Jump to content

Home Inspectors - Beware of Mold Lawsuits


Charles Dobbs
 Share

Recommended Posts

By Charles and Danielle Dobbs - Mold Inspectors

Let us start by saying that mold inspection is not an exact science and its detection can be quite tricky. Mold likes to play hide and seek. In this business one cannot assume that if it walks like a duck, and quakes like a duck, that it’s a duck. But it smells like a duck, you say, and the owners are experiencing respiratory problems. Well, it might be mold that’s causing this, but it could also be volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gassing from new building materials.

And what if you don’t see, hear, or smell the duck, does it mean it’s not there? Some home inspectors or novice mold inspectors even go so far as to swear that the home is “duck freeâ€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charles, this is a dumb question, but are you suggesting on-line training for home inspectors re: Mold? And if you are, would the training be to teach us how to spot mold and t'o' it?

Personally, I have lots of hours of "training" and still ain't riding the mold for gold train! Got no trouble at all refering clients to qualified people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The number of lawsuits are going down from what I understand. All of the insurance providers have put mold clauses in their coverage and they are not paying out like they did several years back. Even our E&O providers are not covering mold issues.

Next we will be worried about lawsuits for Dust Mites!

As I do a fair amount of EW work I have discovered that if there is no or limited insurance the lawsuits tend to disappear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mold hysteria is going to go away. Hopefully, it will be supplanted by thoughtful discourse on IAQ, what's attainable, what's not, and how dangerous is it really.

The medical profession is simply not getting behind this like the testing labs & PI attorneys would like, and w/the limits of liability that all the insurance companies are applying, there's no money to go after. There's a bunch of lawsuits that have collapsed in the courtrooms in Chicago simply because defendants can show the levels of mold in their properties are equal to, or less than, the mold levels in the outside air.

That doesn't mean that certain properties don't have significant problems w/mold, but the freakout about a couple black dots in the attic or bsmt. is going to go away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, Jim, their titles are Certified Mold Inspector - CMI. (Want CMI after your name?)

I tell my clients the last thing they need is someone who attended a one day seminar going around the house disturbing spores.

Some leave me and get a 'mold certified' inspector. Others think I make sense - they hire me and an IAQ expert.

Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim,

Go here: http://www.molddetectionexperts.com/

or here: http://www.bookonmold.com/FREE%20INFORM ... elease.pdf

OT - OF!!!

M.

I don't see any significant credential here.

"Certified Mold Consultant" doesn't exactly ring my bells.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Les

Charles, this is a dumb question, but are you suggesting on-line training for home inspectors re: Mold? And if you are, would the training be to teach us how to spot mold and t'o' it?

Personally, I have lots of hours of "training" and still ain't riding the mold for gold train! Got no trouble at all refering clients to qualified people.

Hi Les,

No, we don’t tell you how to spot mold. Like we said in the article a good home inspector can spot red flags that are conducive to mold growth, just like a mold inspector. In fact, in a home purchase, we recommend that a home inspector inspects the house first, then we can just come and collect samples - surface or bulk samples if MLS (mold-like substance) is visible, and several air samples with one outside control to assess indoor air quality in relation to mold, whether MLS is visible or not.

The online course is not just for home inspectors, but we believe that everyone who takes the course will gain a better understanding on the subject of mold and its prevention. The knowledge gained in our course will help home inspectors write better reports by giving clients more tips on mold prevention. And clients will be very appreciative!

Topics covered in the online class are: what is mold, how mold affects health and building structures, how to handle major water intrusion, the process of mold assessment, quality control in sampling, and mold prevention tips.

By the way, this is going to be our first teleclass. We will ask attendees to evaluate the class. For evaluating the class attendees will receive our free e-book on mold prevention tips, even if the comments are not favorable.

Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Scottpat

The number of lawsuits are going down from what I understand. All of the insurance providers have put mold clauses in their coverage and they are not paying out like they did several years back. Even our E&O providers are not covering mold issues.

Next we will be worried about lawsuits for Dust Mites!

As I do a fair amount of EW work I have discovered that if there is no or limited insurance the lawsuits tend to disappear.

Hi Scott,

You are right, many insurance companies no longer cover mold. This move puts the responsibility entirely on the homeowner. We believe in prevention - thus the title of our book Mold Matters - Solutions and Prevention

Charles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by kurt

Mold hysteria is going to go away. Hopefully, it will be supplanted by thoughtful discourse on IAQ, what's attainable, what's not, and how dangerous is it really.

The medical profession is simply not getting behind this like the testing labs & PI attorneys would like, and w/the limits of liability that all the insurance companies are applying, there's no money to go after. There's a bunch of lawsuits that have collapsed in the courtrooms in Chicago simply because defendants can show the levels of mold in their properties are equal to, or less than, the mold levels in the outside air.

That doesn't mean that certain properties don't have significant problems w/mold, but the freakout about a couple black dots in the attic or bsmt. is going to go away.

