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Mold Testing Survey Results 1-16-13


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MOLD TESTING SURVEY RESULTS AFTER ONE WEEK

The following are the poll results on mold testing as of today, January 16, 2013. The survey was taken at two home inspector discussion forums. The Inspector's Journal had 190 views and Inspection News had 328 views. Each forum responded with 47 votes for a total of 94. I rounded off the replies to the nearest 1/100 percent.

The TOTAL:

1. I usually test for mold. Zero votes (0%)

2. I sometimes test for mold. Six (6%)

3. I never test for mold. Forty-two (45%)

4. I never test for mold and I do not recommend testing. Forty-six (49%)

The breakdown per site:

InspectionNews: Q1. 0 (0%) Q2. 5 (11%) Q3. 26 (55%) Q4. 16 (34%)

TIJ: Q1. 0 (0%) Q2. 1 (2%) Q3. 16 (34%) Q4. 31 (66%)

Side note: in 2007 the InspectionNews ran a poll as to what kind of services HI?s offer besides the basic home inspection such as lead testing, water testing, radon, etc.

259 people responded. 85 respondents or 33%, said they offer mold testing as an extra service which was second only to water testing which came in at 35%.

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Mike,

good info, but let's be sure to do some factor analysis before any "facts" are extracted.

For instance I personally answered that I never test, but did not never recommend. Or there was no question for "I can test for mold" or "I would test for mold" or "I never would recommend", etc.

It also tells us lots of info regarding TIJ and Inspection News.

Good info, just not life changing!

PS: I often eat mold and often recommend it to others.

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Mike,

good info, but let's be sure to do some factor analysis before any "facts" are extracted.

For instance I personally answered that I never test, but did not never recommend. Or there was no question for "I can test for mold" or "I would test for mold" or "I never would recommend", etc.

It also tells us lots of info regarding TIJ and Inspection News.

Good info, just not life changing!

PS: I often eat mold and often recommend it to others.

I understand but I did not want to include too many variables. The point I wanted to drive home was that home inspectors do not usually test for mold as was stated in the Chicago Tribune article that started me down this whole road.

No, it's not life changing. And I don't think it's going to change one darned thing. I'm still sending off another strongly worded letter to the editors of the Chicago Tribune expressing my disappointment in their irresponsible journalism. Big shrug.

I believe the garbage they printed was deliberately false and perpetuated by someone in the mold testing business who wants the general public to believe that testing for mold is a normal thing when buying a house.

This is from the CDC and I'm sure most are familiar with it.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/indoorenv/mold.html#4

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. Furthermore, sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established.

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For those who don't frequent Inspection News, read anything from Caoimh?n P. Connell on the mold subject. His posts should be mandatory reading on this subject.

Stephen G

He's smart alright but he won't tolerate even the slightest challenge from any forum member. He's way up there in the clouds beyond the reach of any of us...Bull.

Marc

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Interesting. Both the poll results and the understanding that polls are collections of statistics that reflect bias.

There's also the very good likelihood that the article in the Trib was just another bit of "aggregated journalism", i.e., some pup with a journalism degree needs to fill column inches, they, like others, read other aggregated news blather and form incomplete and inaccurate opinions from other incomplete and inaccurate opinions, and the group mind gets a little bit smaller.

Charlie (the HI that went out for a mop and bucket and came back with a $20,000 barbecue rig) said something like this years ago...."a home inspector says something, 80% of other HI's hear it and believe it, and crazy "facts" get accepted as truth. Since 80% is a majority, real information tends to get drowned out in the noise". At least, he said something like that.

Anyone remember how he said it?

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Mike,

I think I came across wrongly in my post. Your survey is meaningful and the idea that you ask the question is proper. It is a question I have asked myself and now I also have some stats for argument (discussion).

The trib piece was crap.

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When I sent a letter to the editor of the Tribune, Brenda Richardson, asking what was the source for the comment about mold testing ?usually being addressed,? by home inspectors, she turned the question over to not the author, John Handley, but to Jack McGraw, the director of ASHI education, who happened to be featured in this very same article. There's a very large photo of him kneeling on top of a roof.

This was his response:

?If the home inspectors have taken a course on mold inspection and testing, through ASHI School, then the HI's can make a qualified assessment, whether to test or not. The most important aspect of the building sciences field we are in is the inspection part. Before any testing for mold is to take place, there must be qualifying data objectives that warrant testing. These would be signatures of moisture intrusion in its many forms, such as excessive relative humidity, and what we call "Symptom Red Flags". Those are the indicators of whether the environment (house) is creating and (sic) ill response in its occupants (sick building syndrome).

Finally, you are correct that no agency, EPA, CDC, NIH, OSHA, has created TLV's (threshold limit values) for mold. They do not exist. The closest testing to setting TLV's, would be through the EPA's ERMI test, a.k.a. Environmental Relative Moldiness Index. The ERMI is simply an index that relates how moldy a home is. The ERMI is based on a comparison of homes with known mold problems, to homes without known mold problems?

This did not answer my question. I shot him an e-mail asking directly if he usually tests for mold. He did not respond. Since no one yet has cared to take responsibility for the sentence in question I will have to draw my own conclusions.

By the way, ASHI has a class for mold testing that runs $795.

