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Darren Halm

Varying Estimates

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I recently had a mold test at my house, and we found 19000 spores/m3 of Stachybotrys and 7,900 Penicillium/Aspergillus.

The mold is behind a wall at the entry of the house, between the front coat closet, the back bathroom behind it, the upstairs bathroom above it, and the stairs going upstairs.

(From the report): "The lab report did detect extremely elevated levels of Stachybotrys (black mold) mold spores present at the inside air sample taken at the front hallwall cavity as compared to the outside air sample taken at time of inspection. The Lab report did detect extremely elevated levels of Chaetomium and Penicillium/Aspergillius mold spores present at the inside air sample taken at the front hall wall cavity as compared to the outside air sample taken at time of inspection."

We have had 4 people come through and give us estimates. These are all relatively in the same price range ($2000-3500) for the demo and remediation. One guy will do restoration of drywall as well.

The thing is, the time to do the work has varied from a single day to 5-7 days.

We plan on leaving the house during the process. What would seem to be a more realistic time for remediation?

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What Bruce said. If your remediation company isn't working overtime to inspect, analyze, and inform you of moisture issues, they're worthless and you should avoid them.

After the moisture problem is corrected, then, and only then, should you remove the mold. My professional opinion is the entire mold abatement *industry* is chock full of complete morons playing on the ignorance of otherwise intelligent people that have been misinformed in all sorts of ways about the realities of mold.

Your concern with the type and spore counts tells me you are misinformed and your mold remediation goofballs are playing on it.

Go here, read up, and then think this thing over. If you want to go with the "mold is gold" approach, fine with me. If you want to delve into this thing intelligently, read the brief article, follow the links and read those, and then think about your mold issue.

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I don't agree with either Bruce or Kurt.

'Extremely elevated levels' of Stachy is not to be considered lightly.

Get your remediator and repairman working together to remedy the moisture issue and remove the mold growth at the same time and do it pronto. Otherwise move out until it's done.

Don't play with this thing.

The vast majority of times, the danger of mold is greatly exaggerated. This is not one of them. Not if there's Stachy.

Marc

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So you have less than 27000 spores per cubic meters. Where are your other samples? What's the baseline?

The species and spore counts are irrelevant. There is on average 30 to 40 million spores per square inch on every surface on the planet. 28000 spores sounds pretty clean to me. Suspiciously clean.

What's most concerning is that you have a leak and you and your several remediation guys are worried about mold. Find and fix the leak. The mold will largely take care of itself.

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Yes, what everyone else has said. Repair the leak or the cause of the moisture. Then have it cleaned up. As for the length of time, it sounds like a small clean-up job but if drywall is involved I would think that 3 days would be a good estimate of time to demo, clean and replace drywall.

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What Raymond said. I've done "testing" with a couple of the mold mopes around here on my own house; it was a set up job. I wanted to see the foolishness first hand.

I specifically cleaned and made the place about as pristine as I possibly could and the "tests" came back with "alarming levels" of mold. When I asked them what studies they referenced to yardstick my house, they didn't have any. Another company referenced studies performed by the lab that does mold training seminars. IOW, nothing I'd consider worthwhile.

Everyone's got it, everyone will continue to have it, and unless you have a genetic predisposition for extreme mold sensitivities, I'd hire a cleaning service before I'd waste money on a bunch of morons tearing my house up.

And until Marc comes up with a medical or related professional analysis about why Stachy is so much worse than any other mold, I think he's nuts too.

Getting health and hygiene advice from a bunch of home inspectors and mold remediation mopes is misguided. If your doctor or care giver says it's important, then it's important. Until then, try to pay attention to science, not what the mold crowd is selling you.

When the fact change, I'll change my opinion, but right now, the facts say it's largely a blown out of proportion fools errand.

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Marc, upon what are you basing your recommendation?

I retract that recommendation. There was basis from some sources but those sources were contradicted by others more authoritative (the CDC).

Marc

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I have a brochure in my hand that is from a Mold company that offers testing and emergency services.

They claim to be "Certified" Mold Inspectors.

Nowhere on the brochure does it state what certified means or who certified them. Does anyone know how you get certified except by a company that is in the business of the "Mold is Gold" bandwagon?

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Well, this is not making me feel good about this situation.

The thing is, there's no evidence of dampness anywhere.

