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Building air quality, toxic mold, allergen or
other sick house investigations, mold lab testing services, and information on
mold, mildew, moisture, pollen, dust mite, & environmental information for
building owners, occupants, inspectors.
Mold Services: On-Site Diagnostic Inspection & Lab Testing for Mold and Other Indoor Air Quality Concerns
provides contact information for expert services and in-depth information about
indoor air quality problems: causes of respiratory illness or other symptoms
such as neurological or psychological problems, air quality investigation
methods, and remediation procedures such as mold cleanup, handling toxic mold
contamination, and building or HVAC repairs.
Investigation Service Our senior expert goes where no one else
wanted to look, uses non-invasive tools and sophisticated testing equipment for
mold, gases, moisture, air quality, contaminants, building problem diagnosis. Before
hiring someone to investigate for mold: see When to hire a
professional. For What to Do About Mold: how to inspect, test,
clean-up, and prevent mold problems and critique of valid and invalid mold and
IAQ tools and procedures: see Mold Information Center
Laboratory Analysis Service includes identity, photomicrographs,
medical details, remediation advice. On-Site Mobile Lab Service is available
for immediate on-premises particle determination.
Field Investigation Services by Daniel Friedman, American Home Service Co.
Our building investigation services include thorough on-site studies for
residential and commercial buildings in New York,
New Jersey, and Connecticut, with service available world wide on advance notice. We also provide expert 24-hour
mold testing lab service for our clients and the public. The result of field
and lab work is a complete
field investigation report indicating our field findings, laboratory
test results, and detailing just what remediation or other actions are
appropriate. Basic medical information about allergenic or toxic mold or other
contaminants is also included when available.
We investigate complaints of respiratory illness, asthma, allergies,
neurological and other health concerns, and we identify sources of these and
other hazards that may contribute to a wide range of health complaints
associated with buildings. To identify and address indoor air quality problems,
we identify conditions which may cause or contribute to allergy, asthma,
"sick building syndrome -- SBS," other respiratory illness and
distress, as well as possible neurological or other health problems which may
be caused or aggravated by mold or other particles in the air.
Field investigation methods include taking site and client history,
visual inspection of the property and building and its mechanical systems,
bulk/surface/vacuum sampling, calibrated air sampling combined with light microscopy
and laboratory analysis to identify common bioaerosols, allergens, pet dander,
dust mites, fleas, mold, pollen, fibers, and other potential irritants. We also
are equipped to test for specific contaminant
gases such as produced by building fires or heating equipment as well as
mold or other contaminants.
Our Indoor Gas
Sampling Plan for Residential Buildings describes gas testing procedures,
instruments, detection limits, and it lists some of the toxic (or other) indoor
gases for which we can test, depending on the building complaint and building
No one needs to wield an axe to investigate a building. And no one
needs to bury important findings among pages of vague language. We use special
equipment such as
this borescope permitting examination of hidden wall/ceiling/floor cavities
using non-destructive methods. We may use other equipment to actually obtain
particle samples from wall/ceiling/floor cavities by the Wall Check™ method,
When conditions warrant and permission is obtained, we also are equipped to
make modest test cuts or to perform other more invasive inspection methods. A
variety of non-invasive infra-red and moisture measuring tools may also be
employed if recent or current leaks are suspected.
Our mold and air quality investigation report
includes field observations, laboratory test results, medical information
regarding toxic or allergenic mold or other contaminants identified, and
remediation advice including both mold cleanup and building repairs which are
necessary to help avoid future problems. Technical documentation is accompanied
by photo documentation of field and lab findings. A simple report summary
provides a "guide to action" for each property we inspect.
Our laboratory procedures are described below at
Laboratory Services. More information about our indoor air mold testing and
field and laboratory investigation methodologies and a description of some of
our equipment is at Investigation
appointment for a mold or indoor air investigation or see a published fee schedule
(Inspection fees and fees for other services will be reviewed with you and
committed before any work is performed.
The fees in this table are subject to change without notice.)
Laboratory Analysis Services by Daniel Friedman,
American Home Service Co.
Our laboratory service includes analysis of our own
expert-prepared field samples as well as processing of consumer-prepared
bulk-tape mail-in samples of mold or other particles. Our mold testing lab
provides identification services for bioaerosols such as mold, mildew, dust mites,
pollen, and other allergens. We have considerable experience examining samples
collected on tape, Zefon cassettes, MCE filter cassettes, slides, impaction air
samplers, carpet, furniture, and other soft-goods vacuum samples, and in bulk
material. Mold culture and bacterial surface contamination evaluation is
available, and we also offer testing for carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide,
formaldehyde, and other gases.