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What also is royally irksome is grouping the testing of mold with the testing of radon and carbon monoxide which have decidedly quantifiable levels of danger. Too much radon can cause cancer and kill you. Too much carbon monoxide can turn you into a vegetable or kill you. The implication is clear.

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Yes. Jack dodged. Completely. He should be ashamed, but I'm not holding my breath imagining that will happen.

The fact that the question got redirected to ASHI tells me the piece was an aggregated bit of drivel. An idea was hatched, the "journalist" relied on source material from a "school" and an individual that are not credible, no cross checking of material was done, and the result is crap.

The ASHI School is profit center, and as such, it will exercise the prerogatives of any business. In this case, it's shameless bullshit.

Good work Mike.

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The mold is gold thing will continue to pervade.

The mold-is-golders have quietly hung in there and plied their smoke and mirrors trade for over a decade, constantly reinforcing the notion that there is "toxic" mold floating around out there that is deadly to anyone that breathes it. The media and attorneys hyped it because it sold copy and brought in clients and now a lot of folks have pretty much accepted the notion that it's a legit business.

ASHI should be ashamed that their name is attached to that; worse yet they should be doubly ashamed that they haven't come out publicly with a strong stance against this whole "toxic" mold fiction and the mold-is-golders. Instead, the mold-is-golders seem to have risen up through the ASHI hierarchy and are now positioned right where they can ensure that this kind of nonsense continues to be perpetuated.

It's the same with the other associations. As far as I can tell, none of them has publicly come out strongly and declared the mold-is-golders a bunch of charlatans.

I used to be angry that ASHI, being the oldest and then the largest, failed to take a strong public stance against the whole wink and nod relationship between 'zoids and suckup inspectors; now I've got two good reasons to consider them lacking any semblence of courage. If ASHI were a man, I'd call him a p**sy to his face.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Historically, that's been the ASHI MO.

First, it was some of the 3 ring binder folks, then ITA, then various report enterprise operations, and now it's mold and a few other folks angling to define what "professional home inspector" means in thinly veiled attempts to garner market share. At one time (maybe he still is) the "director" of the school was in the mold business.

ASHI is in the business of the business of "professionalism" as much as they are anything else. I'm still a member for a couple reasons, but I don't advertise it or put it on my business card.

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ASHI is in the business of the business of "professionalism" as much as they are anything else.

Not sure I can agree with that, Bro. A professional upholds the tenets of his or her profession and doesn't abide those who don't. ASHI has known for decades about the wink-and-nod stuff and has never once publicly taken a real stand against it as far as I can tell and has allowed it to fester and grow under their watch when they should have been railing against it.

Going head-to-head against all realtorzoids and wink-and-nod inspectors, investigating them and exposing them and kicking them out of their ranks would have been professional; continuing to accept their membership dues while claiming to be the most professional of all of the clubs is not.

No offense meant to any of the ASHI brethren; I know that the great majority of you are honest inspectors - but you all have an ethical duty, to expose this kind of shit and very very few of you even try to do so. It's like everyone is only interested in his/her own little company and could care less what happens to the profession as long as they are able to seed away enough to retire comfortably while not getting involved in any sort of controversy.

It's not confined to ASHI - it goes on with members of every one of the clubs and it probably happens even more with the independents; but it still goes on when it should have been squashed years ago and the first club out there should have been the one leading the charge against it, since they always seem to claim to hold the highest moral ground in the business.

Just my opinion. You know me; never afraid to plant my foot squarely in my mouth.

(I think getting sick this week has riled up my cantankerous gene.)[:-gnasher

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I think you misunderstood me.

ASHI is in the "business of the business" of home inspection. That's why I put "professionalism" in quotes. I agree with you.

The prevailing philosophy among those I still respect (and that still talk to me) is that the society needs membership #'s to become/remain relevant, a they're willing to accommodate stuff they don't like to accomplish that.

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Mike, your email to editors was referred to me. I've reviewed your concerns with the standards editor and spoken with experts in the field. I'm satisfied that the types of issues we described in the home inspection story reflect the general areas that home inspectors address.

Thank you for your interest in the Chicago Tribune.

Brenda Richardson | Real Estate Editor

Chicago Tribune | 435 N Michigan Ave 5th Floor | Chicago IL 60611

312.222.4239 | brichardson@tribune.com | chicagotribune.com/homes

Three times I asked for the source of the contention that, "the testing for mold is something usually addressed by home inspectors." Three times the Tribune has offered back mealy-mouthed meanderings refusing and unable to supply a credible source, survey, or any statistic to back them up, even after I have supplied sources and surveys flatly contradicting the assertions of their "experts."

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No more letters for me. I'm sure the Tribune and the "experts" by now consider me nothing more than an uninformed flea.

However, if anyone else out there who disagrees with the Tribune's assertions about mold testing and would like to send a letter to Brenda and the opinions editor of the Tribune, these are the emails:

brichardson@tribune.com

dhofstetter@tribune.com

Here is a template you can use if you wish:

Dear Brenda and the Chicago Tribune,

I have been a home inspector for X years and do not agree with the statement that testing for mold is something home inspectors usually address. What are your specific sources for asserting this in your January 6, 2013 article, "Sizing up your home?"

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