When we moved into the house 5 years ago, there was obvious water damage to the wall and inside the front hall closet, and a neighbor told me there was a flood 2 owners previous (so that could be anywhere from 7 years or older). When contractors redid our upstairs bathroom there was rotting wood around the toilet, all since replaced.

However, we have never seen signs of dampness or mold growth. Mold testing is just something my wife and I wanted to get done because we knew of previous water damage.

Now I don't know what to do. We've contacted our plumber about doing leak testing, and he didn't seem helpful.

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Find a very experienced home inspector that hasn't fallen for all the mold hype. A quality scanning type moisture meter and an IR camera would be helpful tools for this situation.

I wouldn't loose any sleep over the mold test results. They don't really provide any useful information, unless it was ordered by a medical professional analyzing a specific health issue.

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Mold testing is just something my wife and I wanted to get done because we knew of previous water damage.

That's how it starts. Folks have been convinced it's something one does when they buy a house. Realtors don't know anything, and in their never ending effort to appear knowledgeable, recommend it because their home office tells them to recommend it because their insurance agent tells them to recommend it because their legal counsel tells them to recommend it and they don't know why.

I'll tell you why. It's because of some completely stupid lawsuit in Texas that convinced everyone that they might be held liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars if they don't disclose mold. We all got to read about it. What we didn't get to read about is the judgment was overturned on appeal, the judge indicated in his opinion the original jurors were morons and that the decision was baseless, and the whole thing was reduced to lawyers fees.

If there's one thing I know for sure, it's you test for mold, you find mold, and the tester has a wall of numbers indicating it's a grave threat. It's bullshit.

If you want to be a certified mold tester, it costs about $185 and you sit through a 3 hour Power Point presentation, take a test designed for mouth breathers, and they give you a little badge and certificate to hang on the wall, and now you can act like you know something.

From everything you've told us, I'd say screw the moron mold guys. You had a water issue. Mold grew because of it. Do what Kibbel said and make sure there's no lingering moisture issue. If not, stop worrying about it.

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I have a brochure in my hand that is from a Mold company that offers testing and emergency services.

They claim to be "Certified" Mold Inspectors.

Nowhere on the brochure does it state what certified means or who certified them. Does anyone know how you get certified except by a company that is in the business of the "Mold is Gold" bandwagon?

NY will be licensing mold folk in the very near future.

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I have a brochure in my hand that is from a Mold company that offers testing and emergency services.

They claim to be "Certified" Mold Inspectors.

Nowhere on the brochure does it state what certified means or who certified them. Does anyone know how you get certified except by a company that is in the business of the "Mold is Gold" bandwagon?

NY will be licensing mold folk in the very near future.

Interesting proposal. It puts all authority squarely in the lap of the Commissioner of the Dept of Labor. There is no Board arrangement with mold practitioners as members vested with rulemaking/adjudicatory powers.

I hope it works. I've seen what happens in home inspecting when practitioners are appointed to a Board by the governor w/senate approval and that works badly because there's no available metric the governor can use to select the most qualified individuals. Complete idiots get appointed and things go downhill from there.

The route to progress here in LA is via the legislature but getting an audience with a Commissioner of the Dept of Labor should be much easier than getting on the proposal list of a legislative committee.

Guess we'll see.

Marc

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It isn't going to work. The nut jobs testing for mold will soon have the State standing behind their silly protocols. Whichever "lab" decides to pony up the most $ will see their silly protocol become SOP. More consumers will be duped into unnecessary tested because it will be legitimised through licensing.

Worse than that, hundreds of underemployed schmucks will spend thousands on training, testing, and licensing to learn what my 5 year old daughter already knows, don't eat the cheese when it turns white or the bread when it turns green, it has MOLD on it.

And I almost forgot. All those HIs who think they're not allowed to use the "M" word will finally be right. Those of us that refuse to write moldlike substance will be acting outside of our licenses.

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NY is just seeing a revenue stream thru licensing, just like most licensing acts nowadays.

States in this area also mainly do licensing just to collect some fees and to dump huge favors to their buddies in the insurance biz, as being insured to minimum amounts is most of requirements.

Just because a palm reader is licensed it doesn't mean he can see anything.

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I had a link to an article about this, but can't find it...too many links.

There are a number of respected economists that have written on the topic; the State creating licenses to fill in budget voids.

I'm not sure *it* will get completely stupid; it might remain largely stupid.

I hope to be retired soon and not have to think about this shit anymore. I am soooo tired of talking about mold.