Hi Kurt,

We see all types of cases - from people who are hysterical and have four HEPA filters going in a small apartment because “. . . they could not breathe without them!â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim,

Go here: http://www.molddetectionexperts.com/

or here: http://www.bookonmold.com/FREE%20INFORM ... elease.pdf

OT - OF!!!

M.

I don't see any significant credential here.

"Certified Mold Consultant" doesn't exactly ring my bells.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Hi Jim,

Question of semantics - I think the “certifiedâ€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by ozofprev

Actually, Jim, their titles are Certified Mold Inspector - CMI. (Want CMI after your name?)

I tell my clients the last thing they need is someone who attended a one day seminar going around the house disturbing spores.

Some leave me and get a 'mold certified' inspector. Others think I make sense - they hire me and an IAQ expert.

Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim,

Go here: http://www.molddetectionexperts.com/

or here: http://www.bookonmold.com/FREE%20INFORM ... elease.pdf

OT - OF!!!

M.

I don't see any significant credential here.

"Certified Mold Consultant" doesn't exactly ring my bells.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Hi Gary,

Picking on the new guy without knowing me. I went to your website to get to know you, and to my amazement I saw we have a lot of things in common. Beautiful lovely wife, I do too. I call mine “The Agitator Generalâ€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Charles Dobbs

Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim,

Go here: http://www.molddetectionexperts.com/

or here: http://www.bookonmold.com/FREE%20INFORM ... elease.pdf

OT - OF!!!

M.

I don't see any significant credential here.

"Certified Mold Consultant" doesn't exactly ring my bells.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Hi Jim,

Question of semantics - I think the “certifiedâ€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I'm still a little curious. With a lot of authoritive sources stating that mold testing is a almost never the first step in determining health risk, can you tell me why you are testing for mold?

By authoritive sources, I mean most State Health Dept. websites, medical professionals, industrial hygienists, etc.

Folks might want to check out.....

http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/f ... rairfs.htm

I'm reasonably sure most State Health Depts. take a similar intelligent stance on this topic.

And, since testing cannot confirm if health effects will occur, and there is no basis or finding that indicates what amounts of mold are acceptable, just what exactly is the service that you & your organization are providing?

Service, as in benefit. What's the benefit of your testing? What information is gleaned from the process that allows folks to make intelligent decisions?

I'm not even slightly surprised to find that approx. half of your "tests" find absolutely no problem. That's because most often there is no problem, other than the problem of perception perpetuated by individuals calling themselves "air quality consultants".

The multi-million dollar home that had a "major mold problem covered up by paint"; since there are no accepted standards for quantifying these conditions, what conditions comprise a "major mold problem"?

And, why are non-medical professionals holding themselves out as "air quality consultants"? Isn't the perceived risk health related? Aren't health related issues best left to medical professionals?

I've discussed this topic w/ university level research mycologists, and they are dumbfounded @ the mold hysteria. One of them (University of Chicago) told me that in his lab, the collective knowledge base has over 65 years experience in studying this stuff, and they have nothing to offer that substantiates any of the popular myths surrounding mold. I tend to believe guys like this.

Individuals are not being educated; "consultants" are preying on the public perception, created by sensationalist news stories, that there is a serious health problem out there, when the medical profession still hasn't established if there are quantifiable standards for any of this stuff.

Charles, you are obviously an erudite individual, and I mean no personal attack, but I think it's painfully close to scamming.

I'm open to information that refutes everything I've said; anyone got any?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi John,

Don't know about erudite, but you sure are smooth. I'm not picking on the new guy. You seem quite nice. When I tell my clients that the last thing they need is someone who attended a one day seminar going around disturbing spores, I mean exactly that. You aren't that guy, right?

The CMI comment is more an inside joke - not about you.

You must have noticed that I spend a good amount of time fixing up Habitat houses. These things have basements full of mold. Nobody who works on these homes, nobody who moves into these homes, and nobody who visits has suffered effects more than sneezing. We install dehumidifiers and the mold seems to become moot.

I went to Louisiana right after Katrina and worked with other volunteers in extremely hot, damp conditions. Heavy mold was in many of the homes. The smell kept us out of a few, but nobody suffered ill health.

While working toward a doctor of pharmacy degree, I took graduate courses in microbiology, medicinal chemistry, and biochemistry. I saw many things that scare me to this day. Not mold - sorry. But my mind remains open. If science shows a reason to make mold inspections a regular part of life, then I will do everything to help my clients.

Currently, the only fear I have of mold is what it can do to building materials. The solution, however, requires no analysis - just get rid of the moisture.

Originally posted by Charles Dobbs

Originally posted by ozofprev

Actually, Jim, their titles are Certified Mold Inspector - CMI. (Want CMI after your name?)

I tell my clients the last thing they need is someone who attended a one day seminar going around the house disturbing spores.