Our laboratory education and experience include fungal spore, organic, and
inorganic particle and fiber identification, mold culture methods and culture
speciation. Our equipment education and experience include biological
microscopy, forensic microscopy, particle identification using microscopic
particle manipulation, microchemistry, transmitted light microscopy, polarized
light microscopy, dispersion staining, determination of refractive index,
interference patterns, phase-contrast, darkfield, focal screening, and other
In the lab we make use of a variety of microscopes: low-power stereoscopic
examination of samples for characterization and high-power microscopic
examination (up to 1920x) for particle identification using both transmitted
and polarized light for identification of biological particles such as mold
spores, pollen grains, animal allergens, and non-biological particles in house
dust and debris. These methods help assure that the lab report accurately
represents the character of the samples which were submitted.
Mobile Microscopy Lab: For immediate on-site
particle determination where emergency response or remediation/salvage
operation evaluation is necessary we offer mobile field
microscopy lab service including field preparation of test samples and
light microscopic examination for particle identification.
Field samples are used to prepare slides for examination by light
microscope. Our own field work collects mold or biological particle samples
using a variety of methods. From the public our lab also accepts mold surface samples
using clear tape. Chemical treatment and mounting media are selected based
on the sample type, often including potassium hydroxide, acid or basic fuchsin,
Calberla's solution, lacto phenol cotton blue, or other preparations. When lab
work is in support of legal proceedings or if otherwise appropriate we prepare
permanent-mount slides using glycerine jelly or other media. Slides are
examined at magnifications of 10x, 100x, 400x, and 1000x using tungsten and
polarized light, darkfield, etc. as appropriate.
Identification of toxic mold species:
Genera/species identifications are made based on experience, education,
reference texts, comparison with known samples, and when appropriate,
consultation with fellow mycologists and other experts. There are more than
70,000 mold species which have been identified and an estimated 1 million
remaining to be identified, so it is common to encounter unidentified spores.
However fortunately, in most areas there common protagonists which have been
studied and which can be identified to genera and often to species. Because
mold toxicity varies widely within a particular genera, speciation is an
important step, omitted by some high-volume labs.
A detailed written mold test laboratory report of laboratory finding,
medical information, and recommendations is provided.
The lab report describes:
Significant/dominant particles in each sample examined: likely to be most important in the building
Other spores/particles present in each sample at notable but not dominant frequency,
Photographic documentation of
site conditions and laboratory observations are included with our site and
Lab reports also include a
summary of contemporary medical information about particles
Independent inspectors as well as many building owners or occupants may also
use our mold testing laboratory service. If you do not want to bring a
professional investigator to your property, here are instructions
explaining how to
collect and mail mold samples to our lab for identification, analysis,
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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. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
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
"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
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in Buildings - References & Products
Allergen Tests in Buildings advice about how to test, what to look for, in evaluating the level of dog, cat, or other animal allergens in a building
"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.
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
Animal Allergens: Dog, Cat, and Other Animal Dander - Cleanup & Prevention Information for Asthmatics and regarding Indoor Air Quality.
Recognizing Allergens: What various indoor allergens look like - identification photos to help identify pollen, dust mites, animal dander, toxic or allergenic mold - Common Mold and other Allergens, Irritants, Remedies & Advice
Rodent control issues, including dander, fecal, and urine contamination of Buildings and Building insulation are discussed at our
Associations: Sick House, Sick Building, SBS - Air Quality, Government, Private Associations and Information Resources
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
"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
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
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.
Ozone Warnings - Use of Ozone as a "mold" remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous.
Rot concerns in buildings-some building mold such as Meruliporia incrassata "Poria" risks serious rot and hidden structural damage
US EPA: Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold
cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.
Rodents, Mice, Squirrel Control - I find high levels of mouse and rodent dander, fecal dust, and urine-contaminated dust in some buildings,
and high levels of these materials in building insulation in those locations. If you have a mouse problem, particularly if mice and their waste (fecals or urine) are contaminating
the building HVAC or building insulation, may need both steps to clean up or remove infected materials and steps to stop an ongoing
rodent problem. If squirrels are a problem, the cleanup needs to include closing off entry openings into the building. Get some
help from a licensed pest control expert.