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.”These “Black Mold” fear tactics began in Cleveland, Ohio, when in 1993 and 1994 where there was a cluster of cases of pulmonary hemosiderosis among infants. with a conducted titled “Study of Toxin Production by Isolates of Stachybotrys chartarum and Memnoniella echinata Isolated during a Study of Pulmonary Hemosiderosis in Infants.”  Yes that is a mouth full but most government studies have grandiose titles.The problem with the study is that it was preliminary and incomplete.  Worse yet is that most in the mold and restoration industry have never read any of these studies or the final opinions of these studies. Below is the final opinion of the study from the CDC.“A review within CDC and by outside experts of the investigation of acute pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis in infants has identified shortcomings in the implementation and reporting of the investigation described in MMWR (1,2) and detailed in other scientific publications authored, in part, by CDC personnel (3-5). The reviews led CDC to conclude that a possible association between acute pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis in infants and exposure to molds, specifically Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly referred to by its synonym Stachybotrys atra, was not proven.”The CDC Position on Toxic Mold and Stachybotrys.  https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htmThe 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.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.US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC145304/While many papers suggest a similar relationship between Stachybotrys and human disease, the studies nearly uniformly suffer from significant methodological flaws, making their findings inconclusive. As a result, we have not found well-substantiated supportive evidence of serious illness due to Stachybotrys exposure in the contemporary environment.Despite the well documented lack of connection between Stachybotrys and health effects, including the CDC, many in the mold and restoration industry continue to use these wild and scientifically unsupported scare tactics to charge for mold remediation services that are unnecessary.  I can assure you that Stachybotrys is in every home and building to some degree or another.  We have been cohabitating with mold since we lived in caves. The value in a professional mold assessment is in the identification of the specific area of the mold contamination by a licensed professional that is not providing the mold remediation.  With the identification of the specific area of mold contamination in a written report from your assessor, licensed mold remediators can provide estimates for the mold remediation.The specific area of mold contamination cannot and will never be revealed by sampling the air and scaring homeowners with specific molds.   The sample only approach to a mold assessment has no value to anyone but the sampler who collects a fee for the sample.  Remember the type of mold does not change the method of mold remediation, does not change the area impacted by mold, and will never elevate the concern for exposure to occupants.  All claims that the type of mold raises the severity are either by the ill-informed or those looking to prey on your fears for profit.A professional mold assessment would include the area affected by the mold as required by the ASTM D-7338.  A professional assessment would report that the area impacted by mold.  For example, the area of mold growth is approximately 4 square feet of the exterior south facing bedroom wall as shown on the attached restoration floor plan and diagram.  Remove the base boards and the drywall from the floor to a height of 2 feet.  The diagram would show the area of affected building material that would require removal.  The type of mold would not matter and would not change the area impacted or the method of remediation.   Fact not Fear. Those wanting to insight fear would report nothing more than the spore counts of samples collected as elevated or as having the presence of Stachybotrys “Black Toxic Mold”.  Fear not Fact.The cost of restoring your home can be greatly increased if you’re not careful when hiring a mold professional.  Be aware of scare tactics, ask for references, never hire anyone that is recommending sampling, never ever hire anyone that uses the term “Black or Toxic Mold”.I hope this helps at least one family through this time of recovery. John P. Lapotaire, CIEC Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant Indoor AIr Quality Solutions, IAQS Microshield Environmental Services, LLC www.Microshield-ES.com  www.CFL-IAQ.com www.FloridaIAQ.comhttp://www.microshield-es.com/moldinspectiontesting.html http://www.orlandomoldinspection.us/ http://www.microshield-es.com/nuisanceodor.html http://www.floridaiaq.com/moldremediationprotocol.htmlhttp://www.floridaiaq.com/moldclearancetesting.html

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 12:17:39 -0700


Disaster Response and Recovery
It has been a wild couple of months, with first Hurricane Harvey then Irma and finally Maria leaving paths of devastation in their wake. Hundreds of IAQA members have been impacted both professionally and personally by the storms. As professionals serving clients suffering wide-ranging damages, we want to responsibly assist them and help them avoid the scammers who unfortunately seek to profit by the misfortune of others. The following is information to keep in mind that you can pass along to your clients as needed.Puerto RicoAs the post hurricane damage is assessed in Puerto Rico, there are reports of “FEMA inspectors” asking for personal information or charging for services such as damage inspections or contractor repairs. This is a scam.Scam artists may pose as government officials, aid workers, charitable organizations, or insurance company employees. Follow these steps: Do not respond to texts, phone calls or personal requests seeking your personal information. The only time you should provide personal information is during the initial application process for FEMA help or when you initiate contact with FEMA to follow up on an application. FEMA inspectors only require verification of identity. Ask for identification and don’t be afraid to hang up on cold callers. Contact government agencies using information posted on their websites or in other official sources. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand or contracts with blank spaces. If you suspect fraud, contact the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or report it to the Federal Trade Commission Contact government agencies using information posted on their websites or in other official sources. TexasTexas officials say Harvey-related online scams continue to proliferate. If Texans in affected counties believe they have been scammed or encountered price gouging during or after Hurricane Harvey, they should call the Texas Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline, 800-621-0508, or email consumeremergency@oag.texas.gov.FloridaFlorida officials are also warning homeowners to beware of scammers who show up posing as FEMA damage inspectors or repair contractors. Unlicensed contractors who take advantage of natural disasters also face strict penalties. During a declared state of emergency, the penalty for unlicensed construction activity becomes a third-degree felony.Report price gouging or contractor fraud to the Attorney General’s Office online at www.myfloridalegal.com or by calling toll-free at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM. Additionally, you may report unlicensed contractors to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation online at www.myfloridalicense.com or by calling 1-866-532-1440.U.S. Virgin IslandsMany in the Virgin Islands are in need and displaced. As a result of the major disaster declaration, FEMA will provide supplemental funding to the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) for costs to remove eligible household debris that is moved to public rights of way, but residents should follow VIWMA’s guidance.“Removing a substantial amount of household debris helps eliminate a safety and health hazard for residents,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer William Vogel. “We are committed to doing what we can to help survivors recover and get back to normal as soon as possible.”Internet ScamsScammers that have honed their Internet skills to fleece unsuspecting consumers. Natural disasters offer a perfect entree into defrauding storm victims, along with the good Samaritans who want to help.Cyber thieves have snapped up scores of Internet domain names containing combinations of words such as “Irma,” “help,” “victims” and “relief.” The Center for Internet Security has tracked nearly 750 freshly registered domain names and issued a warning that consumers should be wary of bogus websites as well as emails that may contain phishing messages or malware. Also beware of fake online GoFundMe pages.To donate or volunteer, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org. Federal Disaster Recovery AssistanceFEMA disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you know of someone who has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at (800) 621-3362.Consumers can also file a complaint with the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721.In closing, on behalf of the IAQA, our thoughts and prayers go out to all impacted by the recent natural disasters, as well as the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting and their loved ones. John P. Lapotaire, CIEC Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant Indoor AIr Quality Solutions, IAQS Microshield Environmental Services, LLC www.Microshield-ES.com  www.CFL-IAQ.com www.FloridaIAQ.comhttp://www.microshield-es.com/moldinspectiontesting.html http://www.orlandomoldinspection.us/ http://www.microshield-es.com/nuisanceodor.html http://www.floridaiaq.com/moldremediationprotocol.htmlhttp://www.floridaiaq.com/moldclearancetesting.html

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 10:56:58 -0700