Indoor Air, Gas, Odor or Mold Emergency?
What to Do & When to Hire a Professional
IAQ EMERGENCY STEPS - CONTENTS: how to determine that it is appropriate to hire an expert to inspect or test a building for mold contamination or similar indoor environmental hazards
POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to decide if a mold, odor or other indoor air emergency exists, what to do in an emergency, and how to determine if professional mold inspection & testing are needed
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How to respond to an indoor air quality emergency in a building: this article describes four key actions to take in response to an actual or believed indoor air quality emergency: immediately seek expert assistance, get out of the affected areas of the building, ventilate the affected areas, and inform other building occupants of the hazard.
Four Actions to Take in an Immediate Indoor Air Quality Emergency
If you believe that an indoor air quality or contamination emergency exists, get out of the building and seek professional help from emergency services such as dialing 911 from a telephone outside of and away from the building.
The US EPA IAQ Wheel offers these emergency steps for immediate action in an actual or suspected mold or building air emergency [expanded with comments - Ed]:
Immediately seek medical or public health assistance (e.g. from local or state health department - suitable for mold and similar IAQ emergencies], [or in the case of carbon monoxide or other building gas hazards, or more broad building safety questions, your local fire department, emergency rescue services, or police department]
Evacuate the affected areas, if warranted, and if feasible, take steps to limit or stop unsafe conditions [turn off dangerous heating equipment, shut water mains where plumbing supply pipes have burst];
Watch out: IF YOU SUSPECT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING GO INTO FRESH AIR IMMEDIATELY and get others out of the building, then call your fire department or emergency services for help.
Watch out: IF YOU SUSPECT SEWER GAS or METHANE GAS HAZARDS do not operate electrical switches, cell phones, or light any flame - there may be an explosion hazard. Get others out of the building, then call your fire department or emergency services for help. Sewer gas contains
methane gas (CH4) - is a risk of an explosion hazard or even fatal asphyxiation.
[METHANE GAS HAZARDS].
Ventilate the suspected areas: when appropriate, such as for carbon monoxide poisoning [first turn off the suspected equipment] or chemical spills, ventilate the affected areas with large amounts of outside air (use temporary fans if needed).
Inform building occupants and parents of minors of the problem and maintain clear communications.
If you are not sure if a mold emergency exists
If you feel unsafe, follow the advice given above.
Additional information helpful in deciding if an emergency condition exists can be read at the links given below.
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 Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. (727) 595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com Technical review, text clarification, 03/31/2009
 "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
 US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
 US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
 US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [ copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
 "Indoor Air Quality Problem Solving Wheel", U.S. EPA (included in  above. EPA Telephone for IAQ information & publications: 800-438-4318 S/N 055-000-00390-4
Allergens: Testing for the level of exposure to animal allergens is discussed at http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/animalallergy/diagnosis.shtml (lab animal exposure study is interesting because it involves a higher exposure level in some cases
Allergens: WebMD discusses allergy tests for humans at webmd.com/allergies/allergy-tests
Atlas of Clinical Fungi, 2nd Ed., GS deHoog, J Guarro, J Gene, & MJ Figueras, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, 2000, ISBN 90-70351-43-9 (you can buy this book at Amazon) - The Atlas of Clinical Fungi is also available on CD ROM
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens," Patricia Donald, Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology, Lewis Jett
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
"IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA, What do they really tell us?" Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, Clinical Laboratory Director, Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic - ELISA testing accuracy: Here is an example of Miller's critique of ELISA http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/282.cfm - Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
The critique included in that article raises compelling questions about IgG testing assays, which prompts our interest in actually screening for the presence of high levels of particles that could carry allergens - dog dander or cat dander in the case at hand.
http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html contains similar criticism in another venue but interestingly by the same author, Sheryl Miller. Sheryl Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, is an Immunologist and Associate Professor of Basic and Medical Sciences at Bastyr University in Bothell, Washington. She is also the Laboratory Director of the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic Laboratory.
Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"Management of Powdery Mildew, Leveillula taurica, in Greenhouse Peppers," Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, British Columbia - Original source: www.agf.gov.bc.ca/cropprot/peppermildew.htm
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
MOLD in BUILDINGS Procedure: what mold is often found where in buildings - simple technical presentation
Rot concerns in buildings-some building mold such as Meruliporia incrassata "Poria" risks serious or Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo - en Espanol
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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