Some leave me and get a 'mold certified' inspector. Others think I make sense - they hire me and an IAQ expert.

Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim,

Go here: http://www.molddetectionexperts.com/

or here: http://www.bookonmold.com/FREE%20INFORM ... elease.pdf

OT - OF!!!

M.

I don't see any significant credential here.

"Certified Mold Consultant" doesn't exactly ring my bells.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Hi Gary,

Picking on the new guy without knowing me. I went to your website to get to know you, and to my amazement I saw we have a lot of things in common. Beautiful lovely wife, I do too. I call mine “The Agitator Generalâ€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by kurt

I guess I'm still a little curious. With a lot of authoritive sources stating that mold testing is a almost never the first step in determining health risk, can you tell me why you are testing for mold?

By authoritive sources, I mean most State Health Dept. websites, medical professionals, industrial hygienists, etc.

Folks might want to check out.....

http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/f ... rairfs.htm

I'm reasonably sure most State Health Depts. take a similar intelligent stance on this topic.

And, since testing cannot confirm if health effects will occur, and there is no basis or finding that indicates what amounts of mold are acceptable, just what exactly is the service that you & your organization are providing?

Service, as in benefit. What's the benefit of your testing? What information is gleaned from the process that allows folks to make intelligent decisions?

I'm not even slightly surprised to find that approx. half of your "tests" find absolutely no problem. That's because most often there is no problem, other than the problem of perception perpetuated by individuals calling themselves "air quality consultants".

The multi-million dollar home that had a "major mold problem covered up by paint"; since there are no accepted standards for quantifying these conditions, what conditions comprise a "major mold problem"?

And, why are non-medical professionals holding themselves out as "air quality consultants"? Isn't the perceived risk health related? Aren't health related issues best left to medical professionals?

I've discussed this topic w/ university level research mycologists, and they are dumbfounded @ the mold hysteria. One of them (University of Chicago) told me that in his lab, the collective knowledge base has over 65 years experience in studying this stuff, and they have nothing to offer that substantiates any of the popular myths surrounding mold. I tend to believe guys like this.

Individuals are not being educated; "consultants" are preying on the public perception, created by sensationalist news stories, that there is a serious health problem out there, when the medical profession still hasn't established if there are quantifiable standards for any of this stuff.

Charles, you are obviously an erudite individual, and I mean no personal attack, but I think it's painfully close to scamming.

I'm open to information that refutes everything I've said; anyone got any?

YOUR QUESTION IS IN 2 PARTS

Why testing for mold?

Why are non-medical professional calling themselves “air quality consultants?

Why testing for mold?

There are many reasons why mold inspectors are needed to perform both, inspection and collect samples. It is the same idea as why people get a termite inspection in a real estate purchase. It’s mainly for peace of mind and because mold, like a termite problem, can be quite costly to fix. And, besides affecting building structures, mold can also affect health.

If people are on a budget and have to choose between a mold inspection or sampling, we ALWAYS recommend taking air samples. This is a scientific way to assess the air quality in relation to mold. Once in a while we detect a mold problem only through sampling.

Many mold remediators do not remediate a mold situation without having an independent report that says that there is a mold problem. Some require a mold remediation protocol. The mold inspection report describes the red flags along with pictures, and the laboratory report tells what’s going on at the microscopic level and what people are breathing. A post-remediation sampling tells whether the remediation has been carried out properly and it gives the remediator and the client a written confirmation that at this point in time, the air quality was ok in relation to mold. That air clearance gives the ok that reconstruction can begin. Another good reason is to rule out the presence of mold or see if a person’s allergies are related to mold that may be unseen. Sometimes people ask for their home to be tested at the recommendation of their allergist who may be running out of options, when their patient is not getting better with medicine. Another reason may come from an employee complaining of being sick and claiming there is mold in the building. Most of the time these complaints turned out to be unfounded, but the boss has now proof to the contrary. He can show the laboratory results and interpretation of the data to OSHA people, in the event that it would ever get to that level. We could go on and on with all kinds of reasons.

Why are non-medical professional calling themselves “air quality consultants?

About our credentials - Some of you are asking us to justify our rights to performing mold inspections and sampling. We are not doctors, or microbiologists, nor do we claim to be “air quality consultantsâ€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by inspecthistoric

My opinion about the "mold is gold" people is the same as it was 13 months ago when I posted here: http://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2348

This needs repeating:

http://www.forensic-applications.com/moulds/mvue.html

Hi Gary,

See the article my wife is submitted we are submitting today titled “Mold is Like Religion and Politics!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by inspecthistoric

My opinion about the "mold is gold" people is the same as it was 13 months ago when I posted here: http://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2348

This needs repeating:

http://www.forensic-applications.com/moulds/mvue.html

We will soon be publishing an article to discuss our views about

www.forensic-applications.com/moulds/mvue.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...