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There are those home inspectors that do what they have to do to get that certificate they can hang on their wall and that is all they do.

Then there are those home inspectors that get that paper for their wall and keep striving to learn more and provide a high level of service to their clients.

Likewise, there are those in the Mold business that do what they have to do to get that certificate they can hang on their wall, and that is all they do. Then there are those that get that piece of paper for their wall, and then keep striving to learn more so they can provide a high level of service to their clients.

For those of you that want to be closed minded about the effects of mold, I encourage you to tell the mother of a two year old little girl, whose whole life has been lived in a mold infested home, that mold causing the little girls hair to fall out every time she brushes it is not true. That mold does not cause problems.

Or how about talking to the father about his seven year old son that after living in a home with mold for a year has caused his asthma to go from mild to severe. Nah, mold is gold Dad.

Or how about the 35 year old female that after living in a mold infested house for four years has gone from bright and happy with good health to having an auto immune disease that will be with her the rest of her life. Yup, mold is gold.

I agree there are a lot of incompetent "Mold Professionals" out there. But there are a lot of incompetent Home Inspectors out there also.

Imagine if any of the three people I mentioned had read this thread about mold. One of them may not even be here today.

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According to the tests by the 3 hour trained experts, most homes are "mold infested'. The remaining are then "homes with mold".

I live in a house with mold. I'm in mold infested buildings every day. I constantly breathe in mold spores outdoors too. Can I blame every health issue on mold?

I'm not saying that mold can't harm a very small amount of folks but show us the studies that these 3 examples of health issues are solely due to mold in their homes.

I'll bet there's a whole lot of folks that never get to the root cause of their illness, once they've convinced themselves some spots on a wall caused everything.

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There are those home inspectors that do what they have to do to get that certificate they can hang on their wall and that is all they do.

Then there are those home inspectors that get that paper for their wall and keep striving to learn more and provide a high level of service to their clients.

Likewise, there are those in the Mold business that do what they have to do to get that certificate they can hang on their wall, and that is all they do. Then there are those that get that piece of paper for their wall, and then keep striving to learn more so they can provide a high level of service to their clients.

For those of you that want to be closed minded about the effects of mold, I encourage you to tell the mother of a two year old little girl, whose whole life has been lived in a mold infested home, that mold causing the little girls hair to fall out every time she brushes it is not true. That mold does not cause problems.

Or how about talking to the father about his seven year old son that after living in a home with mold for a year has caused his asthma to go from mild to severe. Nah, mold is gold Dad.

Or how about the 35 year old female that after living in a mold infested house for four years has gone from bright and happy with good health to having an auto immune disease that will be with her the rest of her life. Yup, mold is gold.

I agree there are a lot of incompetent "Mold Professionals" out there. But there are a lot of incompetent Home Inspectors out there also.

Imagine if any of the three people I mentioned had read this thread about mold. One of them may not even be here today.

I think learning about a controversial subject that is related to homes is a good thing.

My issues are that much of the information that is publicized to me mostly comes from companies that have a lot of skin in the game and want to use the information to sell stuff. That makes me suspicious of the objectivity of the providers.

I also question how a home inspector that went to a course for a few hours can be a certified mold specialist and make bold claims when there are trained scientists that don't know all of the answers to some of the same questions. Again, it makes me suspicious of their claims.

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Science works pretty good most of the time. When substantial and credible science tells me mold is the cause of all health effects, then I change my opinion.

Until then, I tend to not believe people flogging their beliefs as facts, especially when their beliefs are the basis of their for profit enterprise.

For the folks worrying about 3 unrelated incidents thinking it's about mold.....maybe it is. But, the stories are emotion and sensation based, not science based. They're exactly the sort of circumstantial events used to justify mold hysteria.

I've gone over this stuff endlessly with a customer and friend who happens to be the lead allergenist and researcher at Lurie Children's Hospital, a highly respecte medical institution. Mold is just one thing in a panoply of possibilities that effect health. Many millions of dollars has been invested, and continues to be invested, in figuring out mold health effects.

So far, more is not known than is known. We know it doesn't make most folks hair fall out. We know it doesn't do a tenth of the things claimed by mold geeks. There is also always going to be one or two doctors that insist mold is the cause of all problems. If you believe that, fine. There's also diet gurus with something to tell you.

Stick with science. Mold is largely a matter of faith right now. When it becomes accepted science fact, I'll change my mind.

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